Tag - Pebble
Every so often, MacNN finds a deal that is too big or important to go into our usual deals lists, and is major enough to be highlighted in its own Big Deals post. If you've wanted to get onto the smart watch bandwagon but didn't want to shell out for an Apple Watch, there is a solution, with the MacNN Deals store offering a handy discount on the Pebble Time, the company's second-generation wearable device.
One of the companies who helped bring smart watches into the mainstream is preparing to lay off approximately a quarter of its staff, in order to save itself money. Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky confirmed in an interview that the company will be letting go of 40 employees this week, and squarely blames the difficulty in raising more funds from venture capitalists as the main reason behind the reduction in the smart watch manufacturer's workforce.
Pebble has announced it is bringing updates to all devices in its smartwatch range, upgrading the capabilities of both the original Pebble and the more recent Pebble Time collections. Pebble users will soon get to use the Timeline interface introduced with Time devices, while Time owners will benefit from the addition of activity tracking in the form of Pebble Health, bringing the smartwatch more in line with others on the market.
Pebble has added the ability to respond to text messages on an iPhone via the Pebble Time smartwatch range, but only to a limited number of users. US-based owners with a post-paid AT&T account are able to beta test iOS Text Reply, a feature that lets users either select a pre-defined text reply to incoming messages appearing within the iOS Messages app, or respond with a voice reply by speaking directly into the smartwatch.
Pebble is shipping the circular-faced version of its smartwatch on the 8th of November, starting with those who preordered the wearable device when it was first announced in September. On the same day as shipments begin, the Pebble Time Round will be available at retail in the United States, with the smartwatch appearing in Target and BestBuy stores from Sunday onwards, priced at $250.
The Apple Watch may be helping improve the sales of other wearable devices, according to the head of one smartwatch manufacturer. Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky suggests the introduction of Apple's own wearable has pushed consumers into considering using smartwatches and other wearable devices, increasing sales for competing devices instead of acquiring existing smartwatch users away from other platforms.
Pebble has launched a new model its Pebble Time smartwatch collection, this time as a wearable device with a circular face. The Pebble Time Round switches out the square face of its stablemates for a round display and casing, this time using a thinner 7.5mm-thick metal body and a relatively thick bezel, though it retains the always-on 64-color e-paper display and core functionality as the earlier models in the Time range.
Pebble has brought out its latest firmware update for the Pebble Time and the Pebble Time Steel, with version 3.4 adding multiple new features to the second-generation smartwatches on iOS and Android. Support for new languages have been added to the devices, along with a new Quiet Time mode and a beta release of a Standby mode, with it also bringing the usual collection of bug fixes and stability improvements to the smartwatch.
Pebble has started to accept reservations for the Pebble Time Steel from non-Kickstarter backers. Priced at $250 each, with a choice of three finishes and an Italian leather band, TechnoBuffalo reports that new customers will have to wait until Pebble Time Steel production catches up with existing backers, which could be before the end of next month. Shipments of the Steel version of the smartwatch to Kickstarter backers is starting this week, though the free matching steel band will be shipping later this year.
A firmware update for the Pebble Time is available to install, with version 3.2 adding more settings and fixes to the device. Among the additions are intensity and time-out duration options for the backlight, adjustable font sizes for certain areas of the operating system, adjustable vibration strength for various alert-related functions, and a Dismiss All action for notifications. The smartwatch can be updated via the Pebble Time app's support menu.
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WhatsApp working on Mac desktop app?
Allegedly-leaked information from a WhatsApp beta enthusiast account on Twitter appears to suggest that the messaging service and app maker may be developing native Mac and Windows versions, allowing users who sign up with the service to text each other all over the world using either Wi-Fi or cellular data. The source of the documents is in question, but it would not be unusual for the service to expand onto Mac and Windows desktops. WhatsApp is currently available for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia, Symbian, and Windows Phone. http://bit.ly/1Ura0zN
Drake's Views an iTunes, Music exclusive
Drake's new album Views (formerly known as Views from the 6) has debuted on iTunes and Apple Music as an exclusive in the first week of its release. The singles Once Dance and Pop Style, however, are available elsewhere in the interim. Securing exclusives from leading artists has been a key strategy that Apple has adopted in trying to attract users to its services. Most notably, Taylor Swift's hugely popular 1989remains unavailable to users of competing services like Spotify or Tidal. http://apple.co/1NLwsSH
TSMC chip sales to Apple jump $2B in 2015
Apple A9 and A9X chip supplier TSMC saw sales to Apple jump $2 billion in 2015. TSMC's fabrication partnership with Apple on the A-series processor helped drive its revenue to $26.4 billion, up six percent over the previous year, although its dependence on Apple's chip orders meant that without its business, TSMC's revenue would have actually declined by two percent. The Taiwan-based chip maker is currently sharing Apple's A9-series chip supplies with Samsung, although is rumored to be gaining all Apple's orders for the next-generation Apple A10 chips. http://bit.ly/24tCE6e
Fiat Chrysler adding Siri Eyes Free
On Friday, automaker Fiat Chrysler issued a software update for selected 2013-2015 model cars to allow Siri Eyes Free, the precursor to the more fully-featured CarPlay, to be compatible with the vehicles' infotainment systems, including steering wheel control. The 2013 through 2015 model Ram 1500/2500/3500, the 2013-2015 Dodge Viper, the 2014-2015 Dodge Durango, the 2014-2015 Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, and the 2015 models of Dodge Challenger and Charger, Jeep Renegade, and Chrysler 200 and 300 can be upgraded through the Unconnect touchscreen, visiting the Uconnect site and entering their 17-digit Vehicle ID, then downloading the update to a USB drive. Installation can take up to 45 minutes, and can only be done while the vehicle is in park. http://bit.ly/23f0sby
Tor Myhren starts as VP of Communications
After an initial announcement in December, Apple on Friday added former Grey Group chief creative officer Tor Myhren to its leadership roster as VP of Marketing Communications, placing the well-known ad exec in charge of Apple's advertising and Internet marketing efforts, as well as having a hand in packaging design. He will report directly to CEO Tim Cook, and is replacing the retired Hiroki Asai, who left Apple after 18 years with the company. Myhren is expected to continue Apple recent push into more "lifestyle" marketing rather than product-centric ads, such as the well-remembered "I'm a Mac" campaign from last decade. http://apple.co/1Wwf0Dd
Marseilles Apple Store to open May 14
Apple has officially announced its newest retail store in France, which is to open in the southern port city of Marseilles in the Les Terrasses du Port shopping center on May 14 at 10AM local time. It will be the 19th full retail store Apple has opened in the country, or 20th if one includes the Apple Watch-only boutique at Galeries Lafayette in Paris. Apple is said to be planning a new showcase Paris store to be located on the Champs-Élysées. http://apple.co/1pP77vO
Maps adds Flyover, Suggestions locations
Apple has updated Maps to include Spotlight Suggestions for Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, allowing users to search both internally and across the web on both Mac and iOS devices for data in Spotlight. In addition, the company has added Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and Akron, Ohio to the 3D Flyover feature, offering computer-enhanced aerial views of the two areas -- and has activated real-time traffic information for Thailand, which will augment services like reminders to incorporate estimated travel times for appointments, as an example. The company recently added Nearby searches to five countries, and rolled out transit directions for Montreal in Canada and Portland, Oregon. http://apple.co/1Lh1Zel