‘Apple Car’ Project Lead Steve Zadesky to Leave Apple

Apple VP of Product Design Steve Zadesky, who was believed to be leading Apple’s electric vehicle development efforts since 2014, has informed colleagues that he will be leaving the company, according to The Wall Street Journal. He remains at Apple for now.

Zadesky, a former Ford engineer, joined Apple in 1999 and worked on the iPod and iPhone during his 16-year career in Cupertino. He is also named on several U.S. patents and documents related to Liquidmetal, a malleable alloy which Apple owns the exclusive rights to.

His impending departure from Apple is said to be for personal reasons, rather than an indication of his performance at the company, and marks a setback for Apple’s electric vehicle plans:

Still, the pending departure marks a setback for one of the most talked-about projects in the technology field. Apple has become the most valuable company in the world making consumer electronics products, but moving into the automotive sector poses big new challenges.

Apple has aggressively recruited engineers and other talent from Tesla, Ford, GM, Samsung, A123 Systems, Nvidia and elsewhere to work on the rumored „Apple Car“ project, which has allegedly been called „Project Titan“ internally. Just days ago, Tesla CEO Elon Musk even called the „Apple Car“ an „open secret.“

Last year, Apple also had discussions with a secure Bay Area testing facility for connected and autonomous vehicles, and met with the California DMV to review self-driving vehicle regulations. Further speculation arose when Apple registered a trio of auto-related domain names, including apple.car, apple.cars and apple.auto, earlier this month.

Apple’s electric vehicle could be approved for production by 2020, but some employees reportedly believe it „might take several more years“ for the iPhone maker to develop a truly differentiated electric vehicle. The project has encountered some challenges internally due to a lack of clear goals, according to the report.

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‘Apple Car’ Project Lead Steve Zadesky to Leave Apple

Review: Pad & Quill’s Lowry Cuff Is a Well-Made Apple Watch Band for Large Wrists

With its lineup of Apple Watch accessories launching since the device’s debut last year, Pad & Quill has been steadily expanding its roster of made-for-Apple products with new bands and docks. I’ve previously gotten my hands on the company’s Classic Watch Band and Timber Catchall and Timber Nightstand Apple Watch docks, and while some of them appealed to me more than others – the Timber Catchall was simply too large for me at the end of the day – the company’s quality was evident in everything I saw.

As a more masculine alternative to the Classic Watch Band, Pad & Quill has also started offering the $129.95 Lowry Leather Cuff for the Apple Watch, exclusively for the larger 42mm models. The design of the band extends slightly beyond the case of the Apple Watch itself, adding a stocky look to Apple’s already thick wearable device. The Lowry Cuff has a few minor quibbles that resurface on a daily basis (mainly centering around the accessory’s overall size), but they never overshadow Pad & Quill’s quality aesthetic, especially for anyone looking for a larger band like this.

Design

Pad & Quill entrusted the production of the Lowry Cuff to the Horween Leather Company, a tannery located in Chicago, Illinois. Similar to Pad & Quill’s other Apple Watch bands, the Cuff’s basic design and quality of leather is the accessory’s biggest selling point. Due to the rugged production process that produces „sturdy yet supple“ leather, the company also promises a 25-year leather warranty on the Lowry Cuff, a similar promise given to most of its leather-made goods.

But, as previously mentioned, and similar to other cuff-style watch bands, Pad & Quill’s accessory is decidedly for larger wrists. Sold only for the 42mm Apple Watch size, the accessory is listed as compatible with wrists 125–215mm in circumference, a broad range that encompasses a significant proportion of the population. But while the Cuff certainly could make its way onto thinner wrists, the larger size of the Cuff itself means it should find a better home on someone with bigger wrists.

Customers will be able to choose from American Tan, Chestnut, and Galloper Black color options for the leather finish. The company sent me Chestnut to take a look at over the past week and the Cuff’s design definitely mirrors the Classic Band’s sturdy outer layer of leather with a smoother and softer stitching on the inside to sit more comfortably on the wrist.

Pad & Quill promised that a cutout on the back of the Cuff would prevent obstruction of the Apple Watch’s heart rate sensor, and I found that to be true. The real-time heart rate measuring in Glances performed as it normally would with other bands I’ve worn, and when checking the minute-to-minute list of my measurements throughout the day within the Health app, the days I wore the Cuff showed consistent readouts.

