Apple Watch patent application sticks a battery powered strap on a round body

Apple may have a solution for short battery life on the Apple Watch. Put the battery in the band.

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An Apple patent application dated today illustrates a battery on the strap of a wearable device, presumably the Apple Watch. The proposed patent also shows that watch’s circular face, which is a different shape than the Apple Watch’s usual rectangular display.

Battery life has been a struggle for the Apple Watch, which is a top contender in the wearables market and broke the product’s sales records during the 2016 holiday shopping season. Apple says the watch has an 18-hour battery life, but that still means you’ll have to charge it every night if you don’t want a dead watch the next day. Extending battery life could help the watch compete against rivals with more stamina.

It isn’t clear if including the battery in the band would add significant bulk to the watch’s strap. It also isn’t clear how many batteries the watch would have and if the battery would be embedded into the band itself.

As for that round face, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen Apple want to patent a watch design with a circular display. Other smartwatches, like the Samsung Gear S2 and the Huawei Watch, are made with circular displays, so if Apple ever gives the Apple Watch a round face-lift, it would join rivals in looking more like a traditional wristwatch.

Although the patent was published today, it was filed in July 2015 (around the same time the other Apple Watch patent was filed). Apple has a track record for filing patents of all sorts (like one for this paper bag), and this application here is no guarantee that we’ll see the final product.

That being said, an Apple Watch or any smartwatch with better battery life is something I think we can all get behind.


Zagg Debuts Mobile Charging Station for iPhone and Apple Watch CES 2016

Zagg is debuting several products at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year, including a Mobile Charging Station designed as an at home and on-the-go solution for charging an Apple Watch and an iPhone.

The Mobile Charging Station is designed to accommodate and charge an iPhone and an Apple Watch at the same time while also wrangling the necessary cables. It includes a pop-up base for charging the Apple Watch, which works with both open and closed loop bands.

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Inside the Mobile Charging Station, there’s an area for winding up excess cable to provide a neat, organized solution for travel. The Mobile Charging Station has a built-in 5,000mAh battery inside, so it’s also able to charge devices even when not connected to a power source. While a Lightning cable is included, customers will need to supply their own Apple Watch charger.

Zagg’s other CES offerings include the $100 Flex Arc wearable earbuds and speaker and the $130 Now Cam. The Flex Arc is worn around the neck like a collar and has retractable earbuds. An external microphone and speaker allow music or calls to be heard without using the earbuds.

The iPhone-connected Now Cam is a rugged, waterproof action camera for capturing photos and videos, similar to a GoPro. Designed for “social video,” it can take 720p video or standard photos, and it has a 6-second capture and share feature.

Zagg’s Mobile Charging Station will be available for purchase from the Zagg website at the end of January. It is priced at $79.99.

Did you keep the Apple Watch

We’re a ways into August by now, several months after Apple officially launched their most “personal device yet.” That’s the Apple Watch, for those not keeping up with Apple’s marketing lingo. The company launched it in April, but it wasn’t until June or so when shipping times quit being so ridiculous. Indeed, even Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, said that sales actually went up in June, which isn’t all that surprising to me.

Apple-Watch

A lot of people have thrown their own ideas at the wall in reference to sales for the wearable. A lot of people seem to think Apple isn’t doing all that well in the wearables market, but considering that those same folks tend to agree Apple’s doing way better than the competition in the same market, well, “isn’t doing all that well” is probably still pretty great.

Hints during Apple’s last earnings call suggest the Watch sold over a million units, which, come on, is borderline ridiculous for a first generation wearable. The Apple effect is strong with this one. But, let’s be fair: Everyone probably assumed Apple would sell a lot of Apple Watches.

But how many kept them?

I’ve seen two Apple Watches out in the wild so far, since the device launched, and one of them is worn by a friend of mine. That still counts, though. The other one, I assume, was a Sport model, but I guess it’s possible they bought the Watch and just strapped a Sport band on there for whatever reason. Either way, I’ve only seen two of them, but I live in a pretty small city so I’m probably not the best gauge of how the Watch is doing.

I am curious, though. It’s been several months now, well beyond the 14-day return window for the early adopters, and I can’t help but wonder how many still have theirs. Or, more to the point, how many still use them. I know someone who bought the Watch when it launched, wore it for awhile, but it’s now just resting comfortably in a drawer at this point because he’s moved on. He’s told me that the novelty wore off, and he’s just gone back to his “normal” watch. He gave some thought into selling it, but decided it wasn’t worth the hassle.

The Apple Watch may be the company’s most personal device to date, but was it personal enough to keep?

