Of all of the staff at TUAW, I'm probably the guy who gets to take a look at more hardware and accessories than anyone else. Let's face it, being the hardware review editor has both its rewards -- getting to see a lot of amazing products -- and its downfalls -- having to review some really crappy accessories. Here's a look at five products from the past year that truly changed the way I work and play.
Logitech Keys-To-Go Keyboard (US$69.99)
As a writer, keyboards are the interface between what's brewing in my brain and what gets published online or in books. I tend to be very particular about keyboards, wanting a specific feel and key layout when I do my work. Well, Logitech did the impossible in 2014, coming out with an inexpensive Bluetooth keyboard that works equally well on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. The Keys-To-Go keyboard weighs just 6 ounces and is less than a quarter-inch (6 mm) thick, making it a great mobile or spare keyboard. Oh, yeah -- it uses Logitech's spill-resistant FabricSkin technology, so me spilling a beer on it is much less likely to send it to the island of destroyed keyboards.
Yeah, I spent a lot of money on Logitech keyboards this year. My go-to iPad Air keyboard case is the Logitech Type+. This thing has an amazing keyboard feel, it's thin, and would you believe that I've only charged it once in the time that I've had it? My only gripe after a few months of use is that the bright red exterior cloth is starting to get a little grimy, but considering the amount of use it gets, I can live with that. In case you're looking for a photo of this keyboard folio case, that's it at the top of this article.
Cambridge Audio Bluetone 100 Speaker (US$299.99)
If you talk to my boss soon, tell him I need a raise. That's because when I review a product that's truly incredible, I need to go out and buy it for myself. That was the case with the Cambridge Audio Bluetone 100, a 100 Watt Bluetooth speaker that redefines desktop audio systems. Offering rock-solid Bluetooth connectivity, incredible room-filling sound, and a classic design, the Bluetone 100 is a winner. You will not feel bad about spending three Ben Franklins for this speaker.
The camera in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is so good that I find myself using it for a growing number of photos, both those taken for personal use and even for TUAW reviews. But the built-in lens of the iPhone 6 Plus (in my case) sometimes lacks in terms of field of view or the ability to take amazingly sharp macro shots. That's where the latest version of Olloclip's 4-in-1 Photo Lens comes into play. Offering two macro lenses, a wide-angle lens and a fisheye lens in a lightweight package, the 4-in-1 is also much easier to carry around now that Olloclip provides a plastic clip and lanyard so you can keep the lenses close at hand around your neck.
Apple iPhone 6 Plus (price varies with plan and capacity)
I have owned every iPhone model since the original, and the iPhone 6 Plus is my favorite so far. The screen is big and beautiful, the speaker is actually loud enough to hear, and Apple Pay? I use it every chance I get. Does this mean that I won't jump to an iPhone 7 when they show up? Heck no. But at this juncture in time, the Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are absolutely the best smartphones on the planet, and sales over the past few months prove that point. For many years, I've told people to just wait a year or so to get an upgrade if they really don't need one -- the iPhone 6 and especially the iPhone 6 Plus are worth paying your carrier's early termination fee and upgrading to.