The live-stream video tweet battle: Meerkat’s still fighting, but Periscope is winning
Guest: Periscope easily drives more adoption than Meerkat if you know how to market your streams, and it seems to have won out on most of the reviews of the two apps in the tech press. But here are some stats that tell more of the story.
Top 10 Android app updates this week: OneDrive, Moovit
Welcome back to our weekly Top 10 Android App Updates column, where we take a look at the most frequently upgraded apps for the week. We’ve found that one of the best ways to discover useful apps is to find the ones that are actually being updated by the developers rather than selecting the apps with the [...]
Luxottica CEO says new Google Glass is coming soon
In mid-January, it was announced that Tony Fadell had been put in charge of the Google Glass initiative and that the program had moved out of the Google X exploratory labs and given a full lease on life. While some took that as the end of Google’s wearable technology, many saw it for what [...]
Android takes a piss on Apple in this Google Maps Easter egg
In case your day got started on the wrong foot, here’s a bit of tech humor to lighten things up. A humorously odd Easter egg has been found in Google Maps, one that includes a picture of the Android logo relieving itself right onto Apple’s logo. The addition likely came from a rogue Googler, and [...]
Top 10 new Android games this week: Must Deliver, Joe Danger
Welcome back to Android Gaming Weekly, our weekly recap of new game releases. We still plan to cover upcoming releases and games we’re playing, but this column is dedicated to new games that you can start playing right now. Check out our top picks and let us know in the comments section if you have any [...]
NSA's reported Huawei hack gives glimpse of agency's role in 'cyber Cold War'
The latest report based on leaks by Edward Snowden has it that the NSA hacked into the servers of a Chinese router company that had itself been accused by the US of potentially aiding government espionage.
Twitter battle in Turkey heats up, spreads to YouTube -- reports
The fight over a Twitter ban in the country intensifies, as the government reportedly blocks a workaround, the White House weighs in, and Google refuses to yank YouTube vids critical of the prime minister.
Buyers and practitioners in the data market have faced a gut-wrenching choice: work with big data and tolerate the latency of batch-mode processing, or work interactively with relatively small data sets…
All-Flash Arrays for Primary Storage: The time is now
Many times faster than legacy spinning disk arrays, All Flash Arrays (AFA) have been widely adopted for demanding use cases where consistent ultra-high performance storage is needed to service the most…
These Sping-Loaded Skate Trucks Make Me Wish I Knew How To Skateboard
Skateboard suspension is an idea that sounds long overdue—modern skateboarding is a lot rougher than it was when my parents were young. Professional riders fly through the air, grind across metal rails and land on hard concrete after jumping down enormous flights of stairs. They do it all without suspension, forcing them to make hard, impactful landings. It sounds unpleasant.
I’m not a skater—I’m not even dexterous enough to ollie—but I wish I was. Avenue Suspension Skateboard Trucks seems like the perfect solution to that whole suspension problem. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a redesigned skateboard truck that ads suspension.
Medical Robots Can Be Hacked During Surgery, Researchers Find
Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle have just hijacked a teleoperated surgical robot, demonstrating major security weaknesses in the machines that may eventually replace a surgeon’s hands in hospitals worldwide. Yikes.
Artist's Trash Exhibitions Depict A Planet Colonized By Plastic
Landfills, E-waste piles, and ocean garbage patches are a part of our world we’d rather not see, but these eyesores aren’t going away. Rather than simply accept that our planet is being swallowed by garbage, one artist has started turning this discarded junk into something beautiful.
New Software Turns Any Capacitive Touchscreen Into A Biometric Scanner
In an effort to fix our broke-ass password system, manufacturers are looking to the world of biometrics, sticking fingerprint scanners into everything from photocopiers to, um, school buses. Now, a team of Yahoo researchers might’ve come up with a way to extend biometric recognition to anything with a touchscreen.
Apple Watch Won’t Deliver on Its Promise to Revolutionize Health. Yet.
The Apple Watch officially arrives today, packed with sensors and software to quantify your every footstep. But measured against Apple’s big ambitions for the future of medicine, the Watch is still a rudimentary device. And for Apple to revolutionize health, it needs far more than a bauble-sized computer.
IBM Can Now Squeeze a Record-Setting 220TB On a Cassette Tape
It’s assumed that once CDs killed off audio cassette tapes, the medium became extinct. But believe it or not, magnetic tape is still alive and well when it comes to data storage, mostly because it’s so cheap. And now that IBM has found a way to squeeze 220 terabytes onto a single cartridge, hard drives will still have plenty of competition for years to come.
A Reminder That Newer Stuff Isn't Always Better, Courtesy of Qualcomm
Every six months or so, mobile processing giant Qualcomm announces its latest and greatest Snapdragon processor, a piece of silicon that will find its way into the newest Android handset, making your life faster and better and so much higher-resolution than the old, crummy Snapdragon. Only, in the case of Snapdragon 810, that’s not true.
Taiwan notebook shipments down 16% sequentially in 1Q15, says MIC
Taiwan makers shipped about 31.62 million notebooks in the first quarter of 2015, decreasing 16% from a quarter earlier, the government-backed MIC (Market Intelligence and Consulting Institute) has estimated.
China suppliers continue to lead the solar PV module market in 2014, says IHS
According to a new report from IHS, with shipments of 23.7GW, the top-10 solar photovoltaic (PV) module suppliers grew their combined market share slightly from 48% in 2013 to 49% in 2014. Boasting the largest domestic market for PV modules, China suppliers continued to dominate the market in 2014.
CACI awarded $34 million contract to provide analytic support to Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization
Top Priority Sector:
Arlington, VA, April 23 – CACI International Inc (NYSE:CACI) has announced it was awarded a $34 million contract to provide deployed and on-site analytic support to the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization’s (JIEDDO) J9 Operational Analysis and Assessment Division.
Washington – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is celebrating the Hubble Space Telescope’s 25th anniversary launch on April 24, 1990.
“Hubble has completely transformed our view of the universe, revealing the true beauty and richness of the cosmos,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “This vista of starry fireworks and glowing gas is a fitting image for our celebration of 25 years of amazing Hubble science.”
Airlines for America to Congress: Funding system for airports is working
Top Priority Sector:
Washington, D.C., April 23 – Airlines for America (A4A), an industry trade organization of U.S. airlines, has testified before the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security regarding the U.S. airline industry’s commitment to airport infrastructure investment across the country, while stressing that there is no justification for increasing the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) – Airport Tax – on passengers due to the strong financial condition of U.S. airports.
Could a cheap Nexus Fi Android Phone be Google’s next big unveil? [OPINION]
What if the rumored Huawei Nexus is a cheaper Nexus, built with Project Fi in mind. Having a cheaper Nexus that's available to budget conscious people, you know, those looking to save money on their wireless bill, sounds a whole lot better than the current setup at Project Fi.
LG says G4’s leather back is made from high-quality cow leather and takes 12 weeks to manufacture
LG says they're the first ones to slap leather on a smartphone in Korea and while we'll just have to take them on their word for it, LG has spent a considerable amount of time and effort to deliver what they call a "sensible luxury" on the LG G4.
Google makes $17.3 billion in revenue in Q1 2015, Nexus sales suffered a “decline”
Google's Q1 2015 numbers are in, and as usual the company raked in a lot of dough. They were able to amass $17.3 billion in revenue -- which is a 12% increase year-on-year -- and $3.85 billion of that was marked as profit.
There’s a giant Android robot urinating on an Apple logo in Google Maps RIGHT NOW
Quick, before Google notices: there's a pretty funny easter egg waiting for you over at a certain Google Maps destination. No, it's not the oddest-shaped golf course you've ever seen -- it's a picture of an Android robot urinating on an Apple logo.
An anonymous reader writes: We read about a lot of patent troll cases. Some are successful and some are not, but many such cases are decided before ever going to court. It's how the patent troll operates — they know exactly how high litigation costs are. Even without a legal leg to stand on, they can ask for settlements that make better financial sense for the target to accept, rather than dumping just as much money into attorney's fees for an uncertain outcome. Fortunately, some companies fight back. TV-maker Vizio is one of these, and they've successfully defended against 16 different patent trolls, some with multiple claims. In addition, they're going on the offensive, trying to wrest legal fees from the plaintiffs for their spurious claims. "For the first time, it stands a real chance, in a case where it spent more than $1 million to win. Two recent Supreme Court decisions make it easier for victorious defendants to collect fees in patent cases. The TV maker is up against a storied patent plaintiffs' firm, Chicago-based Niro, Haller & Niro, that has fought for Oplus tooth and nail. ... For Vizio, the company feels that it's on the verge of getting vindication for a long-standing policy of not backing down to patent trolls."
A Guide To the 5 Cybersecurity Bills Now Before Congress
blottsie writes: At press time, the House had passed two cybersecurity bills, one Senate bill had been passed out of committee and reported to the full chamber for a final vote, and a third House bill and a second Senate bill were awaiting review by the appropriate committee. The two House bills that passed earlier this week will be combined and sent to the Senate, but the Senate won't take up them up directly; instead, it will vote on its own two bills. It's complicated, so here's a quick breakdown of the key details.
Giant Survival Ball Will Help Explorer Survive a Year On an Iceberg
HughPickens.com writes: Ben Yeager reports in Outside Magazine that Italian explorer Alex Bellini plans to travel to Greenland's west coast, pick an iceberg, and live on it for a year as it melts out in the Atlantic. It's a precarious idea. Bellini will be completely isolated, and his adopted dwelling is liable to roll or fall apart at any moment, thrusting him into the icy sea or crushing him under hundreds of tons of ice. His solution: an indestructible survival capsule built by an aeronautics company that specializes in tsunami-proof escape pods. "I knew since the beginning I needed to minimize the risk. An iceberg can flip over, and those events can be catastrophic." Bellini plans to use a lightweight, indestructible floating capsules, or "personal safety systems" made from aircraft-grade aluminum in what's called a continuous monocoque structure, an interlocking frame of aluminum spars that evenly distribute force, underneath a brightly painted and highly visible aluminum shell. The inner frame can be stationary or mounted on roller balls so it rotates, allowing the passengers to remain upright at all times.
