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Consumer Reports runs the Apple Watch through a scientifi...

Yesterday, 09:04 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
Consumer Reports has a history of being hard on Apple. They famously refused to recommend the iPhone 4 because of a so-called “flawed” Antenna Design. To test the Apple Watch, though, Consumer Reports is being harder on Apple than ever.mf.gif


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In just 24 hours, Apple Watch outsold all Android Wear de...

Yesterday, 08:39 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
It’s too early to tell exactly how well the Apple Watch will do in the grand scheme of things, or even if it will ultimately win the wearable war. But one thing’s for sure, it’s off to a hell ofmf.gif


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Apple Watch Impacts iPhone Battery Life... One Way or the...

Yesterday, 08:07 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
With the launch of the Apple Watch on Friday, the first wave of consumers have received their Apple Watches. Our forums are abuzz with activity surrounding Apple's newest device. While there were initial concerns about the Apple Watch's battery life, reports seem to indicate that the Apple Watch, itself, has no problem lasting a full day.

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However, there have been mixed reports about the impact the Apple Watch has on iPhone battery life. The Apple Watch needs to be paired to an iPhone for full functionality. The iPhone connects to the Apple Watch via bluetooth and Wi-Fi to feed it data and notifications throughout the day.

Some users have found a notable improvement in iPhone battery life with the addition of an Apple Watch. This suggests the act of offloading notifications and quick interactions to your Apple Watch, could make your iPhone battery last much longer.

The best unexpected but /now/ obvious surprise to having the Apple Watch is plenty of battery life on the iPhone after a full day out!

— Dan James (@Daniel277) April 26, 2015

However, several other users have noticed a significant drain on their iPhone batteries in early usage with the Apple Watch.

Apple Watch battery life: 16-20 hrs. iPhone paired with Apple Watch: seemingly zero hours

— Jacqui Cheng (@ejacqui) April 26, 2015

Former Engadget editor Ryan Block had as similar experience and pinpointed the Apple Watch Companion app as the culprit. John Byrne also puts some blame on the Companion App, saying that force-quitting the app seemed to help at least a bit. A discussion thread in our forums provides similarly mixed results, with one user blaming his battery drain on checking email on the Apple Watch. Due to the inconsistency in reports, it seems that either a software bug or particular usage pattern could be a culprit.mf.gif


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iTunes Store Facilitating Donations to Support Nepal Eart...

Yesterday, 05:43 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
Apple today rolled out a feature through the iTunes Store that allows users to contribute to the American Red Cross in support of relief efforts following the Nepal earthquake that has killed over 2,400 people.

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The feature leverages the hundreds of millions of credit cards already on file to allow iTunes users to easily donate $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, or $200 to the relief efforts. Apple will be passing along 100 percent of the donations to the Red Cross.

Aid NepalDonate in iTunes#iTunes #Nepal #NepalEarthquake pic.twitter.com/s9seJp8RZV

— Philip Schiller (@pschiller) April 26, 2015

This is not the first time Apple has used to iTunes Store to raise money for charity, with the company most recently raising money for City of Hope last October. Other previous relief effort fundraising campaigns have included the 2013 Philippine typhoon, the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and the 2010 Haitian earthquake.mf.gif


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Best deals of the week: 96% off the Microsoft Office Mast...

Yesterday, 04:15 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
Cult of Mac is your go-to destination for major savings on top tech gear, services, and courses. Grab the week’s best deals, including the Microsoft Office Mastery Bundle, a lifetime subscription to Theme.Works WordPress builder, Jive Jumbo Bluetooth speaker, andmf.gif


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Best Apple analyst posts AAPL Q1-Q2 estimates: Macs shine...

Yesterday, 04:04 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo, one of the few analysts we feel credible, has his Apple numbers ready for Q1 2015. The analyst projects iPhone, iPad, and Mac shipments to be 58.2 million, 10.1 million, and 4.5 million respectively. He also estimates that Apple Watch shipments are currently at 631,000 units.

