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Apple Watch Sport unboxing

Fri, 2015-04-24 15:26

I received my white Apple Watch sport and took several photos while unboxing it. Without further ado, here's a gallery. 

AWT News Update: April 24, 2015

Fri, 2015-04-24 14:30

It's Apple Watch Day! Here are some of the stories we're covering on the podcast today.

  • Apple Watch is arriving for many pre-order customers, check out the site for a lot of Watch-specific content
  • Screenshots are quite easy to take on the Apple Watch, and we'll tell you how
  • New Watch app is designed to assist those coping with epilepsy
  • Accessibility try-ons are now a full-fledged Apple Watch experience thanks to our very own Alex Jurgensen
  • iMac Graphics Update 1.0 arrives for some 2013/2014 iMacs

The full text version of the podcast script is available below.


It’s Apple Watch Day! This is Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update for April 24, 2015. Our sponsor this week is It’s About Time Products, developers of Disk App and two new calculator apps for Apple Watch. Check out the Apple World Today website at AppleWorld.Today for more information.

The Apple Watch has been arriving in the hands of many US pre-order customers today. We have a lot of special content available for you today and through the weekend, so keep your browser pointed to Apple World Today to see what’s new. Today we have published our Great Big Guide to Apple Watch Apps, an unboxing and pairing video, two articles on accessibility features of Apple Watch, and even a guide to how to track your UPS Watch shipment.

Wondering how we’ll be taking screenshots of the Apple Watch for reviews and posts? It’s actually quite simple. With the Watch displaying the screen you wish to capture, grip it firmly, then click the Digital Crown and Side Button at the same time. The screenshot will appear in iPhone Photos app and sent to your other devices or shared with friends.

Web designer Greg Pabst of Florida, and one of his developer friends, have developed an Apple Watch app they hope will bring a sense of comfort and independence to people coping with Epilepsy. The app, called SeizAlarm, helps users alert emergency contacts of seizure episodes. Alerts can be sent out automatically or after a short delay after being triggered. Additionally, the app has features to track episodes for medical personnel.

Users who were unable to see the accessibility features of the Apple Watch during their Try-on appointments can now view the technology at their local Apple Stores. Starting today, Apple has rolled out demo units to its stores that have the accessibility features enabled. To find out how to book an Apple Watch Try-on appointment with the new accessibility demo unit, head over to Apple World Today and read our Try-on guide, published in the Accessible Apple column.

In some non-Watch-related news, ff you have a late 2013 iMac in either the 21.5 inch or 27 inch model, or a 27-inch Retina 5K display iMac from late 2014, be sure to load the new iMac Graphics Update 1.0, available via Software Update. The update fixes an issue that could cause the system to stop responding, display a black screen, or even restart when opening very large JPEG images.

We’ll be back on Monday with another AWT News Update. Have a great weekend!

Apple Watch App Store live, iOS store updated

Fri, 2015-04-24 13:15

Apple has made the Watch App Store live in the Watch iPhone app, with "more than 3000" apps ready to go, according to The Wall Street Journal. To start browsing, simply launch the Watch app for iOS (it's installed with iOS 8.3) and tap the "Featured" icon in the bottom toolbar.

To "install" an app on your Watch, you actually install it on your iPhone, which takes care of the rest. You can identify an iPhone app that supports the Apple Watch in several ways. First, you'll see "Offers Apple Watch App for iPhone" just beneath an app's title in the store:

You'll also find screenshots of the app running on the Watch:

Have fun exploring the store and your Watch this weekend. Looking for some killer apps to get started with? Don't miss our Great Big Guide to the apps you'll want on your wrist right away. Nine categories and over 140 apps, all curated and sorted, just for you.

Accessible Apple: Apple Watch Setup with VoiceOver, The Missing Guide

Fri, 2015-04-24 13:00


Earlier, I detailed how to get an Apple Watch Try-on Appointment if you have an interest in looking at the device's accessibility features. In this installment, I will detail some tips and tricks to help VoiceOver users completing the pairing process used for linking an Apple Watch with an iPhone.


I was originally going to write an end-to-end guide on pairing the Apple Watch with an iPhone. However, before I could, Twitter user Caitlin McMarrow pointed me to Apple's Apple Watch VoiceOver Setup guide. I will dedicate the remainder of this guide to address tips and tricks I found while pairing an Apple Watch with an iPhone 6.

Pairing With VoiceOver

My notes below are written to supplement the Apple's official instructions.

Step 1: It may take up to 2 minutes from when you begin the Apple Watch boot up for the process to complete.

Step 6 (A): Make sure you have the latest iOS update, currently iOS 8.3. You can check that you have the latest software update by going into Settings -> General -> Software Update. If you have versions earlier than 8.2, you will not have the Apple Watch app.