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ is bigger but is it better

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ is, apart from being a right pain to write, one thing: a big Galaxy S6 Edge. There’s not a lot to choose between the two devices beyond the size.

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The obvious change is to the screen, with a 5.7-inch choice rather than the 5.1-inch option on the smaller S6 Edge. However, internally it’s almost identical, with 4GB of RAM the only real difference.

That means there’s sadly no microSD slot again, the Exynos octa-core chipset lives on and there are only 32GB or 64GB options to choose from.

What’s interesting too is that this phone is a replacement for the Note range in the UK and other key markets – almost like an admission from Samsung that having the S Pen and its associated fancy extra bits doesn’t go down well in some territories.

The price hasn’t been announced, but I’m pretty sure it will be over £600 (around $930 / AU$1275) as per usual when Samsung’s high-end phablet range comes out – however as the S6 Edge+ doesn’t have the stylus it can’t be classed as a Note.

But just because it’s a bigger version of another phone, that’s no bad thing. The S6 Edge was (and is) a brilliant device and making it larger actually helps make it more attractive in many ways.

The screen is still QHD (2560 x 1440) but doesn’t feel low res at all (despite being lower in the pixels per inch stakes compared to the original due to being stretched out to fill a bigger display).

New Edges

The other big change on offer is the edges are being used more effectively. When I heard rumour of this phone, I assumed it was going to be the Galaxy Note Edge from 2014 rebooted to have two edges that could be stroked and manipulated… and therefore made more useful.

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But that’s not the case here, with the same effect of the screen softly sliding away on either side of the phone.

The people tab, available by swiping in from the side, is still there, and now has new powers to let you poke or tap or do other odd things to other Edge owners. That’s right, other Edge owners only – you’re going to be sorely limited in being able to use these weird new features to play with your pals.

Swipe again though and you get a list of the most-used apps within easy reach. Samsung should just do away with the unused people list and go straight for the apps, or have one on each side of the screen, though.

But there’s no such luck here, so we’re going to have to wait for more functionality to come to the sides of the Galaxy S6 Edge+ screen… and Samsung promises something is coming.

Another big change with the S6 Edge+ is the heralding of Samsung Pay, letting you buy stuff with your phone. A simple swipe up from the bottom of the screen (even with the display off) will bring up your cards, and then you can tap your device onto the reader.

It’s a very slick system, and being able to actually pay for things using contactless payments even without an NFC terminal (using the magnetic card reader) is a brilliant way of doing things.

Camera

The camera on the S6 Edge+ isn’t anything to get that excited about, as it’s largely the same as that on the S6 Edge. Actually, that’s pretty harsh, as the camera on that and its S6 brother is brilliant -it’s just there’s not a lot extra to play with.

There’s nothing to suggest the S6 Edge+’s snapper will be any different, with a speedy opening of the app with the double tap of the home button and all the practice snaps looking clear and in focus.

There are SOME extra elements on here, but nothing massive: RAW support is included for pro mode, and live streaming over YouTube is enabled too. The latter is a little long to set up, with sharing taking place via a text message – but once that missive is sent, the user can simply follow your footage through a private video channel.

I’m quizzing Samsung on whether these features are coming to the older S6 phones – I’m sure they will, but there seems to be a question of whether they’ve got enough RAM to achieve streaming.

Given Sony’s managed to stream YouTube video fine with the Xperia Z3, and Nokia baked RAW support into its phones ages ago, I can’t see why it would be an issue.

Battery

The battery life of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ is going to – hopefully – be a lot better than that seen on the original S6 Edge, for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, this is a much bigger battery pack, at 3000mAh, and while it’s got a larger screen to power, there are the same amount of pixels, so fingers crossed that will result in improved power management.

Google is also doling out an update to Android that should help fix some of the battery woes afflicting many of the top-end phones at the moment, and while the S6 Edge+ is on Android 5.1.1, that should be upgraded pretty soon.

The battery life is still a worry though – for a phablet, that’s a small battery pack. Like I said, it’ll probably be fine, but with a phablet to play with it seems a shame to waste the opportunity to push in more mAh.

Is the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ the phone I expected to see? Not at all. Not only is it unlike Samsung to take its top end phone and just make it larger (although if it’s good enough for Apple, eh…?) it’s especially atypical to use that phone to replace the Note range.

The Galaxy Note 5 is still being released, and seems like it might make it to the UK at some point if the rumours are to be believed, but it won’t be at launch sadly.