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Kuo believes that iPhone shipments have peaked and that Apple will see a quarter over quarter decline of 21.8 percent in Q1 and an 11.6 percent quarter over quarter decline in Q2 for shipments of 51.4 million, which would still represent a record quarter for the company. The morale of the story here is that Apple is still selling a lot of phones and there’s no need to worry yet.

iPhone shipments have peaked. We estimate iPhone shipments to decline 21.8% QoQ to 58.2mn units in 1Q15, milder than the seasonal pattern. While we look for QoQ decline of 11.6% to 51.4mn units for 2Q15, still better than seasonality, we believe shipments doesn’t just mean market demand but also partly represents pulled-in 3Q15 orders from Apple. Coupled with slowing shipments from the peak, we are neutral on iPhone supply chain shares.

Next, Kuo anticipates that iPad shipments will decline 52.7 percent quarter over quarter to 10.1 million units un Q1, while shipments in Q2 2015 will decline 28.5 percent quarter over quarter to 7.2 million units. Kuo attributes these “lackluster” numbers more to industry structural challenges than to slow seasonability. Earlier this year, we broke down 10 reasons why Apple is to blame for the decline in iPad sales. Those reasons seem more poignant now than ever.

Regarding the Mac, Kuo says it will be an area of significant growth for Apple. For Q1, Kuo estimates shipments of 4.5 million units, which is a quarter over quarter decline of 17.5 percent. Heading into Q2, however, the analyst predicts a 21.5 percent increase to 5.5 million thanks to the new 12-inch MacBook and back to school demand.

We see a positive outlook for Mac. We look for QoQ decline of 17.5% to 4.5mn units for Mac shipments in 1Q15 and 21.5% QoQ growth to 5.5mn units in 2Q15 on new product attraction and back-to-school demand. We are positive on Mac supply chain shares on stronger shipments momentum than the PC sector average.

Finally, Kuo echoes his sentiments from earlier this month, saying that it’s too early to tell if the Apple Watch will be a success. He believes that, at this point, most of the buyers are hardcore Apple fans, not the average consumer. Kuo estimates shipments at 631,000 units so far, which is far less than the expected 2-3 million units. Kuo cites labor shortages and inadequate production of the haptic feedback vibrator and AMOLED display. For Q2, Kuo estimates 3.8 million Apple Watch shipments.

Apple is set to hold its quarterly earnings call on April 27th.


Filed under: AAPL Company, Apple Watch, iOS Devices, Mac Tagged: analyst, Apple watch, iPad, iPhone, KGI, Mac, sales 377012 377012 377012 377012 377012 377012 377012 b.gif?host=9to5mac.com&blog=22754319&pos

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Review: Misfit’s Bolt LED bulb promises iPhone and wearab...

Yesterday, 01:00 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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Two of the hottest product categories at this year’s CES were home automation and wearables, which Apple is now tackling with HomeKit and the Apple Watch. As has historically been the case, the price premiums Apple has set for its products have left plenty of room for more affordable alternatives. Misfit, a company co-founded by former Apple CEO John Sculley, is now competing in both categories: the just-released Bolt Wireless LED Smart Light Bulb ($50) joins a small collection of Bluetooth-controlled lights, while its late 2014 wearable fitness and sleep tracker Flash ($33-$50) is in the process of being upgraded to control Bolt.

