CES is always a little hit or miss for cool iOS stuff, as iOS accessories sort of take the back stage to whatever the new hot mass-market TV technology is. (Which, consequently, I believe is 4K this year. Thankfully it seems we've moved on from forcing 3D in everything!) Either way, a couple of cool iOS controlled toys are coming out of the show, from manufacturers who have already have existing products that fit that description. Parrot, the makers of the AR.Drone, and Orbotix, the makers of the Sphero.

parrot_mini_drone_verge-800x532

First up is the Parrot MiniDrone, which, as the name suggests, is a miniaturized version of the AR.Drone. Like its big brother, you use an iOS app to control the device. The main differences are the lack of a usable camera and you connect to it via Bluetooth 4.0 instead of the WiFi network that the AR.Drone creates.

parrot_jumping_sumo_verge-800x532

The Jumping Sumo, however, seems much closer to the AR.Drone in that it hosts its own 801.11ac network which allows for an onboard QVGA camera to send video back. It's similarly controlled with an iOS app using a system of swiping and tilting. Basically, imagine the AR.Drone on wheels.

Last, but certainly not least, is the new Sphero 2B which basically seems to solve all the issues I had with the original Sphero by giving it two wheels with actual grip on them instead of being a smooth Bluetooth-controlled ball. Don't get me wrong, the Sphero is/was a really fun toy, but it left tons to be desired outside of any surface that wasn't super low pile carpet. It's twice as fast as the original Sphero, features customizable tires, and all the same open API functionality that made the O.G. Sphero so neat.

Of course, like all things that have anything vaguely to do with CES, pricing and availability of all the toys mentioned in this post are all deeply secured in "TBA" territory. Regardless, it's still neat seeing stuff that integrates with iOS in new, cool, or better ways.

[MacRumors via The Verge]

  • rabidnz

    Sphero, making trailer? Include actual footage of the thing in question. Crappy 3d rendered teaser trailers cheapen your product significantly in my eyes, makes me
    think it isnt quite up to the claims, much like your last toy.

  • JJE McManus

    So many options, so many unanswered questions.
    Which will be best for driving my cats crazy?
    On first glance I'd say it's the one that flies but having seen what Rocket the Cat with No Fear did to one of those mini helicopters I have doubts.
    Now if TA could arrange to send me some evaluation units... Well, I'll supply some awesome video.

  • rewind

    The miniDrone has awfully thin wheels. The other two are nice though.

    • Rothgarr

      Are those wheels or are they guards to protect to protect the propellers that just look like wheels?

  • Taclys

    Glad to see a Sphero article! I'd say the Sphero is the best on the list. They're quite impressive and awesome little balls.

    • Maniacfive

      I second this! The sphero is awesome. And definitely rugged. Mines taking a bit of a beating thanks to hard floors and cats. That said. the sphero took some getting used to controlling on hard surfaces due to its inherent slippiness, but damn, get a nubby cover on that fella and it's awesome.

  • Plantastic

    and now you can grow the Zombie Plant that Plays DEAD when you Touch it!

  • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

    Just a reality check. People starve in USA and around world, but it's important that we all get $500 remote control toy drones ... why is that? Confused.
    Is this another 'market' that we are being 'marketed'? ie, I don't sense any need for these devices -- but someone is trying to sell me a need for these devices?
    (Then again, if they were mini-combat devices with cheap replaceable components which we could 'head to head' slug it out with our friends, that might be a different story. HA)