Apple Watch “3rd party gold-plated edition” w/ link bracelet gets first unboxing and hands-on (Video)

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I know what you may be thinking: why would you spend any significant amount of money on a gold Apple Watch? Well, this isn’t an Apple Watch Edition, but it’s the closest thing available to my wallet. This Apple Watch and Link Bracelet was beautifully plated with 18K gold and it looks stunning.

I’m not even a fan of gold, but I can definitely appreciate the beauty here. This is just about as classy as it gets if you’re into the style. Last week, this used to be an ordinary Apple Watch, but a few days with the people over at WatchPlate changed it for life. If you’re not into spending a boat load of cash on an Apple Watch Edition, this is the next best thing and quite possibly a better option…

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The Logic Pros: TE’s new pocket-sized synths & how to sync them up with your Mac

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The Logic Pros is a new regular series exploring all of the most interesting gadgets and software for making music on your Mac/iOS devices. If there is any gear you would like us to take a closer hands-on look at, let us know in the comments section below or shoot us an email.

Teenage Engineering, best known for its flagship synthesizer/sequencer the OP-1, recently unleashed a new line of tiny music makers on the world known as the Pocket Operators. The PO-12 Rhythm is a drum machine, the PO-14 Sub is a bass module and the PO-16 Factory is dedicated to melodies and lead lines. The appearance of the units may have some writing them off as toys, and considering they were partially inspired by pocket calculators and the Nintendo Game & Watch products, that may not be totally off base. But creativity and musical inspiration come from unexpected places sometimes.

Having gone hands on with the PO-16 model for over a week now, I have found it to be quite a playable little instrument, with its own interesting quirks, creative limitations, and boutique sound. Most examples of the little device in action appear to be freestyle techno jams, song re-creations or somewhat avant guard pieces that don’t seem to offer much in the way of real-life production applications. So I decided to run the new Factory model through its paces, putting it alongside some bigger name virtual/hardware instruments in the space to see how it would hold-up in a more typical Logic or GarageBand production.

Read on for more details on the PO-16, how to sync this bad boy up with your other hardware and to hear how it sits inside a mix with some big name software/hardware… Read more

Review: Griffin’s WatchStand is a tall, cheap way to dual-dock your Apple Watch and iPhone

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I respect any accessory developer who attempts to solve a legitimate problem, and admire developers who find smart ways to solve multiple problems simultaneously. Unlike many competing Apple Watch stands, Griffin Technology’s new WatchStand ($30 via Amazon) thinks past the initial challenge of mounting your watch, and also includes a place for your iPhone to rest on your nightstand. As you’ll see in my guide to the best Apple Watch stands and docks, it’s hard to find a decent-looking combination Watch and iPhone stand at a lower price.

As that low price suggests, however, WatchStand makes compromises in both materials and functionality. Built primarily from plastic with a rubber core, it’s certain not to scratch a stainless steel or gold Apple Watch. But would you actually want to use it with one of Apple’s more expensive timepieces? That’s another question…

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Review: Mophie’s Watch Dock elevates your Apple Watch with jewelry store-quality metal and leather

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As I noted in yesterday’s review of the Nomad Stand for Apple Watch, I wasn’t initially certain that the Apple Watch needed a dock, but actually using a Watch changed my mind: just as the Apple Watch Edition’s custom charging cases hinted, it’s best to keep metal or metal-accented Watch bands from rubbing against nightstands during charging, and even Apple’s fluoroelastomer Sport Bands tend to flop around when the Watch’s charging puck is connected. My guide to the best Apple Watch stands and docks spotlights many potential solutions, some of which are a lot more compelling than others.

Mophie’s Watch Dock ($60) is completely different in looks from the Nomad Stand, but their identical price points reflect one critical area of overlap: class. Each has the materials and design necessary to look great with everything from Apple’s $1,100 black stainless steel Apple Watch to the entry-level $350 silver aluminum Apple Watch Sport. Unlike the wide Nomad Stand, Watch Dock goes for height, combining black leather with a mostly aluminum stand that has a compact footprint. Thanks to its clean lines and manageable size, Watch Dock could easily become the retail Apple Watch display stand of choice when more watch and jewelry stores start selling Apple timepieces…

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What to know before you buy the Apple Watch w/ Milanese Loop band

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I decided on the Apple Watch with stainless steel Milanese Loop band for a few reasons, but not before considering the benefits and drawbacks of Apple’s entire collection of straps and bands for Apple Watch. Budget will in many cases guide your decision, but going for the Milanese Loop was a no-brainer for me. There are a few downsides of the band compared to others, however.

Here are a few observations I’ve made after wearing it for the last couple weeks, including little talked about pros and cons you’ll want to consider before purchasing the Milanese Loop for yourself. Read more

Review: Sennheiser’s ClipMic Digital is the perfect lavalier microphone for iPhone + Apple Watch (Video)

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Back at NAB 2015, I had a chance to meet with Sennheiser and take a look at their new ClipMic Digital. This is a professional grade lavalier microphone that connects to an iOS device via its Lightning port, not to mention the the first of its kind. I know most audio accessories for iOS claim to be “professional” quality, but this thing is no joke. It even compares to my $600 wireless lavalier kit from Sennheiser…

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Review: Nomad Stand for Apple Watch is the futuristic curved dock your smartwatch deserves

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Before the Apple Watch was released, I wasn’t sure that it needed a dock or stand — the included charger would be enough, right? But after actually using the Watch, and noting that Apple included a dock with Edition models, I realized that these accessories had a functional purpose: they kept metal and metal-accented Apple Watch bands from rubbing against nightstands during charging. Some of the dock designs also looked really cool. When I compiled our guide to the best Apple Watch stands and docks, a few definitely looked like objects I’d want to keep on my nightstand, while others definitely did not.