Step 6 (B): You can use Siri on the ipHone to launch the Apple Watch app. Press the Home Button until you hear a double tone. Release the Home Button and say "Open Apple Watch". The app will then open.

Step 8.1: To attempt automatic pairing, locate the camera lens on your iPhone. It can be found on the top right-hand corner of the back face of the phone.

Step 8.2: Place the Apple Watch face up on a table.

Step 8.3: Place the camera lens in the centre of the Apple Watch's display.

Step 8.4: Lift the iPhone slowly to a height of about 15.2 cm (6 Inches).

Step 8.5: You will hear a pairing confirmation.

Step 8.6: If the above fails, lower the iPhone back to the watch's display and try again. Alternatively, refer to Steps 9 to 13 of the Apple guide for manual pairing instructions.

Next Up

In the next installment, I will be rounding up a list of resources that will help users learn the accessibility features of the Apple Watch.

Stay tuned!!!

Wrapping Up

I hope the above helps with your Apple Watch setup.

I look forward to hearing your Apple Watch experiences and please share in the comments below or on Twitter. Questions and comments are also welcome.

Video: Apple Watch unboxing and pairing process

Fri, 2015-04-24 12:30

In between doing the happy dance around my house this morning, I've been busy receiving, unboxing, and grabbing video of a 42mm Space Gray Apple Watch (Aluminum Sport Edition). The unboxing was performed live on Periscope and became part of the video below, which the pairing was performed afterward. 

Enjoy watching this short video, and please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Apple World Today's Great Big Guide to Apple Watch Apps

Fri, 2015-04-24 12:00

The Apple Watch is on its way to customers who, like me, are anxiously awaiting the arrival of Apple’s next breakthrough device. The debut of the new hardware also brings with it a fresh round of innovation in the App Store as Apple opened up the Watch for developers to utilize in their apps.

In the months since the Watch's annoucnemnt, developers worldwide have been thinking creatively about the device and how it can be used to enhance the lives of millions of customers who will be wearing the device on their wrist. Here are some of the early Watch apps that are the culmination of this creative coding. Each app one listed below will be available for you to download and check out as soon as that Watch is up and running on your wrist.

Communication Education Entertainment Finance Food & Drinks Health & Fitness Games Music Lifestyle Location & Maps / Navigation News Photography Productivity Reference Social Sports Travel and Transportation Utilities Weather And even more apps! Developers are equipping their apps with Watch support at a frenzied pace with new apps debuting every day. With so many apps, we likely missed some notable titles. If you know of any Apple Watch apps that deserve a mention, please share them in the comments!

Accessible Apple: Apple Watch Try-Ons, The Complete Guide

Fri, 2015-04-24 11:00


This is the first in a mini-series of posts on the Apple Watch's accessibility features. In this installment, I will look at Apple's newly implemented solution for offering accessible Apple Watch Try-ons.


As I hinted in my article detailing the inaccessibility of the Apple Store's demo watches and in a later piece where I looked at the workaround discovered to enable some accessibility features on the demo units, Apple has been hard at work developing an experience plan for users interested in the Apple Watch's accessibility features. I am pleased to report that this plan goes into effect today, April 24, and that the new plan has been well worth the wait.

I was invited to try out the new try-on experience at my local Apple Store, and I was blown away by how seamless it was. Apple has made the Apple Watch accessibility experience interactive in a way that ensures customers can make an informed decision on whether an Apple Watch is right for them. Hands-on time with a fully enabled Apple Watch allows customers to explore the accessibility features of this potentially game-changing device.

Getting Started

To get started with your own Apple Watch journey, simply follow the below steps:

Booking the Try-on Appointment

Trying on an Apple Watch begins with getting a free Try-on Appointment at an Apple Store. This process is identical to that followed by all customers, regardless of accessibility needs. Scheduling an appointment can be done in one of two ways.

Tip: Pick a time when the Apple Store will be least busy. In the morning, before the store opens is a great choice, but check with your local Apple Store for details on the best time to come in.

The first option you have for scheduling an appointment is by phone. In Canada and the US, the number to call is: +1 (800) MyApple (+1 (800) 692-7753). When you are asked what you would like help with, you can simply state that you would like to have a Try-on Appointment. The automated attendant will get you over to someone in the Apple Watch sales area. Once there, you can discuss the availability of appointments with an Apple representative who can complete the booking.

Tip: When calling Apple to book your Try-on appointment, make sure to let the Apple representative know that you wish the store to be notified that you are interested in viewing accessibility features of the Apple Watch. Be specific and list your accessibility needs. This will allow store employees to be better prepared to demo the features you want to explore.

