We love finding quirky, cool things that are worthy of being featured in our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide, and the Aquafarm certainly fits the bill. You get a pet and some healthy food, all at the same time. You don't even have to clean up after it! Thanks to
magic aquaponics, the plants use the fish waste as food, keeping the water clean. Impressive, right?
Read More | Aquafarm
iOS devices like the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch will be big holiday gifts this year, make no mistake about it. The Apple TV is actually a fantastic complement to Apple's handhelds, worthy of being featured in our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide. A nice little device in its own right, the Apple TV gives you access to Apple's iTunes Store entertainment content right on your television. In addition, you get Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, sports networks, and plenty of other entertainment options. Connect it to your iTunes Home Share, and you can use your iOS devices as remote controls for the Apple TV. The best part, though, is AirPlay. You can beam audio and video content right to the Apple TV with ease from your iOS device, or your Mac. You can also mirror the display of these devices as well, all wireless over your home network.
Honorable Mention: Roku 2 XS Streaming Player
Read More | Apple TV
SOL REPUBLIC Tracks are the first interchangeable on-ear headphones featuring V8 Sound Engine speakers, switchable cables, and "Sound Track" headbands. SOL REPUBLIC engineers developed a proprietary new polymer called FlexTech, which makes them virtually indestructible, and we're recommending them in our 2012 Holiday Gift Guide. the company actually stands behind that claim, as you get a 1,000 day warranty on each SOL REPUBLIC headband. they just won't break. For total comfort, the team designed the Tracks ear cushions to be large and lightweight. Tracks offer the optimal balance of size, style, sound and comfort and are available in black, white and red. You can pick up a pair on Amazon for $65.
Read More | SOL REPUBLIC Tracks headphones
We're music fans here at Gear Live (seriously, check out the Gear Live Rdio channel!) so we wanna make sure to include great music gadgets in our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide. This year, we're kicking it off with the Sonos PLAY:1. If you're unfamiliar with Sonos, it's basically the best way to get music from just about any location (your computer, your iPhone, the web, the cloud, etc.) to play in any room in your house. It's super intuitive, and even years after using Sonos, the technology still blows us away. The Sonos PLAY:1 is a wireless all-in-one music system that lets you jump right into the Sonos experience. If you have an iOS or Android device, you can download the Sonos remote control app, and you can also control the system with a computer using the Sonos Desktop Controller. Here are some other Sonos products that go nicely with the Sonos PLAY:1, which itself you can get for $199 from Sonos, or order from Amazon and get a free Sonos Bridge included with purchase!
You can use a pair of Play:1, Play:3, or Play:5 units to create wide stereo sound as well!
Thinner. Lighter. Anyone familiar with Apple keynote events knows that these two words mean a lot to the company. In essence, Apple aims to reduce the bulks of its products, stripping away any unnecessary heft while simultaneously packing in as much power as possible. It's quite a task, really. The company has backed itself into a corner where it's now expected that anything that's a newer version of a previous thing will be smaller, thinner, and lighter.
Back in 2008, Apple did this with the jaw-dropping MacBook Air. Fully a Mac, but so thin you could slid it into a manila envelope. It was hard to believe that a Mac that thin, with a full-sized keyboard and display, was possible when PC makers were all focusing on grossly underpowered netbooks with cramped keyboards.
Now, Apple has done the same with its tablet lineup. Three-and-a-half years after releasing the original and iconic iPad, Apple has now made it almost impossibly thinner and lighter with the iPad Air. Sporting a new, slim design that borrows heavily from that of the iPad mini, the iPad Air bezel has been reduced by over 40%. Thickness has been reduced as well--20% thinner than the iPad 4 at 7.5mm. Perhaps most importantly, the iPad Air sheds almost half a pound of weight when compared against the two iPads that preceded it, all while maintaining the same impressive 9.7-inch Retina display.
So, the question now is, is the new iPad Air worth your time, attention, and hard-earned cash? Read on for our full iPad Air review as we explore Apple's latest flagship tablet.
