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

Apple offers solutions as users report Apple Watch charging issues, iPhone battery drain

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A small number of early Apple Watch users are reporting problems charging the device, as well as excessive drain of the paired iPhone’s battery, according to posts on Apple’s discussion forums and Twitter. According to training documents received by 9to5Mac, Apple is already aware of the issues, and offering solutions that may help affected users.

Users with charging problems have explained that the Apple Watch will physically connect to its charger and say that it’s charging properly, “but in reality the power diminishes as if no charger was plugged in.” In some cases, the issue appears to be in software, where one of two several-step tricks may enable the Watch to recharge:

  1. Turn off and reset the Watch, first holding the side button, swiping to power off, then holding the Digital Crown and side button at the same time until the Apple logo appears. This alone may solve the problem.
  2. If that doesn’t work, restart the connected iPhone, open the Apple Watch app, then Erase All Content and Settings using General > Reset. Set up the Watch again and see if charging works.

Some users have noted that their issues appear to be hardware defects, which are being resolved by AppleCare using either replacement Watches or charging cables. However, one user noted that what appeared to be a hardware problem may have been caused by not removing protective plastic on the Watch’s rear charging surface, and was resolved by restarting the Watch. These types of problems, as well as “super quick” iPhone battery drain issues are in the process of being addressed by Apple, as explained below…

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Third-party bands, replacement straps, & battery packs for Apple Watch

With no official support from Apple, the third-party strap market for Apple Watch is still a bit of a wild-west, but there are some companies making it possible and offering inexpensive alternatives to Apple’s own bands.

Apple might have its own exclusive strap colors available for a select few, but you’ll likely need to go the third-party route if you want a similar level of customization for your Apple Watch.

Below we’ve put together a list of third-party bands already available to order, as well as adapters for traditional straps and replacement straps for Apple’s leather bands. Read more

Review: Mophie’s Spacestation more than doubles smaller iPads’ storage and power, for a price

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Mophie’s Juice Packs are unqualified success stories. After debuting the first Juice Pack in late 2007, Mophie became synonymous with “iPhone battery cases,” and enjoyed years of popularity despite increasing competition. But the company’s USB battery packs aren’t as well-known. Ranging from minimalist to ruggedized, Mophie’s Powerstations range from 3,000mAh to 12,000mAh in capacity, and carry hefty $80 to $150 MSRPs. Regardless of whether they’re judged by features or battery performance for the dollar, they’re hard to pick over rivals, since you can now get a high-quality 25,600mAh battery for the same price as a 3,000mAh PowerStation.

Based upon last year’s iPhone 5/5s-specific Space Packs, the brand new Spacestation is Mophie’s shot at differentiating its USB batteries from the masses. Offered in 32GB ($150), 64GB ($200) and 128GB ($300) capacities, Spacestation combines an app-managed USB flash drive with a 6,000mAh battery, which promises “3X extra battery” life. Realistically, that’s enough power for a full recharge of the original iPad mini or three recharges of older iPhones. But since 6,000mAh batteries are getting cheaper every week, Spacestation’s appeal is mostly in its ability to at least double the number of videos, music, photos, and documents that can be accessed by your iOS device on the road…

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Review: PowerSkin’s PoP’n 3 sticks a 4000mAh Lightning battery on your iPhone 6 / Plus as needed

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Yesterday, I reviewed PowerSkin’s Spare, a semi-protective battery case designed specifically for the iPhone 6. While Spare didn’t strike me as a great value for its asking price, PowerSkin also sells a more powerful alternative called PoP’n 3 that can work with multiple iPhones, including the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and earlier iPhone 5 models. And despite having nearly twice as much power as Spare — enough power to fully recharge any iPhone — it sells for only $50-$55, depending on the color you prefer.

PoP’n 3 isn’t a typical USB battery pack, even though it looks like one. Made mostly from metallic plastic that matches the space gray, silver, or gold colors of recent iPhones, it has a Lightning cable built into the bottom for easy connection to bare or encased devices. Suction cups on one side let it attach or detach from your iPhone on an as-desired basis, and unlike iPhone-specific battery cases, enable it to function as a just-in-case power source for iPads, too…

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Review: Swapping MagSafe for SnapFit, BatteryBox adds 60Wh of portable power to MacBook Airs, Pros

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Thanks to Apple’s patent on the MagSafe connectors used in MacBook Airs and Pros, the list of third-party external batteries for MacBooks previously began with Hyper’s HyperJuice/HyperJuice 2 and ended with Lenmar’s ChugPlug — not much of a variety. Apple’s legal department chased Hyper for attaching harvested MagSafe connectors to its batteries, and Lenmar chose a workaround, sending ChugPlug’s power indirectly though an Apple wall adapter. Neither solution was ideal. It took until now for a completely different third solution to appear: BatteryBox ($220) from Gbatteries Energy.