And there’s no way the S6 Edge+ can use the S Pen as the screen isn’t set up in the same way to use the inductive technology, so anyone in the UK that was looking forward to getting their hands on the raw power upgrade the Note 5 would bring is sadly out of luck,

Still, this is a lovely phone to hold and use, has oodles of power and a beautiful screen, and if you’re simply after a bigger-screen experience, it ticks the boxes nicely.

Best Buy Begins Selling Apple Watch

In late July, Best Buy announced plans to begin Apple Watch sales online and in its retail stores beginning on August 7, and as promised, Apple Watch sales have now kicked off, with the device available for purchase on Best Buy’s website.

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Best Buy plans to offer 16 models from the aluminum Apple Watch Sport and stainless Steel Apple Watch collections. Models available online include all 38 and 42mm Apple Watch Sport models, and 38 and 42mm stainless steel Apple Watch models with Black Sport Band, White Sport Band, and Milanese Loop.

Apple Watch purchases placed online ship immediately, and in-store pickup is also available. Best Buy will likely begin in-store sales of the Apple Watch when participating retail stores open in the morning across the United States. The Apple Watch is available in 100 Best Buy stores, with Best Buy planning to expand retail availability to more than 300 stores over the next few months.

Best Buy is also selling a selection of Apple Watch Sport Bands and the Milanese Loop, plus the company is offering a wide range of Apple Watch accessories from third-party manufacturers, including charging stands, screen protectors, protective cases, and bands.

Best Buy is the first major national retailer aside from Apple to sell the Apple Watch. Since the device’s launch in April, it’s been limited to the online Apple Store, Apple retail stores, and select boutiques around the world due to constrained supplies.

Apple has managed to ramp up production and catch up with demand rapidly over the past few months, with the expansion to Best Buy coming less than two months after the Apple Watch became available for purchase in Apple’s own retail stores.

New Luxury Watch lets you attach an Apple Watch

Several luxury timepiece manufacturers have tried to merge the worlds of classic watches and smartwatches, but one company may be taking things a bit too far.

California-based Nico Gerard launched its Pinnacle line on Monday, a Swiss timepiece with a special bracelet that lets you attach a 38mm Apple Watch.

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Yes, that’s right — a double-sided watch. The Pinnacle lets you wear two watches on your wrist at the same time: a classic watch on one side and an Apple Watch on the other.

The practical use of this is dubious. First, there’s the bulkiness factor; wearing two watches can’t be very comfortable when you rest your palm on a flat surface, not to mention it likely exposes the watchface to more scratches. We tested this using an Android Wear smartwatch, and holding palm up to view and operate the watch on the inside of your wrist becomes quite an annoyance.

The outside-facing watch is a classic-looking piece with a 41mm case. Nico Gerard is not a widely recognized brand, but it promises a mechanical, Swiss-made NG2824A automatic movement. Other features include a date indicator and water resistance rated to 100m depths of pressure. The watch comes in stainless steel with a black or blue dial, or 18 karat gold with a red dial (with the blue and gold model being limited to 99 and 88 pieces, respectively).

The Pinnacle is now available for preorder. The cheapest option, which comes in black, will set you back $9,300, with a 10- to 12-month delivery window. The blue variant costs $9,500, with an eight- to 10-month delivery time; the gold version costs a whopping $112,000, but you’ll only have to wait six to eight weeks.

A 38mm Stainless Steel Apple Watch is included with the two stainless steel models; if you order the gold variant, you get a Gold Apple Watch Edition.

Nico Gerard CEO Andy Pluemer said this isn’t a stunt.

“The movements take six months to make and certify,” he told Mashable via email, explaining the long delivery time. “We have sequenced the production of the models with the limited editions being produced first.”

Big Data Gets Bigger With The Apple Watch And The Internet Of Things

Apple’s debut of the Apple Watch stirred not just enthusiasm, but a bone fide firestorm, with pre-orders reaching nearly a million in just a matter of hours. With rows of Apple Watches now on display in retail stores, what Apple calls its “most personal device ever” is both a potent fashion statement and a new platform for mobile applications.

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It’s also a point of connectivity in the Internet of Things (IoT), which will drive new sources and volumes of data about consumer preferences and behaviors for marketers.

It’s time to start thinking about what the Apple Watch, wearables in general, and the IoT mean to the evolving marketing mission.

All Eyes On The Apple Watch

Let’s start with the Apple Watch. The watch includes sensors that measure heart rate and an accelerometer, similar to other wearables.

As the watch gets to know you, it will be able to support more and more activities, from controlling lights in your house to making bill payments with Apple Pay support.

