Stainless steel Stories February 26, 2016

There are now a ton of third-party Apple Watch bands on the market of varying quality, but at $69, this alternative to Apple’s pricey stainless steel link band from Hyper is worth a closer look.

The bands are made out of the same 316L stainless steel that Apple uses, and nothing about them indicates why there would be an almost $400 gap between these and Apple’s.

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Stainless steel Stories October 5, 2015

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If you haven’t yet found your perfect Apple Watch strap among the company’s own offerings or the numerous third-party options, Apple has today officially launched its partnership with French leather fashion company Hermès.

Uncompromising craftsmanship. Pioneering innovation. Groundbreaking functionality. Apple Watch Hermès is the culmination of a partnership based on parallel thinking, singular vision and mutual regard. It is a unique timepiece designed with both utility and beauty in mind. With leather straps handmade by Hermès artisans in France and an Hermès watch face reinterpreted by Apple designers in California, Apple Watch Hermès is a product of elegant, artful simplicity — the ultimate tool for modern life.

Splashing out between $1100 and $1500 gets you a special version of the stainless steel Watch, with Hermès branding on the back, a number of special watch faces and a choice of three leather straps. Color options depend on the strap, some with suitably exotic-sounding names …  expand full story

Stainless steel Stories July 27, 2015

Apple-watch-pad-quill-bandsPad and Quill, one of our favorite Apple accessory makers, today introduced a set of Apple Watch bands with their trademark quality leather and stitching combined with two options of metal: Stainless Steel and Polished Black. At $86 (save 5% w/code 5forSUMMER), this turns an Apple Watch Sport into something you can wear with business casual to formal attire. Paired with a standard Apple Watch, it adds more color options to your Stainless Steel arsenal.

Not just any leather, but the luxury full grain leather used to craft all of Pad & Quill’s handmade goods. So we turned to Victorio, a 4th generation italian leather tannery artisan. His tannery uses  legendary soft-tumbled method to transform full grain American steer hides into a luxury leather watch band that will hug your wrist with pliable comfort, while being as rugged and durable as your active life demands.

We’ll have a review in the next week or so but if you can’t wait, you can order yours in 38mm or 42mm today for delivery starting in mid August. Check out our hands-on impressions with each of Pad and Quill’s full lineup of Apple Watch accessories in the meantime. expand full story

Stainless steel Stories May 25, 2015

We’ve seen a number of solutions for getting a gold Apple Watch without spending the $10,000+ price Apple charges for the 18 Karat gold Apple Watch edition. We went hands-on with one of the first companies doing gold plating for Apple Watch, but that requires you to mail-in the device and pay approximately $400 on top of the Watch’s retail price (depending on the model).

Another option is this $100 DIY kit that offers an easy step by step solution for gold plating the Watch yourself with 24K gold… expand full story

Stainless steel Stories May 21, 2015

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I decided on the Apple Watch with stainless steel Milanese Loop band for a few reasons, but not before considering the benefits and drawbacks of Apple’s entire collection of straps and bands for Apple Watch. Budget will in many cases guide your decision, but going for the Milanese Loop was a no-brainer for me. There are a few downsides of the band compared to others, however.

Here are a few observations I’ve made after wearing it for the last couple weeks, including little talked about pros and cons you’ll want to consider before purchasing the Milanese Loop for yourself. expand full story

Stainless steel Stories May 15, 2015

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Apple has slightly improved shipping times for some Apple Watch models with almost all 42mm versions of its mid-range stainless steel Apple Watch now shipping as early as June, up from a previous shipping estimate of July. expand full story

Stainless steel Stories May 14, 2015

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In line with shipments beginning yesterday for multiple Apple Watch models, the Space Black version of the stainless steel Apple Watch has begun arriving at the doorsteps for those who placed orders early into the April pre-order process. We’ve received our 42mm Space Black Apple Watch and have put together a hands-on gallery of photos for those interested in the only all-black Apple Watch model. As our photos indicate, this Apple Watch still includes white packaging and a silver MagSafe charging puck, so there are no special black accessories for this version. We also highlight how the Space Black Apple Watch looks with the black Leather Loop and Sport Band in this gallery, below.

