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Great gear you may have missed

Dan Frakes | Jan. 20, 2014
As the editor who coordinates most of Macworld's iOS- and Mac-accessory coverage, I'm inundated with miscellaneous cables, connectors, chargers, and other "minor" products that don't necessarily warrant a full review or article. But, as I wrote back in late 2012, that doesn't mean they should all go unnoticed. Some of these products are interesting or useful enough that they're worth talking about; or they're things that, though they may not have impressed me at first, have since earned a spot on my desk or in my bag.

Gomite Tiltpod Mobile
Another clever accessory for iPhone photographers is the Tiltpod Mobile, available in a $30 version for the iPhone 5 and 5S that includes a case and a $15 version for the iPhone 4 and 4S, sans case. This accessory lets you place your iPhone on any relatively flat surface, and even at a reasonable incline, for more-stable snapshots (or, of course, for timed self-photos). The lightweight base, which has a grippy, rubberized bottom, attaches to your keychain for easy carrying; the actual mount grips the edge of your phone and attaches to the base by a magnetic half-sphere that lets you pivot and tilt the phone to get just the right angle. A tip: If you have an iPhone 5 or 5S in a thin case, go for the iPhone 4/4S model — you'll pay half as much, and the 4/4S model fits a thin-cased 5/5S well. (The 4/4S model won't fit a bare iPhone 5 or 5S.) You can also use the Tiltpod for watching video on your iPhone. It's as lightweight a stand/"tripod" as you'll find.

Scosche FitRail Exercise Mount for iPad: Ten years ago, my gym was full of iPods. Five years ago, iPhones. These days? There are still plenty of iPhones and iPods, but I see more and more iPads every day, as people like to watch the videos of their choosing — rather than of the gym's — while burning away the calories. Some treadmills and elliptical machines provide places to prop up a tablet or phone, but not all. So I've seen more than a few people with Scosche's $50 FitRail, an iPad mount specifically designed to hold your iPad on a fitness machine. The FitRail folds nearly flat to fit in your bag; when you get to the gym, you rotate the two arms out to hang the mount on your machine. You then expand the FitRail vertically along its metal rails until mount's elastic clip stretches enough to firmly hold your iPad in place. Sticky silicone grips on FitRail protect your iPad from the mount's metal surfaces, and you can also use the mount as a makeshift (low-angle) desktop stand. Scosche includes a mesh travel bag so the mount's metal pieces don't scratch anything else in your gym bag. The FitRail will, of course, also work as a permanent addition to your home treadmill.

Convenient connectors
Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod includes a USB-to-Lightning cable, but that cable isn't always the most convenient option. These accessories just might be better for particular situations.

Kenburg LightLinez Short USB to Lightning Cable: When I'm traveling, I often charge and sync my iPhone with my MacBook, so I don't need a 3-foot cable that just adds more clutter to my bag. This $19, five-inch (12cm) USB-to-Lightning cable is Apple-certified and gives me just enough length to connect my iPhone to a USB port on my laptop. When I'm ready to go, the cable is easy to tuck away. And if you occasionally need a longer reach, Kenburg includes a 39-inch (100cm) extension cable. The cable itself feels sturdy, and it includes reinforced strain relief around each connector.


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