Aeronautical engineer Julian Sharpe, founder of Survival Capsule, got the idea for his capsules after the 2004 Indonesian tsunami. He believes fewer people would have died had some sort of escape pod existed. Sharpe hopes the products will be universal—in schools, retirement homes, and private residences, anywhere there is severe weather. The product appeals to Bellini because it's strong enough to survive a storm at sea or getting crushed between two icebergs. Bellini will spend almost all of his time in the capsule with the hatch closed, which will pose major challenges because he'll have to stay active without venturing out onto a slippery, unstable iceberg. If it flips, he'll have no time to react. "Any step away from [the iceberg] will be in unknown territory," says Bellini. "You want to stretch your body. But then you risk your life."
Turning a Smartphone Display Into a Biometric Scanner
New submitter jan_jes writes: Recent mobile phones integrate fingerprint scanners to authenticate users biometrically and replace passwords, making authentication more convenient. Researchers at Yahoo Labs have created a new technology called "Bodyprint," which turns your smartphone's touchscreen display into a biometric scanner. It allows the touch sensor to scan users' body parts (PDF) such as ears, fingers, fists, and palms by pressing them against the display. Bodyprint implements the four-eye principle for locking sensitive documents — accessing the document can require the presence of two or more people involved with the project. Another application is authenticating a user to answer a call by scanning their ear pressed against the phone.
German Intelligence Helped NSA Spy On EU Politicians and Companies
An anonymous reader writes: We've known for some time already that intelligence agencies operate beyond rules, laws, and regulations. Now, we learn that the NSA and the German intelligence service, BND, lied and withheld information about misuse from the German Chancellor's Office. "The BND realized as early as 2008 that some of the selectors were not permitted according to its internal rules, or covered by a 2002 US-Germany anti-terrorism "Memorandum of Agreement" on intelligence cooperation. And yet it did nothing to check the NSA's requests systematically. It was only in the summer of 2013, after Edward Snowden's revelations of massive NSA and GCHQ surveillance, that the BND finally started an inquiry into all the selectors that had been processed.
According to Der Spiegel, investigators found that the BND had provided information on around 2,000 selectors that were clearly against European and German interests. Not only were European businesses such as the giant aerospace and defense company EADS, best-known as the manufacturer of the Airbus planes, targeted, so were European politicians—including German ones. However, the BND did not inform the German Chancellor's office, which only found out about the misuse of the selector request system in March 2015. Instead, the BND simply asked the NSA to make requests that were fully covered by the anti-terrorism agreement between the two countries. According to Die Zeit, this was because the BND was worried that the NSA might curtail the flow of its own intelligence data to the German secret services if the selector scheme became embroiled in controversy.
An anonymous reader writes: Like initials carved in a tree, ER = EPR, as the new idea is known, is a shorthand that joins two ideas proposed by Einstein in 1935. One involved the paradox implied by what he called "spooky action at a distance" between quantum particles (the EPR paradox, named for its authors, Einstein, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen). The other showed how two black holes could be connected through far reaches of space through "wormholes" (ER, for Einstein-Rosen bridges). At the time that Einstein put forth these ideas — and for most of the eight decades since — they were thought to be entirely unrelated. But if ER = EPR is correct, the ideas aren't disconnected — they're two manifestations of the same thing. And this underlying connectedness would form the foundation of all space-time. Quantum entanglement — the action at a distance that so troubled Einstein — could be creating the "spatial connectivity" that "sews space together," according to Leonard Susskind, a physicist at Stanford University and one of the idea's main architects. Without these connections, all of space would "atomize," according to Juan Maldacena, a physicist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., who developed the idea together with Susskind. "In other words, the solid and reliable structure of space-time is due to the ghostly features of entanglement," he said. What's more, ER = EPR has the potential to address how gravity fits together with quantum mechanics.
Amazon's Profits Are Floating On a Cloud (Computing)
HughPickens.com writes: The NY Times reports that Amazon unveiled the financial performance of its powerful growth engine for the first time on Thursday, and the numbers looked good, energized primarily by renting processing power to start-ups and, increasingly, established businesses. Amazon said in its first-quarter earnings report that its cloud division, Amazon Web Services, had revenue of $1.57 billion during the first three months of the year. Even though the company often reports losses, the cloud business is generating substantial profits. The company said its operating income from AWS was $265 million.
Amazon helped popularize the field starting in 2006 and largely had commercial cloud computing to itself for years, an enormous advantage in an industry where rivals usually watch one another closely. At the moment, there is no contest: Amazon is dominant and might even be extending its lead. Microsoft ranks a distant No. 2 in cloud computing but hopes to pick up the slack with infrastructure-related services it sells through Azure, the name of its cloud service. Amazon executives have said they expect AWS to eventually rival the company's other businesses in size. The cloud business has been growing at about 40 percent a year, more than twice the rate of the overall company and many Wall Street analysts have been hoping for a spinoff. As for Google, the cloud was barely mentioned in Google's earnings call. Nor did the search giant offer any cloud numbers, making it impossible to gauge how well it is doing. But the enthusiasm of Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, was manifest when he spoke at an event for cloud software developers this week. "The entire world will be defined by smartphones, Android or Apple, a very fast network, and cloud computing," said Schmidt. "The space is very large, very vast, and no one is covering all of it."
Pentagon Discloses Network Breach By Russian Hackers
An anonymous reader writes: The Pentagon has disclosed that Russian hackers were able to breach one of its secure networks earlier this year, and referred to the attack as a "worrisome" incident. "Earlier this year, the sensors that guard DOD's unclassified networks detected Russian hackers accessing one of our networks," said defense secretary Ash Carter yesterday during a speech at Stanford University. Carter warned Russia that the U.S. Department of Defense would retaliate with cyber campaigns should it see fit. "Adversaries should know that our preference for deterrence and our defensive posture don't diminish our willingness to use cyber options if necessary," said Carter. He added in a prepared statement that the Russian hackers had been able to gain access to an "unclassified network" but had been "quickly identified" by a team of cyberattack experts who managed to block the hackers "within 24 hours." The cybersecurity response team had quickly analyzed the hack patterns and code and identified the intruders as Russian, before "kicking them off the network."
Sprint: LG G Flex Will Launch Online on January 31 for $299 on Contract
Starting today, Sprint customers can pre-order the unique LG G Flex smartphone for $299 online with a two year contract. By pre-ordering between now and January 31st, customers will receive a complimentary Quickwindow Folio Case, which is valued at $60. Sprint…
Motorola Announces Moto X Launch in UK, France, and Germany on February 1
Certain European consumers interested in the Moto X smartphone from Motorola will soon have their chance to purchase the excellent handset. Expected to launch on February 1st, Motorola will sell its iconic Moto X device in Black or White in…
Under Regulators’ Scrutiny, Comcast and Time Warner Cable End Deal
The Justice Department confirmed that it had significant concerns that the merger “would make Comcast an unavoidable gatekeeper for Internet-based services that rely on a broadband connection to reach consumers.”
In Depth: The new space race: who's who in the realm of space exploration
Turning to the private sector
It's been nearly 50 years since Star Trek first referred to space as "the final frontier," and the passing decades have done little to diminish interest in traveling to this expansive (and very expensive) destination.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (better known as NASA) made headlines back in 2011 with the decision to retire its space shuttle fleet, laying the groundwork for companies with no government ties to throw their hat into the galactic ring.
While NASA has set its sights on bigger targets such as travel to the planet Mars, privately funded firms are busy planning and testing new rockets and even complete space stations, all in the hopes of dodging political and economic setbacks that have plagued government organizations for decades.
Here's a look at the commercial spacecraft companies leading the charge, and who looks to have the best shot at getting us to the stars.
Off to the races
The new space race kicked off in October 2004 when the $10 million Ansari XPRIZE was awarded to Mojave Aerospace Ventures, which made history by developing SpaceshipOne, a privately financed, reusable manned suborbital spaceship capable of blasting three people up to 100 kilometers above the Earth's surface.
Headed up by aerospace engineer Burt Rutan and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, that initial nonprofit investment paid off handsomely with billions of dollars received by Mojave Aerospace Ventures to date for commercial space development.
The XPRIZE Foundation and NASA also coughed up awards totaling $30 million apiece to encourage a return to the moon, with the Google Lunar X Prize aiming to land a robot on the surface, travel at least 500 meters and beam images and data back to Earth.
Despite an ever-shrinking annual budget, NASA's own Centennial Challenges program has been established to award amounts ranging from $200,000 to $2 million in support of the agency's future plans.
NASA isn't the only government agency that's helping make private space travel a reality. The European Space Agency is providing facilities as well as the capital necessary to fund research and development from a number of companies.
The US space agency has also inked contracts worth billions to outfits like Orbital Sciences Corp. and SpaceX (more on them in a bit), with the goal of ferrying precious cargo between Earth and the International Space Station.
Space travel has also helped thaw US relations with countries like Russia and China, both of whom have ramped up their intergalactic plans in recent years, and have been cited as potential allies if the US ever hopes to send humans to Mars.
However, Russia's economic recession shaved 10% off the nation's space budget earlier this year, yet the country still narrowly managed to get more orbital launch attempts off the ground in the first quarter than its US counterparts.
Lockheed and Boeing stay space hungry
Although NASA may be investing heavily in newcomers to spaceflight, the agency remains very much in bed with a pair of old-school aerospace partners, namely Lockheed Martin and Boeing.
