Crowdfunded Project News: A few hot picks and some real stinkers
Every week, TUAW provides readers with an update on what new or significant crowdfunded Apple-related projects are in the news. While our policy is to not go into detail on items that haven't reached at least 80 percent of their funding goal, this update is designed to give readers a heads-up on projects they might find interesting enough to back. Note that we're not covering those "projects" on Indiegogo where people are trying to get someone else to cough up money for a new computer or tablet...
- Exercise anywhere! That's the mantra of Tao, an app-enabled isometric exerciser that just started its campaign. Backers can get one of these talky little boxes for half of the normal retail price if they hurry. There are 28 days to go in this campaign, and you can see what happens when normal people give it a try in the video below.
- Have you ever had a little tune stuck in your head that you wanted to get out to the world, but you just didn't have the talent to do so? Imitone is the brainchild of Evan Balster, and it turns your computer into a voice-controlled MIDI controller so that if you can hum or sing a tune, you can enter the notes into GarageBand or any other music creation tool. Thanks to reader Hal Sherman for pointing this out.
- Remember The Coburns? That project provided the world with an infinitely-adjustable wood iPad stand, and now the team is back with the Coburn Jr. iPhone stand. The campaign launched today and is already about 45 percent funded. Beautiful, compact, and useful.
Just in time for March Madness, it's the Hoop Tracker! This is a smartwatch that tracks basketball shots and helps you improve your shooting percentages. It's already 22 percent backed with 39 days to go in the campaign. Think of the Hoop Tracker as a Pebble for basketball players and you've got the right idea. It will be available for US$99 starting in September of 2014.
- Admit it -- haven't you sometimes wished that you had one of the old Polaroid instant cameras instead of your iPhone camera, so you could print out a picture and hand it to someone? The ability to print your iPhone or iPad images is the idea behind LifePrint, a wireless "social photo printer for iPhone" that's now on Kickstarter. With 36 days to go, LifePrint is well over $35,000 into its $200,000 goal. It's all networked, too! Check out the video below:
- And here's a minimalist way to keep your iPad protected without the need for a case. Corners for iPad is the name and an apt description of these Makrolon corners that protect the most vulnerable part of your iPad. I wish I had been able to install these before I dropped my iPad Air on a corner a few months ago... 25 days to go, and Corners needs backers. Toss in $12 or more and you're a backer.
- Designed by m's original AL13 was a very cool iPhone 5 bumper, but the developers of this aluminum work of art decided to go back to the drawing board to produce a model that wouldn't partially block the signal to your phone. AL13 v2 is already funded with 30 days to go, but you can still back the project and get a really phenomenal iPhone bumper at the same time.
- Wouldn't you like to be able to stick your iPad Air to a metal surface without having to put a bulky case onto it? That's the idea behind MagBak, which touts its product as the world's thinnest mount for iPad. A lot of people love this idea, since the project has received funding.
- The good folks at Tabu Products have been successful in their campaign to bring a smaller version of the Lumen Bluetooth Smart Bulb to market. LuMini has reached 146 percent of its funding goal with 12 days to go, so we'll all be controlling our lights from iPhones in the very near future. Everybody go cyan now!
And now a look at what's happening over at Indiegogo
- It's billed as the world's first wearable smartphone docking system. Celltack consists of a ring that mates magnetically to an iPhone case so that you can just pick up your phone and spin it around for use. Not sure why this is better than just picking up an iPhone with your hand, but you make the call. You can back Celltack for as little as $39 in the next 26 days.
- Want to be able to tell when the postman has delivered mail, without going out to your mailbox? Postybell is the "first post box sensor that works from any distance" and it has a built-in GSM module to send you notifications. All you need to add is a local SIM. You do have one of those, don't you? With 47 days left in the campaign, Postybell has raised about $1,200 of a $30,000 goal. Please back this project so I can avoid going to my mailbox. Thank you.
- Dave Caolo must have been really digging for "useful" projects, as he came up with the iWiFi Wi-Fi signal-enhancing case for iPhone 5/5s. Yep, that antenna looks quite strong and useful! And they've raised $20 towards the $5,000 goal. 24 days to go, though, so this one might... just... make it.
- The KeeperClip actually does look like it's a functional design, providing a way to keep credit cards, ID and the like attached to your iPhone. This project has a whopping $34 pledged towards its $20,000 goal, so it needs your love. It comes in two different really thin flavors -- string and flap. Won't you help?
- Seriously, I'm going to scream if someone comes up with yet another credit-card-like iPhone charger and says that it's a unique idea. SCREAAMMMMM! There, I feel better already. Roshi is the latest in a string of this kind of "unique" chargers. OK, we get it already.
- And finally, the winner for the most opaque product description on Indiegogo goes to "iPhone & iPad Product". There's no description of what it is, what it does, or why you should back the project. Unsurprisingly, it has raised ZERO dollars. Check it out and give this guy and his fiancé some money. Just kidding.
Software Updatesmore updates
- Apple Remote Desktop updated with Yosemite support
- OS X Yosemite 10.10.2, iOS 8.1.3 updates now available
- Sports Illustrated 120 SPORTS channel comes to Apple TV
- Logic Pro X update brings AirDrop support, new effects, tools, and more
- Parallels Access 2.5 released, adds file manager, computer-to-computer remote access
- The Google Translate iOS app is about to get a lot smarter