Daily Wear

Beyond the notable high-quality design of the Lowry Cuff, the actual daily use of the band initially felt cumbersome as a companion to the Apple Watch. Installing the Watch’s case onto the two prongs of the Cuff was easy, as was the removal thanks to that circular heart rate sensor cutout, but the biggest problem with Pad & Quill’s larger band is that it constantly reminds you that you’re wearing it. Unlike Pad & Quill’s other bands, or most of Apple’s band options, the Lowry Cuff doesn’t just blend into the actions you do every day, but peskily makes its presence known.

This is especially thanks to the clasping mechanism that attaches the band under the wrist, with two small leather straps that house the notched side of the band. While efficient in securely fastening the Apple Watch, this method ultimately creates about five layers of leather stacked on top of one another, which is both a bit unsightly and awkward as it tends to catch easily against clothes. Also, for those who sit at desks most of the day, it makes for a fairly uncomfortable resting position for your wrist that never knows whether to tilt left or right on the wobbly axis of the clasp.

Perhaps more imperative is the front design of the Lowry Cuff, impressions of which will greatly vary by personal tastes, but aesthetically looked too large for me. After a week and a half of wear, the Cuff’s size became more natural but I still never entirely came around to the feel and look of it, as I eventually did with the Classic Band. It feels like more of a statement than most of Apple’s own bands, which may be in line for what some people want from an Apple Watch accessory, but I never felt entirely comfortable wearing it.

It’s also odd that I wore the Lowry Cuff on the second-to-last notch size, meaning that feasibly Pad & Quill thinks that I have the second-to-largest wrist size out there. For a one-size-fits-all product that should fit wrists up to 215mm, this sizing feels off, especially considering the Cuff’s niche as a product geared towards men. For example, I have 177mm sized wrists and, wearing the M/L Apple Watch Sport Band, the peg sits two notches away from the smallest notch possible. This makes sense given the M/L Sport Band’s size range of 160-210mm.

Comparatively, my 177mm wrist needing to be just one notch away from the 215mm upper cutoff for the Cuff feels strange, and misrepresentative of the sizes of wrists the accessory is supposedly designed to fit. At the end of the day, the sizing range feels less geared toward the Cuff’s intended market and more towards accessibility for people with smaller wrists, who may not be a fan of the oversized Cuff style in the first place.

Bottom Line

Anyone looking for a more substantial presence for the Apple Watch on his or her wrist could come to look past the potential negatives of Pad & Quill’s Lowry Cuff. It’s a great quality band that provides a unique look for Apple’s wearable that few other bands have.

Unfortunately, it seems unlikely to be a feasible alternative for most others. The Cuff’s combination of an awkward clasp mechanism and overly large design constantly reminds you of it presence on your wrist. The $129.95 price tag is certainly reflective of the time and effort put into the Cuff’s manufacturing, but given the drawbacks I experienced in day-to-day wear, it’s a bit steep for something I might wear only occasionally. Apple’s $150 bands like the Milanese or Leather Loop are only a few dollars more and much more suited for everyday wear.

Pros

Pad & Quill’s well-crafted materials

Solid option for those okay with its size

Easy to take on and off from Apple Watch casing

Doesn’t obstruct Apple Watch sensors

Cons

Oversized form factor not for everyone

Thick clasping mechanism

Inconvenient daily wear

Peculiar sizing

How to Buy

Pad & Quill’s Lowry Leather Cuff is available for $129.95 on the company’s official website.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2
Tag: Pad & Quill
Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
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Review: Pad & Quill’s Lowry Cuff Is a Well-Made Apple Watch Band for Large Wrists

Don’t pass up the chance to bolster your design skills [Deals]

These days good design is the key to any successful product, website, ad campaign, you name it. With these discounted resources, you can step up your design game and your pay scale at the same time. From drawing by hand with Adobe, to web development lessons and a library of design assets, there’s something here […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Don’t pass up the chance to bolster your design skills [Deals]

CES 2016: Pelican Announces ‘Marine’ Waterproof iPhone Cases

Pelican Products, known for its range of rugged, highly protective cases, today announced the launch of its first waterproof smartphone case. The Pelican Marine, designed for the iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus, and 6s Plus, provides complete drop protection for Apple’s iOS devices and protects it from water, snow, dirt, and dust.

