Yesterday, we took a trip up to Dallas to try on the Apple Watch Edition. Yes, that's the really expensive gold one. Sadly, there were no flights of champagne, or tastefully-appointed back rooms. What we did get, instead was a friendly and enthusiastic Apple Store employee, and the heft of four to six ounces of 18-karat gold on our wrist. Keep this in mind: aside from the two sizes of screen to choose from, the price differences between the different models has everything to do with aesthetics and what the casing or band materials are made of, particularly with the Edition.
MacNN and Electronista deals for April 27, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the weekday post where the staff of MacNN and Electronista scour online retailers for discounts, sales, offers, and bundles for you, the discerning reader. Since it is the start of a week, the deals slate has been wiped clean for new items, with the additions including the Google Chromecast, a Tascam digital audio recorder, and a Samsung 4TB external storage drive.
Spotlights on The Feature Thief mini-series, Amazon's sustainability, Deliveries app
If podcasts were eggs, The MacNN Podcast would be ready to deliver in a cardboard carton! We're up to episode 12, and we take a look at the top stories of the past week, including the retail debut -- such as it was -- of the Apple Watch, where a few select high-fashion stores did actually have stock to sell to walk-in customers. We also chat about the big industry news of the Time Warner-Comcast merger collapse, Randy Ubillos' retirement, and more.
Beyond the cool-gadget factor, can they really improve on the smartphone?
Anyone who's been listening to The MacNN Podcast knows there's been some discussion among the staff about wearing smartwatches, and if they think it would be beneficial to do so. Some of us are dubious it would be a useful addition to our workflow, some are skeptical but hopeful an application of value will arise, and some have already ordered theirs and are waiting patiently. Recently, a friend of ours scored several refurbished MetaWatch Frames from Meh.com for what we're going to call "a really good price." So we bought one, in an effort to see if there was any point to wearing a smartwatch.
A tablet stand that can charge two devices at once
When we're traveling or just generally out and about, we've taken to bringing a tablet and Bluetooth keyboard with us, rather than a laptop or netbook. Power for both our tablet, phone, and any other chargeable devices is always an issue. Our personal motto is "ABC," or "Always Be Charging." When we're not in our car or near an outlet, if we're lower than 75 percent on something we plug it into an external battery. Really all anyone needs is power to nourish these digital brains, but extra features are generally useful. The Bracketron Power Flex Stand is a 10,400mAh battery with a built-in tablet stand and flashlight. It will not only support one's tablet or smartphone at a pleasant viewing angle, but will also charge two devices at the same time with dual USB ports. Is it a must-have? Check out our review to find out.
GPS-equipped watch includes cellular communications option
Haier has revealed its own attempt at the smartwatch concept, but one which has a specific purpose in mind. Revealed earlier this week at the IFA Global Press Conference, the unnamed device will allow for the wearer to be tracked and communicated with by a smartphone user, with it aimed at helping keep children as well as older members of society safe.
Google online store discontinues Nexus 7 tablet
Google is no longer selling the Nexus 7 through its online store. Spotted by Talk Android, the product listing for the Android tablet shows the message "The Nexus 7 is no longer available for purchase," and the tablet does not appear in the main products menu anymore. The Nexus 9, the company's larger tablet produced by HTC, remains unaffected and is now the only tablet sold in the store.
Designer pair speak at luxury conference, but make case for mass-market quality
Apple SVP of Design Sir Jonathan Ive and fellow designer Marc Newson appeared at the first Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy on Wednesday and gave an interview to International Vogue editor Suzy Menkes, during which they reiterated the standard speaking points on Apple's overall design philosophy and missing, but also discussed the Apple Watch in the context of the strata of the luxury market, and the meaning of craftsmanship in the 21st century.
Predator notebooks will have extensive cooling system, programmable buttons
Acer revealed more than its new device launches at yesterday's event, teasing to attendees some upcoming gaming devices. A collection of distinctive systems under the existing "Predator" name were unveiled, which will include high-specification notebooks and PCs as expected, but it will also count an Android tablet built for gaming as part of the same product range.
