Gadgets are always popular choices as holiday presents. Linda Wertheimer talks to regular technology commentator Rich Jaroslovsky, of Bloomberg News, about the gadgets he likes. Tops on the list are a Lytro camera, Zik wireless headphones, and a Saeco coffee machine.
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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
As we charge into the holiday gift buying season, gadgets are usually near the top of many people's wish lists. Our regular technology commentator Rich Jaroslovsky of Bloomberg News tells us about his gadget picks for 2012.
Rich, thanks for joining us.
RICH JAROSLOVSKY: Thank you.
WERTHEIMER: First, Rich, let's look at the camera. It's an amazing little machine. It doesn't even vaguely look like a camera. It looks like it must be expensive and do lots of clever tricks?
JAROSLOVSKY: Well, it cost about $400. And the most clever trick that it does - at least for me - is that it allows you or anybody viewing your picture online to refocus it after the fact. The camera captures so much information that when you look at it on screen, if you see that, oh my gosh, I accidentally focused on the ball when I wanted to focus on the kid, simply by clicking on the photo, the entire photo refocuses around whatever you've clicked on.
WERTHEIMER: So what's the advantage here? Do you think it's that you can take artful pictures or that you just can't mess anything up?
JAROSLOVSKY: Well, I think it depends a lot on the photographer. For the advanced photographer, there are a lot of advanced tools that let you customize it. But for the typical everyday photographer - I think, at least - that the big advantage is it's basically idiot proof. You can't ruin a picture anymore.
WERTHEIMER: OK. Now you also sent us a set of headphones - very sleek and comfortable, and they are wireless. We connected them to an iPhone wirelessly. I took a little walk around the office and I was listening all the way. So super convenient, I guess, for listening around the house or maybe in our noisy radio office.
JAROSLOVSKY: Well, they are super convenient. They're called the Zik wireless headphones. They're about $400, and they were designed by Philippe Starck, the well-known product designer, who among other things worked with Steve Jobs on the design of his yacht. And these are noise canceling headphones that have more technology in it than a nuclear submarine, I think. Among other things, one of the ear cups is actually a touchpad, so you can control everything wirelessly simply by sliding your finger back and forth along the touchpad. You can increase the volume. You can skip to the next song. It also has Bluetooth conductivity, as you pointed out, so that, you know, you're not tethered to your device. If you take a phone call that comes in while you're wearing the Ziks, there are microphones built into the headphones so you can simply take a phone call without doing anything more than tapping you if you
WERTHEIMER: And now our favorite gadget, we at MORNING EDITION live on coffee. So this is a coffee machine which costs a boatload of money and it appears to be somewhat smarter than I am. I mean tell us what it does.
JAROSLOVSKY: Well, this is the Saeco Xelsis Digital ID Coffee Maker. And it retails for around $3,000.
JAROSLOVSKY: And for $3,000 you would expect it to make pretty good coffee, and it does. But the thing that I kind of fell in love with was the biometric digital fingerprint reader.
JAROSLOVSKY: And the idea behind this is that the coffee maker can store up to six different user profiles, and you can tell a coffee maker exactly how you want your coffee, how strong you want the beans ground, how much water, how much milk. And you can save all that that to your personal profile with your fingerprint. And then, you know, when you stumble into the kitchen every morning, all you have to do is swipe your finger over the top of the coffee maker and it immediately recognizes you and brews your favorite cup.
WERTHEIMER: I have to say that my favorite thing about this is its noises. Since this is a radio program, let's just let you listen to what this thing would say to you in the morning if you've drifted up to it and made a cup of coffee.
(SOUNDBITE OF COFFEE MACHINE)
WERTHEIMER: Rich Jaroslovsky, he joined us from Palo Alto in California. Rich, thank you very much for all these additions to my wish list.
JAROSLOVSKY: Thank you for having me.
WERTHEIMER: Rich Jaroslovsky is a columnist for Bloomberg News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.