Available in black, the Marine case includes five layers of military-grade shock protection to absorb impact during accidental drops, and a scratch-resistant screen protector keeps the display safe from scratches. According to Pelican, the design leaves all buttons and features accessible, while also offering balanced sound for a high-quality audio experience.

The Marine case can be submerged in water up to two meters deep for thirty minutes, and its waterproof design also protects against other outdoor elements. Like all Pelican products, it comes with a two-year guarantee.

„Smart phones, by and large have no real defense against water, but now they’re defended by the Pelican Marine case and 40+ years of protection know-how,“ said Bob Shortt, President – Consumer Division of Pelican Products. „Consumers can now hit the pool or beach with the confidence of knowing their phone will be one hundred percent protected and ready for that next amazing selfie or action shot.“

The Pelican Marine case for the iPhone 6 and 6s is priced at $79.95, while the larger iPhone 6 Plus/iPhone 6s Plus version is priced at $89.95. It will be available for purchase in late February.

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CES 2016: Pelican Announces ‘Marine’ Waterproof iPhone Cases

Cult of Mac Magazine: Apple’s best and worst of 2015, must-have apps, and more

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. We take a look at them all from 2015 in this end-of-year issue of the delightful and informative Cult of Mac Magazine. We’ve got Apple’s best and worst wins and fails of the year, the must-have apps on Apple TV, Mac, iOS, and […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Cult of Mac Magazine: Apple’s best and worst of 2015, must-have apps, and more

JUUK Revo Review: Modern Apple Watch Link Bracelet for Under $200

Apple’s 42mm Stainless Steel Link Bracelet is arguably the most luxurious Apple Watch band available, but at $449 it may be worth considering similar but less expensive third-party options available. Enter JUUK, a new company that aims to fill that niche with its lineup of Revo stainless steel link bracelets for under $200.

JUUK, pronounced „juke,“ is a watch company created by Eugene Ho, a Canadian with nearly two decades of experience in the watch industry. Ho, who moved to Hong Kong in 1997 to establish Pacific Watchworks, has worked on popular brands including Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, Timberland, Ecko, Reebok and many others.

„During that time, I’ve developed great relationships with some of the top watch component factories,“ Ho told MacRumors. „This means that I’m not an Apple accessories vendor trying to make watch bracelets. I’m not a guy coming off the streets trying to make watch bracelets. The watch industry is in my blood, and developing high quality watch components is all that I know professionally.“

Revo stainless steel link bracelets for Apple Watch are offered in polished, brushed or gunmetal finishes for between $145 and $195. A trio of 42mm bracelets are available to ship immediately, while 38mm bracelet pre-orders will ship in late January 2016. 42mm polished or brushed spare links are also available for $12 each.

Given the popular adage „you get what you pay for,“ this review will take a closer look at the design and fit of the 42mm Polished Revo model, $195, to see how it compares to Apple’s 42mm Stainless Steel Link Bracelet.

Design

JUUK’s 42mm Revo has a premium look and feel. The link bracelet is crafted from 316L stainless steel, the same grade used by Apple and many Swiss watchmakers, and this particular model has a lustrous all-polished finish. The modern design closely matches the stainless steel Apple Watch’s polished case, but like other bracelets of its kind, it collects fingerprints easily and is more susceptible to surface scratches.

In my two weeks of testing the Revo, being careful not to graze it on any hard surfaces, the bracelet still collected some surface scratches visible in natural light. The underside of the Revo is brushed to better hide those blemishes, a common practice in the watch industry for polished bracelets, but opting for the 42mm Brushed Revo entirely may be the better option for Apple Watch users who are less vigilant.

While Apple began selling „Made for Apple Watch“ lugs for official third-party bands in October, the Revo has unofficial adapters on each end of the link bracelet that slide into the Apple Watch casing with ease. The adapters have locking mechanisms on the underside that must be pressed in for a secure fit. Some third-party Apple Watch lugs do not fit very well, so I was pleased this bracelet worked without any issues.

