Reviews ▪ September 2

AAPL: 112.34

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By now, Nest’s story is quite well known: founder Tony Fadell left Apple after co-inventing the original iPod, founding Nest to re-imagine neglected home devices with modern designs and features. Nest started with the Nest Learning Thermostat, which made HVAC programming and remote management easy — really for the first time — then released the Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm, and after acquiring Dropcam, the Nest Cam home security camera. Now owned by Google, Nest has closely followed Apple’s strategy of refined iteration upon past designs, releasing the Nest Learning Thermostat 2nd Gen and Nest Protect 2nd Gen as modestly but meaningfully tweaked sequels to address rough edges and omissions.

Yesterday, the company announced and released the Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Gen ($249), which looks familiar at first glance. Still shaped like a metal-clad circle, Nest’s latest Thermostat is a hint thinner than its predecessors, yet sports a larger, higher-resolution screen that can optionally be used as an analog or digital clock. As a satisfied user of the 2nd Gen Thermostat for my home’s downstairs heating system, I bought the 3rd Gen Thermostat to replace the old control panel I had upstairs. Here are my thoughts on Nest’s latest product…

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Reviews ▪ September 1

AAPL: 107.72

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I keep a box with around 20 iPad styluses next to my desk, so every time a new stylus arrives, I can easily compare it against its predecessors and rivals. There hasn’t been much functional innovation in the category for a couple of years, but stylus form factors, batteries, and buttons have changed, generally getting simpler and smaller after each generation. Even so, Adonit’s new Jot Dash ($50) surprised me. It comes less than 6 months after the release of Jot Script 2 (reviewed here), but looks and feels a lot different from its predecessor. Jot Script 2 costs $25 more, feels fairly thick, and uses Bluetooth 4 for (somewhat iffy) palm rejection. Jot Dash cuts both its price and size by dropping the Bluetooth hardware, while keeping the 1.9mm fine writing tip that made Script special.

Why would Adonit simplify its prior electronic styluses by removing Bluetooth? Perhaps because relatively few developers have been willing to add Bluetooth stylus support to their apps. Today, a stylus would be considered to have “good” software support if 30 of the 1.5 million iOS apps included hooks for its special features; Jot Script 2 lists just under 20 fully supported apps. So, like the $60 Lynktec Rechargeable Apex I recently reviewed, Jot Dash doesn’t require special software support — it has a simpler feature set that works with all apps and all iPads, including the iPad Air 2. It similarly includes a rechargeable battery, which gets topped off with any available USB port. The differences are the $10 lower price, and the fact that it feels a lot more like a standard-sized pen…

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Reviews ▪ August 28

AAPL: 113.29

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Reviews ▪ August 27

AAPL: 112.92

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Belkin’s three latest products in its Wemo line of Wi-Fi connected, smartphone-controlled products for the home include a white bulb starter kit, a versatile strip light, and garden lights for outdoor use. The last two are both tunable to thousands of colors and all three connect to Belkin’s Wemo ecosystem and companion app for remote control from your iPhone. All three of the products are through a partnership with OSRAM SYLVANIA, who provided the lightning products that Belkin has integrated into its Wemo platform. We took the three new starter kits for a test drive to get a second look at the growing Wemo platform and see if they are worth the investment before support for Apple’s HomeKit…
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A lot of Apple Watch owners who splashed out on a nice charging stand must have been swearing at Apple when watchOS 2 was announced. Most existing charging stands out there position the watch vertically, which was the obvious thing to do at the time – but then along came watchOS 2, with Nightstand mode one of its headline features.

Nightstand mode allows the watch to serve as a bedside clock while charging – but only when on its side, with the buttons on top. Bad news for anyone who already laid out the cash for a vertical stand, and worse news for manufacturers whose stock was effectively rendered obsolete overnight.

For those who haven’t yet bought a stand, the good news is that manufacturers have been quick to respond. Zac Hall reviewed Spigen’s low-cost Apple Watch Night Stand, and now FŪZ Designs has launched a similarly-priced alternative in the form of the FŪZ Dock for Apple Watch …  expand full story

Email apps are dime-a-dozen these days, and every single one claims it brings some incredible new tool to the table that will change the way you do email forever. Usually this just means you can attach images from Dropbox or some other otherwise unremarkable feature.

Geronimo is the latest in a long line of email clients for the iPhone, but unlike many others, it actually does manage to introduce a new management paradigm to the decades-old communication platform. Keep reading for details on its creative new inbox view and gesture-based management message management system.

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