Gadgets: Let’s play ball, watch your wrist, watch your home
If you are an Apple fan then by now you have probably heard about the new timepiece from the company that brought you the iPod and iMac. If not, here’s the skinny. To call this device a watch is a bit of a misnomer. It’s really a computer for your wrist.
Owners will navigate their screens using a traditional-looking side-winder fob. Apple calls it a “Digital Crown.” Rotating the Crown, the wearer can zoom in and out, scroll and navigate. It’s also a home button and can activate Siri, the voice assistant. You can use it to send and receive messages and answer calls from your iPhone (5 or better) and it has sensors to monitor your health. Since it is voice capable you can dictate or interact with you by speaking to it. It can also be used with the company’s new Apple Pay feature. Wave your watch and pay at a store.
Besides its functionality it comes with 11 digital watch faces. The base model is built in a stainless-steel case with a sapphire crystal face to make it scratch resistant. It has several band and buckle styles. There’s a sport series and “Edition” series that is made from 18-karat gold.
More info: apple.com/watch/apple-watch/
Price: Not yet released for Canada, but in the U.S prices start at US$349
Availability: “early” 2015
This is going to sound weird, but how about a remote control ball to play with? The Sphero is a plastic internally lit ball that can be controlled with your smartphone: either an Android or Apple iOS device. It comes with an app that let’s you drive the ball around the floor. You can use it to do a virtual search-style games (using 25 include games in the app) and tricks on a set of two ramps. My seven-month-old baby son likes it because it’s kind of unpredictable in its movements and he likes to watch it roll around erratically. The cats and dog are not fans (the dog barks at it and tried to bite it; the cats run away), but I can play with it for hours.
More info: gosphero.com
Withings Home monitor
The Withings Home is an elegant HD camera that lets you monitor your home visually and through environmental sensors. First off, it is an HD camera with a 135-degree view angle. It detects motion and will record an image and five seconds of video each time motion is detected. It has two-way HD audio so you can remotely speak to someone at home – like a parent you are monitoring – from a remote device, such as a smart phone or tablet. It can also double as a baby monitor. It has built-in cry recognition, a remote-controlled night-light and it can play lullabies. The device also features an air-quality alert function that senses volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are harmful airborne organic chemicals that can be dangerous. They can be found in substances like paint or varnish.
More info: withings.com
Availability: fall 2014