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Apple Watch Is Already Having an Impact

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The Apple Watch isn't shipping until early next year, but it's already having an impact. Existing smartwatches are dropping in price and trying to carve out a niche before the $349 version from Apple ships. Case in point, Pebble, the one that arguably started it all. The $10 million Kickstarter-backed project offered a smartwatch for the masses, at $100 for backers (including myself) and eventually retailed for $150. The higher-end Steel model sold for $250. Now the original Pebble is back to $100 (and $80 at some outlets) and the Steel is a more reasonable $200 (and only $150 at some outlets.) I appreciate the long battery life, magnetic charging, and waterproof capabilities of my Pebble, but I also like my Martian Watch which offers Voice Command via a Siri button. That watch was $300 but can now be picked up for as little as $230 at Staples. They also have a cheaper Notifier product line that doesn't include the speakerphone and voice capabilities but still provides notifications.



Product Review: Xtorm Power Case for iPhone 6 by A-Solar

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I am a power user for sure. I have my phone with me all of the time and have even been known to fall asleep with it clutched in my hand. Clearly, putting my phone down so it can charge is not something that makes me happy. I loved the power case I had for my old iPhone 5s, but when the 6 came out, I had to replace it. The good people at A-Solar sent me the Xtorm Power Case AM412 (69, about $85.53) to take for a test spin. Here's how it went.



TAG Heuer Answers Apple Watch Wakeup Call

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Many traditional watch makers sat on the sideline while smartwatches from Pebble, Motorola, Samsung, LG, and others were released. But now that Apple is about to release their Apple Watch, with heavy emphasis on fashion and the high-end market, those luxury watch makers no longer have the luxury of waiting. With the Apple Watch starting at $350, and rumored to stretch to $5,000 or more for the gold models, this is a shot across the bow for Rolex and others.



Tip of the Day: How to Use Your iPhone’s LED Flash for Alerts

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There are times when we might need an extra alert if an important message or phone call is expected. If you work in a noisy environment or can’t keep your phone right next you, you can use the LED flash on the iPhone to alert you to calls or other notifications.



iPhone Fashion: High Fashion iPhone Cases for Every Occasion

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Phones are fashion. Think about it; your phone is your number one accessory, the one thing you carry on your person every single day. You don’t wear the same outfit every day (unless your job requires you to wear a uniform, in which case, I am sincerely sorry) so why would you make your phone wear the same case everyday? If you love changing your iPhone’s cases the way you changed clothing on a 1980s Dolly Pops, love fashion, want to personalize your phone, or are looking for a cool and unique Christmas gift, I have the top online sources for iPhone fashion. 



Mini Motor Racing WRT - Free to Play Sequel to hit App stores this week!

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Mini Motor Racing ($0.99), the miniature racing game, garnered an App store award in 2012 with it's primo graphics, twisty tracks, and bouncy physics. It reminds me of a graphically enhanced version of the Windows Mobile classic, K-Rally (though K-rally also featured weapons which was so fun it was crazy). If you missed the original game, you can still grab it, or you can get the freemium, enhanced WRT version when it's released later this week! I give the two games a bit of a comparison in this mini-review.



FiiV iPad Case Houses a HotSpot and Battery Pack

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When considering the purchase of an iPad case, things like affordability, design, and protection all factor into the decision. The FiiV iPad case—currently on IndieGogo—adds a few more options for iPad owners. This smart case alleviates two common struggles you may face while you're out and about: Battery life and Wi-Fi. And the case itself is surprisingly slim even with the inclusion of added peripherals.



This Week's Gaming Distraction: Zengrams

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We're spoiled for choice when it comes to games nowadays; new apps come out every week, and there are hundreds of development companies working around the clock to create the most addicting, entrancing, and entertaining distractions possible. Games are as old as humanity itself, but we haven't always had such a wide variety of them; for thousands of years, we made do with just a handful of brain-teasing puzzles. These games were challenging enough to carry on down through the generations, and their influence is still occasionally seen today. Zengrams ($0.99), by Gameblyr, is one such example; it takes inspiration from ancient Chinese tangram puzzles. Translating to “seven boards of skill,” tangrams consisted of seven flat geometric shapes; the goal was to use all of the pieces to completely fill a larger outline. Tangrams are some of the most famous dissection puzzles on earth; from the seven standard shapes, there are over 6500 configurations currently known.



