Seen @ Macworld is Appletell’s column highlighting our experiences at the recent Macworld/iWorld Expo. Appletell stopped by several booths that featured interesting products; some were longtime pillars of Macworld with updates to established products, many were new companies showing innovative and exciting product for the first time, and a few featured accessories, apps, and products we didn’t even know we needed before we hit the Moscone West show floor. Here we feature buzz from the show floor and details of our conversations with the makers, inventors, and companies whose products were on display. Be sure to check out our coverage of other exhibitors from Macworld/iWorld 2013.
Square Jellyfish was a newcomer to this year’s Macworld expo, but they certainly made a splash with their broad range of well-designed, cheap, and highly portable accessories. Designed to enhance or extend the functionality of your iPhone or point-and-shoot camera, Square Jellyfish’s products let you easily manage cables or position and stabilize your iPhone/camera, and they’re all designed for maximum slip-in-a-pocket portability. While they did a brisk business on the show floor, the company also included several of their products in gift bags at a press event, so Appletell was able to go hands-on with these delightful little accessories.
The integrated earphone case and device stand seems like one of those accessories you think you’d never need, yet after using it for a few weeks, I’m more like “How did I live without this?” Essentially a small box, the case features cutouts for your Apple EarPods or regular Apple headphones, and a cable spindle that easily accommodates headphone cables with or without an inline remote. The design is specific to the Apple-branded earphones, so if you use another brand you may not be able to use this case for earbud storage, but it still makes an excellent portable stand.
The case is hinged, and the lid folds back and locks into place to form the stand; a lip on the edge of the case holds your iPhone, iPod, iPad Mini, or iPad in place. Although the case can support an iPad, its diminutive size renders the iPad top heavy so you can only watch but not tap on the screen. The stand is great for holding an iPhone alarm clock on a bedside table, keeping your iPhone easily visible on a desk, or placing an iPad Mini at the right angle to read a recipe in the kitchen, yet it’s still small enough to slip in your pocket. When not in use, the cable manager keeps your earphone cable neat and organized, so there’s never a need to to tease apart a tangled cable.
The EarPod/earbud case and stand is available from Amazon in a variety of colors (including breast cancer awareness pink) for $10.
Square Jellyfish’s main focus in products leans towards camera and iPhone-as-camera accessories. The basic accessory is the company’s pocket tripod, which isn’t a tripod at all but rather a wavelike curve of plastic with a tripod screw mounted on an inline track. The lack of a traditional tripod shape means this accessory gives you more flexibility with placement; basically any 1 x 3 inch stable surface can be used, while four rubber feet ensure a firm grip. You can adjust both the height and angle of your camera, assuming you mount the camera directly to the tripod, but the real possibilities begin when you add one of the company’s other accessories to this base.
The Pocket Tripod is available from Amazon for $6.
To give you added flexibility in camera positioning, the Square Jellyfish micro ball head (measuring only 1.5 inches tall) lets you pan your camera 360º and tilt almost 90º. On top of the pocket tripod, the micro ball head lets you tilt and pan the camera to line up the perfect shot, and for point-and-shoots with a tripod mount that is not centered, it can let you compensate for any imbalance so the camera doesn’t fall over. Being so tiny, this mount only holds up to 9oz., though compact point and shoots are so minuscule that this is likely to be a non-issue.
The Micro Ball Head is available from Amazon for $11.
Smile for the iPhone
Square Jellyfish’s building-block products end with either a three-armed iPhone tripod mount (available now), or a spring-loaded pressure mount (available in March), both of which are designed to let you use your iPhone as a camera with the stabilization of a tripod and flexibility of a ball head. The three-armed mount is pictured to the right, while the spring mount is shown connected to the ball head mount below righ, which is in turn attached to the pocket tripod.
Although everything is lined up, you could obviously position the iPhone to capture shots at various angles using a combination of the pocket tripod’s mounting track and the ball head mount’s flexibility.
Both holders come with a standard tripod thread on the bottom, so you can attach your iPhone to the company’s other products or any standard tripod mounts. The three-armed mount requires some ingenuity to get a grip on your phone, while the spring-loaded model looks to be a simpler matter of squeezing the arms down to fit your phone.
Both let you hold the phone in portrait or landscape and rotate easily, and both can accommodate phones with or without cases up to 3-5/8 inches wide. Even for non-photographers, the combination of a pocket tripod and one of the mounting brackets make a pretty sweet iPhone stand for under $20.
The three-armed tripod mount is available from Amazon for $12.
Be sure to check out our coverage of other exhibitors from Macworld / iWorld 2013.