Eyewear manufacturer head advises Google Glass 2 now in development
Google is working on a second generation of its Glass headset, the head of Luxottica has claimed. Massimo Vian, CEO of the Italian glasses producer, told attendees of the company's general meeting that a second version is under development with a future third variant of the smart headwear also being discussed by project engineers at the search giant.
Cricket Wireless adds Canada calls, texts to Smart, Pro plans
Cricket Wireless is upgrading some of its plans to include unlimited international calls and texts to Canada. The $50 Smart Plan and the $60 Pro Plan will gain the extra calling option, joining its existing Mexico calling option, with both new and existing customers receiving the benefit. Customers on the $25 Talk & Text and $40 Basic plans will not receive the upgrade.
Campaign focuses on real-world usage and impact rather than features
Celebrating the launch of the Apple Watch, the company has posted three new ads showcasing its newest device -- complete with Apple's signature style of illustrating everyday use of the Watch ahead of explaining features or giving the product a false image equating it with power, sex, or glamor. The three ads -- "Us," "Up," and "Rise" -- offer dramatized but realistic normal uses for the Apple Watch, with differing emphasis.
MacNN and Electronista deals for April 24, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the regular post where we search online and offline retailers for discounts, offers, and sales on an array of hardware and software for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Today, we cover the still-active deals from throughout the week, while the new deals list includes a sub-$300 960GB SSD, the Pure Jongo T2 wireless speaker, and the Garmin Vivofit fitness band.
Few locations have some actual selling stock, but mostly demos rule on former retail debut
While Apple has since abandoned its former April 24 retail launch day for the Apple Watch due to a global sellout, a few select stores -- almost entirely third-party fashion boutique sellers who secured allotments early -- are said to have or have had actual stock of Apple Watches to sell. Customers hoping to score one today are lining up outside these shops, even as Apple Retail chief Dame Angela Ahrendts spent the day in China.
Software development kit announcement includes round watch face imagery
The next smartwatch from Samsung is likely to have a round face, if a teaser image in a press release is to be believed. A release inviting developers to sign up for early access to a software development kit (SDK) for the manufacturer's "Next generation of the Gear device" has a supplementary image accompanying it, depicting a variety of round faces, strongly suggesting the watch will have one as well.
Watch battery replaceable relatively easily, in-store watch CPU upgrades unlikely
As is the norm for the iFixit crew, a teardown of a new Apple device has been accomplished -- this time, the 38mm Apple Watch Sport is on the disassembly bench. Alongside the breakdown, the company has disclosed the chipsets accompanying the watch, with a mix of new and old technologies combined in the device. In addition to well-known components, a couple of new discoveries were made.
Early pre-orders now shipping as Apple confirms UPS tracking numbers, status
There are an indeterminate number -- possibly as high as a couple of million -- very early pre-order customers who are very excited today, having received confirmation from Apple that their order for the Apple Watch has shipped. Various forms of evidence, from emails from the company notifying buyers of the status change to UPS alerts with tracking numbers has confirmed that a number of customers who got in early should be receiving their Watch order on or about April 24, the original planned public debut day.
Iconia Tab 10, Iconia One 8 tablets launched at Acer event
Acer has revealed two new Iconia tablets as part of its device launches today, as well as bringing one smartphone to the United States for the first time. The Iconia Tab 10 is a tablet aimed at education, the Iconia One 8 offers advanced touch capabilities, and the Liquid M220 smartphone running Windows Phone 8.1 will be arriving in Microsoft Stores in the coming months.
MacNN and Electronista deals for April 23, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, that time of the day when the staff of MacNN and Electronista search the Internet for sales, discounts, and offers, compiling the more notable items into a single post. The usual recap of still-active deals is joined by a Sony Action Cam, a 3D scanner, a Seagate 4TB NAS, and a new way to discover deals for yourself.
Short videos illustrate functionality and look in actual-size screen demos
After releasing the videos in drips, Apple now has completed its set of 10 "guided tour" videos covering the main functions of the Apple Watch. The last three, dealing with Apple Pay, the Activity tracker, and the Workout app were posted on Wednesday, joining videos covering the core user interface of the device and specific functions ranging from phone calls, to customizing the watch face, to sending "digital touch" messages.