Figuring there's safety in numbers for the new space race, the two old-school companies have formed a joint venture called United Launch Alliance, which builds the very Atlas V rockets many commercial ventures require to reach the heavens in the first place.
Lockheed Martin and Boeing have also made separate contributions to NASA's Martian ambitions, with the former supplying aeroshells for everything from Viking landers to the Curiosity rover.
Boeing, on the other hand, has a lease on a former space shuttle hangar at the Kennedy Space Center through 2026, which is being used to build NASA's Crew Space Transportation-100 (CST-100), among other projects.
Top image credit: NASA
Virgin Galactic, Amazon, SpaceX and more
Sir Richard's star tours
Naturally, one of the more ambitious plans for commercial space travel involve tourism - as in, sending average folks like you and me for a ride we're not soon likely to forget, 62 miles over the heads of our friends and loved ones.
Spearheading this effort is Virgin Group billionaire Sir Richard Branson, whose Virgin Galactic program plans to blast six people into orbit for a cool $250,000 per head. The flight will include five minutes of weightlessness prior to reentering Earth's atmosphere and land as gracefully as a traditional airplane.
Virgin Galactic claims only 574 humans have traveled into space to date, so its mission is democratize such travel for everyone on the planet, or at least, those wealthy enough to book a ticket. (So far, more than 600 people have booked a ticket on a Virgin Galactic flight, though only test pilots have flown so far.)
Branson's ambitious plans to kick off commercial spaceflights in 2015 took a deadly turn last October when a failed SpaceShipTwo test flight which took the life of pilot Michael Alsbury, an employee of another private spacecraft pioneer, Scaled Composites.
Amazon goes up, up and away
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has invested a big chunk of his wealth into Blue Origin, the company responsible for one of the more unique spacecraft to date. New Shepard (named after first US astronaut Alan Shepard) has been designed to take off and land vertically, transporting astronauts in a rocket pod with nine engines.
Blue Origin first found success with Goddard, a test vehicle named after rocket pioneer Robert Goddard and modeled after NASA's DC-X; the company continues to invest in the same cone-shaped design with four legs.
With additional funding from NASA, the relatively low-key Blue Origin has been toiling away quietly in the background for the last 15 years, living up to its motto "gradatim ferociter" (which loosely translates to "step by step, ferociously").
The commercially-minded Bezos hopes to use New Shepard to send three people into space each week "at dramatically lower cost and increased reliability," goals made possible thanks to the reusable nature of the company's launch vehicles.
One of the most visible faces in the modern space age is Space Exploration Technologies Corporation. Better known as SpaceX and founded by Tesla mogul Elon Musk, the company is notable as the first to launch a privately-owned ship into orbit and have it return safely to earth.
Flush with a NASA contract to haul cargo to the ISS, the SpaceX Dragon has already had three successful launches from Cape Canaveral this year in as many months, powered by the company's Falcon 9 rocket.
However, SpaceX faced a setback on April 14 when it performed a test to see whether one of the rockets could land on a floating barge perched in the Atlantic Ocean; it accomplished that mission, but wound up falling sideways and exploding on impact.
SpaceX already has another 13 launches scheduled through 2015, and plans to eventually transition its Dragon cargo container into a manned spacecraft capable of sending up to seven people to the stars.
The big hitter you probably haven't heard of
While SpaceX may be better-known to a generation of social network users for its frequent social media posts, Orbital ATK, Inc. has become the closest thing we've got to a privatized version of NASA.
Based in Virginia and formerly known as Orbital Sciences prior to a merger with Alliant Techsystems, the company has dabbled in everything from orbiting satellites and deep space probes to high-altitude payload deliveries and yes, holds a lucrative NASA contract worth $1.9 billion for flying cargo missions to the International Space Station.
Orbital has had more successes than failures to date, but lost some momentum last fall when its fifth launch of the Cygnus spacecraft using a refurbished, Russian-built Antares rocket ended with the destruction of the vehicle and damage to the launch pad. (Orbital abandoned the older AJ-26 engines that led to the accident.)
Founded in 1982 by a trio of Harvard Business School graduates, the company first made headlines in 1990 with the launch of the Pegasus rocket. No stranger to setbacks, Orbital is well-positioned to become the heaviest of hitters among commercial space organizations who design and manufacture small- to medium-class rocket systems.
Into the final frontier
There's plenty more to look forward to with commercial space flight in 2015 and beyond. In addition to 13 more SpaceX launches planned for this year, XCOR Aerospace intends to fly its Lynx spacecraft with a pilot, single passenger and science payloads in tow throughout the year, reaching altitudes of 330,000 feet (100 kilometers).
Orbital ATK has also announced plans to launch its Cygnus CRS Orb-4 on November 20, a flight postponed from April 1 in the wake of the Antares rocket failure in October 2014. There are also more lofty future plans in the works from the likes of Mars One, which eventually hopes to host a human settlement on the red planet.
Many of the companies pioneering commercial spaceflight maintain an active presence on social media, so it's easy to keep tabs on future launch plans. SpaceX offers the most comprehensive information with accounts on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, while Virgin Galactic offers Facebook and Twitter, and Blue Origin maintains only a Twitter presence, as do both NASA and Boeing Defense.
One thing's for certain: The future of private space travel is still in its infancy, which means we've got a long way to go before anyone stakes a real claim to James T. Kirk's final frontier, let alone reaches it at all.
The Apple Watch has been ticking away on my wrist just shy of 24 hours, and while it's no longer called the iWatch, it really is "my watch" and Apple's most personal gadget yet.
The iPhone-compatible smartwatch comes in 38 flavors, with different case materials, colors, sizes and interchangeable Apple Watch bands. None are inexpensive.
Starting at $349 (£299, AU$499) and climbing all the way up to $17,000 (£13,500, AU$24,000), the lightweight Apple-designed wristwatch is meant for early adopters and boutique store regulars.
Is it worth that tough-to-swallow Apple Watch price? Beaming apps like Messages, Mail and every iPhone notification to an always-on-hand gadget is a wonderful convenience.
I no longer have to find my seemingly always-hiding iPhone 6 every time someone texts me, yet I can ping the iPhone when I really do want it thanks to the best Find my iPhone method yet.
But not having to fetch your phone for each and every vibration in your pocket is a luxury, and not one most iPhones users need this very moment - at least for the current asking price.
Where does that line get drawn? What can it do better than a smartphone? We've known the Apple Watch specs for months, but now we know these answers too and how it feels to wear it for much longer than 15 minutes.
What does Apple Watch do?
Apple Watch is often oversimplified as an iPhone on your wrist, and almost everyone I have talked to this week has accidentally referred to it as "your phone." Even I slipped up once.
It's not an unreasonable comparison. The square-shaped smartwatch is like a mini iPhone; it lets me read emails, summon Siri and receive phone calls from my wrist.
Combining the features of an iPhone-tied watch with a fitness tracker, Apple Watch also lets me track my steps walked, calories burned and heart rate. Surprise: I need to move more.
Custom watch faces, like we've seen from Android Wear watches, are here, as well as new exclusive technology like the pressure-sensitive Force Touch touchscreen.
That said, there are plenty iPhone features that aren't carried over to the wrist. Apple Watch is not an iPhone replacement, a weird disappointment to a lot of people who are missing the point.
"Wait, I still need my phone?" is the response I've heard from baffled people. Certainly. It's not meant to watch YouTube videos on the tiny display or scan dozens of Facebook posts sans a keyboard.
Who would want to don a giant watch capable of such specs or a large enough battery to run that? You still need an iPhone with you at all times, but you use it less than before.
Design and comfort
I've tried on every Apple Watch model outside of the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Editions during first 15 minute appointment, but I stuck with the entry-level 42mm aluminum Apple Watch Sport in white.
It's the cheapest of the 38 designs, and, in my opinion, slightly more comfortable than its two posh counterparts that are made of heavier stainless steel and gold.
In fact, its anodized aluminum case and Ion-X glass make it 30% lighter. That adds up on my wrist when I'm wearing this thing for 18 hours a day before the battery life is zapped.
Its aluminum frame matches the iPhone build and is therefore duller than the shiny stainless steel Apple Watch, but it still goes with a steel band like the Milanese Loop just fine.
My Apple Watch Sport is also missing the even tougher sapphire crystal glass, but the Ion-X glass has proven resilient so far. I don't expect to have to spring AppleCare.
Everything else is the same. The case sits 10.5mm off of my wrist with stylishly curved glass on the top and a slight bump to the black composite back for the heart rate sensor.
It's reasonably thin for now, but I can already imagine Apple making a "world's thinnest watch" several times over in the proceeding years for the Apple Watch 2 and beyond.
A classy sounding digital crown and an uninspiringly named side button are located on the right side for twisting and pressing through menus. A microphone and speaker are on the left side.
The Apple Watch Sport band is made of fluoroelastomer, which is Apple's fancy way of saying synthetic rubber that's supposed to be extremely durable.
The smooth strap, available in white, black, blue, green and pink colors, feels comfortable and is easier to buckle than any prong-clasped Fitbit I've tested. It tucks the excess band in a hole so that it hides behind the beginning the strap.
My watch came with two bands, a larger and short size in the same white color. Changing the strap was incredibly simple and required no tooling, unlike the Moto 360.
Although many Android Wear smartwatches work with third-party 22mm bands, the transition to a new band - like the Milanese Loop I ordered - is more seamless and still secure. Cheaper third-party straps are also said to be on the way.
Interface and apps
Apple Watch's setup is fairly seamless too. I booted up my iPhone's Watch app, which came with iOS 8.2, and it asked me to take a photo of my new Apple Watch. Done. It was paired.
Syncing my existing apps happened automatically too, but took a couple of minutes. After that, I was able to customize my watch face and load up a springboard of circular apps.
