As always, CES 2015 kicked off the new year in Las Vegas, Nevada by previewing the newest tech products and concepts from around the world. Here's a collection of some of the best items and ideas showcased at the event:
The Best iPad, iPhone + Mac Accessories at CES (9to5Mac)
Best of CES 2015 Winners (Engadget)
Best of CES 2015 (SlashGear)
Best of CES 2015: The gadgets and gear that wowed us most (PCWorld)
Best of CES 2015 (Wired)
Apple at CES
10 iPhone Accessories Announced at CES 2015
The Slate by iSketchnote Digitizes Your Pen and Paper Drawings Instantly
AT&T Announces LTE Smartcase for Wi-Fi Only iPad Models
iHome Unveils New Cinderella iPad and iPhone Accessories at CES 2015
The popular Pokémon Trading Card Game will get a major expansion on February 4, according to IGN. The new series will be called "Primal Clash" and it will feature 160 new cards including Primal Reversions. According to the Pokémon Wiki, a Primal Reversion is "similar to Mega Evolution, except that the Pokémon goes back into its ancient and original form, where it regains its true, ultimate power it formerly had". Primal Reservations were introduced in Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire on the Nintendo 3DS. Only Primal Kyogre-EX and Primal Groudon-EX have these forms so far.
The expansion will also include two new theme decks, twenty-five trainer cards and two Special Energies, according to IGN.
Activity has picked up on the App Store now that Apple's holiday break is over, but it was still a slow week for iPad app releases. There were some noteworthy universal releases such as an official Princess Bride game and Wizard Golf RPG. Evernote also released its own document scanning app called Scannable and the popular PC title turned iPad game, Frozen Synapse was released to the iPhone.
Another universal title that has everyone talking is Mayday! Deep Space. It is a stealth game that uses Apple's voice recognition technology. Players must give voice commands to help survivors stranded on a damaged medical space station. According to several reviews the voice commands are more than a cheap gimmick and really make the game innovative and fun to play. Mayday! Deep Space is available for $2.99 on the App Store.
Accessory maker iHome has unveiled its new lineup of Cinderella audio accessories at CES 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The collection is inspired by Disney's upcoming live-action retelling of the fairy tale set to hit theaters on March 13, 2015. 9to5Mac got an early look at the impressive Cinderella Golden Carriage Bluetooth Speaker, headphones and noise isolating earbuds.
iHome also plans to launch a few quilted iOS accessories such as "an iPhone flip case with golden accents and a hand strap, a butterfly-laden iPhone 6 hard shell, and a quilted purse-like case for the iPad with a golden strap," according to 9to5Mac. Pricing and availability are unknown at this time, but it safe to assume the products will begin shipping before the movie lands in theaters.
AT&T has unveiled a new "smartcase" that promises to deliver LTE functionality to WiFi-only iPad models. The Modio smartcase basically acts as a LTE hotspot for your WiFi-enabled iPad allowing you to use it on AT&T's 4G LTE network. Depending on the price, this could be a great option for iPad owners who wish they had a cellular model but can't afford to upgrade.
The AT&T Modio smartcase will ship with a 4,600mAh battery for up to 10 hours of continuous use and a microSD card slot for adding up to 32GB of additional memory. There will also be an AT&T Modio Data app which will allow you to monitor your data usage. You can learn more about the AT&T Modio smartcase at www.att.com/modiosmartcase or by reading the official press release.
Wikipad's gaming controller for mobile devices has had an interesting history and it hasn't even been released. The Gamevice was originally announced back in 2014 as a portable controller for Windows 8 and Android tablets, but it was eventually switched to an iPad mini-only accessory before falling off the radar. But now according to Polygon, the Gamevice is back as both an iPad Air and iPad mini compatible device.
Not only is the Gamevice one of the few iPad-only controllers being released, but it snaps onto your iPad like most of the standard MFi iPhone controllers on the market. The Gamevice connects to your iPad via the Lightning connector and it features a classic dual analog sticks design with D-pad, four face buttons and so on. This is kind of an odd design for the iPad Air when you think about it. It would seem like most iPad gamers would prefer a Bluetooth controller rather than something that attaches to your already bulky 9-inch tablet, but Wikipad says their design will eliminate the need to prop up your iPad while you play games.
So far it has been kind of a disappointing CES 2015 for iPhone and iPad accessories. Most of the announced third party iOS cases and chargers have just been upgrades of already existing products. There have also been a few five-slot power docks, speaker cases and Bluetooth keyboards showcased, but we have seen all that before. Luckily there was one interesting product for the iPad spotted earlier this week.
The Slate by iSketchnote allows you to transfer your pen and paper drawings to your iPad using a Bluetooth connection. Users can place a notebook or a piece of paper on top of the writing platform and the Slate will digitize their sketches or writing in real-time. The platform features a scratch-resistant coating that holds the paper in place, and it is built for mobility only weighing in at 14.1 ounces (400 grams). The Slate is also equipped with a micro SD card and micro USB ports and offers up to 10 hours of battery life.
Like Bigfoot, the "iPad Pro" or "iPad Air Plus" has once again made an unconfirmed appearance, this time in a blurry image originally posted on the French blog Nowhereelse. The picture was allegedly taken by a "reliable" Foxconn factory worker who also leaked some of the first iPhone 6 images in 2014. The image shows a 3D rendering of the rumored large iPad model with holes for stereo speakers.
The tipster also said that the iPad Pro will be will be between 6.9 and 7.5mm thick and that it will feature a screen size between 12.2 and 12.9 inches. The alleged image of the iPad prototype aligns with previous rumors that claim Apple is developing a larger iPad for a possible 2015 release.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) once again dominated the holidays outselling its competitors through December. According to the analytics firm Flurry, 51% of device activations between December 19th and 25th belonged to Apple, while 18% went to Samsung and 6% to Nokia. However, the new year got off to a rocky start as Apple was hit with a class-action lawsuit alleging that the company does not inform its customers how much storage iOS 8 actually eats up on their devices. The case claims "iOS 8 can take up as much as 23.1 percent of the advertised storage capacity" forcing users to buy more storage through Apple's iCloud service, according to Silicon Beat.
“We feel that there are a substantial number of Apple consumers that have been shortchanged, and we’ll be pursuing the claims vigorously,” said William Anderson, a lawyer at Cuneo Gilbert & Laduca, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm.
AT&T and T-Mobile also started issuing refunds after settling with the FCC for adding unauthorized third-party charges to its customers' bills. The practice is known as "mobile cramming," where carriers list bogus fees on a customer's statement for third-party services such as daily horoscopes and dieting tips. AT&T has agreed to pay $105 million in fines and refunds, while T-Mobile settled for $90 million. You can learn how to collect your refund here.
Apple's iTunes Connect reopened on Monday, December 29 after being closed for one week for the holidays. This means there were very few new iPad games and apps released this week. Ace Ferrara & The Dino Menace did manage to makes its way back to the App Store after being pulled due to ownership rights issues. The popular space shooter is available for free for one more day, so make sure you grab it now. The App Store should be back in full swing starting next week after everyone gets over their holiday hangovers.
Here are this week's most noteworthy App Store releases for 12/29/14 to 01/04/15. Apple's Free App of the Week is Icycle: On Thin Ice. The game will be free on the Apple App Store until 01/09/14.