Report estimates almost 1 million Apple Watch preorders on the first day in the US

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A study by Slice Intelligence estimates that Apple recorded 957,000 Apple Watch preorders on Friday in the US, the first day the device was available to order. On average, customers bought 1.3 watches which means that many customers ordered two or more units. The Sport model was the most popular choice, making up 62% of orders. As the Watch debuted in nine countries, it is possible that total orders were much greater than the 1 million number which only totals US orders. Significant supply constraints may have dampened initial orders however.

The most popular model purchased was the Space Grey Sport, followed by the normal stainless steel Apple Watch, then the Silver Sport. The Space Black Apple Watch model captured just 3% of orders although it was in limited supply (4 – 6 weeks) from the beginning of preorders and is also the most expensive model of Apple Watch. The report ignores sales data for the Apple Watch Edition in its calculations.

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Review: Mophie’s Juice Packs for iPhone 6 + 6 Plus are polished battery cases at premium prices

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Unless you pick the matte black versions, which look like most of the other iPhone 6 and 6 Plus battery cases I’ve tested, you’ll quickly be wowed by how premium Mophie’s newest Juice Packs feel in your hand. Glossy white plastic Apple accessories may have become passe years ago, but Mophie somehow got the look and feel just right — better, even, than the “unapologetically plastic” iPhone 5c.

The reason for that luxe feel? Mophie needs it, as the new Juice Pack Plus for iPhone 6 ($120) and Juice Pack for iPhone 6 Plus ($100) are currently the most expensive battery cases currently available for their respective iPhones. Though the company has never been shy about charging more for top quality cases, this year’s Juice Packs are hitting shelves well after numerous solid and aggressively priced competitors.

Below, I’ll discuss how Mophie’s price to performance equations actually play out for these Juice Packs, and whether they’re worth buying in light of other options…

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Tim Cook says Apple Watch “orders are great” in visit to Palo Alto Apple Store, wears custom watch with red crown

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Tim Cook visited the Palo Alto Apple Store today to check out the Apple Watch buzz, as people around the world attend try-on appointments and (failed to) pre-order Apple Watch online. In an interview with CNBC, Cook said that customer response has been extraordinary and “orders are great”.

The interviewer asks Cook what he wears day-to-day. Cook says he swaps out bands depending on the occasion but likes the Apple Watch stainless steel with the white rubber Sport band. Weirdly, Cook’s watch features a custom red crown that is usually only found on certain Apple Watch Edition models. Photo below …

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Review: Brookstone’s Perfect Drink 3 helps you craft cocktails with whatever’s on hand

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Craft cocktails are in the midst of a renaissance, buoyed by rediscovered classic recipes, higher-quality ingredients, and increasingly talented bartenders. Pre-made mixes and artificially-flavored spirits are declining in popularity, as freshly-assembled natural flavors are ascending. But once you’ve had a truly great cocktail at a restaurant or bar, making one by yourself at home may seem challenging. The latest version of Perfect Drink ($40), Brookstone’s (and developer Pure Imagination’s) “app-controlled smart bartending” solution for iOS users, is here to help.

Perfect Drink has been through a few hardware and software revisions, but the latest-generation accessory and just-released version 3.0 app elevate it to greatness. The core of the product is a precise digital scale — recently upgraded from the original hardware — that works in tandem with your iPad or iPhone to eliminate the need for measuring cups. You call up a recipe in the Perfect Drink app and just add liquids until the scale and app tell you to stop, dynamically adjusting the recipe if you overpour. A just-released update enables the app to store a list of all the spirits, fruit, and mixers you have on hand, helping you quickly choose from recipes you’re capable of making…

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Here’s what the premium Apple Watch Edition box looks like

Someone has taken pictures of the Apple Watch Edition packaging, which unlike the cheaper models doubles as a charging dock. The pictures show the more premium leather lining of the box. The insert for the charging cable is also visible in the pictures. The Apple Watch is suspended on its side whilst charging, clamped by the adaptor. As shown earlier this week, the Apple Watch packaging is similar but does not use the materials and lacks the charging element.

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Almost all Apple Watch models sold out, AppleCare+ pricing revealed (update: sold out!)

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Update: All Apple Watch models in the US are now at minimum 4 – 6 week shipping estimates in less than six hours.

Whether due to high demand or low supply, all models of Apple Watch have now almost entirely sold out with many slipping delivery date estimates in mere minutes of preorders opening. In the US, the 38 mm Stainless Steel Case with Black Classic Buckle is the only model still on offer with a ‘April 24th – May 8th’ shipping date.

AppleCare+ pricing is now also visible on store.apple.com. AppleCare+ costs $49 for Apple Watch Sport, $69 for Apple Watch and $1500 for Apple Watch Edition. Interestingly, Apple is also offering a ‘combo purchase’ where you can buy AppleCare+ for both your iPhone and your Watch at a bundled price of $100 more. The bundle prices don’t offer any saving over buying both devices  (if you can ignore the negligible $1 difference), so they seem to be offered as a convenience purchase only.

