Another year is coming to a close, and that means the Tech team here at Apartment Therapy will be sharing our ten favorite tech devices, services, apps, and accessories we use and love from the year 2012 once a day, for the next two weeks.
Just in case you're curious, here are my past picks from 2011 and 2010, with my current favorites below...
Libratone Zipp: No doubt, 2012 was the year of wireless audio solutions. I must have received over 20 devices in all shape, size, and portability throughout the year to review (not including press releases). But it was the unusually shaped cylindrical Libratone Zipp which hit the right note, harmonizing between solid audio performance and a stylish presence in any room. The Zipp is the embodiment of my ideal home technology, where function is matched by form (review here). I especially liked the option to stream music via Airplay or connecting with an iOS device directly with PlayDirect (no wi-fi network needed). And what speaker has its own selection of fashionable "sweaters" to change out according to mood?
The Photojojo Phone Lens Series: I indefinitely lent out my favorite oldie but goodie point and shoot camera, the Canon S90, to a friend earlier this year, eliminating the travel friendly option. I still pull out the DSLR and an array of lenses for tours and product photos, but like many others with Android and iPhones in their pocket, snapshot duties once handled by a dedicated camera are now taken with an app. This miniature lens kit converts smartphones into a quasi-DSLR setup, with the option to attach Fisheye, Telephoto, Wide Angle and Macro Lenses magnetically over the phone's existing lens. Sure beats lugging pounds and pounds of equipment for casual photography.
Seagate GoFlex Thunderbolt Adapter: To be honest, I don't normally even see this device, and only remembered it while wall mounting my monitor yesterday. The GoFlex drive and Thunderbolt sled adapter are hidden behind my monitor, dutifully and quietly backing up my computer data throughout the day (for reference: Thunderbolt offers 5x the bandwidth of USB 3.0). The one thing slowing down this setup is the slow 5,200 rpm 1TB drive. But with SSD drive prices dropping, I may find myself adding yet more storage in a faster format in 2013.
Incase Leather Snap Case: For the first few weeks with a brand new iPhone 5, I tempted fate and went commando, sparing anything additional except a clear protective backside appliqué. The iPhone just feels and looks better without a case. But then I realized I was probably testing my luck during certain situations, as I've been known to hike down ravines and explore tide pools dangling my phone over edges to snap the right photo. And thus I caved in and got a case in a short bout of rational thought. I was sold on the Incase's minimalist design and choice in material; the leather patinas with age, the skin's oil and air customizing the leather like a favorite baseball mitt, leather jacket, or stick shift. I still prefer going "naked", but when I put something on, it's leather.
Bluelounge Milo: I'm a big believer in having a place for everything (and conversely, ridding of things you don't have room for). The Milo uses a micro-suction pad to secure my iPhone when back at home and charging at my desk, ensuring I keep the habit of putting my phone in the same place every time I return home. The little foot even matches and complements the rest of my Apple-centric setup!
Keepsy Instagram Photo Album: I don't claim to be a modern day Nostradamus, but I do admit a small pleasure knowing I backed up my whole Instagram gallery of photos right before all this brouhaha revolving around Instagram's terms of service announcement. I did it mostly because Instagram has an ephemeral "here today, forgotten tomorrow" quality, while a book invites regular re-visits and wanted to gift my girlfriend and I all the wonderful times we shared in 2012 [cue in romantic soundtrack].
Custom Build-a-DODO iPad Case: I received an invite to try out DODOCase latest iPad case customization service. I turned to one of my favorite things in our apartment for inspiration: our HAY bedding. Yeah, it's pretty design nerdy to match your iPad case to your bedding, but hey (or rather HAY), I yam what I yam!
Nike+ Fuelband: As someone whose life revolves around sitting behind a keyboard all day, I knew I wasn't getting as much physical activity throughout the work week as I should. But I didn't realize how little I really was moving until I donned one of these Nike+ Fuelband to record my daily physical activity (the minimalist rubber encased band has three accelerometers within). So now with a daily goal in mind, I remember to occasionally stop, get out of my chair, and get moving. Also, when you run into someone else wearing one of these, you're sure to start a conversation...technology as a social ice breaker!
Powerbag Business Class Laptop Pack: It's neither sexy nor particularly stylish, but every time I take a trip requiring lugging my laptop and accessories from "here" to "there", I'm very grateful for this laptop backpack. It's not only ergonomic and superior to a messenger bag-style solution in comfort, but the Powerbag hides a Felix the Cat's bag worth of storage options within, alongside a powerpack to recharge portable USB connected devices (press the logo on the front, and an LED lights up to tell you how much juice you've got for charging up portables). The Powerbag is designed with airport security in mind, with a really easily accessible laptop section, and also designed just right to slip underneath a seat in front of you or slide into an overhead compartment while onboard a plane.