Second-generation Pentax K-3 gains astrophotography functions
Ricoh has launched an updated version of its Pentax K-3 digital SLR from late 2013, improving a few elements while keeping the rest the same. Just like the original, the Pentax K-3 II has a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor, but this time Ricoh has introduced a Pixel Shift Resolution system, which uses the camera's shake reduction mechanism to move the sensor in single-pixel increments and capturing four images, combinable into one higher resolution photograph.
Select high-end fashion stores to carry Sport, Watch models, no Edition
Most likely due to orders having been filled ahead of the April 10 pre-ordering debut of the Apple Watch, a handful of select high-end boutique outlets will actually have some Apple Watches for sale on April 24, as the company originally planned for its own stores. The boutiques are said to be receiving pre-alloted shipments of the Sport and Watch models, but the gold Edition version continues to be unavailable anywhere at retail.
Pre-order buyers near major distribution centers may get their goodies a bit earlier than estimated
[Updated with Apple confirmation] In addition to reader reports of the first wave of Apple Watch pre-orders moving from "processing" to "preparing for shipment" -- a sign that the delivery will be taking place soon -- some customers who ordered non-Sport or other Apple Watch models who initially were given 6-8 week shipment windows have reported that their credit cards have been charged and their order status also changed to "preparing to ship," though the estimated delivery dates have not yet been amended. Those who have ordered custom Retina MacBook models are also reporting charges.
MacNN and Electronista deals for April 22, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the regular post where the staff of MacNN and Electronista scour online retailers for discounts, offers, and sales for you, the discerning reader. A recap of still-active deals from earlier in the week follows the new batch, including a Core i7 notebook from HP, DJ headphones from Technics, and a pile of SSDs
A lot of thump in a little box
The Rapoo Bluetooth Mini NFC Speaker is a little metallic box about the size of a baseball. In spite of its small size, we were very pleased with the volume and quality of the sound it produced. The documentation made some claims of fancy features we weren't able to substantiate, but the overall performance of the speaker, compared to other portable Bluetooth speakers, was pretty swell in our opinion. Check out our review!
Developers can sign up for single Sport model, shipping guaranteed by April 28
A new email being sent to developers from Apple is offering them the opportunity to buy a specific, single Apple Watch model -- and, importantly, guarantees shipping by April 28. The company is trying to ensure that developers either actively working on Apple Watch applications or are planning to develop apps for that platform have a test model they can use to confirm and troubleshoot their work. Apple is offering a single variation in the pitch to developers: a Sport model (42mm) with the aluminum casing and a blue sport band.
MacNN and Electronista Deals for April 21, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, that time of the day when we search online retailers for discounts, offers, and sales on hardware, software, and gadgets for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Yesterday's still-active deals are joined by a Toshiba notebook, a bundle for the PlayStation Vita, and a $350 3D Printer
Supported device list pruned as part of YouTube Data API changes
Google is preparing to cut support for its YouTube apps on a number of aging devices. An announcement on the YouTube support pages notes that select devices manufactured before or during 2012 will lose support for the video app, with the list including smart TVs and Blu-ray players, older Google TV devices, earlier models of the Apple TV, and some iOS devices.
Support for HDCP 2.2 appears in most of the new Sony home cinema audio devices
Sony has revealed a collection of four new sound bars and two A/V receivers to its home cinema audio range. The HT-ST9, HT-NT3, HT-CT780, and HT-CT380 sound bars and STR-DN860 and STR-DN1060 receivers will be going on sale in the United States starting in May, with all but the CT380 being HDCP 2.2 compliant, supporting playback of copyright-protected 4K content.
Fortunate minority expected to receive devices on or before original April 24 debut
Some of the estimated 2.3 million who were able to order an Apple Watch on the first day of availability before the global inventory sold out in mere hours may soon be getting their order. Reader reports of cards being charged and emails that report the Apple Watch order as "preparing for shipment" went out on Monday for some customers, while many who ordered just minutes into the process are still being told their orders should ship within four to six weeks.