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Stainless steel Stories May 13, 2015

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Apple has begun charging for and preparing to ship the first orders of the 42MM Space Black stainless steel, Modern Buckle, Leather Loop, and international stainless steel Link Bracelet orders, according to reports from several readers. Standard Apple Watch with Link Bracelet orders started arriving in the United States yesterday…

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Stainless steel Stories May 11, 2015

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One month after Apple began taking Apple Watch pre-orders with a promised April 24 release date, many customers — including people who ordered immediately after Apple’s online store returned — are still awaiting their Watches. As noted on Apple’s discussion forums and numerous social media postings, many Apple Watch models appear to be trickling out of the company’s factories, while Watches bundled with certain premium bands have apparently not yet shipped.

The most significantly delayed Apple Watches are apparently Apple’s four Stainless Steel Case with Link Bracelet models ($949-$1,099), four Stainless Steel Case with Leather Loop models ($699 each), and four Stainless Steel Case with Modern Buckle models ($749 each), which do not appear to have shipped at all.

Update: Following publication of this story, several readers reported the first credit card charges for silver Apple Watch orders with Link Bracelets, covering orders placed five or fewer minutes after Apple’s online store returned. Orders for Space Black versions of the Apple Watch have not yet been charged…

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Stainless steel Stories May 6, 2015

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We got an early indication that Consumer Reports were impressed with the Apple Watch when they were unable to scratch the sapphire screen of the stainless steel model. The well-respected non-profit has now revealed that the full set of lab tests are complete, and the Apple Watch ranked top out of the 11 smartwatches tested.

Consumer reports tested the watches for durability, water-resistance, health functionality, readability in bright and low light, ease of use, and ease of interaction – though there was one slightly worrying moment for the Apple Watch Sport …  expand full story

Stainless steel Stories May 4, 2015

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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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Stainless steel Stories April 26, 2015

I can’t remember if we’re still mad at Consumer Reports for Antennagate but they seem to be doing a thorough job at testing the Apple Watch as evidenced in the video below. Notable from their Day 1 tests is that the Apple Watch Sport screen does scratch but only after going pretty far down the Moh’s hardness scale (7-rated) into the unlikely to ever happen category.

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The Sapphire Apple Watch however wouldn’t scratch under any circumstances, though it doesn’t appear that Consumer Reports had a diamond pick to test it against. Regardless, for intents and purposes, you likely will never see a scratch on the face of the Apple Watch (the back is a different matter)… expand full story

Stainless steel Stories April 10, 2015

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Reader Mark Davies went into the Berlin Apple Store this morning to try on the Apple Watch/Sport models but got a little surprise from the employees. Here’s the first hand account…

So I go to the Apple store here in Berlin thinking I made an appointment to see the Sport and Apple Watch editions. When I get there, they check me in and tell me to wait in the line. When my turn comes a really nice Apple employee asks me which models of the Edition I would like to see. I was surprised obviously, and explained that there is no way I would consider buying one with the price. He proceeds to let me try on the Sport and Watch versions and walks me through the demos. Then he asks if I still want to see the Edition models. I say, “sure, why not”…

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Stainless steel Stories April 4, 2015

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Apple will begin dressing up the front of its stores with a new Apple Watch-themed promotion on April 10th to coincide with the beginning of in-store Apple Watch try-on appointments. The new, unique display will be shown at all Apple Stores with glass front windows and it is themed akin to the application icon arrays on the Apple Watch’s Home screen. According to the source who provided the above rendering, each circle is packed with Mac mini-powered LED lights that will show off different colors, patterns, and effects throughout the day. The new front of store visuals will continue to stay live after the Apple Watch launches on April 24th as Apple can simply remove the “Coming Soon” label shown on the above render…

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Stainless steel Stories April 3, 2015

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To go along with the premium $10,000 and up pricing of the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition, Apple will charge up to $999 for the Apple Watch Edition’s AppleCare+ Protection Plan, 9to5Mac has learned. The Apple Watch Edition notably has very different AppleCare coverage from other Apple Watch models, coming with two years of 24/7 support and a special setup hotline right out of the box. AppleCare+ will add a third year of technical support and support for up to two incidents of accidental hardware damage. More affordable AppleCare+ coverage will also be offered for the aluminum Sport and stainless steel standard models, which will cost $59 and $79 respectively, adding a second year of technical support to the included one year, plus support for up to two incidents of accidental hardware damage…