The link bracelet has a width of just under one inch throughout, and is about 1/8″ thick, compared to the tapered design of Apple’s 42mm Stainless Steel Link Bracelet. The thicker bracelet looks modern and sleek, and isn’t overly heavy, in line with the premium craftsmanship I expect from Apple products. There is an embossed JUUK logo on the bottom of the bracelet that I could do without.

Fit

The 42mm Revo link bracelet fits wrist sizes up to 214mm or 8.42 inches, while Apple’s 42mm Stainless Steel Link Bracelet fits 140–205mm wrists for comparison. Apple also sells a 42mm Link Bracelet Kit for wrists that exceed 205mm. Revo bracelet links do not have Apple’s simple release button for link adjustment, but JUUK does eschew cheap friction pins for the costlier screws usually found in luxury watches.

The bracelet was simple to adjust and fit comfortably after I removed about five or six individual links. There is a tiny space between each link, giving the bracelet some flexibility, which is important since your wrist size can change slightly throughout the day based on environmental and physiological factors. The looseness also prevents the Revo from pinching your wrist hair.

One of the most impressive features of the JUUK Revo, and something that makes it more expensive than some third-party bands, is its 316L stainless steel double push button butterfly mechanism, allowing the bracelet to slide on or off your wrist with ease. Some other bracelets use a cheaper folded steel buckle to keep the cost down, but JUUK aims for a higher level of fit and finish.

Value

JUUK sells the 42mm Polished Revo for $195, which is $254 cheaper than Apple’s 42mm Stainless Steel Link Bracelet. For perspective, that is enough for an entire Apple Watch Sport during Best Buy’s current $100 off sale. JUUK provides free next-day international shipping, including tracking information, with every purchase via Hong Kong Post. All prices are listed in U.S. dollars.

JUUK provides a 2-year limited warranty covering manufacturing defects, and also offers a 100% refund within 2 weeks of the purchase date provided the bracelet is in its original packaging and has never been used before. The bracelet is not a Kickstarter project, so 42mm Revo models ship the next business day as opposed to the long lead times some crowdfunded products have.

Overall, the premium look and feel of the 42mm Revo makes it a worthwhile purchase, and I personally recommend that prospective buyers of Apple’s 42mm Stainless Steel Link Bracelet consider this $195 bracelet before making that purchase. A small screwdriver and JUUK microfiber cloth are included in the box.

Bottom Line

JUUK’s 42mm Polished Revo earns a stamp of approval as a less expensive yet quality alternative to Apple’s 42mm Stainless Steel Link Bracelet.

Pros

Premium look and feel

316L stainless steel matches Apple Watch casing

Double push button butterfly mechanism

Costlier screws for length adjustment

Nice packaging with small screwdriver included

Apple Watch adapters have locking mechanisms

$195 for link bracelet

Free next-day international shipping

Two-year limited warranty and two-week return policy

Cons

Polished finish collects fingerprints and smudges easily

Polished finish is more susceptible to surface scratches

JUUK logo may be an eyesore for those looking for an unbranded bracelet

How to Buy

The 42mm Polished Revo can be purchased through JUUK’s website for $195 with free international shipping available.

JUUK is offering MacRumors readers 10% off 42mm Revo models using coupon code MACRUM until December 31, 2015. The discount is not valid for 38mm models.

MacRumors is not an affiliate partner with JUUK and receives no compensation for this review or any purchases made through the JUUK website.

Tags: Apple Watch bands, JUUK Revo
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JUUK Revo Review: Modern Apple Watch Link Bracelet for Under $200

Cult of Mac Magazine: Hating on the iPhone battery case, Apple updates and much more

Apple releases a new iPhone 6 battery case and everyone hates it. Poor Apple. This week, we chronicle the beating Apple’s Smart Battery Case takes from the internet, including a look at its insides, how the internet questions Jony Ive’s sanity, and the history of ‘humped’ design at Apple. That, plus accessories just as ugly […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Cult of Mac Magazine: Hating on the iPhone battery case, Apple updates and much more

What happened to Apple’s faultless design?

Unlike any other consumer electronics company, Apple has been nailing product design for decades. Jony Ive and his incredibly talented team have produced countless iconic gadgets that rivals can only dream of, and it’s the biggest reason why the company is so successful today. But there are suggestions that Apple’s design prowess is beginning to slip […]

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What happened to Apple’s faultless design?