While Apple doesn’t have an official presence at the Consumer Electronics Show, CES 2017 has been packed with new and innovative technology that takes advantage of Apple’s hardware and software.
9to5Mac has been on the ground in Las Vegas all week tracking down the best and most interesting new technologies to come out of the big show. This year we’re highlighting our favorite new products with the first-ever 9to5Mac Best of CES Awards.
And the winners are…
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…harder to pick than you might imagine! Loads of new product announcements were made at CES 2017 including the first HomeKit security cameras and garage door openers, cameras with USB-C, and plenty of new aftermarket CarPlay receivers.
Four days and 28+ miles walked later, we’ve narrowed it down to four new and upcoming products announced at CES 2017 that deserve your attention and 9to5Mac‘s first-ever Best of CES Award.
Best CarPlay receiver: Alpine iLX-107
Alpine was one of the first companies to bring Apple’s CarPlay infotainment system to aftermarket head units, and now they’re promising the very first aftermarket CarPlay receiver with wireless CarPlay.
Aftermarket head units are appealing because you can install them in the car you already own, and wireless CarPlay has been an iOS feature for well over a year but has only appeared in a very expensive BMW sedan.
Alpine’s upcoming iLX-107 brings wireless CarPlay to the masses with an aftermarket head unit priced at $699 with availability as soon as February.
As a driver who has used CarPlay since October 2014, I’m personally ecstatic over Alpine making wireless CarPlay accessible in a solution that costs under $1000. iLX-107 is also a decent display with a 7-inch capacitive touch screen.
9to5Mac got a quick hands-on with Alpine’s iLX-107 receiver with wireless CarPlay totally working, and we think this head unit will be extremely popular in 2017. Stay tuned for a hands-on video and a full review when iLX-107 hits the market next month.
Best Mac accessory: Kanex GoPower USB-C battery for MacBook
Most new peripherals for MacBooks at CES 2017 have been about retrofitting modern notebooks with legacy I/O, but Kanex’s GoPower USB-C Portable Battery for USB-C MacBook fully embraces the USB-C future that we now live in.
GoPower USB-C packs in 15,000 mAh of battery which is rated to recharge the 12-inch MacBook up to two times on a single charge. GoPower USB-C features a USB-C port for recharging the battery itself, which is convenient since that’s the same port new MacBooks use, and a USB-C port offers power out to recharge MacBooks using the standard power cable. A single USB-A port is also included for juicing iPhones and iPads.
Kanex even offers priority charging so you can charge your connected MacBook while connecting GoPower USB-C to a wall adapter.
Apple’s 12-inch MacBook is ultra-portable which makes it the ultimate road warrior, and Kanex helps extend the road trip with GoPower USB-C for MacBooks.
Best iPhone accessory: Flir One
The ecosystem of iPhone accessories has expanded this week with cases that offer built-in headphone jacks and Lightning ports for iPhone 7 users, tiny MFi gaming controllers, and lots of connected gadgets. Our pick for the best iPhone accessory out of CES 2017 is the latest Flir One thermal imaging camera which is both better and cheaper than its predecessor.
Flir’s third-generation Flir One has practical application in the real world like search and rescue efforts, spotting a bad A/C vent during a repair, and anything else where visualizing heat can be beneficial.
Flir One packs this capability in a small iPhone attachment that can visualize temperatures ranging from -4°F to 248°F. Flir One is a unique iPhone solution that solves practical problems in the real world, plus it’s also a cool demo if you haven’t seen temperatures visualized.
Best HomeKit accessory:
CES 2017 has been a launching ground for a wide range of HomeKit accessories after a slow start initially. While we’re happy to see HomeKit become much more mainstream in new smart home devices, it’s Nanoleaf who has the most creative new HomeKit hardware unveiled at CES.
Nanoleaf’s Music Visualization Module for Aurora Smart Light Panels is totally out-of-the-box for a HomeKit-connected accessory and we can’t wait for its launch this year.
9to5Mac recently went hands-on with Nanoleaf’s Aurora smart lighting system with HomeKit support, and Music Visualization Module will turn an already impressive product into a totally unique HomeKit lighting solution.
Music Visualization Module will be an add-on accessory that you attach with a Linker just like additional Aurora light panels, and an embedded mic will enable Aurora smart lights to react to music as it’s played. Nanoleaf is also working with various music services and developers to add specific integrations.
Special Music Visualization scenes will also be introduced that let you change how Aurora lights react to music as it’s played. Music Visualization Module is expected to be released in the third quarter of 2017 which should make Aurora a very compelling gift for the next holiday season. 9to5Mac will have an in-depth review of the new features as they become available.