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.
Apple’s cables are delightfully consistent, they stand out from the crowd of dull black and grey consumer electronics cables, and they are an absolute nightmare to keep track of precisely because they all look the same. You can easily buy non-Apple earbuds to stand out from the crowd a bit, but what about the USB charging cables and MagSafe power cords? Enter the Buoy Tag, an ingenious little invention that lets you tag your cables so your other MacBook/iPhone toting friends don’t walk off with them. Featured at the Henge Docks booth (the product was developed in partnership with the Henge founders), Buoy Tags offer a creative spin on solving the all-too-common problem of the wandering cables.
The bright red design of the Buoy Tags is strongly evocative of a fishing lure. They stand out very nicely against Apple’s cables, so there is no excuse for missing these. Appletell picked up a pack for review on the show floor, and after using them for a few weeks it’s easy to see how these can be useful. If you live, work, or hang out anywhere with a large number of Apple-toting people, the inevitable mishmash of white cables is certainly a familiar problem.
The tag’s design is a simple snap case that fits around your iPhone USB, earbud, and MagSafe cables, and they feature a clear panel on one side into which you can insert any combination of your initials, a color tab, or a custom-designed insert using the company’s Illustrator, Word, or Photoshop templates. Now nobody has an excuse for picking up your headphones or swiping your iPhone USB cable if it’s clearly marked “AK” or “Property of Aaron Kraus.”
Pros of the Buoy Tags include their bright red (and therefore hard to miss) color, so your cables are easily identifiable even in the cluster around a power strip. The tags are solid and snap together firmly, so throwing your cables in a backpack/purse and hitting the road won’t be a problem. The customizable insert templates are great if you frequently leave your cables/headphones in strange places, as you can easily put identifying information like your name or phone number so those cables can find their way back home. The flexibility of choosing a combination of your initials or a color scheme can let you personalize the protection, which means you can be @ Blue if you feel like it. And because they’re designed specifically for Apple’s currently-shipping cables, you’re guaranteed a good fit.
Oddly enough, the one con of the Buoy Tags is their very Apple-centric design. Each three pack contains a Buoy Tag specifically sized to fit a MagSafe cord, an iPhone USB Cable (Lightning or 30-pin Dock), and a set of stock Apple earbuds. If you’ve swapped out your earbuds or USB cord for a third party option, the Buoy Tags may not fit, as your cord may be thicker or thinner. In a pinch, the MagSafe and USB cable Buoy Tags are pretty wide and may fit a wider-than-Apple-standard cable, but that leaves you missing a tag for one of your cables. In addition, the newer linguine-style headphone cables don’t feature a circular cross-section and won’t be able to accommodate any Buoy Tag, so if you’ve purchased custom gear, make sure to compare the cable sizes with the Apple stock parts to make sure they’re close in size.
Be sure to check out our coverage of other exhibitors from Macworld / iWorld 2013.