Apple Watch will be available to buy from some boutique fashion retail locations on Friday

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Update: Confusing the situation further, HDBlog has received news from Italian Apple PR that Milan will not have Apple Watch stock to buy.

Amidst all the craziness, it now transpires that Apple Watch will in fact be available to be buy at some retail locations on Friday. The New York Times reports that select boutique locations will have stock in the brick-and-mortar locations of Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch.

This includes Dover Street Market in Tokyo and London, Maxfield in Los Angeles, Collette in Paris, the Corner in Berlin and Corso Como in Milan.

Apple had previously announced these locations in a press release but it was unclear whether the plans had changed as Apple had since said that there would be no in-store stock until June at the earliest. although now it appears this only applies to Apple’s own retail stores.

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Review: Is the added protection of the LifeProof Nüüd for iPhone 6 worth the trade-offs?

LifeProof has become a household name in the iPhone accessory world since debuting its first ultra-protective case in 2011. The company has continued improving its waterproof cases with each new version of the iPhone. With the iPhone 5, LifeProof introduced its Nüüd series, which offers protection from water, snow, dirt, and shock while still exposing the display. We took a look at it last summer, noting that its an excellent choice for the adventurous iPhone user, albeit a bit bulky. It’s still available for $48.

With the iPhone 6, Apple presented LifeProof with a new challenge. The large, thin form factor of the iPhone 6 meant that LifeProof would have to work incredibly hard to develop a case that maintained a manageable form factor, while offering the same protection that users of the case have come to expect. We reviewed the LifeProof Fre for the iPhone 6 earlier this year and pointed out that it was a well thought out option, but that the Nüüd model would be very much welcomed. I’ve recently been testing the LifeProof Nüüd case for the iPhone 6. Here’s what you need to know:

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Apple Store signs around the world go green for Earth Day

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As part of Apple’s push for a greener environment, the company has changed up its physical signage outside Apple Stores around the world to celebrate Earth Day. The updated logos are mostly the same but the leaf section is tinted green. The celebration can be seen at Apple Stores worldwide.

Apple has also put the Apple logo with the green adornments in some places online, such as on its YouTube account. Apple’s homepage is currently dominated by its environmental initiatives for the occasion, with the launch of Apple Watch relegated to one of the smaller summary panels.

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Apple offering developers expedited Apple Watch deliveries by random selection

 

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Apple is sending out invites to random registered developers, giving them the chance to buy an Apple Watch with guaranteed delivery by the end of the month. Developer get the opportunity to buy a 42 mm Apple Watch Sport with shipment by the 28th of April. Apple is emailing selected developers, who are offered to apply here.

The process is by application only. Developers find out whether they are eligible to actually go through with the purchase on the 23rd of April, this Thursday.

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iOS-controlled toy Sphero made Star Wars’ BB-8 possible, now make your own at home

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Best known for its app-controlled robotic toys, iOS developer Sphero was responsible for creating the real version of the ball-shaped droid BB-8 featured in Disney’s upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, according to Time. Having released the original iOS-controlled Sphero and much-improved Sphero 2.0 balls in 2012 and 2013, the company was accepted into a Disney accelerator program in 2014, receiving personal mentoring from Disney CEO Bob Iger — a close friend of late Apple CEO Steve Jobs. “When the tech-savvy CEO saw Sphero’s technology in action,” Time reports, “he realized the potential application for BB-8 and connected the startup with the masterminds of the Star Wars characters.”

Along with the disclosure of Sphero’s involvement in the robot’s creation, Time noted that an BB-8 toy was planned for release. Although Gizmodo suggested that an official BB-8 toy by Sphero had appeared on retailer Fat Brain Toys’ site, the image has since been pulled, and Sphero subsequently said that it is not a “legitimate” image. Separately, designer Christian Poulsen has demonstrated how to make a homemade BB-8 droid by cutting open a Sphero ball, inserting a neodymium magnet inside, and placing another magnet inside a handmade foam head, painting the head and ball to match BB-8. Poulsen described making the toy as a quick one-day project, and has a collection of videos showing the modified Sphero moving around much as BB-8 does in the upcoming movie. Sphero 2.0 currently sells for $130. The official Sphero-designed toy will likely be released closer to the film, which is due out on December 18, 2015.

Updated April 22, 2015: In addition to noting that the BB-8 image run by Fat Brain Toys is not its actual product, Sphero has confirmed its involvement in BB-8, providing clarification and an official link to follow progress on the toy.