I immediately started receiving texts on my wrist, mostly asking if I got the Apple Watch yet, and emails about important travel plans to next week's LG G4 event.
All of this happened while my iPhone was plugged in several feet away, already drained after doing an unboxing video on the Periscope app.
The interface has taken a while to get used to and the My Watch menu within the iPhone companion app is astonishingly complex, which may end up being a good thing.
I can disable notifications for specific apps and just about every setting can be mirrored from the iPhone or be set up individually, from Do Not Disturb to how Messages notifications. They repeat twice all the way up to ten times if I hate myself.
Apple Watch has taken me some time to learn and a number of essential third-party apps are missing, at least in native form. This includes Facebook and the iOS Gmail app.
Sure, Facebook notifications pop up on the watch, as do emails snippets from the Gmail app, but seeing anything beyond "Lily posted a comment on your timeline" or reading the full email requires an iPhone for now. This is unlike Instagram's native app or Apple's built-in Mail app.
Many third-party apps need to load faster than they do currently and include finer controls that go far beyond "Show App on Apple Watch." This is up to developers. Like me, they clearly need more time with this newly launched smartwatch to get used to it.
Apple Watch has "millions" of watch face combinations thanks to complications, but just nine default faces. Curiously missing is a way to include a custom photo as a watch face, an option that was at the original watch announcement back in September.
I appreciate how easy it is to switch up the existing watch face colors and add widgets like the date or my next calendar appointment around the on-screen dial, but only when developers can create truly custom watch faces of their own can this feature compete with Android Wear.
Apple Watch isn't a fitness band, watch or fashion accessory, despite taking a bit from each of those camps. It's hard to define what it really is, which means that users may struggle to justify the purchase.
I think its greatest chance of success is in the health market, as Apple has made this a decent choice for people looking to get a little bit healthier.
What has saddened me in the time since launch is finding out that Apple won't be selling it properly into the health market. Apparently early tests to add in a stress sensor and blood pressure monitor failed, (beautifully partly because of hairy arms) so the Apple Watch - at least version one - will be a cut down version of what it could have been.
That said, the Watch will still have decent health ability. Not just checking steps or heart rate once in a while, the watch will be able to help you be a bit less sedentary as well as noting when you run around and how hard the exertion is.
Of course, it needs an iPhone to work really effectively, but it works very well autonomously too in terms of tracking the above. However, with no GPS on board it can't be classed as a running watch - although the interface is nice.
This partly explains why Samsung has teamed up with Nike to make the Gear S a running companion – but at least Apple has got its own version of a full running system to make up for it.
Apple Watch is supposed to have 18 hours of battery life, which would translate into a full day if I were to ever keep to a normal sleeping schedule. That's impossible to gauge on day one due to all of the heavy use.
I took several battery-taxing phone calls with my watch, which Apple says depletes the battery in three hours. Just checking the time every so often boosts it to 48 hours.
While I plan to update this review with a fair battery life test, I can confirm that it charges faster than Apple had lead me to believe. It was juiced back up to 100% in two hours.
Officially, the Apple Watch recharge time is supposed to be 1.5 hours to 80% and and 2.5 hours to 100%.
My faster-than-expected charging time may be due to the 72 hours that Apple Watch can remain on in a limited time-checking state called Power Reserve mode. I charged the watch when it reached 0% and entered this mode, so it technically had some juice left to it.
Apple Watch is the best iPhone-compatible smartwatch for early adopters looking for the next big thing in a small package. It essentially relays some iOS apps and all notifications to my wrist without requiring me to constantly pull out and unlock my phone.
This concept is going to become more useful when the hype dies down, new apps emerge and I have more time to get acquainted to the interface and controls. The best smartwatches work better as an unexciting fashion piece or fitness tracker that fades into the background, which contrasts with an iPhone or an iPad that you train your eyes on and fill with multimedia. If you're asking why it can't play YouTube or take photos, you're really missing the point.
It's a time-telling and time-saving convenience, though one that still requires a nearby iPhone and a hefty sum to buy. The Apple Watch price is rightfully getting mixed reviews from fans. That's why I ultimately recommend the cheapest aluminum Apple Watch Sport. It has same dimensions, functionality and battery life as the pricey steel and gold models. And it'll justify the inevitable upgrade to Apple Watch 2 when the time it up for this edition.
Running Man of Tech: First look: the Apple Watch for running
I've screwed up my shoulder
The Apple Watch has only been on my wrist for 24 hours, but already I'm missing the Garmin. And that's after only one run.
I've been trying to decide whether or not to write about Cupertino's digi-timepiece in this column given it's not a 'proper' running watch and could hinder my quest to become a triathlete in a ludicrously short amount of time, but given it's the only tech my running chums have asked about for the last two weeks, it needs a dabble.
The Apple Watch has a heart rate monitor on the back, it's a light little gadget, and while it doesn't have GPS inbuilt, it can either draw from the iPhone's chip if you're running with that or actually learn your cadence over time from training with the smartphone tethered. And I've just tried it for the first time in anger as a runner at the local Parkrun.
Today was about keeping things simple: turn up at the start line, turn the Watch on, and go. And I did. It counts down to start you off, which is annoying, as when someone says 'GO!' having to anticipate it by 3 seconds is tough. It's a good feature on a phone, as it gives you time to put the thing away before starting, but on a watch it's redundant.
So off I went, Garmin Fenix 3 on one arm, the Smartwatch in the Spotlight on the other. And almost instantly I realised the Apple Watch wasn't going to be any help on this run. The screen is off unless you lift your arm up, and even then you'll just see the time you've run for, with swiping needed for other info.
I want info on current pace, distance, time and the ability to set things like a virtual pacer. The heart rate monitor should be an option to train to, not just an idle interest that gives a meaningless number to most.
The watch buzzed nicely every mile to let me know how far I'd gone, but that was the extent of the mid run info. I crossed the line, and over the course of 5 kilometres the Fenix had tracked me at 4.9km and the Apple Watch at 5.1km, which isn't bad for a pedometer.
But then I found the biggest issue: if you miss the snapshot summary post run then it's lost for good, it seems. The Watch will log it, but I couldn't go back in to review what I'd done – things like mile splits, heart rate during etc were all inaccessible. All I was told when I started the app again was my furthest run / most calories burned etc.
The good news is apps like Strava and MapMyRun are Watch compatible from the start, so I'll give those a go soon and they should offer better insights into my trottings.
But it's pretty clear that the Apple Watch is there for the very new or very casual runner who wants so simply set a calorie / distance goal and when they've hit it, that's the end of that.
I'll give it a few more tests before passing any kind of judgement though – it would be unfair to rate this device after 20 mins of running.
I can't tread water and I've hurt my shoulder
Anyway, back to the horror that is my triathlon training. I'm back at the pool for my swimming session, and we're being taught to tread water efficiently. Except I can't. I keep sinking while everyone else is gliding around like ecstatic water nymphs.
A few lengths later, I'm starting to panic. The YMCA pool is filled with people who pretend to be 'not very good' at swimming but I'm a lot slower. I'm spluttering. My technique is terrible. For the first time in years I think I might not meet a challenge I've foolishly subscribed to.
Then I realise that this is just the beginning. No man does it all by himself. I need to put my pride my pride on the shelf, get to the end of the session and just keep going.
I've also been trying out the Gamin Fenix 3 as the tech on test this week. It can do everything that the 920XT – my current watch of choice – can do (and more), it's round and it's made of metal. Sure, it's huge but it's definitely more of a 'grown up' watch, and man, this thing can do EVERYTHING.
I should point out that it costs £350 / $600 – this isn't cheap, and that's without the heart rate monitor. But if you want to do any sport, be it swimming, cycling, triathlons, Nordic skiing, trail running, snowboarding – it's all there.
The first thing I tested properly was the swim recording – and it was generally pretty accurate, although the length counting seemed to go awry at times, with 'phantom lengths' thrown in. (Nor could it measure a pool smaller than 17 metres, which is a problem when I want to train in my teeny tiny baby pool where nobody is watching).
1.4km and 90 minutes later, I dragged myself out the pool. And then… Ow. OW. My shoulder hurts. Why does my shoulder hurt? Turns out I've (hopefully mildly) irritated my rotator cuff, almost certainly through poor technique and going swimming too much, too soon. That, or the fact I tried to race the best guy in the class at the end of the session because I was fed up with being at the back.
So I decided to lay off the swimming for a few days, let it recover, and spend some time on running and cycling. Man, there's nothing better to make you fall back in love with running than being awful at another sport. A 10 mile session up some horrendous hills was completed with a smile on my face as I wasn't in a pool.
This week I also finally began some longer cycles too – 10km to and from a local station on the way to work was easier than I thought it was going to be, and not too shabby speed-wise, according to the Fenix 3.
I feel bad talking about the Fenix 3 so quickly here so I'll continue using it for the next week or two – it's a fabulous watch with a battery life that happily lasted 5 days, with GPS or swim tracking morning and evening. I feel the need to take it off soon though; after all, it's the triathlon mode on the other multi-sport watch that got me started on this stupid plan.
The backlight is odd – where it's quite intuitive on the 920XT, it doesn't like staying on with the Fenix 3, which I assume is due to battery saving. It's annoying when you want to use the watch as cycle monitor, as you have to head in and manually force it to stay lit.
The fit isn't the best either – it's quite hard to fit the strap through the loop. It sounds trivial, but for a super expensive watch, I'd expect perfection.
To the future…
I'm giddy with excitement about the next week or so. I'm going to be testing out the Xbionic shirt, which uses 'hot zones' on the spine to trick your skin into sweating and improve performance.
MORE excitingly I'm going to finally be getting my hands on the Recon Jet headset – it's the cutting-edge in running geekery. Google Glass for runners? Yes please.