The second option that you have is to download the Apple Store app from the App Store. Once downloaded, follow the below steps to book a Try-on Appointment:

Note: For VoiceOver users, in my experience it is easier to call your national Apple number and speak to a representative, rather than try to navigate the Apple Watch Try-on booking system.

  1. Open the app and locate the "Store" tab across the bottom.
  2. Activate the "Store" tab and You will be presented with the store hours and other information for your local Apple Store.
  3. Locate the button used for scheduling an Apple Watch Try-on appointment. It can be found towards the bottom of the screen, below the option for booking an "One to One" appointment.
  4. Activate the button
  5. You will be taken to Safari to complete the booking process.
  6. Select your store and you will be presented with a list of nearby stores.
  7. Tap on your nearest Apple Store, which should be the first item in the list.
  8. Enter your Apple ID and password.
  9. Select a time and confirm the appointment.

Tip: If you booked a Try-on Appointment online, call your local Apple Store and ask to speak to an Apple Watch Specialist. Let the Specialist know the time and date of your appointment and that you are interested in viewing accessibility features of the Apple Watch. The more specific you are with explaining your accessibility needs, the easier it will be for employees to prepare an Apple Watch preloaded with the features you wish to explore enabled.

Tip: A good source of local Apple Store numbers is the Apple Store app. If you are booking on a computer, you can Google search the name of the Apple Store along with the words "Apple Store". The first result should be the store's website that will list all of their contact details.

Arriving at the Store

Upon arriving at your local Apple Store for your Try-on Appointment, you will be greeted by an Apple employee who will check you in and direct you to the Apple Watch Try-on area. There, you will be introduced to the Specialist that will guide you through the try-on process.

Your Specialist will bring out an Apple Watch preloaded with a full version of Watch OS and paired to an iPhone. This means that you will be able to try out all of the features of the watch, not only those enabled on the standard demo units.

In contrast, most Try-on attendees get to try on a watch preloaded with non-interactive video and tactile demo loops, intended to showcase the watch's functionality. These watches are primarily for sizing purposes. If most customers wish to see more, they are directed to table-top mounted demo units loaded with a very restricted copy of Watch OS.

Since the demo units used to present the accessibility features of the Apple Watch are paired to iPhones, you can interactively try out all of the features of the watch, including sending messages, searches in Maps, the pairing process and much much more.

Tip: If you want to see other models than the accessibility demo unit, just ask. Your Specialist will bring over standard demo units and other straps for you to look at. These units, as previously mentioned, will not have accessibility features enabled. However, they will be able to give you an idea of the different styles of Apple Watch.

VoiceOver Users

If you are looking for tips on using VoiceOver with the Apple Watch, my previous article is well worth a read. Although it was originally intended to serve as a guide for enabling VoiceOver on standard Apple Watch demo units — a work-around that no longer works — most of the information contained within can be useful to get you started.

More Information

More information about the Apple Watch's accessibility features will become available as time goes on. We at Apple world Today will be bringing you this news as it develops and look forward to including Apple Watch accessibility coverage as part of our regularly published Accessible Apple column. Apple's Apple Watch accessibility page is also a good source for information about helpful watch features.

A Big Thank You

A huge thanks goes out to the team at the Apple Store Guildford Town Centre, the team at the Apple Store Coquitlam Centre, the Apple Accessibility Team, Apple Customer Relations, the Executive team and everyone else at Apple who worked on making this experience a reality.

I won't use names here for confidentiality reasons, but if you read this and worked on this project, know that I thank you for working together to bring this great opportunity to so many.

Thank You!!!

I know that I don't know every team at Apple that worked on this project and that the above list is therefore incomplete. I hope that you'll forgive me if I missed your team out. If I did, please feel free to drop me a Twitter DM and I'll add your team to the list.

In Conclusion

I'm excited to see all of you folks who have waited so patiently get an opportunity to try out the Apple Watch. It is an exciting device, and I hope you enjoy your Try-on Appointment as much as I did.

Happy Watching!!!

Next Up

Next up in this mini-series, I will talk about the unboxing process and how to pair your new Apple Watch with your iPhone.

As always, please leave questions or comments either here or on Twitter. I am particularly interested to hear from those outside the US or Canada to see if the Try-on booking appointment process is any different. If it is, I will update the article to reflect this.

Apple offers online personal Watch setup

Fri, 2015-04-24 10:30

Apple has been sending emails to customers scheduled to receive their Apple Watch today, urging them to schedule an online Watch setup with an employee. Apple describes the service thusly:

"It’s a video session where we show you how to set up Apple Watch with your iPhone, walk you through some key features, and answer your questions. We’ll also point out some great apps, and help you personalize your device."