MacNN and Electronista deals for April 20, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the post where the staff of MacNN and Electronista trawl the Internet for discounts, offers, and sales on electronic goods for you, the discerning reader. Since it is the start of a new week, all old deals have been removed from the list ready for new items, including discounts on the Apple iPad Air 2 Retina, Lenovo ThinkPad Edge, and the Kindle Fire HD 7.
Keeping track of what's on, and what it's costing
Neurio Home Intelligence is a piece of hardware that, when integrated into a home's breaker box, monitors electricity usage and allows the homeowner to see at a glance if they left the oven on, and what their electric bill might be. While the installation seems simple enough, we recommend having a qualified, professional electrician install it; using it after that is as easy as pie. While the performance of the Neurio Home Intelligence wasn't as magical as some of the documentation made it out to be, we really like this thing, and found it very useful -- check our review to see why we liked it so much.
Upcoming Android Wear update lets smartwatches be used away from smartphones
The next update to Android Wear will extend the capabilities of wearable devices using the operating system, making them more useful as standalone devices. Just as previously rumored, the update will allow smartwatches with Wi-Fi connectivity to work over a local wireless network connection when outside of Bluetooth range, but it will require the user's smartphone to have some form of Internet connection in order to remotely access apps and notifications.
Unannounced folding UK charger shown by athlete and Ive friend Will Carling
As reported previously, a few Apple executives and designer were in Milan this weekend to show off the Apple Watch, including Sir Jonathan Ive and designer Marc Newson, as well as SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller. Photos from the event, and a post from a friend of Ive's, confirm that a number of unannounced Sport Band colors were on display at the Salone del Mobile design event. A number of notable VIPs also received Apple Watches as gifts.
Security feature in Wink Hub software causes downtime
Owners of the Wink Hub smart home device have endured a major service outage yesterday, following a software update. The outage, which lasted from 12:40pm eastern until 11pm, prevented the hubs from being able to perform general smart home functions, and though many hubs were able to recover from the incident, a number are having to be returned to the manufacturer and replaced.
Stores to offer workshop on Apple Watch starting April 24, despite shortages
Although the unexpected sellout of the Apple Watch will put a crimp of unavailability in the works, Apple is going ahead with new "Apple Watch Basics" workshops at some of its retail stores beginning April 24. The lucky relative few who will receive their pre-orders on or near launch day, along with those who are still waiting, are likely to be the chief participants in the workshops, which will run through May 8 in the US only. The classes will run approximately 60 minutes in order to cover all of the many key features of the new device.
MacNN and Electronista daily deals for April 17, 2015
Hello and welcome to Daily Deals, where the staff of MacNN and Electronista scour online retailers to find discounts, offers, and sales for you, our discerning readers. A recap of still-active deals from the rest of the week follows the new deals batch, which includes an inexpensive hybrid hard drive/SSD for the desktop, a great deal on the 850 evo SSD, and a good price on a smart TV.
Up4 fitness tracker with NFC can perform American Express payments
Jawbone has launched two new fitness wearables, with one hinted at by a report yesterday. The Up2 is the successor to the Up24, taking the form of a more modest fitness tracker compared to the delayed Up3, while the Up4 is a more advanced device that will be able to make payments in retail stores via a partnership with American Express and an NFC chip.
Company expands video tutorials on Apple Watch features in run-up to launch day
Yesterday, Apple posted four new videos to its site and YouTube channel showcasing additional tent-pole features of the Apple Watch, including handling phone calls, interacting with Siri, music playback, and Maps usage. Last week the company had posted a general overview tutorial video, along with shorter ones focusing on Digital Touch, messaging, and customizing the watch face. The videos reveal minor details of the various operations previously not publicized.
MacNN and Electronista deals for April 16, 2015
Hello and welcome to Daily Deals, the regular post where we find great offers, discounts, sales, and deals for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Today's recap of still-active deals from earlier this week comes alongside new items including the Belkin WeMo Wi-Fi enabled light switch, an all-in-one laser printer from Dell, and the Garmin Vivofit Fitness Band.