AND EVEN MORE excitingly I'm going to be heading down to GlaxoSmithKline's Human Performance Labs to be told things like 'You're really bad at swimming' and 'You're tubbier than we expected someone who runs a lot to be'.
But with loads of scientific analysis on everything from muscle imbalance to nutrition from the labs that help the Brownlee brothers and Jenson Button prepare for triathlons, at least I'll be in good company…
A long time ago, laptop manufacturers used desktop components to keep costs down. Taiwanese manufacturer ECS, for example, shoved a desktop processor into a laptop form factor without the battery and called it a desknote (desktop and notebook).
Now Lenovo has gone the other way, using laptop components in a desktop computer – and it, kind of, makes sense due to economies of scale. Using the same components across different parts of your product portfolio means that you can theoretically bring down the bill of materials and have more flexibility in your supply chain.
Design and specification
Meet the Lenovo ThinkStation E50 (90BX0018UK), which is also known as the ThinkCenter E50. It uses an external power supply unit, a 65W model, just like a laptop, to power the base unit, rather than an integrated one. If something goes wrong with it, you only need to send the PSU back rather than the whole thing, plus this method saves up to a third compared to a traditional desktop power supply.
It also packs 4GB of DDR3 1600MHz memory as a single SO-DIMM module; you can expand it to 8GB but you will have to discard the existing RAM, which is a shame.
The E50 is part of the ThinkStation family which means that it targets small and medium businesses, although as we've seen with laptops before, they're just as well suited for consumers.
But being a B2B model doesn't mean that its design is boring – far from it. The E50's chassis is actually stylish, shying away from a bland, black box and opting instead for a charcoal coloured enclosure with an integrated handle (for easy transportation) with a hidden bay that hosts an optical drive (DVD writer) and hidden air inlets. It's worth noting that the E50 weighs less than 10Kg.
On the front of the case are two USB 2.0 ports, audio connectors, the power button and a One-Key Rescue System that restores your computer to its original factory state.
At the rear are two PS2 connectors, a VGA port, and a serial port for legacy peripherals as well as a single USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, a GbE connector, three audio ports and a power connector.
The E50 runs a quad-core Intel Pentium J2900 Bay Trail-based processor. The 22nm CPU has 2MB L2 cache, four threads, a base frequency of 2.41GHz (with a 10% overclocking potential) and a TDP of only 10W. Note that the processor still uses an active heatsink fan.
An Intel HD graphics unit is built into the processor. It has a base frequency of 688MHz, going up to 896MHz, which should make it fairly decent for low-resolution gaming. You can only connect one monitor to the E50 although you can use a docking station like the Startech one to triple that number.
The rest of the components inside the case include a 3.5-inch Western Digital 500GB 5400RPM hard disk (these are still way cheaper than their equivalent 2.5-inch models), a motherboard that has two SATA connectors, a PCI Express x16 slot and another one that takes PCI Express x1 components.
To get inside, you only need to remove two screws (you will need a screwdriver) at the back, then slide a panel. There's only one internal 3.5-inch bay free, the other being taken by the optical disk drive. There's plenty of space inside the case and I get the impression that Lenovo recycled some of its unused mid-ATX cases.
As for the bundled keyboard and mouse, they are similar in quality to other value peripherals. The Lenovo keyboard reminds me of a laptop keyboard with short keys and an even shorter travel.
Other than Windows 8.1 with Bing, the ThinkStation E50 also comes with McAfee antivirus, Accuweather, Adobe Reader, Skype, Evernote, a trial version of Office 2013 plus a slew of Lenovo applications (Companion, Rescue System, Solution Center and Desktop Power Manager).
As long as you don't expect the moon, you will not be disappointed with the Lenovo E50 – just bear in mind that the processing technology that powers it is usually found in tablets and smartphones. Unfortunately, we couldn't run PCMark 8 on the E50 while one 3DMark test refused to run; we have contacted Futuremark to find out why and will update this review when we get a reply.
The E50 scored 6fps and 159cb respectively on Cinebench's OpenGL and CPU benchmarks. GPU and CPU-wise, that's similar to the Core i3-3227U, an Ivy Bridge part that powered the Acer Aspire Z3 we reviewed last year. A pretty impressive achievement.
The Lenovo E50 is a nice little desktop computer that doesn't cut a lot of corners. At £149.99 from Ebuyer including delivery (around $227, AU$290), it is the cheapest brand new desktop computer on the market, a remarkable feat especially as it comes with a keyboard and mouse as well as Windows 8.1 (which means that you will also get Windows 10 for free). Note that Ebuyer offers an optional three-year SquareTrade accident warranty for £32.
Ebuyer also stocks another E50 SKU that might actually be even more appealing. It costs a tenner extra after a £30 cashback but comes with Windows 8.1 Pro and Windows 7.
Lenovo has clearly taken a lot of time to design this desktop to make sure that it fits in a particular budget. The price might be its biggest lure, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that not much was taken away in terms of the machine's components. It even comes with a decent keyboard and mouse and a copy of Windows 8.1.
There are two things that could be improved. Firstly, the number of memory slots – you're limited to one which means you have to get rid of the existing memory card in order to get a higher capacity one in. 4GB should be enough for most purposes though. Then there's the matter of the USB ports – five ports get filled quite quickly and there's only one USB 3.0.
The Lenovo E50 sets the bar high for entry-level desktops as a sturdy, reliable, affordable workstation. Sure, you can buy a second-hand machine for less, but the E50 gives you peace of mind; what's more you can upgrade the existing warranty to five years for not a lot of dough. Firms, however, are increasingly considering laptops as the performance and price gaps between desktops and notebooks are shrinking. What's more, laptops allow extra flexibility, offer easier connectivity and come with a monitor by default.
Updated: Google Maps has just turned into one big Apple troll fest
Earlier today if you headed into Google Maps and look for the city of Rawlpindi in Pakistan you'd have found a rather strange image.
Just to the south of the city stood the iconic Android robot logo peeing on its main competitor, the Apple logo.
Though it's in the base terrain information, which isn't supposed to be edited by the public, Google said in a statement (see below) that the image is "user-created content."
If you headed east for a couple of miles you'd also have found an image that stated "Google review policy is crap" with a sad face to the side.
Now the internet is ablaze with those hunting for more hidden messages from the hacker but so far nothing else has been found. The images you see here have been removed.
Update: Google said soz for the micturating image in a statement sent to the Washington Post, and indicated a user created it, not an employee.
"We're sorry for this user-generated content; we're working to remove it quickly," Google's Mara Harris wrote in an email to the publication. "We also learn from these issues, and we're constantly improving how we detect, prevent and handle bad edits."
This case seems to be an outlier as Harris wrote most users editing Google Maps come up with "great contributions."
Some would argue this is pretty great in its own right.
In Depth: All 63 major Apple Watch apps to download at launch
Apple Watch apps list
Your formerly naked wrist is about to be weighed down by these 63 Apple Watch apps, just dozens of the 1,000 WatchKit apps currently in development.
The official Apple Watch app list includes 20 built-in apps by Apple, made specifically for its iPhone-compatible smartwatch, and another 43 apps by top-name developers.
The Apple Watch is now officially on sale, so we explored we explore how Twitter, Nike, Evernote, Siri and more apps look and function behind 38mm and 42mm sapphire glass, and if any of them are worth that steep Apple Watch price.
Messages are about to become a whole lot easier to respond to or ignore, as they move from the hip (your iPhone in your pocket) to the wrist with Apple Watch.
It flashes iMessages and text messages onto the wearable OLED, immediately telling you if it's the one you've been eagerly awaiting for a whole internet 10 seconds, or some marketing promo you signed up for, but haven't responded "STOP" to yet. Responding with your voice cuts down on the autocorrect typos. Dropping your current location into the message makes "Where are you?" responses obsolete too.
Full-time Apple CEO and part-time Dick Tracy wannabe Tim Cook said that he's wanted to make and receive phone calls on this wristwatch since he was five years old. It's one of the few major differences in our Apple Watch vs Android Wear comparison.
No, talking to your wrist isn't the ideal way to carry on a conversation, but quick access to loved ones in tight situations - when driving a car or holding a baby - make it convenient. Just seeing who is calling with the flick of your wrist makes it a worthy app.
Cut through the junk mail and surface the important conversations with email alerts on Apple Watch. The mail app includes the ability to scrolls through your inbox and read full messages.
This is where the side-mounted Digital Crown really comes in handy, allowing you to scroll while reading an unobstructed screen. Is a message worth responding to? Flag it send or beam it to your iPhone for a proper response. Not worth your time? Send it to Apple Watch's surely-eco-friendly virtual trash bin.
When is your next appointment? What's your day look like? Why do you have to pull out your phone and unlock it every time there's a new meeting to RSVP to? I'm never not there. Can't I just respond if I'm not going to be there?
Apple Watch's calendar app keeps nuisance questions like this at arms length. Glancing at the appointment times and details like location make your day-to-day a little easier to manage. Plus, whenever someone asks what your day looks like for and you're not in a good mood, you can simply say, "Talk to the wrist."
Fitness and map apps
Tim Cook recently said that "sitting is the new cancer," so it's only fitting that Apple Watch's Activity app reminds you about your movement and, too often, non-movement.
Three colorful rings make up its interface, and they're hard to ignore as they capture your steps, exercise minutes and sedentary moments in real time. Calories burned since midnight is another stat calculated one menu deeper. Yes, it's basic compared to the cheaper Fitbit Surge, but more colorful than the lackluster Google Fit ecosystem.
When you're moving and you really mean it, Workout is the Apple Watch app that steps up with coaching capabilities. It tracks running, walking and cycling in real time with stats for time, distance, calories, pace and speed.
In short, the difference between the Activity and Workout app is analogous to the difference between an activity tracker and more robust fitness tracker. We'll be sure to put Workout and the heart rate monitor through their paces in our final Apple Watch review.
