December 15, 2014

9to5Toys Last Call: Retina iPad mini $50 off, Klipsch speaker system $110, Philips Hue smart LED Kit $80, more

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Today’s can’t miss deals:

iPad mini 2 w/ Retina display and iPad Air from $250 shipped ($50 off)

Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 THX Certified Computer Speaker System $110 shipped, $93 (open box)

Philips Hue Lux LED Starter Kit w/ bridge and two connected home light bulbs: $80 shipped (Reg. $100)

Giveaway: iDevices iGrill Mini Bluetooth Grilling Thermometer for iOS/Android ($40 value)

More new deals:

More deals still alive:

Holiday Gift Guides:

New products/ongoing promos:

(TL;DR: Winner, best size, best sound, runner-up best apps, best budget, best $300)

It has been a solid year and a half since our last Big “Best Portable Bluetooth speaker” competition, though we’ve done tons of updates to it in the months since.

A lot of our favorites are still around while others have been updated and new players have emerged. And what about our previous champ: the Ultimate Ears Boom? Spoiler alert: a new winner has emerged. Read on to find out who takes our Best Portable Bluetooth Speaker award… expand full story

Apple’s iOS game controller design guidelines were clearly inspired by Microsoft’s Xbox controllers, but Mad Catz has taken the concept a step further: its new C.T.R.L.i ($60) and Micro C.T.R.L.i ($50, available for $46) for iOS look so much like Xbox One game controllers that you might struggle to tell them apart in a dark room. While the full-sized C.T.R.L.i is very close to the Xbox One controller in footprint and weight, Micro C.T.R.L.i squeezes all of the same functionality into a smaller but nearly identical shape.

Best of all, since they’re more reasonably priced than earlier iOS controllers, both are good enough to recommend to any iOS gamer… assuming you own or want some iOS games with controller support.

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Gartner today published its third quarter numbers, showing overall growth in the smartphone market and a strong quarter for Apple. Mobile devices overall saw as many as 456 million sold with smartphones taking a 301 million slice of that pie, which comes out to a solid 66% (up 20% from last year). This shift in the market seems to be hurting Samsung and Nokia the most, because while the Korean giant is still leading the pack, this year smaller companies with slimmer margins seem to be taking some of its foothold.

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Near the end of each year Apple thanks its employees for their hard work with a nice souvenir. This year some employees are being given a black Incase backpack featuring a bright white Apple logo.

At least one employee has already put the gift up on eBay with a starting bid of $49.99 and a Buy It Now of $99.99. From the images we’ve received, it appears that the bag is a customized version of the Incase Staple Backpack. In past years, Apple employees have received blankets, sweatshirts, and water bottles.

The bags were accompanied by this letter:

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