Review: Urban Armor Gear, the military-spec iPhone & iPad cases dropped from space (Video)

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Scuff marks created during my own drop-tests …

The problem with buying a protective case for an iPhone or iPad is that you never know for sure just how protective it really is until it is needed to do its job. Even a drop-test video only shows you how well the case worked with that one drop on that one occasion.

The Urban Armor Gear (UAG from now on) iPhone and iPad cases are a little different. They are certified to a military standard known as MIL-STD-810G 516.6. In this test, a device is dropped from a height of four feet – the typical fall for a device dropped while using it – a total of 26 times. The tests cover falls into each corner, the face and back. To pass, the device must remain fully functional afterwards, with no damage at all to the screen.

This isn’t the same as no damage at all, of course, but it certainly lends confidence. And if that weren’t enough, UAG decided to demonstrate its confidence in the case by dropping an iPhone from space – video below …  Read more

Review: Apple Watch as a design piece

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Precision. That’s the word that immediately came to mind the minute I picked up my Apple Watch for the first time. Something about this device felt different, on an almost subconscious level, from any other Apple product I’ve used before. Perhaps I was just caught up in the moment. After all, the Watch is the first totally new product to come out of Apple since the introduction of the iPad, which feels like so many years ago. On the other hand, I knew from the onset that I planned on buying the Apple Watch mostly for its design. I wasn’t so much interested in all of the software features it could offer me, I just couldn’t imagine not having this shiny little box on my wrist. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the Apple Watch strictly as a design piece.

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Apple accused of stifling streaming music competition as DOJ joins EC in antitrust investigation

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Allegations that Apple is engaging in anti-competitive practices in the run-up to the launch of its rebranded Beats streaming music service are now being investigated by the Department of Justice, according to “multiple sources” cited by The Verge.

The claim is that Apple has been attempting to use its influence to persuade music labels to pull out of deals with free, ad-supported services like Spotify and YouTube in order to reduce competition and increase demand for its own paid service. The European Commission launched an investigation into these same allegations last month …

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How to calibrate Apple Watch to improve accuracy of calorie, distance, & other fitness data

Apple takes user submitted data for age, height, gender and weight to help it calculate the different data points it provides for workouts and activities, but there is also a way to calibrate Apple Watch to improve the accuracy of the data.

By initiating the calibration process, you can get more accurate readings for calorie, distance, Move, and Exercise estimations in the Watch’s Activity app, and also improved calculations in the Workout app.

By following the steps below, you’ll start calibrating the device’s accelerometer and improve Apple Watch’s accuracy by allowing it to learn your personal stride patterns at various speeds: Read more

Review: AAXA’s ST200 LED Pico Projector beams bright, color-accurate HD video from an Apple TV-sized box

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Even though I’ve had a fair bit of experience with video projectors, I took Celluon’s PicoPro somewhat for granted when I reviewed it this January. I praised the pocket-sized projector, which squeezed a 720p laser video display and speaker into the footprint of an iPhone 6 Plus, but I didn’t triple-underscore how much easier it was to use than most of its rivals. PicoPro worked so well and so quietly with such little effort that I hardly thought about it.

AAXA’s ST200 Short Throw LED Pico Projector ($299) is the newest of the traditional projectors PicoPro is challenging. It has roughly the same footprint and 1280×720 resolution as PicoPro, but it’s around 2.5 times thicker, since it uses a lightbulb-illuminated LED projection engine — just like almost every other projector on the market. There’s an audible fan inside, and because ST200 needs to power that fan and the lightbulb, it can’t match PicoPro in battery life. It also requires more manual user adjustment when you’re setting it up.

But ST200 is a markedly better video projector and audio device when judged on raw output quality, and less expensive, besides. If you’re looking for a compact way to display 720p video from an Apple TV, Mac, or iOS device at up to a 100″ diagonal size, ST200 delivers brighter, more color-accurate video output than PicoPro, more powerful speaker output, and — if you appreciate this — many more settings to play with. Read on for the details…

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Review: OWC’s Envoy Pro mini hides a MacBook-like SSD inside a USB 3.0 flash drive

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Across the How-To guides I’ve written for adding solid state drives (SSDs) to iMacs, Mac Pros, Mac minis and MacBooks, there was one option I left out: thumb drives. While external SSDs such as Elgato’s Thunderbolt Drives and Samsung’s T1 can do two things — dramatically speed up Macs and add storage space — thumb drives tend to be much slower, lower in capacity, and made from inexpensive materials to achieve smaller sizes and price points.

Other World Computing’s new Envoy Pro mini (120GB/$119, 240GB/$199) sits directly between thumb drives and SSDs in both features and performance. “It’s nearly twice as fast as the average thumb drive,” OWC says, and roughly the size of an actual adult thumb — larger than most USB flash drives, but a lot smaller than traditional external hard drives, while promising “desktop-class” SSD speeds, capacities, and build quality. Unlike common plastic thumb drives, it’s made from aluminum and uses a USB 3.0 connector, yet matches desktop SSD 120GB or 240GB storage capacities. It’s affordable, but clearly designed to be a professional option.

How does it actually stack up? Read on…

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Apple Watch repair guides walk you through screen, battery, NFC antenna, & adhesive replacements

Following its usual teardown of the Apple Watch, iFixit today released its first repair guides for Apple’s new device covering screen, NFC antenna, and battery replacements, as well as the process of safely replacing adhesives during repair.

When it comes to the NFC antenna, iFixit warns that it’s easy to damage the component when opening the Apple Watch for any repair, meaning replacement or repair might be necessary: Read more

‘Remote S’ app for Apple Watch takes control of Tesla Model S (Video)

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It’s happening

A new video posted to YouTube today has demonstrated what is almost certainly the first Apple Watch app capable of remotely controlling most of the functions of Tesla’s Model S. In the video (which you can watch below), developer Allen Wong shows off a Glance that views an overview of the car’s status before launching into the main app to review its capabilities.

Through the app, Wong is able to issue a series of commands to the vehicle, ranging from rudimentary options like honking the horn or flashing the lights, to bigger settings such as full panoramic roof control (something not even Tesla’s official app offers yet) or controlling the car’s charging state and port.

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Alleged iPad Pro schematics leak as cases compared to iPad Air 2 (video)

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A new video has been published that compares the rumored iPad Pro shape/size to the current generation iPad. It’s obviously much larger than the iPad Air 2. This rumored tablet is said to feature a 12.3 to 12.9 inch display and crafted from the same 7000 series aluminum used on Apple Watch Sport. Check out the video below for a size comparison between the cases and iPad Air 2…

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Apple Watch support doc suggests tap water rinse to fix Digital Crown

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Despite its splash and water resistance rating, meaning Apple doesn’t recommend going for a swim with Apple Watch, it does recommend running water over it to clean certain components. One problem it’s anticipating is the Watch’s Digital Crown getting stuck or not running smoothly due to trapped debris, like dust or lotions, between the crown and the Watch’s casing. Apple’s fix: hold your Apple Watch’s digital crown under your sink faucet.

From a new support doc Apple published this week: Read more