I’ve reviewed several iPod music docks here over the years. Starting with the Bose SoundDock I’ve had an appreciation for these music devices to dock my iPods back in the day as well as my iPhones over the years. As a matter of fact I used to smile when I’d walk into a hotel room and see an iHome or other similar device on the nightstand. This meant that at a minimum I could dock my iPhone and charge it overnight even if I had no plans to listen to music via the dock’s speakers. Well those days are over, or at least I thought they were when I got an iPhone 5. Apple has aggressively phased out the 10+ year old 30 pin dock connector found on several of these music docks and in most modern cars. While Apple does sell Lightning Adapters to adapt older 30 pin connectors to the new Lightning connects found on the iPhone 5, newer iPods and current iPads. The problem is that compatibility can be hit or miss. Some may still play music, but not charge the device.
Enter the CableJive dockBoss 5
The dockBoss is an adapter for the older 30 pin based docks and on the other end is a standard USB port and 3mm audio-in jack. Instead of simply converting the older 30 pin connection to a Lightning connection, the dockBoss 5 converts to a standard USB port for power and a standard audio-in port for music. This means that not only can I use my iPhone 5 on any of these devices, but I can use my iPad or any other handheld device or smartphone. I now travel with a dockBoss 5 in my luggage. When I arrive to an iPod dock equipped room I just plug in the dockBoss and one of my regular USB-to-Lightning cables. Now my iPhone is charging without me have to search for a plug by the bed (some hotels still don’t get this need) and if I want to listen to music I can plug in the supplied audio cable that comes with the dockBoss 5 (as pictured above). If I don’t care to listen to music then it’s just a single cable connection. Also note that the dockBoss 5 includes both an audio cable and standard micro USB cable for connection to most other smartphones and other portable devices.
The Bottom Line
Since Apple retired the 30 pin dock connector most portable music player manufacturers are now leaning towards bluetooth and wi-fi for connectivity for there new devices. However, if you’ve got an older music dock that works perfectly there’s probably no reason to throw it away! With the dockBoss 5 you can get more life out of it and make it compatible with other devices that it never worked with before.
Order the dockBoss 5 here.
Although I love gadgets, when it comes to my watch I've always gone with something pretty simple. It's not even digital. I've worn an analog watch for years and have been happy. I remember when the 6th generation iPod nano was released and Steve made the joke about it being warn as a watch I smiled and really didn't give it a second thought. Actually I had no plans of ever buying the new nano simply because I didn't need one. My personal iPod is my iPhone 4. If I want to watch a movie on the go I usually do that on my iPad. I just don't need to carry around another iPod. The only other iPod I use is an iPod touch in my studio during photo shoots. I do own some of the older nanos and there is one dedicated to the glove compartment in my car. The only reason I would ever upgrade that one is if I needed more space or if Apple ever saw fit to provide WiFi syncing of media (that one I'd buy in a heartbeat). Nope, the new nano just never appealed to me.
I got a gift!
My buddy Bruce bought me the New nano as a belated Christmas present. The only reason the gift was delayed because he didn't just want to give me a nano (that I didn't need) he wanted to give me a cool tech watch! In order for that to happen he had to wait for the shipping of arguably the best wristband solution for the new iPod nano. It's called the TikTok. This was actually a Kickstarter seed project that got off the ground by individual donations/investments to the project and Bruce invested in them. The interest in this product was staggering! They originally only wanted to raise $15,000 to do the project and to date they've raised $941,718! While the concept of wearing an iPod is certainly not new, it appears that there are lots of people that want to wear one as a watch.
Using the nano as a watch
First off while the band totally rocks! There are a couple of pros and cons to wearing an iPod nano as a watch though. The first one is that while the nano is a small iPod, it's a fairly large watch. I have large wrists so I can pull it off 🙂 The iPod nano has a multi-touch screen. This is cool because you have instant access to your music, pictures, FM radio, and other features like a pedometer, stopwatch and of course a clock. Speaking of the clock that's built-in to the nano you would think that the options to customize it would be endless. However, there are only a couple of choices. You can choose a black or white face. You can, umm….that's about it. There's no choice for a digital display or any other visual features. I'm fine with an analog display because that's what I was using anyway but it would be nice to have more options. The nano also offers an option to display the time upon touching the button no matter what App you are running. Again, this is an iPod that has a clock, not an Apple watch. It's clear that Apple didn't spend a lot of time trying to make this the ultimate "watch." The only real downside is having to press the button to see the time. Like all Apple multi-touch devices you can't just tap the display to wake it. You have to press the hardware button. I'd love to see a "shake" to display the time feature or a low power OLED continuous display. Although the nano doesn't run iOS, it's begging for Apps. I could see developers going nuts making "mini" or nano Apps for the wrist. Lastly even as an iPod the one other feature that is painfully missing is Bluetooth. I would LOVE to be able to use wireless headphones with this "watch". That would be killer!
All-in-all I'm happy with my gift! Thanks Bruce! It's my main watch now.
You can get the iPod nano here on sale starting at $134.
You can get the TikTok band here starting at $34.95.
