8 cool toys for Apple users

From the retro to the futuristic, tech toys are getting more and more interesting.

susan kare

I keep coming across innovative solutions I want to write more about, so here's the latest collection.


Connected homes

Piper ($199) is a clever system combining home automation with home security and iOS integration. The small bookshelf speaker sized unit hosts a 180-degree live video camera and will monitor activity in your home on your behalf. It also includes environmental sensors, a motion detector and alarm siren, and optional Z-Wave integration. That last point means you can use this as a hub for Z-Wave-equipped home automation solutions, which will also be iOS compatible once HomeKit ships.

aether cone

Smart machines

I'm interested in the Aether Cone ($399), a speaker that learns what, when and how you like to listen to music. The idea is that when you turn this gadget on it immediately plays exactly the music you'd most love at that time. Want to hear something else? No worries, just speak your track selection. Inside the wireless speaker (you can tote it anywhere) there's a 3-inch woofer, dual tweeters and a 20-watt amplifier. AirPlay compatible and controlled via an iOS app, Cone plays audio from streaming music services, Internet radio stations and podcasts. One day all your domestic appliances will know what you want. (Honorable mention: Libratone Loop).


Intelligent cars

I've mentioned this before but I'm still fascinated at the potential of the Automatic Smart Driving assistant. Not only does this device unlock all the information about your vehicle held on your in-car computer, making it useful to you as well as your local service center, it also delivers a host of really useful features to improve your driving behavior...and remembers where you've parked...and will even call for help if you have an accident. And, naturally, integrates with iOS devices via a handy app. For just under $100 this is the future of driving. (It really is, you know).


Smart cycles

Expect to see hipsters riding these things in summer 2015 when they ship. The Rogue 6 smart bike is equipped with built-in LED light, integrated location services and the ability to track your bike using SMS from anywhere in the world. It's a top class bike, of course, featuring Shimano Alfine hydraulic brakes, oil-free eight-speed gearing, dual platform pedals and more. There's also an iOS app that will track your bike and help navigate, as well as displaying speed, cadence, elevation and other data.

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