BatteryBox is the first MacBook power option I’ve tested that doesn’t require either MagSafe or an Apple wall adapter to function. Since the developers went out of their way to create something that won’t run afoul of Apple’s legal team, there’s absolutely nothing Mac-like about its brick-like rectangular design. And it’s not cheap, priced between the two HyperJuices and higher than ChugPlug, which can now be had for only $100. But it works, adding a 60-watt-hour additional battery to the 38-95-watt-hour cells already inside MacBook Airs and Pros. So if you’re on the road without access to a power outlet and need to add hours of additional runtime to your Apple laptop, this is a viable alternative….

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How-To: Decode Apple’s Tech Specs pages before buying a new Mac, Part 2

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As I noted in Part 1 of How-To: Decode Apple’s Tech Specs pages before buying a new Mac, Apple has designed the Mac purchasing process to be easy: pick a model, pick the good, better, or best configuration, hand over your cash, and enjoy your computer. Since most people get confused by tech specs — bullet points filled with numbers and acronyms — Apple downplays them in its marketing materials, leaving customers to sort through the details and figure out what most of them mean.

But these specs are really important when you’re shopping for the right Mac for your current and future needs. So I’ve created this How-To guide to walk you through each of Apple’s Tech Specs pages using clear explanations, hopefully enabling you to properly understand what you’re about to buy. Part 1 focused on the “big 5″ Mac specs you really need to know about, and this Part 2 looks at the rest — generally things that remain the same in a given model, regardless of the configuration you choose…

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Apple releases Apple Watch battery results: 42mm model runs longer, 3h phone, 6.5h music, 7h workout

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In addition to making a general claim that the Apple Watch will run for up to 18 hours per charge, Apple has quietly added a new battery test results page to its web site discussing the Apple Watch’s performance across a variety of different tests. According to Apple, the 38mm and 42mm versions of the Watch will have different run times, and the 42mm Apple Watch “typically experiences longer battery life.” The company does not note how much longer the larger Watch will last for, but does disclose the 38mm model’s times for everything from phone calling to music and workouts…  Read more

NYT: Apple Watch includes ‘Power Reserve’ mode, shows only the time but conserves battery life

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The New York Times has published a piece about the culmination of the Watch project, as Apple transitions from product development stages to production and marketing to consumers. The piece reiterates that Apple was working on a vast array of health tracking sensors that were later dropped, which 9to5Mac covered extensively at the time.

However, the post includes one new piece of information about a previously-unannounced mode called ‘Power Reserve’. According to the report, users will be to enable a special low-power state that conserves battery life. In this mode, users will be able to see the time but cannot interact with the ‘smarter’ watch features like other apps. It is likely that other power-sapping features, like the constant connection to an iPhone for notifications, will also be disabled in this mode…

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Opinion: Should Apple improve iPhone battery life, or just battery cases?

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As this photo of the original Mophie Juice Pack and Tylt’s Energi for iPhone 6 shows, iPhone battery cases haven’t changed much over the years. They’ve existed for almost as long as iPhones, and remained ubiquitous due to Apple’s continued focus on thinness over longevity. That hasn’t been great for consumers: as 9to5’s Seth Weintraub put it, people are more impacted by their phones’ battery life than an extra 2mm of thinness.

It took until 2014 for Apple to offer one iPhone model — the iPhone 6 Plus — with all-day battery life, though you have to be willing to accept a much larger footprint to get that. By comparison, the smaller and reportedly more popular iPhone 6 improved only around 7% upon the iPhone 5s in run time, so the typical iPhone user isn’t seeing much of an improvement over prior models.

With a variety of alternatives at Apple’s disposal, including some major chip improvements that are just around the corner, we wanted to pose two questions to our readership. Should Apple take a break from slimming down iPhones to focus on improving battery life? Or should it instead focus its efforts on making battery cases better? Read on for our thoughts, and share yours in the comments section below…

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Apple reportedly poached employees from A123 Systems to work on battery tech, now faces unfair competition lawsuit

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Apple has poached five key engineers from A123 Systems to work in a new battery division at the Cupertino technology company, with some hires possibly going as far back as June, a new report claims. The battery maker claims that these hires violated agreements it had in place to prevent them from joining competing companies.

The employees the report refers to are Don Dafoe, Michael Erickson, Indrajeet Thorat, Mujeeb Ijaz, and Depeng Wang. Three of these workers—Erickson, Thorat, and Wang—were PhD project heads working on new battery technology. Ijaz headed up the System Venture Technologies Division, which oversaw work by all four of the others.

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