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 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

Here are the new Apple Pay decals for business owners [Gallery]

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Earlier this week, we noted that Apple has opened up a new web portal for business owners to order Apple Pay decals to promote their support of the service. Now, these stickers have begun arriving to those who have ordered. As can be seen in the image gallery below, the decal pack includes a placement guide, multiple stickers, and a tool to apply the stickers. Thanks, Michael.

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Chinese iPhone buyers desperate for gold turn to $2 stickers

The new gold color option for the iPhone 5s might be driving higher demand over the 5c in China, but for those unable to find or afford the more expensive model, gold stickers and skins have quickly become an inexpensive alternative. The Wall Street Journal reports that a long list of retailers in the country have started offering gold skins for the iPhone 5/5s, allowing users to give their iPhone a similar gold appearance for as little as $2.

“Dear, you don’t need to sell your kidney for the new iPhone,” one of the ads said.“Instead of paying 5288 yuan (the retail price of the 16-gigabyte iPhone 5S in China), you only need to spend 35 yuan to make your iPhone 5 look like a golden iPhone 5S in seconds.”

The report notes that online retailers through taobao.com have sold thousands of gold iPhone skins in less than a month, and there is certainly no shortage of similar options through Amazon and other online retailers.

The new gold iPhone is in limited supply at most retailers around the world, and even Apple’s own retail stores have had extremely limited supply of the model compared to other color options since the device’s launch on September 20.

As noted by WSJ, the gold iPhone 5s is considered somewhat of a status symbol in the country with local Chinese media often referring to the gold 5s model as “Tuhao Jin” or “local tyrant’s gold.” Read more

Review: Moleskine’s $30 Evernote Large Ruled Smart Notebook for iOS (and giveaway!)

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UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed.

Moleskin, a widely renowned high-end notebook manufacturer based out of Milan, teamed up with popular note-taking app Evernote to launch a series of smart app-enabled notebooks just before the new school year commenced.

I bought one of these notebooks right away for grad school, intended to use it religiously, and hoped it would transform the way I study. Of course, one week into the semester, I found myself using the Evernote app on my iPad more often than the smart notebook itself. However, I still found the notebook quite beautiful, well done, and interesting in concept. For that reason alone, I figured I’d write up a little review now that the semester is over and even giveaway two of the $29.95 large-ruled smart notebooks.

Check out the review, and then leave a comment below. We’ll contact the winners in 9to5Forums.

A gallery is below.

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