Misfit’s pitch for Bolt is interesting. It’s billing the color-shifting bulb as producing “gallery-quality light,” and focusing its new Misfit Home app for iOS on creating “Lightscapes” — lighting scenarios including neutral bright white, warm sunrises and sunsets, candlelight, forest and volcanic tones, amongst other “scenes” where the color is set but the brightness is adjustable. When Bolt works, it’s a wonderful source of light, but as is common these days, some post-release tweaks will be needed to exploit its full potential…

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Key Details:

  • Bluetooth LE-controlled light bulb rivals 60-Watt bulbs with only 13W power draw
  • Color-shifting LEDs let you control white balance, mimic candlelight, sunrises, sunsets
  • Approximately 20-year lifespan
  • Controlled by Misfit Home app, also control via wearable Flash fitness/sleep tracker in “future”
  • Early bugs likely to get resolved with future app updates

 

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If you’ve seen Philips’ Hue or the Flux Bluetooth LED Light Bulb, or many of their competitors, Bolt’s design will look very familiar: a glass dome atop a heat-wicking aluminum base, with a standard electrical socket connector at the bottom. Unlike rivals, Bolt’s nearly black base is dark enough that you may be able to see it through some ceiling fixtures — a reason to consider switching multiple bulbs in the fixture at once. Alone, it’s an unusually handsome bulb inside standing lamps and other types of fixtures.

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Misfit notes that the dome “uses a proprietary light-diffusion coating” to eliminate uneven bright and dark light dispersion, and although you’d really have to stare into lightbulbs to notice the difference, Bolt’s light does look uniformly bright from edge to edge. In addition to promising a roughly 20-year life span under normal usage conditions — par for the course with today’s LED light bulbs — it draws only 13 Watts of power while delivering 800 lumens of light, equivalent to a 60-Watt bulb. That’s very close to GE’s Link, an inexpensive 60-Watt equivalent bulb with 800 lumens of output and a 12-Watt draw.

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Apart from their price tags, the big differences between Bolt and Link are Bolt’s color-shifting capabilities and use of Bluetooth LE technology. Both are important. Bolt’s color-shifting is accomplished using the new Misfit Home app, which makes initial setup painless — just load the app, set up or sign into your Misfit account, and search for the bulb. At that point, you’re given the choice between 11 different scenes.

“(Wake Up To A) Sunrise” is the only programmable scene, letting you set a time and watch as the light gradually shifts through sunrise-like colors until it reaches a full bright yellow at the appointed hour. The other scenes allow you only to change the brightness using a slider from “off” to intense: Welcome Home (gentle yellow), Bright Day (neutral white), Sunset (rich yellow), Date Night (orange candle-like light), Movie Night (dim blue), Forest (bright green), Volcano (light purple), Rainbow (ever-shifting color), Rocking Chair (light purple), and Salt Flats (aqua blue). Tapping on a + icon lets you save your own scene with whatever color and brightness you prefer, using a color palette, though Bolt doesn’t seem to properly reproduce reds. That’s a small issue; a somewhat larger one is that the bulb doesn’t save the last selected color, so if you flip the light switch off, you’ll need to load the app to set the color again.

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Misfit makes very little mention of Bolt’s use of Bluetooth — perhaps because some of its competitors instead use longer-range Wi-Fi or proprietary wireless standards — but that’s what’s under Bolt’s hood. On a positive note, Bluetooth eliminates the need for a wireless control hub, which adds extra beyond-the-bulb expenses to GE’s Link and Philips’ Hue systems. And when the Bluetooth works, it works well, with reasonably lag-free color and brightness adjustments. But it typically only works within the same room. And 1 out of 2 or 3 times, the app wouldn’t re-pair with the bulb, sometimes even when the iPhone’s Bluetooth indicator suggested they were in contact. Restarting the app sometimes worked. Restarting the app two or three times sometimes worked.

I was also disappointed to discover that there’s nothing in the Misfit Home app to connect Bolt to the Flash tracker, a feature Misfit has been marketing in the months leading up to Bolt’s release. Only when I looked at the in-app FAQ did I find an answer hidden within the question, “What is the difference between the Misfit app and the Misfit Home app?” Misfit says: “In the future, the apps will work together to create experiences such as controlling your Bolt via Flash.” When asked for more specifics on timing, the company said its latest date is “the end of May-ish.”