Report claims Jawbone wearable will perform American Express payments in future
Yet another wearable device will be offering alternative payments in the future, according to a report. According to the Wall Street Journal, American Express and Jawbone are planning to announce a new system that will allow AmEx card owners to use the manufacturer's fitness bands to make payments at a number of retailers in the United States.
New device to make rare non-Apple appearance at Milan exhibition
While nobody who sees it will be able to get one before next month at the absolute earliest, the Apple Watch will be exhibited in a rare non-Apple appearance at the furniture-oriented Salone del Mobile fair in Milan, Italy, in a special event celebrating design and art on April 17. The event has a history of spotlighting outstanding design, and attracts designers from around the world. Sir Jonathan Ive, the leader of the team that designed the Apple Watch, will be in attendance.
Wi-Fi connection with second camera allows Panasonic HX-A1 to combine videos together
Panasonic has introduced its own action camera that is designed to be worn for point-of-view videos. The HX-A1 is a cylindrical HD camera that weighs a light 45 grams (1.5 ounces) and is capable of surviving a few knocks and elemental challenges without an extra housing case, including being shockproof from drops at a height of 5 feet, waterproof to a similar depth, dustproof, and able to work at temperatures as low as 14F (-10C).
MacNN and Electronista deals for April 14, 2015
Hello and welcome to Daily Deals, where the staff of MacNN and Electronista scour online retailers to find discounts, offers, and sales for you, our discerning readers. A recap of still-active deals from Monday follows the new deals batch, which includes $100 off the Alienware Alpha, a triple-pack of Seagate storage drives, and a heavily-discounted Lytro camera.
Powerful set of tools enables researchers to attract volunteers, study larger pool of data
One of the most critically-lauded -- particularly by the public -- aspects of Apple's "Spring Forward" event last March wasn't the sleek new MacBook or even the remarkable miniaturization that enabled the Apple Watch; it was the section devoted to ResearchKit, a new SDK aimed at leveraging the sensors found in many mobile devices to help medical professionals develop apps that could further medical research into any number of diseases, conditions, or illnesses. On Tuesday, Apple released it to all developers and open-sourced it.
New Cyber-shots boast 30x optical zoom, flip-up rear display
Sony has unveiled a new collection of Cyber-shot digital cameras, with slimline bodies and a few Alpha-level functions. The HX90, HX90V, and WX500 are extremely similar compact cameras, using an 18.2-megapixel Exmor R CMOS sensor with a Bionz X image processor, with the Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens providing a 30x optical zoom, a 35mm equivalent of 25mm to 750mm, and a digital zoom of up to 60x.
Healthcare companies announcing plethora of new apps for Apple Watch platform
A number of healthcare companies, many of whom are just now working deeply with the HealthKit APIs from Apple to create health-oriented applications, are already pivoting to create complementary apps for the new Apple Watch platform as well, which creates new opportunities for handling certain kinds of results and notifications. More than a dozen applications have been announced in just the last week, ranging from a medication reminder for patients to a glucose monitor system for the Watch.
Apple Watch hands-on reports, a look at Photos, new videos, more
Following a longer-than-expected submission process to Apple, we're pleased to report that episode 10 of The MacNN Podcast, along with all previous episodes, has finally arrived on iTunes. Listeners can now search for, subscribe to, and generally wallow in our backlog of tech news, app picks, and bad jokes. The latest episode has a couple of remote reports from Australia and the UK about the Apple Watch concierge try-on experience, the arrival of Photos with OS X 10.10.3, our new videos, and more.
MacNN and Electronista deals for April 13, 2015
Hello and welcome to Daily Deals, the post where we search the Internet for sales, offers, and discounts for you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader. Since it is the start of a new week, all older sales have been removed, with the new batch including discounts on the Lexar JumpDrive, $100 off the Moto 360, and $100 off the Apple iPad Air 2.
Onboard sensor data can be added to Virb X, Virb XE videos
Garmin has added another two imaging devices to its Virb camera range. The Virb X and Virb XE are action cameras that are not only capable of shooting high-definition video in rugged environments, but can also monitor what is happening in the environment around it, overlaying various gauges and other extra information on top of the recorded video.