To partipate, you must have an Apple Watch, an iPhone 5 or later and a computer or iPad to view the video. Apple's email includes instructions for booking a session. 

Apple has done One-on-One sessions for customers at Apple Stores, but this is the first I've seem offer such a service via live online video. It's pretty cool and I imagine a nice way to familiarize people with an altogether new product. 

Three great apps for tracking a package

Fri, 2015-04-24 10:00

It's Apple Watch day! Many people will receive their shiny new Apple Watches today while many more will play the waiting game. Apple hit the April 24 delivery target for quite a few customers, while others still have weeks of waiting ahead of them. This post is for the latter group.

There are many apps available for tracking a package, and these are our favorites by far.

Deliveries ($4.99, universal) has been my favorite for years. It offers support for more than 25 delivery services, including UPS, FedEx, USPS, Amazon and more. Pending deliveries are color-coded to match each services's branding, so it's easy to see what's coming from UPS (brown), FedEx (purple) and so on at a glance. Deliveries also supports the Today widget in iOS 8's notification center. It's a great little app.

Posted ($1.99, universal). This great-looking app features pretty icons and support for over 180 delivery services. You can get push notifications when your package's status changes, estimated delivery dates and barcode scanning to track packages you're sending. Posted has been featured by Apple in the App Store.

Parcel (universal, free with in-app purchase) from Ivan Pavlov is very well done and actively updated. Parcel can track packages traveling with 250 delivery services, so if you can't track your package with Parcel, it must be strapped to a pigeon. Parcel supports bar code scanning, iOS 8 Notification Center and clever notification management: it will only ping you between 8:00 AM and 10:00 PM local time, so a 2:00 AM status change won't wake you up. A $1.99 in-app purchase lets you track more than three items at a time.

You'll find carrier-specific apps, but these alternatives are so inclusive and useful, we recommend using them instead. In the meantime, enjoy the anticipation of that sweet new toy. It will be here soon.

Apple releases three new advertisements for the Apple Watch launch

Fri, 2015-04-24 09:00

Apple today released three new advertisements - Us, Up and Rise - to coincide with the Apple Watch launch. Rather than focus on the underlying technology that powers the Watch, each ad has a different theme that showcases how the Watch can be used in everyday life. You can watch the three advertisements in the videos below.

Apple Watch passes water torture test with better than expected results

Fri, 2015-04-24 08:15

The folks at FoneFox took their Apple Watch and subjected it to a variety of water torture tests to see how the Watch would fare. Apple says the Watch is water-resistant and only capable of withstanding water-based activities such as washing your hands, doing dishes and so on. In their almost 4-minute video, the folks at FoneFox show that the Watch is much more capable than Apple claims.

Surprisingly, the water-resistant Watch is capable of withstanding a two-minute shower, submersion in a bucket for five minutes and even a swim in a pool. You can check out how the Watch passed with flying colors in the video below.

Please note that while FoneFox's results are impressive, we do not recommend doing any of these things at home. Our official recommendation is to follow Apple's guidance in regards to the Apple Watch and water.

Developer creates service to pair Watch owners with developers who need app testers

Fri, 2015-04-24 06:30

The tight inventory of the Apple Watch had one unfortunate side effect — many Watch developers were unable to secure a unit for delivery on April 24th. Such is the case for Francis Dierick, whose Fysikal app has been ported to the Watch and released without being tested on the Apple Watch itself. This testing won’t happen anytime soon as Dierick lives in a country where the Watch is not yet available.

Instead of complaining to Apple or ranting on Twitter about this situation, Dierick decided to do something about it and created Watch Testers, a service that’ll pair Watch developers with Watch testers. Developers who need their app tested and Watch owners who are willing to do some testing can sign up at For testers, all it requires is your email address, while developers must provide their App Store ID.

Similar to HARO (Help a Reporter Out), the service will send out a daily email containing a list of apps available for testing along with contact information for the developer. Testers can then contact the developer and arrange for a promo code, TestFlight access or any other method to test the app.

It’s a brilliant idea that’ll provide Watchless developers with much needed testing.

IFixit tears down the Watch to find a small battery, sizeable taptic engine

Fri, 2015-04-24 06:00

An Apple launch isn’t complete without iFixit traveling to Australia and tearing down one of the fist publicly available devices. This time, the team took apart a Watch Sport model and discovered a few surprises under the hood.

First is the relatively small battery that Apple claims will deliver 18 hours of battery life. Unlike the Moto 360 and Samsung Galaxy Gear Live, the Watch has a smallish 205mAh battery as compared to the 300Ah in its competitors. The other major components inside the Watch are the S1 processor, which can’t be removed without destroying the device, and the sizeable Taptic Engine that provides the gentle tap you feel when you receive a notification.

