To accessorize means to personalize. So, choosing the right accessory for an iPod owner literally puts the “I” ahead of iPod. This roundup of very personal iPod accessories covers touch-screen gloves (men’s and women’s), watch bands, arm bands, GPS and remote control add-ons, speaker docks, portable speakers, wireless (Bluetooth) receivers and headphones, a microphone, a MIDI interface, a piano keyboard and a variety of wired headphones.
Mittens and winter texting go together like blunt instruments and detailing. That’s why a pair of gloves that provide warmth and the ability to hit the mark on screen could prove to be the perfect December gift.
The Isotoner Men’s SmarTouch Gloves are fleece-lined with a nylon and polyester shell back. A special conductive thread on the index fingers and thumbs conveys an electrical impulse to any touch-screen device. And the jersey palm with silicone grip enables better grasp of all your personal electronics. The Isotoner Women’s smarTouch Gloves – Ultra Plush Lined in azalea, black, charcoal, cobalt or red employ a specially embroidered conductive thread in the thumb and index finger for navigating the screens of all-generation iPod Touch, iPad and iPhone models as well as other smartphones and tablets. The gloves are also compatible with outdoor ATM machines and touch screen fill-up pumps.
The elegance and aroma of genuine leather is yours with the Hex Vision Leather Watch Band for iPod nano 6th Generation in red, white or black. The wearer places his or her Apple nano on either wrist while still maintaining full access to touch controls and ports. The nano’s face can be oriented in either direction. Nano installation is completed by simply clicking the little iPod into the band’s stainless-steel plate.
For more athletic use, the Hex Sport Watch Band for iPod nano 6th Generation in white, black, blue, green or red is perfect for those who like listening to music while running or biking. The silicone strap is ventilated to circulate air. The snap in/out design lets you easily orient the nano in the most comfortable viewing position. And you’ll have full access to buttons and controls. Both the leather and silicone watch bands are dock access compatible with Nike + running shoes and Nike + iPod cardio machines at the gym.
The Incase Design CL56535 Sports Armband (Black) fits a 4th Generation iPod touch. The on-arm neoprene support strap is lightweight and washable and contains a clear plastic face shield. The breathable band features reflective highlights for better visibility along a street at night and a removable touch fastener tab for taming an earphone cord.
You can’t beat the all-in-one simplicity of a charging dock with speakers. Still, models vary in terms of extras. The Sony ICF-CS15iPSIL Speaker Dock for iPod and iPhone is a clock radio with the time prominently displayed. You can wake up to your iPod or iPhone, a buzzer or AM/FM radio. In case there’s a power blackout, a backup battery should still sound the alarm on time. Sony provided enhanced bass at the press of a button and the system is app-enhanced via a free download. An auxiliary audio jack is provided for external music sources, and a full-function remote is included.
The Panasonic SC-HC35 Micro System with Integrated Universal Dock for iPod/iPhone is a compact stereo system with CD/MP3 player and AM/FM radio you can even hang on the wall. A motorized sliding door reveals the dock and CD tray. Bamboo cone speakers enable clear vocals and music. Unlike the Sony above, this Panasonic model won’t wake you up, but you can put it to sleep via a programmable timer. The system includes a headphone jack, auxiliary audio jack and a remote.
The Speakal iPanda iPod Docking Station is a child-oriented dock with 2.1 speaker system containing eye-shaped stereo speakers and bottom-firing subwoofer. The iPanda’s ears double as volume controls. An auxiliary audio input and remote are included.
If all you want is a traveling speaker/dock powered by four AA batteries (not included) or universal AC adapter, consider the iHome iP37 Portable Speaker System for iPhone/iPod. This serious-looking, 8.7-inch wide black speaker is built into a protective zippered case for storage. The speaker/case weighs less than 3 pounds. There’s a line input for playing devices that don’t dock, and the system enhances your music with SRS TruBass sound. The included AC adapter is 100-240V compatible.
You don’t need a dock to link the music from an iPod touch, iPhone or iPad to a legacy stereo system. As long as the source player is Bluetooth-capable—including iOS devices, a notebook or Android phone or tablet—you can turn almost any home stereo or clock radio with an auxiliary audio input into a wireless music player by attaching the Kanex AirBlue Portable Bluetooth Music Receiver. Since the Kanex receiver is portable and rechargeable, you can take it with you to levitate music from your pocket into a friend’s stereo. Cables are included to connect the receiver to your speaker system. A USB cable is also supplied to charge the internal battery, which can run for up to 10 hours.
Private listening, of course, requires earphones (or getting uncomfortably close to a speaker). A variety of in-ear, on-ear and Bluetooth (wireless) headphones are available. The DTX 101 iE In-Ear Stereo Headphonesin black, red or silver, from Beyerdynamic, are compact and lightweight (less than 0.4 oz) despite the metal housings. The durable earphones have neodymium acoustic drivers to deliver clear audio with an extra-wide frequency response and extended bass. A soft case and three sizes of ear-tip pairs are included.
