October's here, and we're reaching for the scarves and sweaters. If you're one of those types that cheers the arrival of cold weather and lives for layers, carry that fashion statement over to your gadgets with felted cases and tech-focused threads. These picks are anything but fluffy.
Copenhagen-based Libratone produces tube-shaped wireless speakers with a 360-degree design that fill a room with sound. The Zipp is the newest addition to the family -- billed as "the social speaker," it's battery-run and looks just as good out on the town or sitting at home on a bookshelf. The Zipp's PlayDirect allows for wireless playback without a WiFi network (you can also use AirPlay on Apple devices). The accompanying Libratone app adjusts your speaker's EQ settings to fit where it's placed in the room (how far it is from walls, if it's on the ground or a shelf) to get the best sound. You can connect up to six of them wirelessly. The Italian wool felt exterior, which comes in a rainbow of shades, might be good for shock absorption -- but mostly it just looks cool. Clever design doesn't come cheap: They're $449 at libratone.com.
Soon, we won't be able to go outside without being bundled up to our eyeballs. For this nerd, cold-weather prep means replacing old pairs of touch-screen gloves (right hand: too many coffee spills; left hand: lost to the sands of time). They're more widely and cheaply available nowadays (we spotted a $5 cheapo pair at Sears), but Glider Gloves are a solid bet. The Canadian company makes gloves shot through entirely with the conductive material that makes touch gloves go (not just your thumb and forefinger), so you can use all 10 fingers. The fabric stands up to abuse, doesn't pill easily, and blocks out some of that harsh Canadian cold. They're $24.99 at glidergloves.com, or at some Bell, Telus, Wind, Rogers and The Source stores.
Who would have thought the drawstring hood was a technological innovation just waiting to happen? The Hoodie Buddie features headphones threaded ingeniously into the sweater strings. The headphones run down into a zippered front pocket, where you can keep your smartphone or mp3 player. The whole thing is machine washable -- just hang up your sweater or lay it flat to dry. Great for active folks who hate dropping their earbuds, or teenagers who already love to disappear into their hoodies. They come in a variety of prints and styles; this basic fleece number is $52 US at hoodiebuddie.com.
These days, the truly hip are reaching for rough-hewn, handmade-looking accessories. It's a particularly good look when it comes to gadget cases and bags -- all these super-slick steel and glass laptops, tablets and phones are just screaming for a little bit of warmth. Felted cases and totes, in particular, are having a moment; we dig these felt iPad sleeves, handmade in Italy. The heavy, 1/8-inch thick wool might not protect your tablet from a catastrophic fall, but it will hold up against scratches and dings and cleans up easily. There's also laptop and phone covers, as well as leather-handled felt totes -- and if they don't fit, you can order a custom cover for your device. Fantastico! The iPad cases are $45.57 at etsy.com.