As a geek, my favourite fashion accessory is easily my iPod Nano watch. Combining the multi-touch Nano ($129 Cdn; apple.ca) with a third-party watch strap is the nerdiest way to tell the time and look stylish at the same time. And with the new 1.2 software (free download via iTunes), Apple has fully embraced this wearable concept by delivering 16 new clock faces (some of which are designed specifically to match the colour of your Nano) that range from elegant to funky to just plain fun.
Along with the expanded range of faces, the choice of watch strap has also grown. My original favourite from LunaTik, the aluminum RedRun ($79.95 US; lunatik.com) still remains in first place, but I’m loving being able to switch it up on a whim with their new CMYK collection of TikToks ($39.95 US each). I especially love the bold colour of the Cyan strap, and although the anodized aluminum shell of the LunaTik has been replaced here with hard plastic, it still feels solid and secure. The Black and Magenta straps are also bold choices, but the Yellow feels a touch off, which is a shame as it’s one of my favourite colours. Instead of being pure yellow, it has a green tinge that simply spoils it for me. Pity.
Competitor iWatchz also delivers a bold choice of colours in its Q collection. I tested the red version, but it’s also available in black, orange, green, blue, pink, grey and white. The red Q ($24.95; iwatchz.com) has a slim profile and shaped, silicone strap that makes it very stylish on the wrist. It’s a snap to slide the Nano on and go, but unfortunately, its construction feels flimsier than the TikTok, especially where the strap connects with the plastic holder, that I worry it could easily break.
Griffin has also come out with a colourful line of Slap straps ($24.99 US; griffintechnology.com) that are designed to offer extra protection for your Nano. The memory-metal wristbands are wrapped in silicone to form an easy fitting slap strap, but unfortunately the end result is too bulky and toy-like for any adult to wear. Kids, however, will likely get a kick out of it and the extra protection could come in handy, too.
Although Apple listened when I asked for more clock faces in a previous column, it hasn’t followed my advice to add a Calendar/Reminder app or stereo Bluetooth. Without Bluetooth, Nano owners still need to rely on wired headphones to listen to music. Fortunately, there are some cool choices out there. At the moment, I’m rocking a fantastic pair of Remix Remote ($79.99; v-moda.com) noise-isolating metal headphones that deliver an excellent fit, solid bass and a cool splash of bling with its red finish. Plus, when I switch over to my iPhone, I have a three-button remote and omni-directional microphone for phone calls. If you want to step it up a level, I also recommend the in-ear Vibrato Remote ($129.99; v-moda.com) headphones sculpted from Zinc Alloy with Kevlar-reinforced cable and 24K gold plated plug. Incredible sound in a very stylish package.
For those who prefer working on a larger device, I’ve recently discovered just how sensitive these touch screens can be. After loading ArtRage ($6.99; artrage.com) on my original iPad, I tried out three new paintbrush styli: Nomad Original ($24 US; nomadbrush.com) in both long and short hair, and Nomad Mini ($19.99), which sports a shorter handle for smaller devices. In short, it’s incredible how much control I suddenly had when painting in pixels. Each brush stroke delivered the weight and control that I wanted. Think of it as stepping up from finger-painting to fine watercolour — incredible.
After using the Nomad brushes, you may find it difficult to go back to using your fingers again for non-art programs, which is where Griffin’s Stylus ($19.99 US; griffintechnology.com) comes in. This pen-sized pointer has a soft rubber tip that mimics your finger and makes it easy to control every touch. It comes in especially useful when you’re eating greasy finger-food and trying to simultaneously catch up on emails and texts.
Sticking with Griffin for a sec. I also checked out their new TechSafe Cable Lock System ($29.99) that is one of the easiest ways to make sure your laptop doesn’t get stolen if you have to rush off to use the coffee shop bathroom. With a 1.5 meter locking cable and combination lock, the TechSafe slips through the hinge of your laptop and can be instantly secured to a table leg or chair back. No fuss; no worry. M