Category Archives: Apple Watch

CARROT Weather is My Favorite Apple Watch App

It may seem odd to choose a weather app as my favorite on Apple’s smallest screen, but this is actually one of the more useful categories on the Watch. Well, it should be, anyway. Unfortunately, many of the name brand watchOS weather apps fall somewhere between “meh” and flaming hot garbage right now. The Weather Channel’s app description on the App Store still refers to Glances, which have been gone for over a year now, so that should give you a good idea of the state of things.

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Review: ElevationLab’s BatteryPro

A few weeks ago, I took a look at a couple of battery packs from Griffin and Belkin for the Apple Watch. My interest in Belkin’s Valet Charger and Griffin’s Travel Power Bank was related to the increased battery demands that LTE and Apple Music streaming can place on the Watch’s battery life. Using these new features extensively will require topping off the battery during the day at times, and what better way than with compatible portable battery pack. With watchOS 4.2 now released, everyone with an LTE-enabled Watch can use Apple Music streaming and it wouldn’t surprise me if these battery packs suddenly become a lot more popular because of it.

Another Watch-compatible battery pack caught my eye when I was researching for the original review, and I was fortunate that the manufacturer was kind enough to send me one to take a look at this week. This is the BatteryPro from ElevationLab, which is also has an MFi-certified magnetic Watch charging pad built-in. This manufacturer is well-known for their high quality accessories, most notably the DraftTable for the iPad Pro (which I will also be testing over the next week for a coming review). After spending a few days using the BatteryPro, I can assure you that it is no exception, but another high-quality and very useful accessory in the ElevationLab lineup.

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Review- Belkin and Griffin Apple Watch Battery Packs

One of the strengths of the Apple Watch since its release has been that it handles all of the expected tasks of a smartwatch and fitness tracker with all day battery life. I have used a Watch since day one, and have rarely had any kind of battery life issues over the last two plus years. While Apple certainly isn’t the only wearable manufacturer to pull this off, they are the only one to do so with a device that has both a reasonable size and a gender-neutral design. These are two big reasons that Apple now finds themselves at the top of the entire wearables market. However, with new features such as on-device LTE and Apple Music Streaming, that day long battery life can start to come up pretty short, pretty quickly.

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Apple Retakes the Wearables Crown and Nudges Developers Forward

Earlier this week, we got word that Apple is once again at the top of the wearables heap. Analyst firm Canalys released their quarterly report on this up and coming category of devices, showing that Apple regained the top spot they had occupied earlier this year. They had been passed up by both Xiaomi and Fitbit in the Second Quarter, before the release of the Apple Watch Series 3 and their Watch Series 1 price cut. This lead to a lot of conjecture about the state of the smartphone, and its place alongside simpler fitness bands and the like.

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Apple Music Streaming on the Apple Watch is a Mixed Bag

Before diving into the details, I will say right off the bat that Apple Music streaming on the new LTE-enabled version of the Apple Watch Series 3 works. The music sounded the same over my AirPods that it would if I were using my iPhone or iPad, which is good. Searches with Siri were performed quickly. I never had any issues with tracks skipping, even though I only had two “dots” of LTE where I was doing my testing. So functionally, it works fine and is a welcome addition to the Apple Watch. Also, it’s good to keep in mind that this feature is still in beta, so things could change a little here or there before full release.

However, when I also say that streaming Apple Music on the Watch is a mixed bag right now, I’m not kidding around. It is functional in the way that the original Apple Watch was- useful and novel, but also scattered and confusing at times. The interface and experience are spread out over two different apps, a leftover from watchOS 1, and Siri. At the end of the day, I am glad to have it, since it extends the Watch beyond the bounds of the old iPad Nano and Shuffle as a mobile music player. However, Apple Music integration doesn’t come without its share of growing pains.

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Be Wary of Insurance Providers Offering Cheap Apple Watches

There is news this week that insurance company John Hancock is offering their Vitality life insurance policy owners the opportunity to get an Apple Watch Series 3 for only $25. This is a whopping $304 off the normal retail price, which is a pretty amazing deal. So what’s the catch?

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Benjamin Mayo’s Critique of WatchKit Deserves Apple’s Attention

As much as I have been a fan of the Apple Watch right from the beginning, I have also been critical of Apple’s handling of Apps on watchOS from the start. Apple overplayed their hand with apps on the original Apple Watch, and when WatchKit and the setup with watchOS 1 and the OG Watch couldn’t deliver on that promise, users lost interest in the concept very quickly.

Between user dissatisfaction and the frustration of getting apps developed and working properly on a new platform, many devs quickly abandoned their efforts. Still, I keep holding out hope that the Watch will fulfill its promise as a robust platform for the right kinds of apps that are properly geared toward the small screen.

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Apple Watch Series 3 Observations- Part 5: Siri

It’s been a good week taking a look at several aspects and features of the new Apple Watch Series 3. I was already a fan of the Apple Watch platform and watchOS 4, so liking this new device isn’t a major surprise. However, I enjoy and appreciate the independence aspect of the new Watch more than I initially expected. Now, as I come close to closing out this series, I’m circling back to a couple of the primary features of the device. Tonight, the focus in on Siri.

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Apple Watch Buyer’s Guide

So you’ve been thinking about getting an Apple Watch, but you haven’t pulled the trigger yet. If price is the issue, then I would definitely recommend further thought and research on whether it will deliver enough value to you based on what you are looking for and how you will use it. Even with a newly reduced starting price of $249, this still isn’t a trivial purchase. If the hang up is due to confusion over the various models, then look no further. Let’s task a closer look at each one and who it’s designed for.

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Apple Watch Series 3 Observations- Part 4

I am still kicking the tires on the Series 3 Apple Watch, and still finding new details and answering new questions. One such question about the ability to send and receive emails stand-alone via either LTE or WiFi came from Jason Riley via a comment on Flipboard on my Part 2 article.

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Apple Watch Series 3 Observations- Part 3

Thanks to the weekend, I’ve been using some extra time to test out the new Apple Watch and use it in situations that I might normally not try out if left to my own devices. So far, so good, as my battery life and connectivity have performed as good or better than expected.

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