In our third annual 9to5Mac Best of CES Awards, we want to celebrate new technology for the Apple ecosystem in four categories: best entertainment tech, best iPad and Mac tech, best iPhone tech, and best HomeKit tech. Our picks celebrate new technology that will come to market throughout 2019 and expand how we use our iPhones, iPads, and Macs.
Best Entertainment Tech
AirPlay 2-enabled TV news dominated CES 2019, and for good reason. Before Sunday, the category of TVs simply didn’t exist. Then Samsung made headlines when it announced a new range of smart TVs that will work with AirPlay 2 and feature an app for streaming iTunes Movies and TV Shows — a first for Apple’s video catalog.
We award Samsung our Best of CES 2019 award for Best Entertainment Tech for not only supporting AirPlay 2 on smart TVs, but also for being the first and only smart TV platform with plans to offer Apple’s iTunes Movies & TV Shows app this year.
Runners-up in this category include LG, Vizio, and Sony which will all work with AirPlay 2 and HomeKit which will allow beaming video from an iPhone to the TV using Siri voice control, but only Samsung has plans to offer Apple video content streaming as a built-in experience.
Best iPad & Mac Tech
CES can be tough for iPad and Mac accessories, especially as smart home and health technology takes over, but Lifeproof unveiled one new product that will serve both iPad and Mac users well. The new LifeActiv Power Pack 20 from Lifeproof is a 20,000 mAh battery that’s ruggedized to withstand tough conditions including water and drops.
It features 75W output which makes it ideal for charging anything from an iPhone to an iPad Pro or even a MacBook Pro, and there are USB-A and USB-C ports on board for modern charging. Not bad for $99 if you want a lot of power in a package that can endure a beating.
Honorable mention goes to Speck’s new versatile Case-E iPad case for kids, the successor to the popular iGuy case that served my family well for years.
Best iPhone Tech
Sometimes it takes a lot to impress with iPhone accessories, and sometimes we just want the basics. This year we’re awarding the latest Best iPhone Tech award to Belkin for its upcoming line of USB-C to Lightning cables — something that only Apple has offered officially so far.
Hopefully in years to come accessories like these will be a dime a dozen, but for now we want to celebrate Belkin for being quick to help expand the iPhone cable ecosystem.
Best HomeKit Tech
Picking just one piece of HomeKit tech to highlight is tough when the Consumer Electronics Show is packed with smart plugs, smart lights, and even sinks and showers that work with Siri and HomeKit.
But Netatmo takes our Best HomeKit Tech prize for our Best of CES 2019 awards for showing off what will likely be the first doorbell camera to work with HomeKit.
Apple’s HomeKit framework has supported doorbell cameras for years, but something has kept these from shipping so far. Netatmo is confident that it’s brand new Smart Video Doorbell will work with HomeKit — bonus points for the design.
Netatmo already works with HomeKit video cameras, so we’re optimistic that their new Smart Video Doorbell will finally give the market its first doorbell camera that works with HomeKit too.