 

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For what it’s worth, Flash is a compelling fitness and sleep tracker for $50. Misfit achieved the price point by converting its earlier aluminum tracker Shine into an all-plastic version, complete with a coin-shaped pedometer that can be worn in an included shirt clip or wristband. You can press the center of the coin to display the time in an abstract way using 12 solid or flashing lights, hold the button down to activate an activity tagging mode, and assign activities to double- or triple-presses. Right now, you can play/pause a Spotify song list or send a “Yo!” to specific friends and family, neither super-compelling to me, but additional activities — including Bolt control — are supposed to be added.

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All of Flash’s parts feel as inexpensive as the $50 price point would suggest, but the band was surprisingly comfortable when I slept with it. Misfit’s app actually did a pretty good job of tracking my sleep, something that the Apple Watch doesn’t do, and a fair job of tracking my steps, which the iPhone and Apple Watch both do. Flash’s battery is replaceable, and thanks to Bluetooth LE wireless, rated for two years of use before that’s necessary, though the various plastic parts might not make it that long. For those of us who want to try out sleep tracking without breaking the bank, this is an affordable alternative.

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When Misfit pulls Bolt and Flash together as promised — as well as its other accessories — there could be a really nice synergy between home automation and wearables, and one that could benefit from (lower priced) bundling of both parts together. Thanks in part to Apple Watch app demonstrations, it’s not hard at this point to imagine a future where wearables control far more than light bulbs, but the software is going to be a critical part of making that happen. Bolt’s not quite there yet, but the more advanced functionality it promises is hopefully just a month and an app update away.

Manufacturer:
MisfitMSRP:
$50Compatibility:
All iPads, iPhones, iPod touches
Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS Devices, Reviews Tagged: Bluetooth LE, Bolt!, Flash, LED Light Bulb, misfit 375302 375302 375302 375302 375302 375302 375302 b.gif?host=9to5mac.com&blog=22754319&pos

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Users discover stainless steel Apple Watch scratches easi...

Yesterday, 12:14 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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Now that the stainless steel Apple Watch is becoming widely available, owners are beginning to post photos showing their shiny steel Watches have already developed scratches on the casing. Since Apple’s videos touted its steel as specially cold-forged to achieve superior hardness, people have been surprised to discover that the finish is easily scratched – many comparing it to the back of an iPod. While this isn’t shocking for 316L stainless steel, it is concerning to customers who just spent $549 or more on the mid-range Apple Watch. But don’t panic! As I’ll explain below, you can easily fix the scratches yourself for around $5…

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First off, let’s get one thing straight: the fact that the steel Apple Watch can scratch is not a surprise or “scratchgate” scandal. Stainless steel is scratchable, and long-time Apple customers have plenty of experience with this: remember the backs of every full-sized iPod, up to and including the iPod classic? They were scratch magnets. So are other steel watches. Nearly every polished stainless steel watch made from 316L (commonly known as “surgical grade stainless”) or the 904L used on Rolex casings can be scratched, scuffed, and show normal signs of wear and tear.

There’s a simple solution. If your stainless steel watch gets scratched or scuffed, most of these issues can be fixed by just buffing out the scratches yourself — or take it to a jeweler or watch repair shop if you’re not comfortable with the DIY solution. All you need to do is pick up a $5 metal polish (here’s what I use), buff it out with a hand towel, and wash your hands afterwards. Simple. In the video below, I polish several surface scratches out from my Apple Watch, showing how the metal polish removes them completely.

If you’d like to learn how to remove scratches from Apple Watch, check out the video below:

Is it disappointing that the Apple Watch is scratchable, given the grade of materials and manufacturing process Apple used? Sure. But Science: stainless steel is not a super-hard material. The 316L grade used in Apple Watch is actually softer than the 7000 series aluminum used in Apple Watch Sport. If you’re curious as to where 316L is positioned within grades of stainless steel, check out this helpful chart. Apple could have chosen to go with more durable 904L stainless steel, but it’s much more expensive to manufacture and would raise Apple Watch’s price. With a polished finish, even 904L can still be scratched fairly easily. You won’t run into this issue with brushed stainless steel watches because that texture hides any accidental scuffs within the texture/finish.

