First third-party Apple Watch magnetic charging cable arrives as accessory makers await official specs

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Is this the first third-party Apple Watch charging cable? Apple hasn’t yet announced official plans for a third-party accessory program for Apple Watch, but that hasn’t stopped accessory makers from creating stands, charging docks, straps, and other accessories for the device. This charging cable from Ionic, a company that sells a lot of MFi certified cables and adapters through Amazon, might be the first advertising a third-party version of Apple’s own magnetic charging cable. Read more

Opinion: The secret Apple Watch port should probably stay hidden… for now

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photo credit: iFixit

This weekend, my colleague Jordan Kahn broke the news that “accessory makers plan to tap Apple Watch’s hidden port for battery straps and faster charging,” which is entirely true based on already-expressed developer interest. There is indeed a six-pin port nestled inside one of the watch band recesses, completely covered with a metal panel to obscure its functionality. Unfortunately, Jordan’s story has been picked up elsewhere to support the claim that the hidden port will be “a goldmine for accessory makers.” I hate to take issue with these reports, as the concept — exploiting a hidden port to make new accessories — is exciting, but I have one word for people who are planning to build or buy accessories reliant upon that port:

Stop.

Stop before you spend $250 to order an accessory that might never arrive or work properly. Stop before you spend $250,000 to build an accessory that might never ship, or might ship and then stop working.

The Apple Watch is not the first Apple product with an undocumented connector. There’s a very good reason the hidden port is there — and it’s not for accessories. I’ll explain below…

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Top 6 essential smart home accessories (Video)

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There’s no denying that connected smart home accessories are on the rise. Apple’s HomeKit is slowly making an entrance into this space, but for the moment there are a wide variety of accessories available that can make your house a lot cooler. Today we’re taking a look at some of the essential options that have been around for a little while, but are definitely must-haves if you’re into the smart home scene. These devices may not be necessary, but they make things around the house more convenient… Read more

The best travel accessories for your MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, or Retina MacBook

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Traveling with any MacBook is a lot easier today than it was five or ten years ago. Apple’s latest laptops consume much less space than their predecessors, and last much longer when they’re in active use. Whether it’s on a seat-back tray or resting in your lap, your MacBook can deliver quite a few hours of productive work time, video viewing, or even gameplay without assistance. But it can do even more if you bring the right accessories along.

My goal is to help you choose the best items to carry with you on the road — the type of items I’ve spent years testing. The picks below are highly practical and focused to make good use of space and address real-world concerns that many travelers have. Read on!

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Opinion: Don’t judge – Apple Watch accessories are supposed to be personal, not universal

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Over the past fifteen years, I’ve seen certain commenters pick the same fight literally every time Apple releases another device: “are accessories really needed for _____?” Fill the blank in with “iPod,” “iPhone,” “iPad,” “Apple TV,” or “Apple Watch” and you’ll see how the answer has eventually turned out to be “yes” every time. Even though I’ve tested virtually every type of Apple accessory out there, I couldn’t help but shake my head when companies first announced cases for the Apple TV’s remote control. Crazy, right? But there were eventually behind-TV mounts, Bluetooth keyboards, and universal remote controls that became truly handy for even Apple’s least-accessorized device.

Now the Apple Watch is coming, and despite Apple’s focus on its purely aesthetic customizability — including welcoming third-party band makers to the party — the “is this necessary?” comments are appearing again. “Nothing like a faux carbon fiber decal on your watch to convey your sense of good taste,” said one commenter, who separately opined that “every protective product listed here is the modern day equivalent of plastic-covered furniture.” To be honest, I personally agree with the first sentiment, but I’m not the target market for stickers. And I can still remember some people describing iPhone cases as plastic-wrapped furniture, back before Apple started selling them, too. So who’s actually right here, a handful of anonymous commenters acting as arbiters of universal style, or consumers looking to have fun customizing their new toys to their personal tastes?…

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The best protective covers, cases, & bags for Apple Watch

Now that you’ve ordered an Apple Watch or two, you’ll want to start pre-ordering any accessories that you want to have by the time your watch arrives. Most of the products on this list of protective covers, cases, and bags are shipping around the same time as the Apple Watch — sometime between April 24th and June — but many can be preordered today for delivery in the coming weeks. Read more

The best Apple Watch accessories: bands, cases, docks, screen protectors & more

Apple Watch preorders, reservations, and sales are set to kick off in the coming weeks, so we’ve prepared a running list of the best accessories available to purchase and preorder online.

Companies aren’t waiting around for an official Apple third-party accessory program for the device, as a long list of straps, cases, charging docks, screen protectors and more are scheduled to ship next month in time for the Apple Watch launch. There are even solutions to attach traditional watch straps to Apple Watch, and portable power options for charging on the go.

There are bound to be more companies announcing accessories in the weeks to come, and we’ll be updating this list as they do. Read more

Apple Watch launches on April 24th in 9 countries, preorders start on April 10th

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At its event, Apple has finally announced availability information for the Apple Watch. All three models will be available in Apple Stores from the 10th of April. You can preorder any of the watch-band combinations in the collections from the 24th.

The Apple Watch will initially roll out to the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong and Japan.

Apple Watch Sport will start from $349 for 38mm and $399 for 42mm, the mid-range stainless steel version will start from $549 for 38mm and $599 for 42mm, and the elusive solid gold Edition casing will run at least $10,000. The pricing of bands varies dramatically, so note that these are base prices only.

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Apple Watch pricing, availability, surprises & more, here’s what to expect at Apple’s event

Tim Cook

Apple’s “Spring Forward” event is scheduled for Monday, March 9th and we’re already getting prepared to bring you live coverage and last minute leaks leading up to the event. What can you expect at the event? Below we’ve put together our list of likely announcements including some unannounced Apple Watch features and possible surprises…

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Review: Sengled’s Pulse system combines LED lights and JBL-powered Bluetooth speakers (Video)

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Sengled’s Pulse LED light system is definitely a product I never thought would be a thing. The Pulse series is a system of LED lights with built-in speakers. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s something I never thought would need to exist. That being said, because it was so unique I figured it would be worth checking out and to my surprise, it’s actually pretty cool…

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Prong’s PWR case for iPhone 6 provides the easiest way to juice up (Video)

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There are a ton of power accessories on the market for iPhone that it’s almost difficult to tell them apart. They all fit a ton of battery power in a case, but they are all pretty much the same, except for one.

Prong has recently launched a new Indiegogo campaign for its new PWR case for iPhone 6. Not only does this case have a built-in battery pack, it also features a power supply as well. This means you could get away with never using a cable again to charge up your iPhone…

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