Clutching a flashy iPhone to look at directions isn't always advisable in every neighborhood, especially one you're not familiar with. Peaking at an Apple Watch's turn-by-turn directions instead is a little less obvious and a little safer.
Yes, it uses Apple Maps, but that means it's also initiated by Siri and searches nearby restaurants, gas stations and stores. Apple Watch Maps also taps you on the wrist so that you subtly know to turn left or right. Constantly glaring at the screen is no longer necessary.
Passbook on the iPhone is great - when it works. However, at the airport, I'm typically toting a just-passable carry-on suitcase, being weighed down by an electronics-filled laptop backpack and violently shoving my pockets' gadgets into these stuffed bags due to a lack of TSA bins.
The last thing I want to do is navigate to the lockscreen for Passbook. It requires stopping my current phone activity, locking the phone, waking it up and sliding to open the Passbook lockscreen menu item. Passbook on Apple Watch solves this dilemma, and it's also good for movie tickets, sports tickets and even paying for things through Apple Pay.
Info at a glance
Siri reminds me of the Apple Watch itself. The much-hyped personal assistant was met with skepticism and some considered it an immediate "flop." However, it's not meant to run your entire life like a human secretary. It's great in more subtle ways, like setting a timer for cooking or doing laundry, or calling Home hands-free.
All of those Siri benefits come to Apple Watch without the hassle of locating your phone for the same menu-heavy tasks. You don't even need to tap the smartwatch. Simply saying "Hey Siri, call Home" works, as if your iPhone is plugged in (an unfortunate requirement of the "Hey Siri" feature on the phone).
Meteorologists may not always be correct, but the Weather app on Apple Watch at least looks fancier than the interface of rival smartwatches. The forecast is arranged like a watch face, with the conditions, temperature and chance of rain on an 11-hour dial.
This Apple Watch app uses location data to check the weather of the city you're standing in, but it can also see the forecast around the world. Siri helps out with that too.
Apple Watch comes with a built-in Stocks app with three key menus. There's a list of your favorite stocks that display each company's market share and daily percentage change. Tapping into a company reveals drilled-down information, like its highs and lows.
Sliding up a specific stock reveals a stock graph. It displays performance for the day, week, month or six months. The graph stops there. Beyond that, elite traders need to fetch their diamond studded iPhone to widen the chart.
There's nothing incredibly glamorous about the Apple Watch settings menu, but like Google's Android Wear menu, it has options to enable and disable Airplane mode and Bluetooth. There's also a way to set Do Not Disturb and mute.
What has to be the standout feature of this often-underappreciated menu is the ability to ping your lost iPhone. I'st a whole lot easier to do it from an always-with-you Apple Watch than to borrow a friend's phone and log into the Find My iPhone app.
Apple is often at the intersection of technology and music, as much as the founders of Tidal dislike that thought. So it's no surprise that Apple Watch expands the iTunes ecosystem by letting you control the music on your iPhone. Better yet, you can leave it at home by storing some of your songs on the smartwatch itself.
That's right: Apple Watch works without an iPhone in a few cases. Through a pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones, you can listen to about 2GB of music on the go. That's around 200 songs, plenty for a 10K marathon.
Pump up the volume to the main speakers in your house with Remote, an Apple Watch app designed for Apple TV, and Mac and PC iTunes programs. Scroll through your entire iTunes library using the digital crown and remotely select and skip songs, playlists and videos.
The Remote app is a good replacement to that way-too-tiny Apple TV remote. It's been lost in my couch cushions for several months. RIP Apple TV remote.
Some of the best DSLR cameras can be controlled remotely with an iPhone app, so why not control your iPhone camera app with its own remote gadget? After all, it is the most used camera in the world.
That's exactly what Apple Watch delivers with the handy Camera Remote app. It beams the iSight camera of the iPhone to your wrist, complete with a live preview of what the iPhone sees. That's perfect for distant phones, especially if your eyes are going bad because you've been staring at a smartphone for far too many years.
Photos on the Apple Watch don't make much sense to me yet. It's far too small at 42mm and even smaller at 38mm, but there's an app for that anyway. It involves using the digital crown to zoom into individual images from a gallery, and swiping to move through a slideshow.
I'm always looking to AirPlay my iPhone photos to an Apple TV with a larger display to show a group of friends, or immediately publish them to the web for an even larger group of friends (the internet). With a restriction of just 75 MB for photos without an iPhone, this app may be the first one I delete.
Let's contrast something. Setting a phone's timer for a midnight snack cooking in the oven seems like a good idea. Then the timer goes off for a solid minute in an otherwise silent house because, surprise, you left your phone in another room!
Apple Watch straps the alarm to your wrist and the digital crown sets the right time. Siri also helps out, expanding upon one of my favorite uses for Apple's personal assistant.
Alarm apps are nothing new, but this Apple Watch app makes it easier to set and dismiss the nuisance-sounds you bring onto yourself. It lets you manage, label and edit multiple alarms right from your wrist and allows you to import existing iPhone alarm times.
The app uses the digital crown to cycle to your desired wake up time, and it wisely separates the AM and PM on the top left and top right sides of the watch.
Apple Watch finds a way to make its Stopwatch app at least a little bit exciting vs the default Android Wear app. It gives picky users the choice of digital, analog and a everyone-pleasing hybrid view.
It also throws in a graph view, which charts previously-boring, and still-fairly-boring, lap times at the bottom of the OLED. This real-time chart provides a nice rising visual and displays the average lap time to boot.
World clock needs to come to an Apple Watch face near you. It's a fine-looking app on its own, but one in which Apple asks, "Doing business in another time zone? Calling a friend overseas?" Of course! That's exactly why this should be a default watch face, not just an app.
Traveling internationally demands that this. Having ventured to Barcelona last month, I was caught texting home at odd hours of the night in Los Angeles. How great would it be to have this running on the Watch face (or iPhone lockscreen screen) at all times?
Social and sharing
Apple is also promoting 43 third-party apps from key partners like Twitter, American Airlines and Nike. They will be available through its App Store in time for the Apple Watch launch along with the 1,000 other apps submitted by developers.
Twitter is a lightweight social media network, so why not have a lightweight Apple Watch app to go with those 140 character tweets? Okay, there's one reason why not. Those audible notifications sound and "gentle taps" for every new tweet are bound to get annoying, just like the iPhone app's high-pitched tweet-sound notification. But disabling that, I like the idea of checking the timeline and trending topics, and receiving direct messages, retweet and favorite alerts.
There's no official Facebook app for Apple Watch, but its filter-friendly photo and video network lets you browse your feed and favorite photos with the a double tap on the Force Touch screen. When someone hearts your posts or tags you in a new picture, that notification is sent to your wrist. Apple Watch is the fastest way to know you want to untag yourself in a picture. You also can leave comments - in the form of emojis. Remember, there's no on-screen keyboard for Apple Watch - yet.
Evernote for Apple Watch makes a lot of sense, especially for those moments I have what I truly believe is a brilliant thought, but no way to write it down in an instant. It's the now fastest way to do just that thanks to the smartwatch's built-in microphone.
Dictation is far and away its biggest feature, but the app also lets you review recent notes, reminders and find what you've jotted down based on your current location.
Selling off everything you own to afford a classier Apple Watch? This miniaturized eBay app may come in handy. No, you can't fully communicate with prospective customers and answer the annoying questions that you already answered in the description. But, so far, it lets you scout your watched auctions and relays outbid notices.
Fun fact: the Apple-provided photo includes a pair of Beats earbuds, as the company now owns the Dr. Dre-founded music service. If you're not going to by them at the Apple Store, might as well get them on eBay.
Expedia is more than just a travel site with a catchy jingle. It's also on the cutting-edge with an Apple Watch app that provides a detailed itinerary on your wrist. Have a flight to catch? See the gate, terminal and time information at a glance. What's the hotel check-in and, more importantly check out time? The hotel address and phone number are here too, so don't dive into your email for it. Of course, this all requires you to book through Expedia. Otherwise the app is pretty useless.
The Apple Watch app for TripAdvisor lets you explore new destinations once you deplane or check into that hotel. The site is filled with smart user reviews and best of lists, and I expect the same on a 38mm and 42mm display in a simplified interface. Without a proper Yelp app for Apple's smartwatch at launch, it may be your best bet for finding nearby restaurants, sights and tourist hotspots without taking out your phone in unfamiliar territory.
American Airlines is the first US airline with an Apple Watch app, which almost makes up for my multiple flight delays leaving MWC 2015 last month. Almost. In addition to all of the usual gate and departure time notifications, it beams critical info: gate changes, connection and baggage claim information to the watch. It also differs from Passbook with flight path map that shows the time remaining until you touch down. Hopefully more airlines follow AA's lead on this one.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts
One of the world's largest hotel companies has already announced an "early check-in" for the Apple Watch App Store, yet it's a major no-no if you try to check into one of their rooms at noon. Go figure. That's okay, because its SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) app can unlock your door with the watch. Yes, there are other hotel stay details within the app, but not having to pull an unpredictable keycard out of my wallet, with an often-chafed magnetic strip, is the only important detail here.
Babbel bills itself as a fun and easy way to learn a new language online. On Apple Watch, its app displays new words based on your location. The point is to help you learn new words related to food when you're at a restaurant or for travel terms when you're at the airport. Its success depends on how relevant these words are compared to the actually helpful full site.
I've been testing it out along with Rosetta Stone on my iPad Air 2, and am picking up some more Spanish to prep for MWC 2016. By then, hopefully the Babbel Apple Watch app is more advanced.