We had a few readers email in yesterday after it was announced that OS X Mavericks would be free, a first for a major desktop operating system release. It seems a few of you are curious about how Apple got here, and what the history is as it relates to the pricing of OS X. So, here's a quick history lesson.
- 10.0 Cheetah: Released March 24, 2001 for $129
- 10.1 Puma: Released September 25, 2001 for $0
- 10.2 Jaguar: Released August 23, 2002 for $129
- 10.3 Panther: Released October 24, 2003 for $129
- 10.4 Tiger: Released April 29, 2005 for $129
- 10.5 Leopard: Released October 26, 2007 for $129
- 10.6 Snow Leopard: Released August 28, 2009 for $29
- 10.7 Lion: Released July 20, 2011 for $29
- 10.8 Mountain Lion: Released July 25, 2012 for $19
- 10.9 Mavericks: Released October 22, 2013 for $0
So, as you can see, both OS X 10.1 Puma and 10.9 Mavericks were released as free updates, however, Puma was released just six months after 10.0 Cheetah, so that would have been ridiculous if Apple has chosen to charge for it. Other than that anomaly, OS X updates remained at $129 each until Snow Leopard in 2009, which sold for $29. The last $129 version of OS X was Leopard, which saw massive delays due to Apple pulling engineers from it to work on iPhone OS 1.0 (now known as iOS.) Lion was also sold for $29, and was the first version of OS X to be available as a digital download from the Mac App Store. The following year, Mountain Lion debuted at just $19--the best bargain in OS X release history until yesterday, when Mavericks launched for free. The trend has always been that OS X updates would cost the same as the previous year, or less--never more (discounting the Puma issue, which was a huge bugfix patch.) As this point, it appears that OS X has gone the way of iOS, where all updates from here on out will be available for free, on an annual basis.
SOL Republic is still a relatively new headphone company, but buyers of consumer-level headphones should pay attention. The company is aiming to sit between the cheap, horrible tolerable headphones and the expensive luxury brands with cans that look and sound good for a nice price. How do they fare in the real world? Join us for our SOL Republic Tracks review to find out.
Apple is set to go out with a bang this year with its big October 22 event. The obvious product announcement that everyone is expecting belongs to the iPad line, with the iPad 5 and iPad mini both seeing significant upgrades. What else can we expect from what will likely be the final Apple event of 2013? Join us after the break for our analysis and expectations.
Now that I've been using the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard for over a week, my search for the ultimate keyboard might be finally over. It might be one of the strangest looking keyboards Microsoft has ever put out.
The Sculpt combines the curved ergonomic structure the company has been making for almost 20 years with a raised wrist area and a completely empty middle. Couple that with something Microsoft has barely done with their keyboards—laptop-style, easy-to-press scissor key set that's way less stressful on the fingers than anything previous--and you've got a keyboard that's vying for the title of "best keyboard they've ever made."
According to Apple, the iPhone 5s is the most forward thinking smartphone ever created. Of course, being that this is an S-model iPhone launching in a year that ends in an odd number, and that means that we'll find plenty of naysayers who dismiss Apple's flagship smartphone as simple and iterative. It looks just like last year's iPhone 5 on the outside, so what can be so different, right?
Well, being an S-class device, the iPhone 5s follows a now-familiar pattern. The iPhone 3GS in 2009 doubled the speed of the iPhone 3G from the year before and added video recording and basic voice commands. The iPhone 4S brought Siri, 1080p video, and dual-core processing. This year, Apple has highly focused the iPhone 5s on three big changes. The iPhone 5s is the first smartphone to ship with a 64-bit processor, and includes the first 64-bit version of iOS in iOS 7. It's also the first smartphone to ship with a capacitive fingerprint sensor, and includes a greatly improved camera system. Sure, these things may not be important to those who are just fine with their current iPhone (or competing device, for that matter,) but for Apple, these moves are a big deal and set up the future.
But is a phone so focused on a future worth your attention today? Join us for our full iPhone 5s review as we seek out the answer.