One other nicety found inside the Watch is a new solar cell ambient light sensor that can be placed behind a display instead of surface mounted like it is in most smartphones and tablets. The company also uses a plethysmograph for its heart rate sensor, which looks and acts like a pulse oximeter, claims iFixit. Apple likely doesn't take advantage of this feature as it could classify the Watch as a medical device and place it under the scrutiny of the FDA.

Though its processor is impossible to replace, other components like the display and the battery are replaceable, earning the Watch a Repairability Score of 5 out of 10. iFixit also notes the ease with which the strap can be removed and replaced.

AWT News Update: April 23, 2015

Thu, 2015-04-23 17:00

On today's podcast:

  • Apple Watch shipping notices were sent out to a good number of early pre-order customers today
  • Apple's Watch App Store has launched with over 3,000 apps already available
  • It appears that the planned Comcast / Time Warner merger may be dropped
  • Apple confirmed that monaural (mono) audio is coming to the Apple Watch, a boon for people deaf or hard of hearing in one ear
  • The new One Drop app seeks to improve life for those with diabetes
  • Recent Apple World Today interviewee Laura Legendary has posted the first part of her series on the Watch's fashion appeal from an accessibility perspective
  • Microsoft has added Apple Watch support to PowerPoint for iOS

See the full script of today's show (with links) below.


This is Steve Sande from Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update for April 23, 2015. My apologies for missing the podcast recently, but I have a close relative in the hospital. Our sponsor this week is It’s About Time Products, developers of Desk App and two new calculator apps for Apple Watch. Check out the Apple World Today website at AppleWorld.Today for more information.

Finally, Apple Watch shipping notices are out to those who pre-ordered on April 10. Most early buyers will see the watches arriving tomorrow via UPS. Be sure to visit Apple World Today frequently tomorrow as we present our “Great Big Guide to Apple Watch Apps”, loaded with amazing applications that will turn your Watch into a productivity powerhouse.

The Watch App Store launched today as well. If you have iOS 8.3 installed on your iPhone, you’ll find the Watch App Store in the Apple Watch app. There are over 3,000 apps currently listed in the Store, with more being added seemingly every hour. Our inboxes have been running over with product announcements today, and the creativity of watch developers is amazing.

If you were one of the many people worried about the planned merger of the two worst companies in the United States in terms of customer service, Comcast and Time Warner, you can rest easy. Bloomberg is reporting that the deal was in trouble with the Federal Communications Commmission, and an announcement will most likely be made tomorrow with the news that the potential deal will be dropped.

Apple has confirmed that Mono Audio is coming to Apple Watch. By using bluetooth earphones, users who are deaf and hard of hearing in one ear will now be able to push both left and right audio channels through both ears. The feature also allows for adjusting the volume of audio sent to each ear individually.

A new free app for iPhone and Apple Watch, called One Drop, seeks to improve the quality of life of those living with diabetes. The app offers many tools to help users discover patterns in their daily activities that affect how they are feeling. The app also includes a community feature to allow users to connect with others with diabetes.

Recent Apple World Today interviewee, Laura Legendary of Elegant Insights and Fashionability, has posted the first part of her audio series detailing the Apple Watch's fashion appeal from an accessibility perspective. It's a great rundown of the device's capabilities, drawbacks and style. You can find a link to the show in the show notes for this podcast over at Apple World Today.

9to5Mac reports that Microsoft has added Apple Watch support to Powerpoint for iOS, allowing the control of presentations from your wrist. The functionality is currently only available for Powerpoint for iOS and does not work with Powerpoint for Mac or Windows.

We’ll be back tomorrow with another AWT News Update.

Throwback Thursday: Apple QuickTake 100

Thu, 2015-04-23 14:00


We decided to pass on the Wearables Wednesday column yesterday since you’re all probably getting your fill of a certain wearable, but there’s definitely time for a Throwback Thursday.

Today, rather than showing you some of those old Mac magazine ads and articles, I’m showing you one of the favorite toys in my “Museum of Antique Technology” — the Apple QuickTake 100 digital camera.

This camera was first introduced to the public in 1994, and I recall being thrilled by it when Apple took photos of WWDC attendees and printed out MacWorld Magazine covers with our pictures on them. Between the slowness of transferring the images to the Mac and the dreadful crawl of the color printer they were using, it took well over an hour to pick up my photo…

The QuickTake 100 is widely believed to be the first successful consumer digital camera, although other manufacturers sold cameras as early as 1989. The camera has a whopping 640 x 480 resolution, and stores images in a spacious 1 MB of flash RAM. Files weren’t stored in JPEG or RAW formats back in the day — instead, they were stored in a proprietary QuickTake format as well as Apple’s PICT format.


