Let's see: the ability to send handwritten cards without needing to walk into the candle fragrance minefield of the nearby card shop? Sign us up. Felt (Free; $4/card) is a new app for the iPad that lets you handwrite your own personal message — using the pen type and color of your choice — inside the card, then add that extra touch by handwriting the address that will go on the outside of the envelope. Felt will then print your message on Mohawk card stock, seal it in the custom-printed envelope, and send it out — no need to wait in line, staring at creepy porcelain figurines and gaudy photo frames. You're welcome. [Scouted by Lake]
It can be great to have a stylus around when using your tablet or smartphone, but finding space for one in your pocket — or trying to find one in a bag — can be more hassle than it's worth. With a diminutive size and included tether, the Wacom Bamboo Stylus Mini ($15) should alleviate both problems. It features a small solid brass body wrapped in soft-touch rubber, a smooth rubber nib, and a built-in tether that attaches to your device's headphone jack. All you have to figure out is which of the six colors you like best.
Finally, our iPhones are ready to take on the most important task possible: finding the closest pizza place. Pizza Compass ($1) is a new Avenir Next-friendly app that features a spinning slice of pie that will point you towards the nearest pizza purveyor, releasing steam the closer you get. As you might expect, there's also a map view to provide more precise directions, as well as the ability to see ratings, operating hours, and reviews, and an option to share your favorite spots with your friends. Welcome to the (very tasty) future.
Drawing on a tablet or smartphone is nearly as easy as drawing on paper — but most styluses lack the intelligence to really streamline the process. The Adobe Mighty & Napoleon Projects ($TBA) seek to change all that. The Mighty is a pressure sensitive digital drawing tool that uses Bluetooth LE to stay connected to your devices and features a button that can bring up on-screen menus for selecting different tools and colors. It's joined by Napoleon, a digital ruler that can create a digitally-projected edge used to draw shapes and lines. The plan is to use Adobe's cloud to share drawings and assets between devices, but as this is all in the experimental stage, it's hard telling what all might be included by the time they're ready for you to buy.
Frequent travelers know that having access to up-to-date exchange rates can mean the difference between getting a fair deal and getting hosed out of some cash. Currency ($1) promises to give you accurate conversions for over 160 countries, each with its own custom-designed flag. A clean, gesture-based interface makes entering new amounts a snap, while a handy favorites feature means conversions for the currencies you use most often are never more than a swipe away.
Flash drives can be amazingly handy, but their small size can also make them a huge pain in the ass to find. Keep yours handy by making it a SanDisk Cruzer Orbit ($30-$50). This intelligent drive sports a circular design that makes it a snap to attach to key rings, carabiners, lanyards, and binders, and doubles as a protective mechanism for the USB connector. Available in 8, 16, and 32 GB capacities.
Why put a regular old theater in your house when you can put an IMAX in your house? The IMAX Private Theatre ($TBA) promises exactly that. Modeled after IMAX's private screening room which has played host to many filmmakers coming to see their films in IMAX for the first time, this integrated solution includes all the custom IMAX hardware — including proprietary, state-of-the-art dual 4K projection systems and a 7.1 channel laser-aligned sound system — as well as consulting from IMAX specialists who work with your architects, interior designers, and installers to ensure that everything is built to the company's exacting performance standards. How much does it cost? If you have to ask....
It might look like a prop from a sci-fi film, but in fact, the MB&F Musicmachine ($TBA) is simply one of the world's most desirable music boxes. Built in collaboration with music box maker Reuge, MB&F used its watch-making know how to construct the spaceship-like machine, which plays three tunes from each of its two cylinders — the Star Wars theme, Imperial March, and Star Trek theme on one side, and "Another Brick in the Wall", "Smoke on the Water", and "Imagine" on the other. Limited to just 66 pieces — 33 in white and 33 in black — it's sure to be a source of conversation for a long, long time.
Used to be if you wanted a large range of zoom, you either had to buy a DSLR with a mammoth lens or go to one of the nearly DSLR-sized point-and-shoot super zooms. Boy have times changed. The Sony Cyber-shot HX50 Camera ($450) packs an impressive 30x optical zoom into a body that's just 4.4" x 2.6" x 1.2" and weighs under 10 oz, making it the smallest and lightest 30x zoom on the market. Other features include enhanced Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, a 20.4 megapixel sensor, a Bionz image processor, built-in Wi-Fi, dedicated exposure compensation and P/A/S/M mode dials, and the ability to capture Full HD movies at 60p. Arriving in stores next month.
With all the power our smartphones possesses, there's little reason they can't become the brains behind a full-blown robot. SmartBot (€135; roughly $175) is the first step towards that goal, connecting with your phone via the headphone jack and NFC, and letting apps control its built-in wheels, internal speaker and buzzer, and front lights. There's also an expansion port for adding new features and mounting holes for accessories, although how many of those are available will likely depend directly on if the little gadget catches on.
We don't expect there's a huge market for the Qumarion Humanoid Input Device ($TBA), but if you happen to be one of those people who could use it, it will likely be a game changer. Like the ubiquitous artist models, the Qumarion is a posable, human-like figure — but unlike the artist models, it communicates directly with a computer. As a result, you can use the Qumarion to move and pose on-screen 3D characters, making once challenging poses and movements as simple as adjusting an action figure. Great for animators, illustrators, or people who just enjoy collecting unusual gadgets.
Home studio recording just got simpler with the Propellerhead Balance ($450). This sleek, Red Dot-winning breakout box offers eight input connections — two high impedance guitar and bass inputs with pads, four line inputs, and two microphone preamps with phatom power — as well as balanced outputs and a powerful headphone amplifier. It connects to your computer via USB, and includes Reason Essentials, a fully-functional "basics"-style version of the company's award-winning Reason recording software. All you need are some instruments, a computer, and talent.