Chance’s holiday gift guide: the products I use everyday

Holiday Gift Guide 13

I’ve already broken down the best gifts for students this holiday season, but now it’s time to talk about the best gifts for all the Apple lovers in your life. These are most of the products that I use on a daily basis. Whether I use them on-the-go, while working, or pretty much 24/7, these are some of the best products that have earned a coveted spot in my daily routine.

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Fitbit fitness tracking lineup dropped from Apple Online Store

Apple Watch fitness

Apple Watch will include fitness and health tracking features

Update: Fitbit statement below the fold…

If you’re in the market for a Fitbit device and you’re shopping at the Apple Store, you’ll probably have to shop elsewhere to purchase the fitness tracker. Following report from Re/Code last month that Apple planned to drop the Fitbit line of wearable devices from its Apple Store lineup, Apple has today removed the Fitbit Flex and other Fitbit products from its online store following low inventory over the past week. While its unclear why Apple is no longer selling Fitbit products through its retail channels, on the surface the move is similar to Apple’s decision to discontinue selling Bose headphones and speakers at its retail and online stores.

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iOS 8 Roundup: Apps updated for Health (running list)

 

Health iPhone 6 narrow

Over the weekend Apple shared a short list of HealthKit apps that work with the new Health app on iOS 8 after a few apps hit the App Store on Friday with HealthKit support included. Several more iPhone apps using HealthKit to share data with Apple’s Health app on iOS 8 have become available and more are anticipated from some big names shortly. We’ll continue to update the list below over the next few weeks with iPhone apps and accessories with HealthKit and Health support to give you a comprehensive list of apps that can put your Health app to better use. Read more

Jawbone’s UP app adds HealthKit support, wristband not required

Now that Apple has announced its entry into the fitness-tracking wearable space with the Apple Watch, Jawbone, the makers of the UP and UP24 activity trackers, has introduced a version of its UP iPhone app that works without requiring the fitness band. Instead, the new version of Jawbone’s health and fitness iPhone app adds support for Apple’s HealthKit feature and Health app on iOS 8 making UP’s software for tracking activity and sleep as well as logging meals more valuable to iPhone users wanting to fill the new Health app with data. Read more

Review: 5 inexpensive pocketable Bluetooth speakers from Omaker, Koss, Boombot and Mpow

Best Bluetooth Speakers

We’ve long held that the extra cost of high end Bluetooth speakers from Bose, Ultimate Ears, JBL and Cambridge Audio Minx (all pictured above top row) were well worth the extra money even at prices up near $200 and beyond. But the fact is that not everyone wants to spend a lot of money on a Bluetooth speaker, and portability and ruggedness are often priorities over pure sound. For those people, we went on a search for high quality Bluetooth speakers that cost much less.

Our top 5 are speakers in this category from reviewing about 20 are from Omaker, Koss, Mpow and BoombotRead more

This is Healthbook, Apple’s major first step into health & fitness tracking

Seven years out from the original iPhone’s introduction, and four years past the iPad’s launch, Apple has found its next market ripe for reinvention: the mobile healthcare and fitness-tracking industry. Apple’s interest in healthcare and fitness tracking will be displayed in an iOS application codenamed Healthbook. I first wrote about Apple’s plans for Healthbook in January, and multiple sources working directly on the initiative’s development have since provided new details and images of Healthbook that provide a clearer view of Apple’s plans for dramatically transforming the mobile healthcare and fitness-tracking space…

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Durable/wearable Bluetooth speakers: The Boombot Rex and the Divoom Bean

We’ve had a lot of experience reviewing the best portable Bluetooth speakers on the market but what haven’t yet covered speakers so small, you can actually wear them, put them on your bike, or listen to them in the shower. We have two for you today.

The first of these is the $30 Divoom Bean, a small, durable little Bluetooth speaker that looks a little like a ‘smurf lock’ and is the size of a large egg with a carabiner attached (blue above).  It weighs almost nothing and it charges via a micro-USB port on the bottom. It only has 2 buttons on it, a power button and ‘phone’ button. You’ll need to change volume from your phone or other A2DP Bluetooth device and this device seems to automatically switch off after a few minutes of inactivity. It also functions as a speakerphone.

How did it fare in our tests? Read more

‘August’ iPhone-connected digital door lock system announced for $199, designed by Jawbone’s Yves Behar

IMG_2781

At the D11 Conference, Jason Johnson and Yves Bahar have unveiled a new digital lock system for home doors called “August.” The iPhone app allows users to send virtual keys to doors to other users. The system installs as a deadbolt with two screws into modern doors. The company says that installation is seamless…

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Review: NYNE’s NB-250 rubberized Bluetooth speaker, ultimate portability meets superior sound quality

NYNE-NB-250-02

California-based audio accessory maker NYNE is getting ready to show off its latest line of bluetooth speakers, docks, and home audio products at CES next week, but for the past month I’ve already had the chance to play with one of its latest creations- the NB-250 water-resistant Bluetooth speaker.

There is a ton of competition among Bluetooth speaker manufacturers, but a couple have been able to make their way to the top of the majority of recommendation lists, including our own. NYNE’s main competition in my eyes is Logitech and Jawbone, two well-known accessory makers with high-quality, sub $150 bluetooth speaker products on the market. After having hands on time with both the $140 Jambox from Jawbone and the $99 UE Boombox from Logitech, NYNE’s NB-250 does have a few things going for it. First is design…
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Jawbone releases $299 Big Jambox, more power and features

The main gripe we had in our original Jambox review was that sound is not as big as other (bigger) portable Bluetooth speakers.

While both of these products sound great at low volumes, the Logitech has much bigger speakers and simply blows past the Jambox at higher volumes. At its loudest, the Jambox hits about four to 10 levels of the Logitech—it is really no comparison.

The Jambox produces the kind of sound that can be the background music at a dinner party, run a conference call or office presentation in a small conference room, or just listen to your music in a hotel room. I would even recommend it for sitting on a porch or terrace and reading a book. However, you will want more on windy day at the beach or when using it in the kitchen while the dishwasher is running. At 30 feet away, the Bluetooth can tether and you will definitely feel lacking.

Jambox, as if it were listening, introduced the new “Big Jambox” today, which has a bigger sound, longer battery life, and more buttons. As you can see below, you can now control the play/pause and moving forward/backward tracks right from the Jambox. On the downside, it appears that charging the Big Jambox requires a dedicated power cable. The previous version charged via micro-USB, which still exists to set up the MyTalk smart apps.

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We are in line to get our hands on one of these when it launches May 15 for $299.  We will hopefully have a review shortly.  The gallery follows: Read more

Jawbone launching return program for Jawbone Up: earn free refund and keep the band

Jawbone’s CEO Hosain Rahman has published a blog post stating his deepest regrets for some of the issues the Jawbone Up has been having. Users have experienced the band not holding a charge or bricking completely. To make up for the problems, Jawbone is launching a return program December 9th that will allow users to get a refund for the product and even keep it — no questions asked. That’s right, you’re getting the Jawbone Up for free if you’ve already purchased it. The refund program will be located here. Jawbone has also decided to halt sales of the band.

Last week, we reviewed the Jawbone Up — the fitness band we leaked the details for in September — and gave it a pretty positive score, since ours hadn’t broken. The band gave us great results when it came to tracking our daily steps and sleep patterns. But for the customers who bought the band and saw that it was breaking, it was far from worth the $99. Luckily, Jawbone was exchanging defective bands.

CEO Rahman cites the issues with the band were specific capacitors in the power system that wouldn’t let the Up hold a charge for long at all. Here’s to version 2.0!

We’ve embedded the post after the break:

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