Fortunately, I never had to pay the $750 price tag for this camera. Instead, my nephew found it in a pile of discards while he was a grad student at MIT. Knowing my love of old tech, he sent it to me. I was able to try the camera a few years ago, but wasn’t able to get the files moved over to my Mac. If I had been able to do the transfer, I could have used the venerable Graphic Converter application to open the files as it’s the only app around that will open the QTK files.

Powered by three AAA batteries, the QuickTake 100 has a built-in flash, shutter speeds between 1/30 and 1/750 of a second, and a aperture range of f/2.0 to f/16. It has an 8mm lens that is the rough equivalent of a 50mm standard lens on a 35mm camera, and shoots 24-bit color. I remember the photos as being quite grainy and they always seemed to have a reddish tinge.


Without batteries and with the camera strap, the QuickTake 100 weighs a hefty 15.7 ounces. By comparison, the iPhone 6 Plus with its 8 MP camera weighs just 6.1 ounces. As you can see from the photos, it looks a lot more like a pair of binoculars than a digital camera. The QuickTake 100 doesn't have a digital viewfinder; instead, you just look through a tiny window at your subject and press the shutter button on top of the camera to take your photos.


Built for Apple by Kodak — a company which has sadly faded due to its inability to recognize the significance of digital photography — the QuickTake 100 was discontinued for good when Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1997. However, I don’t remember seeing all that many of them in Apple retailers after about 1996, so they may have gotten the corporate axe earlier.

If I have some time to get this old camera hooked up again, I’ll shoot some video and feature it in a future Throwback Thursday. Did you have a QuickTake 100 or one of the other early digital cameras? Tell us about it in the comments.

There’s an old “Retro Apple” post about this camera located in the TUAW archives that are now located at Engadget with some additional photos of this antique.

Four things we'll hear about the Apple Watch this weekend

Thu, 2015-04-23 10:40

Now that the shipment notices have made it out to the pre-order crowd and we're all anxiously following the progress of our Apple Watches from Harrisburg, PA (or wherever...) it's time to set some expectations. Based on past rollouts of new, groundbreaking Apple products, this is what we'll probably hear a lot of this weekend on websites and social networks:

1) "The battery life on the Apple Watch is awful!"

Of course it is, when you're trying to load every known Apple Watch app in existence and have been fiddling with the Force Touch screen and Digital Crown ever since you took it out of the box. Trust me; when I got my first Newton MessagePad back in 1993, I obsessed over trying to get it to understand my handwriting. I went through AAA batteries like they were peanut M&Ms. Later, when I began using the device like it was designed to be used -- like a note-taking tool, calendar, and address book -- my battery life seemed more reasonable. 

The same thing happened with my first iPhone, which was so incredible that I had to show all of its features to everyone who wanted to see it. Doing that 20 times in quick succession quickly drained the original iPhone. Once again, when I began using the iPhone in a more appropriate (read: non-obsessive) manner, battery life didn't seem so bad.

2) "My connection to the iPhone is broken/erratic/slow"

Of course it is. We're talking wireless here, which in 2015 still isn't perfect. If you've used any existing activity tracker or wearable, you know that things aren't always going to connect first time, every time. As much as Apple has probably tested and optimized Apple Watch <--> iPhone communications, there are bound to be some issues. 

Set your expectations a tiny bit lower than they probably are. This is a 1.0 device, and there are likely to be some issues that will crop up unexpectedly once millions of Watches are in the field. Apple usually does a good job of identifying and squashing the more serious bugs up front, but if you go into your Apple Watch experience with the expectation that the connection (Bluetooth or Wi-Fi) may not always work the way you want it to, you're going to be much happier in the first few days. I hope Apple proves me wrong with this one.

3) "I'm getting a rash from my Apple Watch band"

Whether you've ordered one of the metal, leather, or silicone bands, it's possible that your skin might get a little sensitive. I was an owner of the Fitbit Force, which was a very impressive activity tracker... until Fitbit recalled the devices because of widespread reports of allergic reactions to some component of the band. I had no issues with the band until one day I wore it just a bit too snugly on my wrist, at which point the skin underneath the device developed a nice itchy blister. 

Photo by Kevin Sanders, Des Moines, IA -- via ABC News

Make sure that your Watch band is snug, but not too tight. Also, be sure to let the skin underneath have a chance to breathe every night when you take the Watch off to charge it. If you do start feeling as if you're getting an allergic reaction to the band, consider buying a band made of a different material to see if that resolves the issue.