Tip of the Day: How to Create and Edit Playlists on Your iDevice

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I do most of my song purchasing via my iPhone, and I love to make new playlists. Making a playlist on the go is surprisingly easy! I make sure to sync them with my computer so my family can easily download them as well. 



Draco Does It Again, with a Ducati Bumper for the iPhone 6

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A year and a month ago, I reviewed the iPhone 5/5s Ducati bumper case by Draco, and sure enough, they have a new model for the iPhone 6. It's just as elegant, robust, and light as last year's model, just a bit slimmer to match Apple's latest iPhone. The bumpers are available in black, red, silver and gold, and if you don't need the Ducati branding, there's a non-licensed version as well. The Ducati models include an adhesive Ducati logo and matching lanyard, which you can use with your iPhone thanks to the tiny slot in the Draco bumper.



Swift Programming 101: The Power of Extensions

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Extensions are one of Swift's best features. Extensions allow you to add behavior to existing classes, including classes in the Cocoa Touch Framework. Apple can't add every feature you want to their framework classes, but they have provided a tool to allow you to do it yourself! In this article, you will learn practical uses for Swift extensions you can use immediately in your iOS projects.



WINNERS of the iPhone Life December 15 Biweekly Giveaway

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Thanks to everyone who entered the December 15 iPhone Life Biweekly Giveaway! Every other week we give away three amazing prizes, so if you didn't win this time, make sure you enter the December 29 giveaway and tell your friends to enter too!

And the winner is... (drum roll please):



Holiday Gift Guide: Wireless Speakers

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This is part two of my Holiday Gift Guide. Part one covered headphones and today's topic is Wireless Speakers. For the low-end "Good" selection, I like the Boombotix REX. The sound is good and it comes from a compact yet robust package. It's durable and water resistant, with all ports sealed by rubber flaps. There's a strong belt clip so you can take the Boombotix with you and not worry about the weather.



Tip of the Day: Use Siri to Find Movie Ratings and Theater Info and to Watch Trailers

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Everyone likes movies. And no one likes wasting time on the lousy ones. So no doubt you check out the reviews to see what people are saying about it. Siri can help. Siri will not only let you find out what's playing at local theaters and play the trailer, but will also tell you how a movie is rated.



Replace Your Native Reminders App with Checkmark 2

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I have written about native app replacements before when it was time to change your calendar. Now, it's time to change your Reminders app.



BabyTime App Helps Parents and Care Givers Track Baby’s Health and Well-Being

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You can talk to any parent and they can surely tell you a thing or two about the "adventures" of taking care of a baby. Every parent wants to figure out how they can ease and comfort their little bundle of joy so as not to wake the whole block or to sneak away for some moments of that precious thing called sleep.



Holiday Gift Guide: Good, Better, Best

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Every year, around this time, people ask me what they should get as a gift for some tech lover in their life. So I put together a presentation entitled Todd's Holiday Gift Guide: Good/Better/Best. This way, purchasers can decide what their budget is and pick out an appropriate gift! The categories I addressed include Headphones, Wireless Speakers, Stylus, Chargers, Docks, Smart Home Devices, and Smart Watches.



Apple Again Airs Touching Holiday Ad

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Apple's holiday ad last year, titled "Misunderstood," won an Emmy for "Most Outstanding Commercial." It featured a boy playing with his iPhone over the course of a holiday family gathering, seemingly on the periphery, and keeping to himself. But all the while he was shooting and editing a video of the family's activities, which he then played for everyone — and touched their hearts. This year's ad, titled "The Song," is equally moving. 



Tip of the Day: Have Siri Tell You a Story

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Siri is wonderfully useful, giving you directions, current weather conditions, and stock market updates, setting appointments and reminders, and much more. But as you've likely discovered, Siri also has a fun personality—including telling you jokes and even telling you a bedtime story.



Enter the iPhone Life Photo Contest: Deadline December 26!

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It's photo contest time again. We know you enjoy taking the occasional artistic shot with your iPhone, so why not get rewarded for it! Enter our iPhone Photography Contest for a chance to win awesome prizes and a spot in our magazine! 



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