Apple seeks face, complications designers for Apple Watch

Apple is looking for new software engineers who can build new watch faces and complications for Apple Watch. A job listing found on its website all but confirms we’ll see a wider range of customization options in future watchOS updates. The faces Apple already ships with Apple Watch are great, but there aren’t enough of them. Yes, […]

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


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Apple seeks face, complications designers for Apple Watch

Apple Seeds Third WatchOS 2.2 Beta to Developers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming watchOS 2.2 update to developers, two weeks after seeding the second watchOS 2.2 beta and two months after releasing watchOS 2.1, the first major update to the watchOS 2 operating system that runs on the Apple Watch. watchOS 2.2 has been in testing since January 11.

The third watchOS 2.2 beta can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on an iPhone running the iOS 9.3 beta by going to General –> Software update. To install the update, the Apple Watch must have 50 percent battery, it must be placed on the Apple Watch charger, and it must be in range of the iPhone.

watchOS 2.2, along with iOS 9.3, introduces support for pairing multiple Apple Watches with a single iPhone. Both updates are required, with each watch running watchOS 2.2 and each iPhone running iOS 9.3. watchOS 2.2 also includes a revamped look for the built-in Maps app on the Apple Watch with access to the Nearby feature first introduced with iOS 9 and new buttons for quickly accessing directions to home and work.

There are were no other obvious outward-facing changes introduced in the first two watchOS 2.2 betas aside from the changes to the Maps app, but the update undoubtedly includes under-the-hood performance updates and bug fixes to address issues that have been discovered since the release of watchOS 2.1.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2
Tag: watchOS 2.2
Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
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Apple Seeds Third WatchOS 2.2 Beta to Developers

Pagaré Smartstrap Plans to Bring Contactless Payments to Pebble Time

Financial tech startup Fit Pay recently launched a new Kickstarter for its third-party Pebble Time „smartstrap“ called the Pagaré. The new accessory will bring NFC payment capabilities to the smartwatch, using the power of the Pebble’s smart accessory port, giving Pebble Time the same mobile wallet opportunities allowed to Apple Watch customers thanks to Apple Pay.

The Pagaré smartstrap will come in all of the same colors and finishes that Pebble creates for the Pebble Time, so that „you won’t have to sacrifice your style to receive the benefits of Pagaré,“ according to Fit Pay co-founder and CEO Mike Orlando. The strap runs on its own battery, so with a small USB connector on one end, users will be able to charge the Pagaré smartstrap and the Pebble Time simultaneously.

Fit Pay said that its new smartstrap will be able to be used „at over 9 million point of sale terminals worldwide,“ including places like GameStop, Panera Bread, and Whole Foods. Similar to the Apple Watch, when the Pagaré is removed from a user’s wrist it locks access to any of the payment features of the band. A four-digit passcode reactivates those features when the Pebble Time is reattached.

Pagaré has multiple layers of security to protect sensitive data. In addition to secure hardware, we leverage the same card network service as Apple Pay to replace your card number with a surrogate value called a token. This means we never need to store your credit card.

Notably, once the Pagaré app is installed on a user’s phone and credit cards are scanned in, the new accessory is „a completely phone-free solution.“ Users will be able to pay at compatible NFC terminals using Pagaré without having their smartphone nearby. The company is looking to the future, as well, with plans to introduce transit and entertainment ticket options into the Pagaré suite of tools if the Kickstarter gets funded.

As of writing, the campaign sits at just over a $26,000 funded level with a goal of $120,000 over the next 29 days. Users interested can get in on an early bird discount of the Pagaré for $49, and once those are gone the band will cost $69 at retail price. Higher early bird reward tiers bundle in the Pebble Time ($199), Pebble Time Steel ($249), and Pebble Time Round ($249) alongside a Pagaré smartstrap.

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Pagaré Smartstrap Plans to Bring Contactless Payments to Pebble Time

Pebble Update Introduces Custom Messages, Health Improvements

Pebble today announced multiple updates for its line of Pebble smart watches, introducing new messaging options and new health features for Pebble owners.

Pebble owners who use iOS devices are now able to reply to incoming text messages with custom messages instead of the standard canned responses. Custom text replies are available to all iOS users who have text replies enabled from a compatible carrier.

Pebble Health, the fitness tracking app Pebble introduced in December for Pebble Time watches, has a new API that lets Pebble Health stats be added to apps and watch faces. The health tracking feature is also more accurate and is able to show distance in kilometers or miles.

New Pebble Time Firmware 3.9 introduces incoming MMS messages with descriptive icons and text, and it introduces speed improvements for Pebble Time and Time Steel. There’s also an improved Watch-Only mode, which introduces better power saving options when the watch battery is critically low.

The update is available through the Pebble Time iOS app, available from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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Wireless EarPods, upgrading iOS, Apple’s awesome new music app and more

Will Apple’s wireless EarPods change the way we hear? Why should you upgrade to the latest iOS version? How can you create a musical masterpiece with just a guitar and your iPhone? You’ll find answers to these and other burning questions in this week’s edition of Cult of Mac Magazine. Grab the latest issue today […]

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


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Wireless EarPods, upgrading iOS, Apple’s awesome new music app and more

Swiss Manufacturer Creates High-End Mechanical Apple Watch Clone

Ahead of the Apple Watch’s launch, many high-end Swiss watch makers were critical of its design and Apple’s efforts to position it as a high-fashion item. TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver went as far as to call it „too feminine,“ saying the Apple Watch looked like „it was designed by a student in their first trimester.“

As time has passed, opinions on the Apple Watch have changed. It has prompted some high-end luxury watch makers to consider delving into the smart watch market themselves, and it also seems to be the inspiration behind high-end watchmaker H. Moser & Cie.’s latest product.

