1. APPLE WATCH
Originally announced and previewed last fall, the Apple Watch is now here. There are actually three Apple Watches: the stainless steel or space black stainless steel Watch; the anodized aluminum Watch Sport in silver or space gray with very colorful watchbands; and the 18-karat gold Watch Edition in yellow or rose. The prices range from $349 for the basic version to $17,000 for a customized Watch Edition. The wide variety of bands offers more styles and choices. There are two face sizes for the watches: 38 mm. and 42 mm. All three watch versions require a digital tether to an iPhone, and one way to use your iPhone will be to download apps from the Apple Watch Store. Preorders begin April 10, and shipping initiates April 24. Here are a few of the many things the Apple Watch can do: tell time to within an accuracy of 50 milliseconds; display weather and lunar cycles; sync and display calendar appointments, reminders, and messages; work as an iPod; work as a fitness tracker; make electronic payments with a swipe; and much more. www.apple.com
2. SAMSUNG GALAXY S6
Samsung has two new Galaxy S6 phones with restyled exteriors—one of which (the S6 Edge) has curved edges. The plastic bodies previously used have been replaced with matte aluminum frames and scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass 4 front and back. The 5.1" screen is a Quad HD Super AMOLED that has 2,560 5 1,440 pixels. Overall, the phones measure 5.64" × 2.79" × 0.27" and weigh less than five ounces. With the thinner body, there’s no micro SD card, but Samsung increased the on-board memory to 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB. There’s also 115GB of space on Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud that’s free for two years. There’s an improved fingerprint scanner beneath the home button, and the phones feature wireless charging. Samsung says the 16-megapixel camera is the finest camera it’s ever put in a mobile device. It features auto real-time HDR, a very fast (low-light capable) f/1.9 aperture lens, and smart optical image stabilization. The five-megapixel front-facing camera has an industry-leading 120-degree wide angle lens accessible with a double tap of the home key. www.samsung.com
3. BAMBOO KEYBOARDS
A stylish alternative to the heavy, all-in-one case/keyboard for your tablet and other mobile devices is the Impecca Bamboo Keyboard. The bamboo-covered keyboard connects via Bluetooth that can reach from as far away as 35 ft., and it is compatible with most tablets and smartphones. Extremely lightweight, the natural bamboo versions are available with four color options on the trim. The keyboard is a standard QWERTY with hot keys in the top row to control brightness of the screen, louder/softer/mute for sound, and other functions. The battery lasts up to 30 days and recharges via USB connection to your computer. The Impecca line includes bamboo iPhone cases, calculators, and speakers. www.impecca.com
4. KEITH MCMILLEN K-BOARD
If you’ve reached the point where you just can’t pry your kids off their mobiles when they’re locked onto Minecraft, you might want to look at K-Board, a small music keyboard with a full-range of synthesizer controls. Plug it into your tablet, phone, or computer (Windows, Apple, or Android), and use it as an external keyboard with any music app. It works right out of the box with Apple’s popular Garage Band app. It has a seven-octave range. As an educational alternative, the K-Board can serve as a first keyboard for those learning to read music as well as an input device for polyphonic compositions. It measures 12.8" x 3.3" x 0.43". At www.guitarcenter.com, search Keith McMillen.