Nike didn't become the Apple's relay partner in creating the iWatch, but, the company did get a headstart on its Nike+ Running app that can calculate your running distance, duration and pace. Friends can cheer you on, just like on the phone app, and it pairs with Bluetooth headphones so you can listen to music on the go. To me, that seems unnecessary. This Apple Watch app requires your phone to be with you to function anyway, and who wants to waste more Apple Watch by streaming music from it?
Runtastic displays all of the same basic fitness information: speed, distance, duration, pace, even how many calories you've burned. It also requires your iPhone to be on you during runs. However, I've always liked the Runtastic user interface and it should bring the same to Apple Watch with easy to check your stats mid-run. If you're haven't started collecting Nike Fuel points for several years, this may the more straightforward running app to try out.
Strava for Apple Watch is a little more detailed and a little more versatile. It has a mode for both runners and bike riders, and includes real-time stats like elevation gain, average speed, distance and heart rate. It has segment-by-segment workout visuals to give you glanceable motivation during long hauls, and promises a trophy whenever you break a personal record. It's going to be one of the few if not the only bike app during Apple Watch's launch window, so it's a must download for twin-tire pedalers.
Exercising apps for Apple Watch are easy to find, but elusive nutrition apps are going to be harder to download than me sticking to a New Year's resolution diet come Valentine's Day.
Lifesum motivates you to skip that celebratory chocolate and other high calorie meals. It's all about picking the right foods and portions. I also like its easy-to-tap water gauge to check off how far along I am on downing eight glasses of H2O a day.
Sports and city apps
Stuck in a meeting and missing the big game? You can at least keep an eye on the score with ESPN's app that features breaking sports news and the ability to follow specific games. Real-time scores and player stats go as far as detailing who is up at bat or in the red zone. No word on if it'll alert you when broadcasters have been suspended for saying something stupid on-air or athletes get arrested for doing something reckless.
MLB.com at Bat
Baseball fans can get even better MLB stats from the official MLB.com at Bat app for Apple Watch. It promises "subtle notifications," which include following just your favorite teams, not all 30 teams. Best of all, you won't need to shell out for an MLB.tv subscription after cleaning out for savings for the Apple Watch price. The day goes by a lot easier with pitch-by-pitch updates, Webgem-worthy text highlights and live scores beamed right to your non-throwing hand wrist.
Apple Watch apps that get me the most excited are the clutch ones that get you out of terrible first-world binds. Case in point, PayByPhone Parking lets you pay a meter without having to go back to your car. You can always keep on eye on the time remaining in case want to skip dessert and avoid putting more money into the virtual meter in the first place. Downloading this free smartwatch app beats paying a crummy parking ticket and that feeling when you first see one stuck to your windshield.
We're still - somehow - waiting for public transit directions from Apple Maps - hopefully in iOS 9. Until then, Citymapper lays out the fastest route using bus and train information.
It has enough room on the Apple Watch display to list the next three arrivals and uses the Taptic engine to nudge you when you're at your stop. That's really handy on long commutes, where Apple Maps doesn't give us any guidance.
At home apps
Hyundai's Blue Link app for Android Wear proves that car makers are interested in letting you start your vehicle from a smartwatch, but for now you'll have to settle for lighter Apple Watch apps, like this one from BMW. It allows you to see if you're doors are locked, view service reminders and see how far along a charge is on an electric BMWi. Doing all of this may deplete your non-energy efficient Apple Watch. Bonus: Cabin temperature can also be adjusted via the Watch.
Whether or not the popular Nest thermostat ever works with Apple Watch remains to be seen. The company is now a part of Google. However, the Honeywell Lyric Apple Watch app makes the same functions available for Honeywell's similar products. It asks you if you want to set the thermostat to "I'm away mode" when far from the house, and it auto-adjusts conditions back to normal when you get closer to home sweet home. It can save you on your energy bill now that you're powered your smartwatch nightly.
Another Apple Watch energy saver comes from Lutron Caseta. It controls lights in your home wirelessly, just like the iPhone app as long as you have the company's switch equipment installed on your home. Whether you're nestled in on the couch and too lazy to get up, or legitimately on vacation and forgot to turn off the lights, the smartwatch app makes it a easy to get the job done. It'll even send you a notification giving you the option to turn them off remotely if you leave them on and blanked.
Apple Watch could become an all-star cooking companion thanks to instruction-filled apps like Green Kitchen that can be followed mess-free.
It's designed for healthy, organic recipes and there's less chance of olive oil-filled smudges on this out-of-reach wristwatch than on my iPad Air 2 or MacBook keyboard. While the LifeSum app lets you track your healthy food intake, Green Kitchen tells you how to make it all.
Out and about apps
Dinner reservations are a pain to remember the day of, especially when you booked a table through OpenTable several days in advance. However, this app gives you a reminder at arms length with upcoming reservation details and a map that explains how to get to the restaurant. It's much better than digging for an email or a slightly easier to access vs reaching for the phone app. Booking a new table or making changes to an existing reservation still requires your phone, though.
There's nothing more daunting than wandering into a big department store like Target, looking for a single item, like, say, a needle, in its many isles, aka haystacks. That's where the Target Apple Watch app becomes a worthy shopping partner. It lets you view your shopping list and tells you where to find items in a jiffy. It should also help you stick to your list and not wander aimlessly into the video game isle to demo the latest and greatest.
Miss the last lunar eclipse? Didn't even know there was one in some parts of the world? Sky Guide is always on hand with astronomical events. From the basics like full moons to rare events like meteor showers, it remembers to watch the skies for you while you're busy looking down at your shiny new smartwatch everyday. As an added bonus, it lets you tweet at International Space Station when they're overhead. No word on whether or not you can send them your heartbeat via Apple Watch yet.
Dark Sky is an iOS weather app that uses technology to predict whether it will rain or snow, down to the minute. You just might have enough time to drive furiously to get that last carton of milk in the store. Having this information on the wrist is obviously a plus. Of course, you don't need to wait for a notification to see if the weather is going to turn. The Apple Watch app allows users to look several days ahead too.
I used Fandango on my phone to reserve movie tickets for Furious 7 over the weekend and it worked flawlessly - except for the nagging service fee. It beat standing in a 100-person line and nabbing the best seats. I gamed the system.
Having the stubs on my wrist would've helped me carry a popcorn, large soda and hotdog back to my seat, without me nearly spilling everything. I swear, it wasn't all for me, and the popcorn was a medium, by the way.
Mayo Clinic Synthesis
Fit for doctors who can afford the gold Apple Watch Edition price, the Mayo Clinic Synthesis is a narrowly tailored app that lets busy M.D.'s manage their daily schedule and alerts them of patients waiting in the lobby. Time to make them move from a big waiting room to the next, smaller waiting room. Also available through this Watch app in basic patient information: their age, sex and weight. Not available is a list of excuses as to why you can't take their health insurance. Sorry, doc.
This real estate app for Apple Watch lets customers browse listings, view photos and scroll through the neighborhood map. It also managed to fit in key data, like prices, number of bedrooms, square footage and days on the market. All of this sounds easier to do on an iPhone, especially when you're thinking about making a big decision like bidding on a house, but it's one of the major apps ready to download on day one.
Most Apple Watch apps are consumer-focused, but if there's going to be some enterprise software here, it might as well be from the popular, but not-yet-profitable Salesforce. Its customer relationship manager gives you an overview of your business analytics, so CRM data like your company's top 10 sales opportunities are viewable with the flick of your wrist. Your one step closer to never leaving work, but unlike Salesforce, may turn a profit.
This Apple Watch app isn't what it sounds like at first. It's all about creating new art on the iPhone and using the Apple Watch as a remote color palette. It's a 21st century update to the old-fashioned wooden handheld color mixer.
The watch app also has buttons like undoing mistakes, erasing mistakes and add effects that are usually the source of your big mistake. All of these buttons, relocated on the Watch, clear the iPhone app's interface for extra canvas space.
Finance and to do list apps
Mint Personal Finance
Mint is one of the best personal finance trackers on iOS and Android, yet it's not available for any of the Google-based smartwatches running Android Wear. Instead, we've had to take a chance on an app called Level. Good news: Mint is coming to Apple Watch with an app that tracks monthly spending goals and helps you keep within a budget. It'll be like a deliberate shock every time you make a purchase. This is a must-have following for froogle folks who dropped money for the Apple Watch pre-order.
The idea behind this to do list app is fascinating. It requires writing down just three core tasks for the day and sharing them with a team, usually coworkers or friends doing the same thing. Everyone sees each other's progress, leading to more motivation. It works on the web, and the smartwatch may act as a handcuff-like reminder that your goals need to be met. Apple Watch is just an easier way to tick off "commits" and see how everyone else on the team is doing.
Job time-tracking apps are wonderful, but I often forget to start the timer. Invoice2go remedies this fatal flaw thanks to geofencing technology and a hard-to-miss notification as soon as your arrive at the job site. Clocking in is a little bit easier with the Apple Watch app, though it still requires an iPhone to work, edit times and send that invoice at the end of the day. There's no automated way to get out of that part of the job with an Apple Watch.
Citi is one of the first major banks with an Apple Watch app. No, you can't make deposits or withdraws with Citi Mobile Lite, but the app lets you track your checking, savings and credit card balances.
The smartwatch app can display the detailed information about your last five transactions, and it watch vibrates whenever your card is used online or in stores. This, again, is part-security and part-shock therapy every time you make a purchase.
News and kids apps
Done with "Serial" podcast and looking for a new NPR addiction? The non-profit US public radio network lets you search for shows on Apple Watch using dictation and then control their playback functionality using the touchscreen. It also imports all of your old iPhone playlists, so the news and stories you love to listen to are ready to go on as soon as the Apple Watch launches. Old-school radio meets the latest technology in this must-download app.