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My Apple Watch before and after polishing.

I spoke with a handful of local watch repair shops and received different answers about polishing my Apple Watch. Some of them said it wouldn’t be a problem to buff the casing for between $20 and $40, while others didn’t want to risk touching the brand new Watch, because they were concerned about damaging other components. Even they were clear, though, that this type of stainless steel (316L) can easily be polished and buffed. You just have to be careful not to get the polishing cream into the Watch’s little holes, and shouldn’t polish so frequently or deeply that the steel gets worn down.

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DetroitBorg on Instagram: “Scratched :(“

If this is your first steel Apple device, you might be surprised to find that your new Watch has been scratched, and that’s completely understandable. But it’s going to happen, and Apple Watch pricing does not reflect the durability of the materials being used — gold Editions certainly are going to be scratchable, too. In any case, minor surface and hairline scratches can easily be polished out of the casing using the compound mentioned in the video. DIY repairs might not be as great as a watch that never scratches, but that’s the reality of owning a polished stainless steel watch, no matter who makes it or what process is used.


Filed under: Apple Watch Tagged: Apple, Apple watch, scratches, scratchgate, smartwatch 376946 376946 376946 376946 376946 376946 376946 b.gif?host=9to5mac.com&blog=22754319&pos

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Consumer Reports initial tests unable to scratch Apple Wa...

Yesterday, 11:39 AM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
I can’t remember if we’re still mad at Consumer Reports for Antennagate but they seem to be doing a thorough job at testing the Apple Watch. Notable from their Day 1 tests is that the Apple Watch Sport screen does scratch but only after going pretty far down the Moh’s hardness scale.
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The Sapphire Apple Watch however, wouldn’t scratch under any circumstances though it doesn’t appear that Consumer Reports had a diamond pick to test it against.

So how did Apple’s watches fare? The sapphire crystal performed as expected, which is to say very well. It survived a 9-rated pick from our kit. The Apple Watch Sport made it up to a 7-rated pick without damage, but was scratched by an 8-rated pick.


So the face of the Apple Watch is definitely harder than that of the Apple Watch Sport. But the performance of the hardened glass of the Sport model is pretty impressive as well. An 8 on the Mohs scale is equivalent to topaz, just one step below sapphire, and it means that it takes quite an abrasive material to scratch Apple’s glass. (We also tried a completely unscientific attempt on the Sport model with a steel key, and it didn’t scratch the glass.)

Consumer Reports also did some heart rate sensor and step counting tests and so far found the Apple Watch sensors accurate. They also submerged the Apple Watch in water for 30 minutes in simulated 3 feet of water which matches up against its rating and found it waterproof.
From all of the tests, both scientific and not so scientific, Apple Watch seems to be passing w/flying colors.
Filed under: AAPL Company, Apple Watch Tagged: Apple watch, Consumer Reports, gorilla glass, Mohs scale of mineral hardness, Sapphire, smartwatch, Stainless steel http://feeds.wordpre...ess.com/376966/ http://feeds.wordpre...ess.com/376966/ http://feeds.wordpre...ess.com/376966/ http://feeds.wordpre...ess.com/376966/ http://feeds.wordpre...ess.com/376966/ http://feeds.wordpre...ess.com/376966/ http://feeds.wordpre...ess.com/376966/ b.gif?host=9to5mac.com&blog=22754319&pos
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10 of the weirdest Apple Watch apps

25 Apr 2015

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
There are plenty of great apps for the Apple Watch, but what about the weird ones? It turns out that developers have some interesting ideas for what you’d want to do on your wrist. Here are some of the weirdest, mostmf.gif


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