Macworld Expo 2011 was confined to Moscone North last year, and moved over to Moscone West this year. Despite the smaller show floor, there were still a lot of great products to try out. Here are the three items on hand at Macworld Expo that most impressed the Appletell writers in attendance.
Ed: iWavit by thinkoptics
There have been several remotes released for the iOS platforms over the last few years. Most of them either use an IR dongle so you can control infrared devices like your TV and cable box, or they use some sort of RF like bluetooth or WiFi to control applications on your computer. This is the first one I have seen that can do both at the same time.
If you purchase the $84.99 premium kit, you will receive the dongle, which allows you to control any IR device, plus you receive an IR lightbar and a USB dongle. The USB dongle will pick up RF signals so you can send commands to a Mac or PC and it attaches to the lightbar, which serves two purposes.
First, it acts as a sensor bar similar to the Wii sensor bar. This allows you to wave the iOS device around to use it like a virtual mouse on the screen. It also means it can tell how far away the device is, so if you move your iPhone, iPod or iPad closer to the screen, it can zoom in to make it easier to read from a distance.
Second, the lightbar is also an IR blaster, so if you tell the app to send the infrared signals to your devices via the lightbar, you will not even have to point the remote at the device.
Overall, it was the most comprehensive remote for an iOS device that I have ever seen.
Josh: L5 Remote from L5 Technology
The L5 accessory is simply an IR receiver and transmitter that connects to the bottom of your iDevice via the pin connector. However, it’s the simplicity and small size that are part of what make it so great. At a high level, this app allows users to create their own universal remotes to control anything in their house that might use IR. And when I say create, I mean you can customize what each button does, where it’s laid out on the app screen, and even what color/size/shape it might be.
That said, one of the best things about this accessory might be that it can learn IR codes from other remotes. This means you don’t have to go looking up models and brands on other websites to get the right codes. You can simply point your existing remotes at this device and have it copy any code they may send out. It’s pretty great.
It sells for $49.95 and is available now although we’re told it’s been hard to keep them on shelves.
Product [L5 Remote]
Kirk: Fling from Ten One Design
I hate to conclude with another iDevice accessory, but at least it’s not a remote. Rather, this is the gamepad you always wanted for your iPad…kind of. Fling is a small device that sits on your iPad screen, over the virtual d-pad in your games. It’s held in place by suction cups, and the clear design allows you to see through it to the screen below. Instead of pressing your thumb on the screen, then, you press on the center button. Fling’s design forces it to always center itself when you lift up, so you’ll never find your thumb out of position again.
I’ll admit that I was intrigued by Fling since it was announced around CES, but I didn’t expect to be completely floored by it. After trying it once, you’ll wonder how you ever played an iPad game without it. And if you buy two, those dual stick control games will suddenly get much, much easier.
You can buy Fling for $19.95, or get a set of two (which I recommend) for $29.95.