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Stainless steel Stories March 29, 2015

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While Apple will offer extensive in-store sales and try-on experiences in Apple Stores, the company will also allow customers to virtually try on an Apple Watch or Apple Watch Edition and receive setup support, according to sources. Prior to purchasing either of two higher-end Apple Watches, customers will be able to video chat with an Apple Online Store representative who will personally try-on and model Apple Watch collections and band combinations. Additionally, as we noted in our prior article about Apple Watch Edition sales perks, Edition customers will be able to have a “personalized pre-sales experience” either over phone or online chat…

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Apple won’t offer special business pricing, financing, and bulk discount options, like it does with Macs, iPhones, and iPads, for the Apple Watch at launch, according to sources. However, business customers will still be able to make their purchases via the dedicated Business Teams at some Apple Stores…

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While the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition has been receiving a lot of attention due to its premium pricing and aesthetic, Apple will sell far more of the lower-priced Apple Watch and Apple Watch Sport models, and has created a different customer journey for those customers, according to sources briefed on the plans. Most of the sales process will be familiar to buyers of other products from the Apple Store, but a number of steps are different, including the process of visiting a “magical” display case, trying on different models, playing with demo units, considering Apple Watch accessories, and actually finalizing the purchase. Below, we detail the entire customer experience for the upcoming Apple Watch launch…

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After hiring a new team of fashion sales and marketing experts from Yves St. Laurent, Louis Vuitton, and Burberry, Apple has developed a unique Apple Store purchasing experience just for the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition, according to sources briefed on the launch plans. When a customer interested in the Apple Watch Edition enters the store, he or she will be given no-wait access to a dedicated Expert, who will provide a personalized “journey” from the beginning of the appointment until the end, as much as one hour later. There will even be a new option for at-home video conferencing rather than in-store personal setup. By design, it will be more “elegant” than the budget-focused experience Apple Watch Sport customers receive…

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Stainless steel Stories March 24, 2015

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The job of Apple Retail Store employees will begin changing in profound ways next month. In order to showcase and sell the Apple Watch, retail employees will be trained to provide personal fashion and styling advice to customers, according to employees briefed on the plans. Until now, Apple Retail has been tasked with recommending iPads, iPhones and Macs with few styling options aside from limited color options.

Apple is pushing for retail employees to initiate conversations that build trust, enabling the employee to serve as a valued fashion advisor during the purchase process, similarly to how traditional watches are sold. Apple Watch sales training programs will take place for Apple retail staff over the course of the next two weeks, teaching entirely new sales techniques to encourage iPhone upgrades, assist with gifting, and guide customers in watch and strap choices.

Below, we detail how employees will provide fashion advice to customers and Apple’s multi-part plan for selling an Apple Watch.

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Stainless steel Stories March 9, 2015

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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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Stainless steel Stories January 31, 2015

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Apple is preparing to take some pages out of the traditional jewelry store playbook. For the upcoming 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition, Apple is planning several new features for its retail stores to support the device. As we reported several months ago, Apple is planning on allowing customers to actually try on the watches and test out different band styles inside of stores. With the high-expected price tag of the gold watch models, Apple will also step up its security features for stores…

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Stainless steel Stories January 6, 2015

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Apple is finishing up work on the Apple Watch’s software, and sources familiar with the product’s development say that the device is currently on track to ship in the United States by the end of March. Apple previously said that the wearable product will ship in “early 2015,” while Senior Vice President of Retail Angela Ahrendts got a bit more specific by telling employees that the launch will occur in the “spring,” after the Chinese New Year…

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Stainless steel Stories December 6, 2014

Harman Kardon Esquire Mini - Lifestyle (2)not me

I reviewed two portable Bluetooth speakerphone options earlier this year: The Philips WeCall ($145) vs. Logitech P710e ($125) . Both are square and have internal batteries and make conference calling easy. But for their ~$150 price tag, I wondered if you could get more portability and style without sacrificing sound quality.

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The answer to those questions is the Harman Kardon Esquire line of portable speakerphones. Below, I take a look at the Esquire Mini which retails for $149.99 and can be found as low as $145 at Amazon or $135 at World Wide Stereoexpand full story

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