Gone is the iPhone 7’s headphone jack, but you knew that. In its place is Apple’s new (and underutilized) W1 wireless chip that few headphones so far support, with smaller, portable earbuds especially lacking other than, of course, the AirPods. And now BeatsX Wireless Earphones. Their only wire connects the earbuds together and includes a Siri-compatible remote with mic as well as two small symmetrical bulges that hold the charger input and, presumably, their lithium ion batteries. While they’ll work fine with Android devices via traditional Bluetooth the W1 chip really shines in ensuring smooth, straightforward pairing to your Apple device as well as high quality audio transmission that reproduces sound in a typically bass-heavy Beats fashion. Conveniently they also last 8 hours per charge and go from dead to 25% charged with just 5 minutes of charging. And when you’re not listening to music or taking calls the two buds link up magnetically to stay secured around your neck, tangle-free.
Learn more at Beats – $150
Pelican’s briefcases are virtually indestructible. That’s why the Black Pelican BoomCase was built inside one, making for a sound system that’s more rugged than BoomCase’s traditional offerings while remaining just as portable. Closed, the speaker system is completely protected against bumps and even water, and open it’s still more durable than your average speaker system thanks to grilles over the drivers. Inside a 100 Watt amp powers the two 6.5-inch woofers, 4-inch mid-range and two dome tweeters, and a huge rechargeable battery keeps it running for over 16 hours straight. Comes in several colors other than black (like yellow, orange, green, and grey) and includes a battery charger and an aux cable, though a Bluetooth module to make this BoomCase wireless will run you another $45.
Find it at Pelican – $895
It’s not quite your traditional laptop. In fact the Lenovo Yoga A12 loses the physical keyboard as well as the desktop-grade OS, opting instead for a touch-based Halo keyboard (that’s basically like typing on an on-screen tablet keyboard) and Android OS, giving you alternatives to Chrome-OS based notebooks. Its keyboard employs artificial learning software to get accustomed to your typing habits and improve the more you use it, also kicking back with a bit of haptic feedback to boosts accuracy. The razor-thin device weighs just 2.2 pounds and quickly flips between laptop and tablet orientations to adapt its 12.2-inch to the work you’re doing. Its thirteen hour battery life and magnesium plus aluminum construction are just icing on the cake, especially for a laptop tablet combo in this price range.
Read more at Lenovo – $300
We end up filling most surge protectors with USB adapters for our phones, e-readers, tablets, power banks, and other miscellaneous gadgetry anyway. iClever’s BoostStrip Power Strip saves you the need to do so by including six 2.4A USB ports along with six three-pronged power outlets, which is probably more than enough to handle all types of chargers you use on a regular basis. All twelve are circuit protected and the USB ports employ SmartID tech to charge each individual device at its maximum safe speed. Also available as a smaller version with 4 USB ports, 3 AC outlets, and a phone stand.
Find it at Amazon – $26
Piaggio, the Italian company known for the Vespa Scooter synonymous with transport in many European countries, is trying their hand at a similarly-styled product that’s both a hell of a lot more high tech and more niche: the Gita Personal Cargo Droid. The 26-inch tall spherical drone rolls along on two large wheels and follows you (wearing a tracking device) autonomously thanks to a battery of cameras and sensors, dodging obstacles, climbing sidewalks, and even attaining speeds of up to 22 miles per hour if you’re on a bike and in a hurry. More importantly it can carry 40 pounds of stuff — groceries, gold bricks, whatever — to spare you the need of carrying it yourself. A biometric lock on its cargo door won’t open to thieving passerbys without your exact fingerprint (or a crow bar) and its battery can keep it rolling for up to eight hours on a charge.
Learn more at Piaggio – $TBA
A steady hand isn’t necessary to draw well with the Line-Us Robot Drawing Arm. While it can indeed mimic your writing on a tablet or computer in real time, the tiny robot can also draw out saved drawings — either yours or others’ — and recreate them on paper using a pen, pencil or paintbrush. Line-Us works on Android and iOS smart devices as well as both Macs and PCs through a paired app and WiFi, and for coding types up for a challenge it can even interface with smaller, cheaper computers like the Raspberry Pi and Arduino. Whether you use it to mass produce your doodles on postcards or transform the digital into physical, the possibilities are numerous.
Hit up Kickstarter for details – roughly $87
Having the option of tracking the location of kids, pets, bikes, your car, or anything important, really, just got easier with the Ping GPS Locator. Ping addresses issues of range common with standard Bluetooth trackers and battery life with other GPS trackers (that typically last just a few days), extending the former to anywhere with cellular reception and the latter to three months on standby. If you need to locate one just whip out the app and click to find, showing you its location instantly. A one year data plan is included, afterwards increasing to 3$ per month, and once its battery gives out it can simply be recharged. The round detailing on its front also hides a button that can be clicked once as a check-in or twice to send an SOS signal to paired smartphones.
Grab one (or several) at Indiegogo – $90
Your Apple Wireless Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2 have been a divided mess since they first adorned your desk. No longer with Twelve South’s MagicBridge, which brings them together as one for a less cluttered desk (and for easier lap use). The simple-enough device is built with lightweight matte white polycarbonate and doesn’t reduce the Bluetooth signal of contained devices in the least. Cutouts on the back grant access to all relevant ports and switches and silicone pads both inside and out protect your desk and your devices from scrapes. It’s also ambidextrous, fitting the trackpad on either side of the keyboard to accommodate left handers just as well.
Find it at Twelve South – $35