Of course, we’ll also see a tidal wave of new applications developed for the Apple Watch, which already include travel, collaboration tools, and iOS versions of Microsoft PowerPoint and Evernote.

But wearables also can be seen as milestones in the development of the Internet of Things, which represents the bigger picture for marketers. Industry analysts at Gartner forecast there will be 25 billion connected devices by 2020.

The Internet of Things will be producing data from interconnected objects, even animals and people, each uniquely identified in network protocols. And it will support diverse human activities, from sensors “planted” in agricultural fields, to usage in heart monitors, and integration into automobiles and other machinery.

What It Means For Marketers

Message for marketers: You are going to be called on to collect data from everything. We are looking at the next big phase of digitally-generated data with tremendous capacity to produce new insights about consumers.

Clearly, the emerging devices and an expanding IoT produce huge opportunities, along with a host of challenges in how data is collected, analyzed and acted on, and in what ways we will need to protect individual privacy.

Let’s look at what this latest addition to digital platforms means in terms of new data and how to manage it:

• Connecting the Dots — While we are awash in news about the Apple Watch, the underlying challenge facing marketers has not changed. Marketers must collect and integrate data across all digital platforms, as well as offline data (such as point of sale and customer relationship management systems) to create an omni-channel picture of consumer preferences.

As it turns out, data on the Apple Watch can be tagged like other digital platforms and pulled into a data repository to be managed. Forrester reported that the greatest opportunity for digital marketers to address the omni-channel customer journey is with the unified, multichannel data layer capabilities of an enterprise tag management system. The Apple Watch only adds to this opportunity.

• Optimizing the User Experience — With the small-screen, Apple Watch apps are designed for quick, on-the-go “looks.” Apps and advertising will need to be optimized for this device and screen size.

It’s great to see major martech vendors starting to announce support for the newcomer. But the challenge of managing more mobile apps on more types of mobile devices is real, and only getting bigger.

Make sure you are investing in the right tools to improve your ability to optimize the omni-channel user experience by asking a few questions of your vendor first: Can they differentiate and change the experience between an Apple Watch, an iPhone and other mobile devices? What are the types of events they can track? Do they enable you to modify your mobile app in real time or do you need to go through the time-consuming task of resubmitting changes to the App Store first?

• Delivering on the Promise of Personalization — Marketers are tasked with delivering experiences that are contextually relevant both to the individual and to the channel — whether online, offline or offsite. New devices and platforms give us more opportunities to personalize engagement at the user level.

Does that change with the Apple Watch and other new devices? Actually, the process is by and large the same.

You need to leverage a tag management data layer to standardize first-party customer data across multiple domains and digital properties to stitch together online and offsite datasets, and tie into the offsite data. The goal is to develop continuously updated and enriched user profiles that allow the marketing teams to provide more relevant offers.

Offering a user experience in ways appropriate to the device or platform is also key. In the case of the Apple Watch and other mobile devices, that means optimizing for the size and use of the screen, while delivering an experience that is timely and personalized.

We can only expect this explosion of new platforms, devices and sources of data to continue. Yet the underlying data-driven marketing principles remain the same.

We need to collect all data, connect the dots at the user-level, and dynamically interact with each individual across devices and channels to optimize the consumer journey. That remains the challenge and opportunity.

Control your Car with Apple Watch or Android Wear 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

We’re here at California checking out the new 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and the Plug-In that mainly we’re going to take a look at the BlueLink service with Android Wear and Apple Watch, talking about things like starting your car, honking the horn, finding your car and a lot of cool stuff. So let’s get into it.

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So what we’re looking at here is the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In but keep in mind that this will basically work with all Hyundais that feature BlueLink. Also if your vehicle already has BlueLink and you have an Android Wear device and Android phone, you can do what we’re doing right now and it’s also coming very soon to the Apple Watch. So first things first, we have to take a look at the app on the phone and the experience is fairly similar across both platforms.

Looking at the Android variant first, we can see that we have some pretty cool actions on the home screen. You can do some very basic yet very important stuff like lock and unlock your vehicle, flash your lights, set the alarm, and even start your vehicle. The cool thing here is that you don’t have to be a certain proximity away from your car. You can do it right next to your car or even on the other side of the city or country and you can do any of these commands. One really interesting feature on BlueLink is the ability to start your car and set things like AC and heat settings plus put a time allotment for how long you want your car to be on for.

