dock August 5, 2015

AAPL: 115.40

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I’m not a fan of hyperbole, nor am I the type of reviewer who long ago ran out of new synonyms for the word “great.” In fact, I could count the number of truly stellar products I’ve tested in the past year on one or two hands. So when I say that Enblue Technology’s new Premium One W3 ($135, also sold in $65 W1 and $115 W2 forms) is the best stand I’ve yet seen for the Apple Watch, and quite possibly the best multi-Apple device stand I’ve ever tested, that isn’t idle gushing. Yes, the Premium One stands are expensive. No, they are not perfect. But having seen a lot of companies try and fail to do what this German developer has accomplished, I’m certainly very impressed.

Each Premium One stand uses nicely machined aluminum dotted with small plastic pads to hold and charge your Apple Watch. The entry-level W1 model is Watch-only, while the mid-range W2 holds a Watch and iPhone, and the top-of-line W3 is a Watch, iPhone, and iPad charging station — the most elegant multi-device charger I’ve seen since Apple introduced Lightning connectors. It’s ideal for minimalists, and amazingly, completely case-compatible. If the price doesn’t bother you, and you want to charge your Apple Watch along with other devices, this should be at or near the top of your shopping list…

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dock July 30, 2015

AAPL: 122.37

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The first round of Apple Watch stands were just that, accessories designed to keep your Apple Watch from rubbing against your nightstand or desk. This month, we officially moved into the second wave — powered Apple Watch docks — with the release of Boostcase’s Bloc and Nomad’s Pod ($60). Boxy, flat, and long, Bloc was a clean design with questionable practicality, but Pod makes a lot more sense: like the Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable it holds inside, it’s a partially metal and partially plastic puck you can easily take anywhere and use to charge any Apple Watch. Having previously designed the beautiful Stand for Apple Watch, Nomad promises that the rechargeable 1800mAh battery inside Pod “keeps your watch powered all weekend.”

From my perspective, the Apple Watch’s single biggest issue is its one-day battery life, which has meant risking a dead watch while traveling or otherwise away from a power outlet. Although you could just carry around a device-agnostic USB battery, Pod solves the power problem at a more aggressive price point than Bloc, and in a convenient form factor that will appeal to a lot of people. You can choose from a silver and black version, as shown in the photos here, or a space gray and black version made to match darker Apple Watches. Read on for the details…

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dock May 22, 2015

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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dock May 20, 2015

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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dock April 22, 2015

Apple’s new video about its contributions to environmental protection appears to show a previously unseen and unannounced accessory for the Apple Watch. In a portion of the video detailing chargers for Apple devices ranging from the iPhone to the new MacBook, Apple shows a stainless steel Apple Watch being dropped on a stationary charging dock. This charging dock is noticeably different than the charger that’s included with the Apple Watch, and could be an official Apple alternative to the third-party Apple Watch stands and docks that are about to hit stores…

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dock April 14, 2015

Mophie today has revealed its own dock for the Apple Watch. The dock is made with a durable aluminum construction and features leather accents around the base. At the top of the stand is a hole for Apple’s magnetic charger for the Apple Watch. The stand is designed with the charging cable in mind, which Mophie says makes for a clean and clutter free appearance.

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