MODERN MEGAPHONE HELPS IPAD TO SHOUT
Amplifiear, $25, www.theamplifiear.com
Usually the way to get louder sound out of your iPad is to buy a music dock, which is a speaker and amplifier combination that typically costs around $100 or more.
But a clever plastic clip-on device called the Amplifiear (Get it? Amplifier? Amplify ear? iEar?) boosts your iPad's volume, if not its sound quality, for $25.
The device, available online, is essentially a modern megaphone. It increases the volume in the same way as cupping your hands around your mouth when you yell. (A competing product from Matek is available online for $7.)
The Amplifiear has a little more style then cupped hands. The ABS plastic device looks a bit like a single Mickey Mouse ear that latches over the edge of your iPad, redirecting sound from the speaker on the back around to the front. It is available in colors matched to Apple Smart Covers -- blue, orange, green, red, white, black.
The company claims that the device can raise volume by 10 decibels. A hobbyist-quality sound meter counted 6 decibels, still a significant improvement.
BACK TO THE FUTURE,
BY ABOUT 23 YEARS
Hoverboard, $130, www.mattycollector.com
The hover board, which Marty McFly maneuvered with great flair in "Back to the Future II" and which subsequently landed on the must-have Christmas list in 1989 for hundreds of children, has finally arrived, with some modifications.
The board is really only a realistic prop replica, but its maker, Mattel, keeps the flashy '80s graphics and the peg hole for handlebars (if you will recall from the movie, Marty borrowed it from a girl who was using it as a hover scooter). Mattel even reproduced the sounds the hover board made, taking them from the movie's soundtrack.
Mattel developed the board with advice from several Hollywood insiders, including Bob Gale, the co-producer and co-writer of the movie, and the movie's special effects supervisor, Michael Lantieri.
At $130, it doesn't actually fly, of course, but it does glide a short distance over smooth surfaces. And remember, the hover board doesn't work on water.
NEW YORK TIMES