With the March 9 announcement date revealed, with the cheeky "Spring Forward" message indicative of turning clocks ahead, we can now look forward to what comes after the Apple Watch. Yes, there will be updates to the MacBook Air, with a 12-inch screen expected, and maybe a 12-inch iPad Pro as well. Others have written about the 200 engineers working on an Apple Car, although I think the likelihood of Apple shipping cars is still small.
The Prong case was one of the most promising cases when it debuted at CES 2014 a little over a year ago. It was the first, and only, case to include retractable prongs allowing it to plug directly into a wall socket. No need to carry a microUSB or Lightning cable.
On Tuesday Pebble announced their new Pebble Time watch, which will be available in May. At the same time, they launched a new Kickstarter campaign to help fund the device, with a starting price of $159 and an expected retail price of $199. Pebble Time uses a new interface called Timeline that's based on a timeline that includes notifications, news, weather, sports, traffic, reminders, and more. Like the Apple Watch, the timeline elements are fed by apps. And like the Apple Watch, you can get information at a glance. The new interface puts apps more in the background and exerts a bit more control over the user experience. This, too, is reminiscent of Apple Watch.
Even though it's still winter across much of the U.S., spring is just around the corner with its longer days, warming temperatures, and the promise of outdoor adventures. And after what has been such an intense winter for much of the country, playing in the beautiful spring air probably sounds pretty good to many of you right about now. To that end, we've rounded up some of the best, must-have gear for your spring and summertime fun.
I've written often about Olloclip and their clip-on lenses for iPhones. Their latest batch supports both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, using an insert for each phone. This is great if you have both types of phones in your household, or if you might upgrade later. We have a few iPhone 6 phones in the family, but might add a 6 Plus to the household, so it's always nice when accessory makers keep multiple devices in mind.
If you want the latest technology, like I do, and you long for the old-school attention to detail of days gone by, as I do, you'll appreciate the line of microphones and speakers from Samson. The Meteor M2 speakers remind me of drive-in movie theater speakers, but with much better sound. The speakers come as a pair, offering stereo sound unlike those old drive-in models. But their heft, thanks to the zinc die cast construction, harkens back to a day when things were built to last.
Apple could add $5 billion to its coffers each quarter in sales of the gold version of their Apple Watch. Expectations are that as much as 17 percent of the Apple Watch sales will be of the pricey gold version, which would translate to one million sales, per quarter, of a wearable expected to sell for $5,000. Are there 4 million wealthy Apple fans who are willing to pony up for that pricetag? If so, it could explain Angela Ahrents bonus of $73 million for leaving the CEO spot at Burberry to run Apple's retail division. That incentive seemed outrageous originally, but she gave up a comparable amount at Burberry. Now she has to work her magic to make sure that number is noise compared to the revenue she may bring in. It may be paying off, as Self magazine is already showcasing an Apple Watch on their cover worn by supermodel Candice Swanepoel.
iPhone 6 has its improved battery life going for it, but who minds a few more potential electrons in the bullpen, or in this case (yes, I pun) more than double? The $99.99 ibattz Mojo Invictus Refuel (what a mouthful) slams another 125 percent charge on your 6 with its replaceable 3200 mAh case power pack. It's a bit quirky to install, but once it's ensconced, you will not be disappointed in the protection and extra power—with the unique option (and first I have seen) of replacing the case battery.
I love the juxtaposition of wood and high technology. I'm surrounded by the latest gear, so it's nice to have a little old-world influence in a gadget. Several examples of wooden "artisanal" gadgets arrived in my mail recently, and they are a pleasure to behold.
We will be getting the Apple Watch soon, but it may not be the watch we could have had. As powerful as the Apple Watch will be, Apple reportedly had more ambitious plans for their first generation wearable, but they were axed
for several reasons, including regulatory approval. If Apple were to start making medical claims, they would need approval from the FDA. While the watch will have a heart rate sensor, the dropped features include tracking of blood pressure and stress levels. Apple apparently couldn't guarantee accurate results, as there are too many variables, such as how tightly the watch is worn.
My daughter is participating in the American Heart Association Jumprope for Heart program. To prepare, I've had her try the VERT Jump Tracking Device ($124.99). While it's meant for professional and serious athletes, it gave her the feedback and encouragement needed to keep working. The VERT is a belt-clip wearable that's made in the U.S. and if you don't have an outfit that accommodates a belt-clip, they include an elastic belt as an option.
Groucho Marx used to say "Live every day as if it were your last, because one day, you're going to be right." Likewise, Piper Jaffray's Gene Muster is always proclaiming that "this year" is the year Apple will ship its own full-size Apple TV and not just a hockey puck-sized set-top box. He still thinks a full-fledged television is coming from Apple, but in the meantime, an updated Apple TV should ship in 2015. That is a safer bet (and a far safer one than Apple shipping an automobile.)
Once again, Apple watchers (not to be confused with Apple Watches) are getting giddy about the concept of an Apple car. Every so often this prospect gets some traction, in part because of Steve Jobs and Jony Ive's appreciation for cars. There was some work with Volkswagon, dubbed the iBeetle, but that was more of a branding promotion. The reason people think Apple might be making its own car, now, is that they have been trying to poach employees from Tesla. This is hardly a reason to draw such conclusions, however.
The fitness tracker movement reminds me of that saying about the weather. Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. Pedometers and trackers are helpful, but they are observers. I discovered a cool gadget at CES that actually improves your health. The Valedo is a two-piece wearable that sticks to your chest and lower back using the 100 included disposable stickers. The two lightweight sensors work together to determine your posture and position, while you "play" a 3D interactive game.
We are learning more about the Apple Watch, in part thanks to a conference call Apple CEO Tim Cook had recently with analysts. We already knew that the battery life (about 19 hours with light use) would prohibit sleeping with the watch on. This, and its size, make it less suitable as a sleep tracker. So don't expect the Apple Watch to tell you how you slept. In fact, it looks like the watch will discourage you from being still! There is a mode that beta testers have been using that will remind you to get up and stop being so sedentary.
Apple made a rare move when it publicly announced the Apple Watch many months before it would be available. But this may have been designed to discourage potential customers from purchasing competing smart watches. If so, it worked, as only 720,000 Android Wear devices shipped during the last six months of 2014, the time period when it was available. Users might not want to spend $200 to $350 on a watch, and if they do, they will want to keep it a while, rather than upgrade every year or two. This means it was wiser to wait and see how robust Apple's offering would be.
The hard part about choosing a case from Verus
is that there are so many choices. And the difference between the cases are subtle but significant. I had the opportunity to try several of their cases, for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and it was quite difficult to pick a favorite. So let's start with what they all have in common. They offer all-around protection, which includes the bottom of the iPhone, where many cases leave the phone vulnerable.
If all of your data is in the cloud, and you can easily download it to your iOS device, off-line storage probably isn’t an issue. But that is not how most people roll, especially when on the road. Which is why you probably need a PC or Mac and some local storage to complement your cloud services and to load content onto your iPad or iPhone.
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