Each year, the Consumer Electronics Show is filled with brands exhibiting their newest and best products. Even though Apple doesn’t make an official appearance at CES, the company’s presence is made known through the hundreds of accessories on display designed for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.
Last year, we brought you the inaugural 9to5Mac Best of CES Awards to spotlight our favorite products introduced at the show. Once again for 2018, we’ve been pounding the pavement (and hotel carpet) in Las Vegas all week hunting down what’s new. Here are our 2018 picks:
Best iPhone Accessory: DJI Osmo Mobile 2
Walking the show floor at CES this year, the original Osmo Mobile was everywhere. DJI’s compact iPhone stabilizer has become the tool of choice for those looking to take their phone’s footage to the next level. In fact, all of 9to5Mac’s CES footage this year was filmed with the Osmo Mobile.
For 2018, DJI has made significant improvements with the Osmo Mobile 2. Not only does the battery now last for 15 hours, the stabilizer is lighter than before, and retails for just $129, less than half the original $300 price tag on the first-generation model. The Osmo Mobile 2 will also now allow filming in portrait, and has built-in controls for zooming.
This is bound to be an incredibly popular new accessory for iPhone filmmakers and hobbyists alike. Check out our hands-on look from DJI’s booth at the Osmo Mobile 2.
Best Mac Accessory: Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock
While iPhone accessories typically steal the spotlight at CES, Mac accessories usually see a healthy amount of attention, too. This year was no exception, as Elgato introduced a compact Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock.
The best feature of Elgato’s new accessory is right in the name – it’s miniature. The dock contains HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.2, USB 3.1, and gigabit Ethernet connectivity while still retaining a small footprint, making it a powerful solution for users on the go.
One of our favorite details of the dock is its built-in Thunderbolt 3 connection and integrated cable management. When you’re not using it, the cable tucks away in a slot in the base of the dock. Like all of Elgato’s products, the dock’s design is clean, unobtrusive, and modern, complimenting any MacBook.
Best HomeKit Product: Nanoleaf Square Light Panels
Nanoleaf wowed us last year at CES with a Music Visualization Module for their Aurora Smart Lighting Panels. This year they’ve done it again, announcing brand new square light panels. Just like the original triangular panels, the new square Aurora lights can be connected together to form larger displays. What’s most impressive, though, is that up to 1000 panels will be able to be connected together.
Each panel includes a touch sensor for controlling, dimming, and changing the color of each individual square. I’m already imagining walking past an entire wall covered in Nanoleaf panels, touching each one to enable it – Wheel Of Fortune style.
As an alternate way to control its Aurora lights, Nanoleaf also introduced a 12-sided remote at CES.
Best CarPlay Receiver: Alpine iLX-F309
Compared to other product categories, CarPlay seemed to take a back seat at this year’s CES. Alpine had a notable announcement, however – their new iLX-F309 head unit. With a 9-inch display, it’s the largest aftermarket CarPlay solution available to date.
Since most car dashboards have smaller 6.1-inch or 7-inch displays, Alpine has incorporated a floating design to make the display compatible with more vehicles. This also allows users to tilt the display.
While Alpine’s new head unit isn’t wireless, it’s nice to see aftermarket products begin to explore different form factors and features.
Did you see anything that particularly caught your eye at CES this year? Let us know in the comments, and make sure to check out all of our coverage in our CES 2018 Guide.