Apple partners with The Conservation Fund to protect 36,000 acres of forest for sustainable product packaging

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Through a press release and a post on Medium by Apple VP Lisa Jackson, Apple and The Conservation Fund have today announced a ‘breakthrough’ arrangement for sustainability. The deal involves Apple purchasing 36,000 acres of forest land in the eastern United States.

Apple will use the paper from the forests for sustainable product packaging with guarantees to ensure that “forests stay forests” and harvested timber is done so in a sustainable way.

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Jawbone unveils Up4 fitness tracker w/ mobile payment support, budget-focused Up2

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Even though the long-delayed Up3 isn’t shipping until later this month, Jawbone this evening has taken the wraps off of two new fitness trackers, the Up4 and the Up2. The latter is a replacement for the Up24 released in 2013, while the former is a new fitness tracker by the company. The Up4 most notably adds support for on-band wireless payments from American Express. Both watches pair with your iPhone over Bluetooth.

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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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Samsung reportedly has new 200 employee team exclusively working on screens for Apple

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In a new report by Bloomberg, Samsung apparently has created an independent group of about 200 people that work solely on screens for Apple products. Bloomberg claims this is part of a plan to “strengthen business ties” between Apple and Samsung, which obviously have had a shaky history since the lawsuits over iPhone technology.

The patent disputes between Apple and Samsung were dropped in mid 2014, which led many to speculate that relations between the two companies may improve. This report by Bloomberg suggests exactly that.

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CalDigit unveils durable USB-C Tuff drive for the 12-inch MacBook, T4 nano RAID drive w/ HDMI & Thunderbolt 2

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USB-C is the sole port on Apple’s new 12-inch MacBook, and CalDigit today announced a version of its durable external drive that takes advantage of the new reversible USB 3.1 port. CalDigit Tuff features a USB-C port and cable for connecting the portable drive to the Apple’s ultra-thin notebook, and an included adapter cable ensures compatibility with the USB port that you’re used to seeing on your hardware as well. Since the new MacBook’s thin and light profile intends for it to venture out of your office and into the wild, CalDigit Tuff is ruggedized to endure drops, splashes, dust and other extreme environments.

CalDigit Tuff starts at $139.99 for 1TB HDD with availability starting in July (new MacBook orders currently deliver in 4-6 weeks). A solid state drive version with up to 1TB of storage will also be available while a higher capacity 2TB HDD option will be offered. Read more

Time to sell your Android Wear: NextWorth starts wearable trade-ins as Apple Watch launches

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You don’t want to admit it, but you were talked into being an early adopter of Android Wear or Pebble before Apple Watch was even a thing. Now that Apple Watch preorders have kicked off and the Watch is almost in your hands, it’s time to unload your Android Wear watches before people catch on and resale values plummet.

Good news: NextWorth, one of the leaders in mobile device trade-ins, today announced it will begin paying out for your old Android, Samsung, and Pebble watches (and soon Apple Watches too). 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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Video roundup: Apple Watch reviews highlight fitness features, notifications and more

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We have already highlighted the best bits from the Apple Watch write-ups posted today but text alone is not enough to fully appreciate the scope of the Watch’s functionality. We have collected all the video reviews of the device, which offer a visual appreciation of the Watch’s feature set. Moreover, with something as personal as a wearable, the videos also show you how the Watch looks worn on people’s wrists.

Follow along below for our video roundup:

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Video: Watch the world’s first Apple Watch unboxing

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With the embargo lifted, Apple Watch reviews are spreading around the web, ahead of preorders on Friday. We saw a glimpse of the Apple Watch packaging yesterday, but Chinese website ‘Gadget Guy’ has stepped up to offer the world’s first unboxing video for the device.

The ‘exuberant’ demo shows how the Watch packaging resembles a jewellery case. Inside the square outer box is a rounded rectangle which contains the Watch itself, presented on its side with band already connected. An insert helps keep the Watch band in a curved shape when you unbox the lid for the first time. Other items, like the inductive charger and instruction sheets sit in the square box.

Watch the videos after the break.

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Opinion: Roku’s new media players use voice search and apps to make Apple TV feel old

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Just so there’s no ambiguity on this point, I’m definitely an Apple TV fan. The first-generation model was a (literally) hot mess, but Apple did a much better job with the streamlined second- and third-generation versions, which I use every day and have strongly recommended for years. If you have an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, the Apple TV is one of the top three accessories you can buy for under $100, and nearly a no-brainer at Apple’s recently announced $69 price point.

Even as a fan, though, I give Apple TV’s chief competitor Roku great credit for developing compelling alternatives. According to reports, Roku is the number one seller of media streamers, and has been outselling the Apple TV for some time now. While it’s true that sales don’t necessarily reflect quality, Roku has earned its numbers by frequently iterating on its products — ironically unlike Apple, which has spent years letting an old Apple TV design chug along as a “hobby.” The difference in Roku’s and Apple’s approaches became starker yesterday when Roku released the new Roku 3 with Voice Search ($100) and new Roku 2 ($70), updates to two of its already-successful devices. These media streamers include several of the key features Apple should be adding to the Apple TV, including voice search, downloadable apps, games, and more…

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Apple iPhone 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S6 — Ultimate Comparison (Video)

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It’s always a difficult task when comparing iOS and Android devices, but this year it may be more important than ever. Samsung has finally stepped up its game with the Galaxy S6, and now we have something that is truly comparable to Apple’s iPhone lineup. Today we’re getting into the ultimate comparison between Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and Apple’s iPhone 6…

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Sling to offer streaming HBO content in April, undermining Apple TV’s HBO Now exclusivity deal

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At the Spring Forward event, Apple and HBO announced HBO Now, an over-the-top unbundled streaming service for HBO shows, like Game of Thrones, independent of a cable subscription. They claimed that HBO Now would be ‘exclusive to Apple TV and iOS devices for three months’. This seemed like a great promotion for Apple’s television offerings, coinciding with a price cut of the Apple TV box to $69.

However, Sling TV has now announced that it will be offering the same deal through its service: HBO shows for $15 a month. This throws shade at Apple’s announcement — signing up for Sling TV will make HBO available on devices like the Roku this month. It is worth noting that the Sling deal also requires a subscription to Sling itself, HBO is only available as an add-on, which is an additional $20 a month.

Sling has found a ‘loophole’ in Apple’s deal so that it can offer cable-independent HBO content this month as well, sidelining Apple’s three month exclusivity window …

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