From the first time I saw it, Nomad’s Stand for Apple Watch ($60) stood out as particularly compelling. I have a thing for futuristic accessories, though they rarely have the right combination of looks and pricing. Inexpensive ones too often look kitschy or geeky, while nicely designed ones tend to be unaffordable. Nomad has struck just the right balance, coming up with an elegant design at a reasonable price…

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Review: Apple’s iPhone Lightning Dock plays nice with iPhones, cases, and even iPads

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Four years ago, I wondered why Apple sold such seemingly simple plastic docks for $29, so I cut two of them in half to see what was inside. I was impressed: in addition to a larger-than-expected collection of electronic components, they were filled with substantial zinc plates that kept Apple’s devices standing safely upright, no easy feat since the docks kept shrinking every year. The only problem: most (but not all) of Apple’s docks have been model-specific and case-unfriendly, issues that were particularly pronounced in the official iPhone 5s Dock and iPhone 5c Dock. When Twelve South released the handsome multi-device and case-compatible HiRise and HiRise Deluxe, many people — including me — had no need for a more limited, Apple-designed alternative.

Somewhat belatedly, Apple has just released the iPhone Lightning Dock ($39), its first docking solution for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. It’s not clear why Apple took its time releasing this accessory, which uncharacteristically has a 2014 date on the back of its box. But it’s the dock Apple should have released three years ago, delivering case compatibility, multi-device support, and the expected Apple minimalism. It has no back support for your iPhone, instead relying on a stiffened and modestly padded Lightning connector to hold your device on the traditional Apple light recline. And it also includes an audio-out port, which has been absent from all of its third-party rivals. Now that Apple has released the right sort of dock, should you consider buying one?…

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Review: Dotti & Notti, fun (if pointless) ways to receive notifications

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My conclusion in my Skeptic’s Apple Watch diary series was that the device didn’t really have a unique selling-point to me, but was a slightly more convenient way to receive notifications. Ultimately, though, I kept it because it was a cool gadget.

The same argument, I think, would have to be deployed to justify what are really a couple of fun toys that happen to alert you to notifications: Dotti and Notti …  Read more

Tylt’s Energi Sliding Power Case for iPhone 6 Plus, RIBBN charger satisfy larger devices’ battery needs

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While two dozen battery cases have been released for the iPhone 6, only a handful have become available for the larger iPhone 6 Plus, which can run longer without assistance. But there are definitely situations where even the iPhone 6 Plus can benefit from extra battery life, including international travel and occasional emergencies. And that’s why Tylt has released the Energi Sliding Power Case for iPhone 6 Plus ($100). It’s a true rarity due to its Made for iPhone certification, some unique features, and much better performance for the same price as Mophie’s Juice Pack for iPhone 6 Plus.

In what may well be a first for iPhone battery cases, Energi is actually being offered in two different widths, one billed as “2.9-inch” and the other as “3.3-inch.” They’re both sold for the same $100 price, but the 2.9-inch version has a 3,200mAh battery and the 3.3-inch model has a 3,500mAh battery. Another surprise: the model I tested with the 3,500mAh battery unusually boasts 2.1-Amp power output, which means the iPhone 6 Plus will recharge at its top possible speed. There’s more, too…

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Review: Apple Watch as a watch, a gadget, and platform (Video)

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Apple Watch has been out for over three weeks and I’ve been using mine now for most of that time, from the moment I wake up to just before bed each night. While my colleague Ben Lovejoy previously journaled his experience in his excellent “A skeptic’s Apple Watch diary” series, I’ve been sold on the appeal of Apple Watch since the first day I paired a Pebble smartwatch with my iPhone and discovered its potential…and potential pitfalls.

Apple Watch faces new limitations different than Pebble or traditional watches, digital or analog, but it’s arguably the best smartwatch for iPhone owners with the coin to drop. It’s usefulness depends largely on your own needs — in some cases that’s the need to tinker with a new gadget — just as its drawbacks depend on your priorities. Below I walk through my Apple Watch evaluation including what I think Apple gets right and where I feel Apple Watch can grow going forward, and don’t miss Dom’s own hands-on video review just below the fold as well.
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Review: Spigen Apple Watch Stand is a minimalistic charging dock at an affordable price

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Apple Watch charging stands are sure to be a popular item as the device needs charging nightly. Not everyone, however, needs a dock that costs more than the charging cable that’s sold separately, and accessory maker Spigen has an affordable alternative for them.

The $24.99 Spigen Apple Watch Stand S330 combines attractive aluminum and rubberized TPU to produce a minimal Apple Watch charging stand. It resembles the base of an iMac with a smaller footprint than other options and a price that won’t break the bank. Read on for my first impressions and hands-on photos with the Spigen Apple Watch Stand below.

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