The mc5 Noise-Isolating In-Ear Stereo Headphones in black, red, blue or green, from Etymotic Research, offer highly accurate sound reproduction, replaceable filters, multiple eartips and a Kevlar-reinforced cable. The high-gloss aluminum finish encases high-output neodymium moving coil drivers. The proof is in the sound: tight bass and clear treble at every volume level. There’s a $10 instant savings on the black model and $20 instant savings on the red, blue and green models until January 15, 2012.
If you prefer an over-ear style with an adjustable headband, the Bose OE2 On-Ear Audio Headphones, in black or white, contain memory-foam cushions for added comfort that also impede extramural sound. The headphones reproduce high frequencies with great clarity and smooth audio throughout the entire audible range. The slim, padded headband can be adjusted with a 3-inch variance to fit virtually any head size. According to Bose, the OE2’s single-sided cable is less prone to tangling than Y-type cables, and the cable is detachable for storage. The ear cups rotate into the headband for slipping the ’phones into the included carrying case. A different version of the headphones, the Bose OE2i On-Ear Audio Headphones with Mic and Remote, in black or white, is meant for use with smartphones and voice applications.
The Pyle Pro PHE1AB iPod / iPhone Headphone Amplifier is an accessory for an accessory. Plug it in between your headphones or earphones and the 30-pin dock port on any generation iPod or iPhone and you’ll be blown away by the difference that line-level output makes versus the earphone jack. The Texas Instruments’ amplifier Integrated Circuit creates a high-power output that drives high impedance or low-sensitivity headphones and earphones. Thanks to controls on the amp’s click-on cable, the player can stay hidden in a pocket. The little amp is powered entirely by your iPod, so you don’t have to remember to charge yet another device.
Wireless lovers may want to slip on a pair of WP-300 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones from Creative Labs. At less than four ounces, the headphones can receive CD-quality audio at distances up to 33 feet from any Bluetooth-capable iPod, iPad, notebook or other device. The headphones incorporate finely tuned neodymium drivers that deliver crisp, natural audio with a wide frequency response. The soft leatherette ear cushions provide continuing comfort and help to block ambient noise. The adjustable, cushioned headband provides a snug and secure fit for virtually any head size. One of the ear cups integrates control buttons that let you play/pause, skip tracks, and adjust volume without having to return to the source player or fish the player out of a pocket. The headphones have a fold-flat design for storage and carrying in the supplied pouch.
You can turn an iPod or iPhone into a very capable stereo recorder with the addition of a Blue Mikey Recording Device. You just connect Mikey to your player’s dock connector, and you’re ready to start recording CD-quality audio—no software required. There’s a line input for connecting an external player and USB pass-through. (The model is not compatible with an iPhone 4 or 4th generation iPod touch.) Features include a 230 degree rotating design, two Blue capsules for stereo recording, seven angle adjustments for any environment and three gain settings to capture the clearest stereo sound.
Attach the IK Multimedia iRig MIDI interface to the 30-pin dock connector on an iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4, iPad, iPad 2 or iPad touch 3rd or 4th generation, and you’ll be able to connect any MIDI hardware device including MIDI keyboards, synths, drum machines and pads. And you’ll be able to use apps like GarageBand and SampleTank. The iRig contains input, output and through MIDI ports. Two MIDI 5-pin DIN cables (5.2 feet each) and a micro USB to USB cable for charging the iRig are included.
The Ion Piano Apprentice turns an iPod, iPhone or iPad into a visual piano teacher. The 25-note lighted keyboard has built-in stereo speakers and works with the free Piano Apprentice app from the iTunes App Store. The app shows you where to place your hands and how to read musical notations. The keyboard, which is powered by four included AA batteries, is MIDI compliant.
Short of implanting a global positioning chip in your forehead, how about inserting an iPod touch in a portable GPS cradle that knows its location? The XGPS251 GPS Cradle for iPod touch (4th Generation) and XGPS300 GPS Cradle for iPod touch (for 1st, 2nd and 3rd Gen), both from Dual Electronics, empower map apps as well as getting directions and checking for the nearest gas station, motel or type of restaurant. The GPS cradles are great for social-networking apps, too. And they’re particularly useful for car and marine navigation as well as cycling and running. Both cradles feature an integrated rechargeable battery, amplified speaker and microphone.
The L5 Universal Remote is an infrared emitter that attaches to the dock port on any iPod touch, iPhone or iPad. By downloading the free app from the iTunes Store, you’ll be able to command all the A/V components in your home theater including TVs, DVRs, cable boxes and disc players that operate via IR signals. Almost all do. The app can store codes for up to 1,000 remotes or 100,000 buttons. Since the emitter is powered by your iOS device, no batteries are necessary. And since IR operates directly by line-of-sight, the system doesn’t need Wi-Fi.