I would not be surprised if this isn't the most common complaint, because a lot of people no longer wear watches and aren't used to the feel of a band on the wrist. Just use some common sense when wearing the Watch, and if things get a little itchy, consider moving it to the other arm for a bit... or just take it off for a while. 

4) "My Watch got a scratch on it after two minutes!"

We've covered the ability of the Stainless Steel Watch and Gold Watch Edition to withstand scratches thanks to the extremely hard and durable sapphire material on the watch face, but the most popular Watch -- the Sport -- only uses a hardened Ion-X glass that is still susceptible to scratching. It's very likely that a lot of people are going to scratch the Watch face after a few minutes and then publicly gripe about it.

Why? The first few days -- particularly if you're not used to wearing a watch -- you'll find yourself banging the Watch into tables, chairs, and anything else that your arm normally takes as normal wear and tear. Of course, you'll want to show off the Watch, so you won't be wearing long sleeves over it... and you may take it off to show someone and drop it as well. 

Eventually, unless you encase your arm in cotton batting, you're probably going to get a scratch on your Watch. Expect it, and deal with it. If it happens during the first few days, well, consider the Watch to be broken in and hope it doesn't happen again.

This post might be a bit cynical, but I've lived through way too many Apple product launches and I can anticipate what kind of comments we'll see through social media and websites. Just remember, although you spent a lot of money on this device and you want it to be perfect, it's likely to have a few imperfections. Don't let it get to you; just enjoy the technological marvel that you have strapped to your wrist, realize what an amazing thing it is, and enjoy yourself. 

Hours for iOS goes free, Hours for Apple Watch teased

Thu, 2015-04-23 09:19

I wrote about Hours for iPhone a few months ago and found it to be a useful, legible and easy-to-use time tracker. Now the folks at Tapity have teased Hours for the Apple Watch, and the've made the iPhone version temporarily free. Yep, the $6.99 time-tracking app is currently gratis.

Tappity founder Jeremy Olson explained his company's decision in a recent blog post. In short, he was inspired by the bottom-up approach that has worked so well for Slack

"Start by making the best solution for individuals, who in turn advocate adoption for their team, who in turn evangelize to other teams…and up the chain it goes...Eventually, we will not make most of our revenue from individuals tracking their time, but from businesses who want to collect that time and accounting providers who want to subsidize that collection."

As Jeremy notes, that will require "mass adoption on the ground floor." Hours is a very good app, and we wish him luck. His full article is worth a read and you should check it out

On the Apple Watch, Hours simplifies the act of starting and stopping timers as needed. Instead of pulling your iPhone out of your pocket, you simply tap the timer you want to make active. Pretty darn simple. Changes sync instantly to the iPhone app.

It looks great and we'll have a look at it as soon as we can. 


On making Alto's Adventure

Thu, 2015-04-23 08:11

Here's the interesting story behind the development of Alto's Adventure, (our review + gameplay video here) the delightful snowboarding game that has been featured by Apple several times. The story starts when co-creators Ryan Cash and Jordan Rosenberg were just kids playing in the snow, and ends some amazing fan art and other accolades recognizing their wonderful game. 

Ryan chronicles the games and other experiences that inspired Alto, and he shares some cringe-worthy x-rays of his dislocated shoulder along the way. Ouch. But seriously, it's a compelling look at the development of a very beautiful and popular game. Check it out. 

The last crop of Apple Watch Guided Tours is ready for pickin'

Wed, 2015-04-22 20:00

The last of Apple's Watch Guided Tours are now available for your viewing pleasure. The trio of tours cover the standard Apple Pay, Activity, and Workout apps. 

For those of us who use Apple Pay on a regular basis with our iPhones, the process appears to be a bit different. The Watch is brought up to the pay station, the user presses the button on the side of the Watch to display the Apple Pay app, then brings the face of the Watch down to the contactless reader until a beep is heard confirming the transaction. It looks way too easy, and not having to dig a phone out of one's pocket or purse will be a nice touch.

The Activity app is going to be a handy tool for those who don't have a current activity tracker like a Fitbit. The app can be set up to remind you to stand up every so often, and goals can be set based on a calorie goal you wish to reach. All along the way, a circular "meter" showing your progress is visible with a tap or two.

The Workout app provides a long, scrollable (with the Digital Crown) list of different workout activities, then tracks those activities for both length of time and intensity. Certain settings for all of these apps are handled through the My Watch app, including the defaults for how your workout progress is displayed.

Every one of the videos provides just a little bit more insight into how the Watch user interface works to provide Watch owners with the maximum amount of information with the fewest physical interactions. I personally can't wait to give a Watch a workout. 


