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Consumer Reports Rates Apple Watch Ahead of Other Smartwatches

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Consumer Reports has now conducted a series of tests on 11 different smartwatches, and the stainless steel Apple Watch came out on top. The tests looked at durability, health functionality, readability in bright and low light, ease of use, and ease of interaction. The sapphire crystal display of the stainless steel Apple Watch outperformed all other watches on the scratch test, earning a score of 9 on the Mohs test (meaning that the only mineral that could scratch it is diamond). The Apple Watch Sport, which has Gorilla Glass, didn't do as well and was on par with other watches that use Gorilla Glass.



Apple TV Remote Control to Get a Refresh

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The Apple TV is due for a refresh and signs point to a June announcement, at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. The box might not be the only element to get an upgrade, as reports suggest the remote control that ships with the Apple TV, and is sold separately to control Macs, could get a touchpad. I was just setting up a current version of the Apple TV at a friend's house today and it was a pain trying to use the arrow keys to enter an email and password. Usually I use the Apple Remote iPad or iPhone app which adds touchscreen control and a virtual keyboard. It will be a nice addition if the next generation of the Apple TV includes an improved remote control.



Tip of the Day: How to Turn Off Government Alerts

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There have been a couple of times now that I’ve been startled out of a deep sleep by my iPhone emitting a high pitched screeching sound. The sound was to make me aware of an AMBER (child abduction) Alert. 

I think AMBER Alerts are a great thing and help save lives, but what annoyed me was that the alert was from a city almost 300 miles away from me. Was it really relevant to me?

Most of the time the alerts are pinged off of cell towers and are specific to the area. I’m not sure why I received this particular alert, but it made me consider turning it off.



Review: SameGrain app

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Meeting new people through SameGrain (free), a platonic version of Tinder, is pretty interesting. Users can tell the app what they like to do and the app will provide matches. For those who want to meet people online, this is a good platform to do so.



Celebrate Star Wars Day With Some Inspired Gear

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May 4 ought to be a national holiday. That day is known as Star Wars Day, as in "May the Fourth be with you!" Fortunately, there are a ton of accessories that can get you in the spirit of Star Wars. A year ago, I reviewed the SMS Audio Boba Fett headphones and I still use them, so I can report that they have held up well. It was nice to learn that SMS has expanded their Star Wars-themed offerings to include Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Tie Fighter, and R2-D2 versions. They are adorable and each one has a unique design that will be appreciated by any Star Wars fan. The headphones are packaged in a gift-worthy box that includes a carrying case, poster, sticker, cleaning cloth, and certificate of authenticity that extend the Star Wars theme. These new headphones are available for pre-order, and early adopters will receive a free t-shirt as well.



Apple Watch Has Hidden Port That Accessory Makers Have Figured Out How to Use

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Some months ago is was discovered that the Apple Watch has a port that lies between the casing and the band, and isn't visible when the band is connected. No one is quite sure what its purpose is. Some speculated that it was there so that Apple could run diagnostics on the watch, though now that the watch is available, Apple employees use an iPhone to do the diagnostics. Now an accessory maker has figured out how to use the port to provide power to the Apple Watch. They're planning to sell a band that will let you charge your Apple Watch while you're on the go. The company, called Reserve Strap, was originally designing a band that would wirelessly supplement your Apple Watch's battery. But then they discovered that the six-pin port could be used instead. 



iPad Pro Could Use Stylus, Force Touch and More

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If the rumors are true, the upcoming iPad Pro could incorporate a stylus and Force Touch, like the new MacBook and Apple Watch. Both Force Touch and a stylus would make it possible to create more artistic content thanks to pressure sensitivity. Fifty Three is one third party that released a Bluetooth stylus dubbed the Pencil which works with their Paper by Fifty Three app for the iPad. The combination allows for pressure sensitive drawing where the harder you press, the thicker the lines are. The Pencil uses Bluetooth, whereas an Apple offering could rely on Force Touch or Apple's version of Near Field Communication or some combination of those technologies.



Tip of the Day: How to Encrypt Your iTunes iPhone Backup

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It’s a good idea to get in the habit of backing up your iDevices on a regular basis.  Having a recent backup can prevent the loss of photos, passwords, contacts, settings, and other important data in the event your device is ever stolen or destroyed.  To keep that backup data secure, it's important to encrypt the backup. In fact, some things, such as your passwords, Health data, and Wi-Fi settings can’t be backed up unless the backup is encrypted. 



In Praise of the App Store

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As an app developer, I have to be thankful for the App Store. It's the only legitimate way to get custom apps on iOS devices. Mac developers have a choice, and I know there are Mac App developers who prefer to sell their software in more traditional methods. Some offer their apps both on the Mac App Store and via download. Today, I had two different reasons to feel discouraged from using such apps.



Tip of the Day: How to Add and Remove Apps From the Dock

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Apple has placed what it thinks are the most useful apps in the dock of the iPad and iPhone, where they are accessible on every Home screen. However, your idea of the most useful apps may be different from Apple's. Here's how to add or remove apps from your dock.



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