Shared today by watch site Hodinkee, H. Moser & Cie.’s Swiss Alp Watch has a design that’s immediately familiar, featuring a rectangular watch face with curved, rounded edges, a crown at the side, and Apple Watch-style lugs for holding a band in place.

Constructed from solid 18-karat white gold, the Swiss Alp Watch measures in at 38.2mm by 44mm, with a depth of 10.3mm. That’s comparable to the 42mm Apple Watch, which is 35.9mm by 42mm with a depth of 10.5mm. It comes with a beige kudu leather strap with a white gold pin buckle.

The resemblance between the Swiss Alp Watch and the Apple Watch is purely physical. There is no processor, no OLED display, and no sensors in the Swiss Alp Watch, which is entirely mechanical. When flipped over, there’s no heart rate sensor – instead, the inner mechanics of the watch (a finished tonneau movement with a Straumann hairspring, according to Hodinkee) are visible through a clear sapphire crystal panel.

H. Moser & Cie. does not mention the Apple Watch on its website or in its marketing materials, but when speaking to Hodinkee, H. Moser & Cie. CEO Edouard Meylan said the Swiss Alp Watch is symbolic, serving as a proof traditional mechanical watchmaking has a future in a world where the digital smart watch is becoming commonplace. Swiss watchmaking, he says, has weathered other challenges and it will continue on.

„Today, H. Moser & Cie. launches the Swiss Alp Watch as a statement of this new challenge and to prove that traditional mechanical watchmaking has a future, and it is, in fact, the future. It is much more than a watch for us. The Swiss Alp Watch is symbolic. It represents our resilience, our ferocious desire to fight for our values and traditions. It embodies everything we believe in.“

Given that H. Moser & Cie. is pricing the white gold Swiss Alp Watch at $24,900 with only 50 pieces available, it’s unlikely Apple will take offense over the copycat design.

The full story of the H. Moser & Cie. Swiss Alp Watch, which includes background color on the Swiss watch industry and hands-on details, can be read over at Hodkinee.
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Swiss Manufacturer Creates High-End Mechanical Apple Watch Clone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Space Black Milanese Loop Apple Watch Band Spotted on Apple Store

A new Space Black Milanese Loop band for the Apple Watch has been spotted on the Czech Republic Apple Store website today, hinting towards an incoming announcement for the new Milanese Loop band (via 9to5Mac). The new accessory appears to match the Space Black Stainless Steel Apple Watch case, similar to that of the Space Black Link Bracelet.

The Czech Republic Apple Store listing parrots much of the same information as the traditional Milanese Loop, pointing to a possible launch date in about a week. Besides a handful of new color options for the Sport Band lineup earlier in 2015, Apple has yet to expand its higher-end Apple Watch accessory market with as many options for customers.

The Space Black Milanese Loop’s Czech Republic listing only mentions a 42mm option, although if made official it seems that Apple would also include a 38mm alternative, akin to that of the original Milanese Loop band. The new band was also spotted on the Portugal and Hungary Apple Store sites, but all of them lack any official buy button at the time of writing. As usual, today’s spotting could be some kind of mix-up and there is a possibility that the Space Black Milanese Loop band won’t make it to consumer markets.

Update: Links to the Space Black Milanese Loop’s online store page have been removed, and now redirect to the existing stainless steel option.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2
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Space Black Milanese Loop Apple Watch Band Spotted on Apple Store

Samsung to Add iOS Support to Gear S2 Smart Watch Later This Year

Samsung today held a press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where the company announced new rose gold and platinum variants of its Samsung Gear S2 smart watch and pledged future iOS support for the device.

First introduced in August, the Gear S2 is Samsung’s newest smart watch and its first with a round display. The Gear S2 was originally available in black or silver with matching leather or rubber bands, but later this year, Samsung will also introduce high-end 18-karat rose gold gold and platinum plated versions, made from real precious metals much like the Apple Watch Edition.

At the current time, the Gear S2, which runs Samsung’s Tizen operating system, is compatible only with Samsung smartphones, but that’s set to change. Samsung says that later in the year, it will „bring the Gear S2 to iOS,“ allowing it to compete with the Apple Watch on Apple’s own platform. Samsung didn’t share additional details on when iOS compatibility might be implemented.

Samsung announced several other products at CES, including a Surface Pro-style 12-inch Galaxy Tab Pro S tablet that runs Windows 10 and two very thin Notebook 9 ultrabooks. The Tab Pro S, which weighs 1.5 pounds, features a 2160 x 1440 Super AMOLED display, an Intel Core M processor, 4GB RAM, and up to 256GB storage.

Samsung’s Notebook 9 laptops are available in 13.3 and 15-inch sizes, with the smaller of the two weighing in at 1.85 pounds, which is lighter than the Retina MacBook. The larger version weighs 2.84 pounds, and both feature a 1080p display. Max specs for the Notebook 9 laptop includes a Core i7 CPU, 256GB flash storage, and 8GB RAM. Pricing and release info on Samsung’s NoteBook 9 laptops and the Galaxy Tab Pro S is not yet available.

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Samsung to Add iOS Support to Gear S2 Smart Watch Later This Year