On television, CNN is a little overly obsessed with telling stories using over-the-top computer graphics, but on Apple Watch, it serves up classic breaking news headlines. The app features 12 categories from which you can receive alerts. It uses similar notifications cards that were beamed to my eye using the same app for Google Glass. Beyond easy-to-read-and-dismiss headlines, this smartwatch app lets you tap to either save a story or open it up in full on an iPhone.
New York Times
The New York Times app has all the news that's fit to print on a small 38mm or 42mm Apple Watch. In other words, it lets you swipe through breaking news headlines and little else. It does incorporate the Apple's useful Handoff feature to read the rest of the story an iPhone or iPad, or like the popular Pocket app, tap "Save for Later" to stash it for later reading. Basically, letting you see if it's a worthy headline is this the function of this Apple Watch app.
Thankfully, this isn't a kids app that attracts them to your expensive watch. It's actually a way to get them off your iPhone and iPad, which they have already taken over.
If they're watching a PlayKids video, the watch remotely forces them to take break, or sends them a "special message" - something you type in, like "Time has expired on the iPad. Commence brushing your teeth. -Santa." That usually works.
Game and music apps
Don't expect Apple Watch sales to be boosted by game apps like the iPad and iPhone before it. Android Wear has a small share of serviceable games, like adorable Flappy Bird spin-off, Floppy Droid. But they're nothing special. Of course, that hasn't stopped app developers from trying to make the first batch of Apple Watch games.
A cutesy brain teaser game, Rules is an Apple Watch app that features speed-intensive puzzles. It's the perfect game when you're waiting in line in real life and have nothing else to do for two minutes - it has just 10 daily stages. At the end of the 10 puzzles in a score and keeps track of your stats, so it's kind of important not to mess up this quiz-on-a-wrist. Expect more, simple games like this on the Apple Watch through its launch window.
Apple Watch games have to stay simple, and that's exactly what BoxPop does. It's inspired by chess, with L-shaped paths that a knight is allowed to take, but there are no chess pieces here. The game is a lot simpler than chess, however. It's all about ridding the grid of one-dimensional boxes throughout 40 increasingly complicated levels. Although the premise is a little odd, having played the iOS and Android version, it's strangely addicting in short bursts.
Apple Watch apps can be narrowly focused, as evidenced by the Amplifi Remote. It lets you connect with the hybrid Amplifi Bluetooth speaker-guitar amp, a guitar gadget that is sold in the Apple Store among other places.
It plays guitar tuning sounds from the watch instead of the iOS app. It's meant for weeding out sharp and flat notes with the right levels.
Apple Watch may be the world's smallest mixer thanks to this Pacemaker DJ app. The developer's inventive Autopilot DJ feature, also part of the iPad app with the same name, blends tracks together from iTunes. This allows a DJ to beatskip and loop, even when away from his or her two turntables and microphone. It's good for hosting parties and staying in control of the music, or for mixing it up in the shower. Apple Watch is water-resistant after all.
What's the name of that song again? It's terrible, but I kind of like it and don't want to ask anyone in person. You could ask the now-music-savvy Siri, or go straight to the Shazam app for Apple Watch and cut out the middle-robot.
It's a touch-based smartwatch app that still uses the iPhone to listen to the song. However, it shows the song's name, artist and, for some reason, lyrics on your watch.
In Depth: Adapt or die: how TiVo is keeping pace in the age of streaming
Adapt or die: TiVo
People still love TiVo. Subscriptions are up 30% year-over-year which, according a recent company results report, led to the company making more than $7 million in gross profit in the last three months.
So what keeps the digital video recording (DVR) company thriving amidst increasing dependence on streaming video and the cable cutter movement?
Its ability to adapt, and doing so without alienating the people who bought into TiVo all those years ago.
If you're still skeptical, I understand. I was too before I met with Jim Denney, vice president of product marketing at TiVo.
In the course of an hour meeting at TiVo's headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif., we talked at length about the changing state of home entertainment. We also chatted about how content is converging thanks to services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, as well as the consumer's desire to have every show at their fingertips through intelligent search functionality.
Finally, we discussed the competition - Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and integrated DVR technology right in your cable box.
Nothing dissuaded Denney. TiVo isn't competing with anyone else, he said. TiVo's here to improve your viewing experience, whether that's with a cable provider or an over-the-air antenna, by making it easy to watch what you want to watch, when you want to watch it.
And that's what leads me back to my original point: Just why do people - thrifty cord cutters especially - love TiVo so much? Denney broke down four ways TiVo has adapted to the cord-cutting age:
It integrates every service you own in one place
TiVo, despite what the advertisement on its home screen might lead you to believe, is actually a pretty agnostic system.
You're encouraged to connect the services you already pay for (Amazon Prime Instant Video, Netflix and Hulu) with cable or OTA programming for the ultimate repository of cool shows and movies. Once you've got all the account info loaded into the box, searches come back with a robust amount of content rather than an episode here or there.
By combining services, TiVo can draw upon more resources when it comes time to recommend new content and help you track down the shows you want to watch.
"I don't see us competing with Netflix or Amazon [for consumers], I see us working with them to incorporate that into a broader experience," Denney said. "If you're looking for Netflix, get Netflix. But if you're looking for a service that combines Netflix with the best of live TV, you should get TiVo."
OnePass is the ultimate tool for binge-watchers
TiVo, through the magic of technology and one heck of a database system, compiles every possible location for a show, whether it's on live TV or streaming on your favorite service, and combines every episode into a single list. This feature, unique to TiVo, is called OnePass.
Selecting a show as one of your favorites will tell TiVo to start recording it, but instead of haphazardly collecting every instance of the show, you're able to specify which seasons you're looking for.
Say, for instance, you like The Simpsons. You've watched everything up to the fifth season, but have only seen a few episodes from every other season up until now. OnePass would be smart enough to only record episodes from the sixth season on, while simultaneously pointing you to Hulu for the most recent shows.
"One of the best offerings for cord cutters around is getting a TiVo OTA, as it will record all of the live content and come with tools like OnePass, alongside subscribing to streaming services like Amazon or Vudu," Denney said.
TiVo believes that by subscribing to its service for $14/month for features like OnePass and live recording, tacking on an extra $8 for Netflix and using an antenna for OTA content, users are getting the most content for the least amount of money.
"The key is that it's all incorporated in a very easy to use way," he said. "There are other systems that do this, right? But they're not designed to be as easy or as comprehensive in what they include."
You can set up recording from anywhere
Although it can seem slightly anachronistic at times, TiVo has focused a lot of its attention in the last few years on improving its mobile experience for the thousands of cord cutters that use it.
The TiVo app, available on both most Android devices and iPhones and iPads running iOS 7.0 or later, allows you not only to pull up a channel guide while your primary screen is occupied, but also lets you select which shows you'd like to record using the same intuitive control scheme and feature set as the main box, whether you're at home or using an outside network.
You can download videos to your mobile device
But the mobile app is about more than just finding content or remotely scheduling TiVo to record tonight's episode of The Wire. TiVo lets you actually store full shows on your mobile device for offline viewing and, by transcoding the video stream, allows you to stream directly to a mobile device.
In practice this can mean downloading a full season of your favorite sitcom before getting on a plane, or keeping a copy of your kid's go-to TV series on your iPad to entertain them on a long car ride, or when you're at home giving you a second screen when disputes arise on what to watch.
Just how popular are these functions? Denney told me that in February, over half the boxes that are capable of transcoding and streaming used that functionality. "So a lot of people are using the out of home recording and in-home transcoding abilities of the device."
TiVo units start at $49 with the TiVo Roamio OTA, and require a monthly service fee of $15 a month.
Roundup: The best business apps for your Apple Watch
The Apple Watch is a polarizing device. You either love it or hate it. Either way, you probably need to get used to seeing it around. With more than 3000 apps available, Apple has developed a ton of utilities for Watch wearers.
Included in this long list of apps are several business-focused tools that aim to help improve productivity, organization and communication. We've narrowed the list down to some of the most important ones available, and we'll be sure to continue refining as the list expands.
Salesforce for Apple Watch
You can't have an enterprise-ready device without somehow tying it back to Salesforce. In partnership with Apple, the CRM giant created a tool, Analytics Cloud for Apple Watch, that offers users the ability to analyze and take action on data. Users can swipe from dashboard to dashboard to explore real-time data, and perform voice-based search to bring up reports and dashboards.
Additionally, Salesforce1 for Apple Watch is built to provide notifications to employees. Managers can send updates to their teams via the Watch to let them know when goals have been reached, when emergencies have occurred, or when it's quitting time, among other uses.
If you're willing to do the leg work, and you're a Salesforce customer, you can use the Salesforce Wear Developer Pack to develop your own apps that tie back to Salesforce's reporting.
ShoreTel Mobility Client
Want to step out for lunch, but you're afraid to miss that important client call? Unified communications specialist, ShoreTel, has developed a tool that will route your desk phone to your Apple Watch so that you can hear voicemail, transfer calls, and conference into meetings.
You can also program the app to let you view and respond to unread instant messages, receive meeting notifications, and more. Now you can be "unreachable" on your watch too!
If you're one of those managers that likes to be in touch with your employees at all times, Betterworks has developed an app for the Apple Watch that is designed to help teams track and achieve goals. Managers program assignments into the app, where everyone on the team is able to use their Watches to track progress (or lack thereof). Users can also message one another from within the application.
Similar to Salesforce, but designed for smaller businesses, Bottomline is a sales tracking tool that gives business owners the power to monitor sales, customer requests, inventory, and more. You can also view PDF dashboards on the Watch so that you can better understand which products are outselling others, which stores have more foot traffic, and which salesperson sold more goods, among other uses.
For consultants and other hourly workers who have a hard time managing when they started which job and when they clocked out, Invoice2go has created an Apple Watch application that lets you clock in and clock out of jobs via your wrist. The Watch app also notifies you when payments have been processed, so you don't have to constantly check in with your clients' grumpy payroll managers.
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