Today in the App Store -- Coinverter, Week Weather and more

Wed, 2015-04-22 19:00

Here are some of the best free apps, app updates and new apps that have landed in the App Store recently. Today’s notable apps include a discount on Coinverter, the new Kayos game and a major update to Week Weather. All app prices are USD and subject to change. Some deals may expire quickly, so grab them while you can.

iOS Apps Now Free

Coinverter – The Currency Converter [Now Free, down from $0.99] Coinverter is featured by Apple as one of the most Smart Travel Tools on the App Store in 60 countries!

Trap the Light [Now Free, down from $0.99] Do you love games that keep you thinking and you really want to win? Do you love a game with lots of levels that make your mind go crazy?Well Trap the Light it will make you brains explode.

Smash Mania HD [Now Free, down from $1.99] CRASH AND SMASH! Hack, hackle, cut, break, explode, SMASH everything in sight – in Smash Mania total destruction will be your aim!

Smash Mania HD [Now Free, down from $1.99] CRASH AND SMASH! Hack, hackle, cut, break, explode, SMASH everything in sight – in Smash Mania total destruction will be your aim!

10K Trainer Pro - Couch to 10K Training [Now Free, down from $1.99] 10K Trainer is the easiest program to get beginners from couch potatoes to 10K distance runners in just 14 weeks.

PDF PROvider [Now Free, down from $7.99] Meet the best-of-breed PDF processor for power users. Scan papers, surf the web and view office documents.

iOS Apps On Sale

Gunslugs 2 [On sale for $1.99, down from $2.99] If you like over the top action, chaos, explosions, weirdness and don’t take it all too serious, then you know exactly what Gunslugs is all about. $2.99 → $1.99

Shades: A Simple Puzzle Game [On sale for $1.99, down from $3.99] A mesmerizing, calming, zen-like experience that quickly evolves into a devilishly challenging puzzler.

WarMen [On sale for $12.99, down from $19.99] In the year 2013 civil unrest across the globe pushes world leaders to merge the Police and Military into one force: Department of Control. $4.99 → $0.99

Prompt 2 [On sale for $4.99, down from $14.99] THE EASY, POWERFUL, AND BEAUTIFUL SSH CLIENT. A brand-new app, with great new features, Prompt 2 gets the job done.

VIDEO & PHOTO into CAMERA ROLL - AddPhoto [On sale for $3.99, down from $7.99] AddPhoto allows you to easily add movies (MP4, M4V, MOV) and photos (JPEG, PNG) to the Camera Roll.

HomeBudget with Sync [On sale for $2.99, down from $4.99] HomeBudget is an integrated expense tracker designed to help you track your expenses, income, bills-due and account balances.

Discounted Mac Apps

Typing Tournament v2 [On sale for $12.99, down from $19.99] A fantastic typing adventure awaits you! Complete the quest and prove yourself worthy of challenging the Dark Typist!

SimCity™: Complete Edition [On sale for $19.99, down from $39.99] The definitive city simulator arrives on the Mac App Store!

ReadKit [On sale for $4.99, down from $9.99] ReadKit is a full-featured read later and RSS client that supports services from Instapaper, Pocket, Readability, Pinboard, Delicious, Feedly, Fever, NewsBlur, Feedbin and Feed Wrangler and has built-in RSS capabilities.

New and Notable Apps

Kayos [$0.99] From the developer that brought you the award-winning original game Boost 2, comes another adrenaline rushing experience.

Rally Racer Drift [$1.99] You will fill the roads with dust thanks to specially developed car physics and effective drift system for you to feel the real rally experience

Updates you don’t want to miss

STAR WARS™: FORCE COLLECTION [$1.99] Collect over 400 character cards and vehicles including Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. Create your own unique battle formations. Version 3.1.18 includes the following changes:

  • Exclusive Contra mini-game now available for a limited time!
  • The game is now available in French and German. Language settings can be changed on the title page.
  • In-game fonts and UI have been improved.
  • A reconnaissance function, allowing you to scout out the enemy’s charge status, has been added to “Legions at War” Starship Battles!
  • Tatooine maps 6, 7, and 8 have been added to Map Quests! Defeat targets hiding in these maps to increase your maximum number of Ally slots!
  • Other minor issues have been addressed.

Week Weather [$1.99] You never got a quicker and better overview of the weather for the next 7 days. Version 1.1 includes the following changes:

  • We added a new data source to Week Weather: Open Weather Map.
  • You have the choice between the Norwegian Meteorological Institute and Open Weather Map now. You can switch the weather source at any time and find out which one is more accurate for your location.
  • We also added actual live temperature readings for the forecast location. “Current conditions” now include a map with live temperature data from Netatmo Weather Stations (visible on iPhone 5 or newer but not on iPhone 4S or iPad).