Continue reading “My New Watch is an iPod nano”
It was Wednesday afternoon last week and I was packing to head out on a business trip. This usually involves syncing my iDevices so I have the latest tunes, Apps, movies, etc. that I want to take with me on the road. All of this syncing works great between devices, except when those devices happen to be computers! My main music library is on a shared family iMac in a central part of the house. It has music on it from each family member according to their tastes in music. As you might imagine I really don't want to bring a bunch of music with me that I have no interest in listening too. This isn't a problem on an iPod, because you simply sync only the playlists you want to take with you and only those songs will go onto the device.
So why does Apple exclude computers from all this syncing "magic"?
I have iTunes 9.2 on my MacBook Pro. I have iTunes 9.2 on my iMac. Both Macs are authorized on the same iTunes account and therefore can legally play the same songs. However, when it comes time for me to get songs from the iMac onto the MacBook Pro it's a very MANUAL process. iTunes 9 introduced Home Sharing. However, Home Sharing is essentially just a network copy feature and nothing more. Although Home Sharing DOES automatically add purchased songs to the other computer, there's no syncing and no duplicate management for playlists or anything else. Grab 10 songs and drag them over and 5 minutes later you can grab the same songs and drag them over again. iTunes will not warn you about any duplicates and it will just copy them AGAIN. This problem got a little worse back when Apple moved to iTunes Plus because although you could "upgrade" your songs and iTunes would replace them with the new DRM free versions at a higher bit rate (keeping your ratings, metadata, play counts, etc.), your other computers would be out of luck for this automatic replacement. You would have to do it all manually. I guess from time to time you could wipe your library on one computer and copy over again, but the question becomes why is there no automatic way of keeping two iTunes libraries in sync?
Is there a 3rd party solution out there?
I've looked and so far I haven't found the perfect app yet (or even one that's close). Sure there are some Apps out there that will attempt to keep your iTunes libraries in sync. However, from what I've seen so far either the user interfaces are HORRIBLE and overly complicated or they simply don't do enough. For example, I haven't found one yet that syncs "Smart Playlists". Let's say I have a Smart Playlist of my "Best of the Best" songs. They are the ones I've rated 5 stars. So technically it's not a "real playlist", it's a dynamic one that updates automatically based on the song ratings. None of the Apps I've tried to date will handle this. Yet Apple has been able to sync Smart Playlists to the iPod since day one.
Ideally what I want is pretty simple – I want to be able to choose a few playlists on my iMac (including Smart Playlists) and have those SAME playlists sync to my MacBook Pro. If I change the rating of a song on the iMac, then that song's rating should get changed on the MacBook Pro too and therefore it would appear in the proper playlists automatically. If I have manual playlists that I move songs in and out of, this should happen on the MacBook Pro too.
Yes, I'm very willing to pay for such a solution. Have you guys seen anything out there that really works? It's sad that Apple hasn't built this in directly to iTunes for computers like they have for iDevices.
I'm very pleased to announced that my iPhone App of the Week reviews have become so popular that starting today I'm launching a NEW dedicated site for them called BestAppSite.com
Why a new site?
When I started the iPhone App of the Week feature a year ago no one imagined that the App Store would take off like it did. As a result my weekly feature has become very popular and is drawing the attention of the App Developer community. I'm getting requests to review apps left and right. Even if I just wanted to review my favorite apps, I've got over 100 on my iPhone and at one app a week it would take 2 years just to do those! Now that the App Store has over 100,000 apps there is no way I would even cover a small fraction of them doing only one a week.
While I could just do more on my regular Tech Blog, quite honestly it just doesn't fit. There are many readers of my blog that DON'T own iPhones or iPod touches and would probably get turned off with increased coverage. So I thought it best to setup a new site dedicated to DAILY reviews of Apps. This way I can not only cover my favorite apps whenever I want, but also major updates to the apps that I've reviewed in the past. Currently, there just isn't enough room on my tech blog to cover new apps AND updates. So again, why not have a dedicated site just for iPhone app reviews, news, updates and accessories?
The Site Design
Knowing that I wanted to create a great site that would not only be functional but well designed, I once again enlisted the talent of the legendary web guru Erik Berskiold of XLD Studios in Sweden. I wanted the Best App Site to really be The Best App Site, so I went to one of the best to get it done and once again Erik has come through for me. This guy is amazing and great to work with! If you have a web project in mind you should definitely check him out. You'll also see an occasional App Review on the new site from Erik. 🙂
What about the content – News, Reviews and Updates?
I've already populated the new site with a year's worth of reviews that I've already done. So there's lots to check out there already.
Also with the new site design you'll be able to easily look for apps in a particular category, ones that work with the iPod touch and Free vs. Paid apps. Like most "hobbies", this will have to be done in my spare time. However, I will do my best to have at least one review (gulping as I write this) per day.
Of course it also looks good on your iPhone or iPod touch too
The Bottom Line
If you're an iPhone or iPod touch user and you want to learn more about the over 100,000 apps out there, this site is the one you'll want to go to. Head over to BestAppSite.com to see today's review. Thanks for your continued support!