If we switch over to the Android Wear companion application, which we can start by either going to the apps and clicking on the icon or by saying “Okay Google, launch BlueLink.” Once you’re in, you are given a nice list of basically the same functions you found on the Android app counterpart. But there is one addition to that. Up on the right hand corner is a microphone button. Hit that and say something like “Start my car.” Once you’ve entered your PIN number for security reasons, the command will be sent to your vehicle and it will turn on. The usefulness of the Android Wear app is fantastic, especially with Google Now integration.

Switching over to the iOS application, you’ll see much of the same thing. The app looks basically the same and works in the same way. You press a command, enter the PIN and your request is sent to your car.

One cool feature that is unique to Plug-In Hybrids such as this 2016 Hyundai Sonata is that you can set the charge time and cycle for when rates are the lowest. You simply go into the charge manager, set the time and your car will start and stop charging when you set it to. This is really, really helpful to keep the cost of ownership down with these electric vehicles.

Over to the Apple Watch companion application, you can also launch this app by saying “Hey Siri, open BlueLink.” And you also have the same list of commands plus the same microphone on the right hand corner. Press on any of these commands and it will be sent to your car and the actions will be done. Again, very similar to the Android Wear application.

The one thing that I found very interesting yet somewhat confusing on the Apple Watch variant is that you still have to enter the PIN number even though Apple’s confident enough to not ask you to verify yourself when using Apple Pay. I was chatting with an Engineer of BlueLink about securities on the Apple Watch since Apple Watch asked you to authorize it anytime it actually leaves your wrist so we could see this app work a little more seamlessly without PIN numbers in the future. But when this app is available on the Apple Watch in the next few months, this is basically what you will get.

I also have to speak a little bit about the Hyundai Sonata. Over the course of our media drive, I definitely enjoyed this vehicle, especially the Plug-In model since it has a little bit more plunge, thanks to the all-electric drive range of 24 miles. Also, I think it looks fairly good from the outside. It looks very different compared to your typical gas-powered 2015 Sonata. And also to wrap this up in a nice bow-tie, Android auto is officially available on the 2015 Sonata, including this 2016 if you pick up the navigation package.

Controlling your vehicle from your smartwatch was awesome and it really does come in handy, especially during those “Did I lock my car?” moments. But I want to hear what you guys think about the technologies so make sure to leave your comments below.

Youtube Video Here

Trade in any smartphone to get a Cheaper iPhone

It’s no longer a question: Apple will now officially accept certain Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices in exchange for credit toward new iPhones.

The original rumor only mentioned Android phones, but 9to5Mac confirms that BlackBerry and Windows devices are also now accepted.

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Apple made no formal announcements, but the company’s individual retail store pages in the US, UK, Canada and other regions now state that users can “get credit when you recycle your eligible iPhone, iPad, or select smartphone from another manufacturer.”

TechRadar contacted an Apple Store representative in the UK who confirmed you can trade in any smartphone to receive the discount on an iPhone or iPad, but you can only trade in one smartphone for each purchase.

Once you take it into the store, Apple will run a diagnostics check to make sure there isn’t any damage and to test out the battery before offering you a price for it.

You’ll then get an Apple gift card to the quoted value and be able to use it on either the purchase of an iPhone or an iPad – but sadly there are no MacBook or Apple Watch purchases here.

Despite the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus earning Apple a mind-blowing amount of money since their launch last year, the company is still coming up with new ways to boost sales.

Its latest ploy? Courting disillusioned Android users with the allure of discounted new iPhones, according to 9to5Mac.

Is the iPad Pro still happening?
Just like it already does with old iPhones, Apple will soon begin offering gift cards for use toward new iPhones in exchange for non-Apple phones, including Android devices, the site says.

The program will reportedly begin in a matter of weeks, following training for employees.

Take the sting out

Apple is no stranger to trade-ins, but with this promotion the company could potentially attract Android users put off by the relatively high price of new iPhones.

It makes perfect sense, although we haven’t heard anything official about the program yet.

Apple let us know that it has nothing to share about the program at this time, but we’ll keep an ear to the ground.

Apple Watch Looks Crazy Accurate

The new Apple Watch can, among other things, measure the wearer’s heart rate. But how accurate are its measurements?

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To find out, an engineer named Brad Larson measured his heart rate readings on the Apple Watch against his heart rate readings using a Mio Alpha, an incredibly accurate device. You can see the comparison, which Larson tweeted out, below:

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hat’s…pretty accurate! Of course, this is only one trial, and not a comprehensive test. But those are encouraging tests for those who want to use the Apple Watch to check their heart rate as they exercise. And it’s even more encouraging considering how poorly fitness trackers have been shown to measure certain other movements.