“What an incredible honor it is to work with the team at Disney on one of the most interesting new characters in the Star Wars franchise,” said Paul Berberian, CEO. “Opportunities this significant are rare. If anyone can execute and deliver on an exceptional BB-8 experience, it’s our Sphero team in Boulder.”

“This is the beginning of a whole new category of consumer products. You can own a piece of the movie, have it in your home, and relive an experience that is authentic to the entertainment on the screen.” said Rob Maigret, Chief Creative Officer. “Our hardware and software technology advancements make it possible to build the toys of the future now. We are deepening the user connection in ways that, until today, have only been portrayed in science fiction.”

All aboard the hyperbole train: Manhattan district attorney says iPhone security helps terrorists

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We’ve heard some pretty outrageous ramblings from the government regarding Apple’s use of encryption in its mobile devices in the past—including a claim from the Department of Justice that some day it will result in the death of a child—but Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. might have just dethroned the DOJ as king of hyperbole.

Yesterday morning during a radio interview, Vance claimed that Apple’s encrypted software will make the iPhone the communication tool of choice for terrorists:

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Just when you thought the failed LA schools iPad program couldn’t get any messier, it did …

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We learned yesterday that the Los Angeles Unified School District may sue Apple for “millions of dollars” following the collapse of its plans to provide every student with an iPad. The mess eventually led to an FBI investigation and a federal review.

The latest development, as ever reported by the LA Times, says that the program is now the subject of a Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry into whether funds were misused in the $1.3B project …  Read more

The best Apple Watch headphones and earphones

Up until now, Bluetooth wireless audio was purely optional for Apple’s devices: every iPad, iPhone, and iPod has shipped with a 3.5mm audio port to connect with wired earbuds and headphones. The Apple Watch is different: it’s Apple’s first fully wireless device, with no user-accessible ports to connect accessories, even though it can work as a standalone music player during workouts. The lack of a headphone port is actually a positive, since tethering your wrist to your head with a cable would look silly, and isn’t ergonomically ideal. Thankfully, Bluetooth headphones have come a long way over the past few years, shrinking from gangly and boxy earmuffs into earphones comfortable enough to exercise with.

Since one of the Apple Watch’s major selling points is fitness functionality, this quick guide to the best Apple Watch headphones and earphones focuses mostly on accessories that can work anywhere, rather than options you can’t wear while exercising. But I’ll include some larger options, too, just in case you’re picking a pair for non-athletic use, or to share with your iPad, iPhone, iPod, or Mac…

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Purported 12-inch ‘iPad Pro’ cases show stereo speakers, iPhone rumored to use same 7000 Series aluminum as Apple Watch Sport

Sonny Dickson has today posted images of an iPad Pro case that reiterates previous manufacturing renders and reports. Like a render seen in January, the case has holes for stereo speakers situated on top and bottom of the device.

The ‘iPad Pro’ has been widely reported to be in development for some time, featuring a larger 12.3 – 12.9 inch display. It is unknown if the new case images offer any new information — they could have been conjured up based on the previously leaked renders. Chinese case manufacturers have offered mixed indications of future Apple product plans. The iPhone 6 design was widely leaked through cases appearing online, but other instances have not been as fruitful.

Today, there has also been a rumor around the next iPhone’s materials …

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L.A. Unified School District may sue Apple for “millions of dollars” over failed iPad project

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The Los Angeles Unified School District is exploring the possibility of litigation against Apple over the failed project intended to provide every student with an iPad, reports the LA Times.

The Los Angeles Unified School District is seeking to recoup millions of dollars from technology giant Apple over a problem-plagued curriculum that was provided with iPads intended to be given to every student, teacher and administrator.

The project ran into early problems when students figured out how to bypass the restrictions designed to ensure the devices could be used only for school work, shortly before the district was accused of having miscalculated the cost of the program. The program was suspended last year, and later abandoned after deciding iPads were the wrong device. This was far from the end of the story, however …  Read more

Apple adds new Apple Watch video guided tours for Phone, Siri, Maps & Music

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Update: Apple just uploaded the four new guided tours to its YouTube channel, as well. They are embedded below.

Apple has now updated its Apple Watch Guided Tour page with four more videos, featuring Phone Calls, Siri interactions, Maps navigation and the Music app. Apple began this series earlier in the month.

The videos demonstrate different Apple Watch features, such as taking a phone call, asking Siri for directions, getting navigation turn-by-turn directions in Maps or controlling music playback in the Music app.

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