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All six Star Wars movies now available on iTunes

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As announced, Disney has today released all six Star Wars movies as digital downloads on iTunes. The collection is priced at $89 as a bundle. Each movie can be downloaded separately for $20 a piece.

As part of the promotion, Apple has also launched a special collection featuring films, apps, TV shows, music and books from the franchise. Although iTunes is obviously a convenient option for users in the Apple ecosystem, it is not the cheapest way to buy the series. Other vendors, like Google Play, are offering much heavier discounts, so shop around for better deals.

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Mophie announces Space Packs for iPad mini, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, universal SpaceStation

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Continuing its line of combination battery cases and external storage solutions for iOS devices, Mophie today announced a collection of new accessories in the Space family: Space Pack for iPad mini ($200-$400), Space Pack for iPhone 6 ($150-$300), Space Pack for iPhone 6 Plus ($150-$300), and SpaceStation ($150-$300). The three Space Packs combine iPad or iPhone-recharging battery cases with 32, 64, or 128GB of storage capacity, while SpaceStation offers the same three storage capacity choices with a standalone, device-agnostic USB battery pack. A free Space app lets you access movies, music, photos, and data that have been separately stored in the Space accessories by your computer, using an included USB cable.

Mophie’s batteries differ considerably between the devices. The iPhone 6 Space Pack has a 3,300mAh battery, which is said to provide a 100% recharge of the device, while the iPhone 6 Plus version has a smaller 2,600mAh battery that Mophie says will deliver a 50% recharge. An 8,000mAh battery in the more expensive iPad mini case promises a 100% recharge, and a 6,000mAh battery in SpaceStation is claimed to offer “3X extra battery” for unspecified devices — certainly smaller phones, rather than the iPhones and iPads supported by the other models.

All of the new Space Pack batteries are available for preorder now from Mophie’s web site, and will ship in May. The SpaceStation and lower-priced Space Packs for the iPhone 5/5s (16GB / 32GB / 64GB) are in stock now. Read more

Apple confirms Apple Watch orders are exclusively online for the launch period, expects demand to outstrip supply

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Leaked delivery details from Apple.com indicated supply would be constrained.

Update: A reader got a reply from Apple CEO Tim Cook about the situation. See below.

Apple has today posted a press release reaffirming that Apple Watch try-on sessions and preorders start tomorrow, Friday April 10th. It also confirms that Apple Watch orders will be exclusively online for the launch period.

Angela Ahrendts says that Apple expects demand to outstrip supply at launch on the back of tremendous interest from customers viewing watches online and in the Apple Store app. As such, this has forced the company to limit orders to online only for the time being.

“We are excited to welcome customers tomorrow and introduce them to Apple Watch, our most personal device yet. Based on the tremendous interest from people visiting our stores, as well as the number of customers who have gone to the Apple Online Store to mark their favorite Apple Watch ahead of availability, we expect that strong customer demand will exceed our supply at launch,” said Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s senior vice president of Retail and Online Stores. “To provide the best experience and selection to as many customers as we can, we will be taking orders for Apple Watch exclusively online during the initial launch period.”

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Twitter now supports the iPhone’s gorgeous slow-motion videos

One of the stand-out features of the iPhone 5s was the 120fps slow-motion video, and the iPhone 6/Plus took this even further, allowing silky-smooth 240fps video at 720p. Sharing that video, however, isn’t always easy: many online services don’t recognize that the video is slo-mo, and play it instead at full speed.

There are clunky workarounds, but these are no longer needed for Twitter: upload slo-mo video from your iPhone 5s, 6 or 6 Plus and it now plays at the correct speed …  Read more

iOS 8.3 expands iPhone WiFi Calls to Sprint in the U.S., EE in the U.K.

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In addition to adding a slew of more diverse Emojis and several bug fixes, iOS 8.3 has expanded the iPhone’s WiFi calling feature to a pair of new carriers: Sprint in the United States and EE in the United Kingdom. WiFi calling allows a user to make calls over a WiFi network instead of over their standard cellular network. This feature comes in handy for users who live in homes or areas with poor cellular service or for those traveling abroad. WiFi calling first launched on the iPhone with T-Mobile last year in the U.S. WiFi calling requires newer iPhone models, ranging from the iPhone 5c to the iPhone 6 Plus. Users on supported carriers can activate WiFi calling via the Settings panel shown above. Sprint says international WiFi calling is free when calling from 200 different countries to a U.S., U.S. Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico number.

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Apple releases iOS 8.3, including new emojis with diversity, new Siri languages, more

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Following the release of OS X 10.10.3 to the public, Apple has also released iOS 8.3 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The update, which has been in beta for several months, brings over 300 new emojis (including diversity options) as well as a new keyboard for inputting the symbols. The new keyboard features a scrolling UI, rather than the old page metaphor, to better accommodate the wider range of emojis available in the update.

iOS 8.3 also includes a whole host of new Siri languages, so more international users can benefit from Apple’s virtual personal assistant. The update adds Siri in Russian, Danish, Dutch, Thai, Swedish, Turkish and Portuguese. Siri’s voice has also been tweaked in this update.

Full change list included after the break:

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