Tag Archives: Apple Watch

Unboxing and Review: iXCC Stand for Apple Watch



iXCC StandEarlier this year, I bought a refurbished Apple Watch Series 2 from the online Apple Store. It’s a cool device. But it shipped with the bare essentials, including the watch, a small manual, and a magnetic battery charger.

That meant that, when I needed to charge my Apple Watch, I had to set it on a table like this:

Apple Watch on table

And doing that technically works. But it’s kind of an inelegant solution. It also looks just plain awkward. That’s why I was excited to receive an iXCC Stand for Apple Watch. The manufacturer of the stand recently sent me a review model in exchange for posting my thoughts on the device here at Geek News Central.

The iXCC Stand for Apple Watch works with both 38mm and 42mm Apple Watches (I have the 42mm version). The iXCC Stand comes in a white box that contains the stand and a small booklet that shows how you can connect with the manufacturer online, if needed.

iXCC Stand original box iXCC Stand and booklet iXCC Stand and bookletUsing the iXCC Stand for Apple Watch is a straightforward process. The stand itself doesn’t have any built-in electronics. Instead, the stand has a path molded into its design that allows you to run the Apple Watch’s stock magnetic charger thru the stand, with the magnet at the top. This diagram from the back of the box tells you everything you need to know:

iXCC Stand Diagram

It takes a little time and effort to get the magnetic adapter cable to slide into place. But once it’s in, it’s good and doesn’t feel like it’s just going to fall out of place. When that’s done, all that’s left to do is to place the Apple Watch onto the stand. Tuck the lower part of the watch band underneath the head of the stand, and the Apple Watch easily magnetizes to the charging adapter.

iXCC Apple Watch charging

That looks a lot better than just resting the watch on the table! I know for sure the watch is charging because the charging indicator is lit on the watch, and the watch also made its signature charging tone when I placed it onto the stand.

The only negative I’ve found with the design of this stand is that, when you go to remove the watch from the stand, the magnetic adapter slightly pops out of the stand. But it’s easy enough to just push it back in. Also, it might be possible to alleviate this condition by placing some pressure down onto the stand next to the watch with one hand while removing the watch from the stand with the other.

Overall, I’ve found this to be a simple and effective stand for charging and displaying my Apple Watch when the watch isn’t in use. The iXCC Stand for Apple Watch retails for $7.99 at Amazon and other online retailers.


Kanex Wins with the GoPower Watch at CES



Kicking off GNC’s video production for CES, Todd’s at award-winners Kanex with Tracy, who shows off some of their latest accessories for the Apple Watch.

Kanex won a “Innovation Honoree” at CES 2017 for their GoPower Watch, a portable battery charge for the Apple Watch. Priced at US$99 and shipping now, the GoPower Watch will wirelessly recharge a Watch around six times from the 4,000 mAh battery. There’s a USB port round the back for charging other devices too and it’s Apple Certified as well. A mini-version with a smaller battery and smaller price (US$59) is coming shortly.

For those who don’t need to charge on the go, Kanex have a table-top charger for the office or beside the bed coming shortly. It’s US$59 and will be available in February.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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Apple Watch: Now with… Windows 95?



Win95 logoIf the most-often used question when it comes to technology is simply, “Why?,” then the most common answer has to be, “Why not?” That’s what one developer must’ve been thinking when he figured out how to run Windows 95, Microsoft’s cutting-edge mid-90’s operating system, on an Apple Watch.

For those too young to remember, Windows 95 was Microsoft’s much-hyped successor to the ever-popular Windows 3.1. Windows 95 was a break from tradition in a few ways for Microsoft. It was the first time the company moved away from its standard numbering system. Instead of calling its newest Windows build simply “Windows 4.0,” Microsoft chose to brand the software package with the year of release. Thus beginning a cycle that would be repeated with Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows XP, and Windows Vista. (That trend was ended with the release of Windows 7.) Windows 95 introduced a few things that became centerpieces of the OS, most notably the beloved Start Button.

Most PC’s running Windows 95 at the time of its release were big, beige desktop units that definitely didn’t fit over your wrist. Perhaps that’s a testament to the computing horsepower of modern devices. Even something as small as an Apple Watch has enough power to emulate an entire operating system that used to require (for its time) lots of disk space and RAM. One drawback of this emulation is that it apparently takes about an hour for the OS to be fully usable on an Apple Watch. So, it might not be the best way to relive your fond memories of playing Solitaire and surfing the web on Netscape 3.0. To see the emulation in action, check out this time-lapse video.


Catalyst at 2016 CES



Catalyst logoTodd Cochrane interviews Josh with Catalyst, a leading provider of waterproof cases for the iPhone and Apple Watch. The Catalyst line of waterproof iPhone covers have an IP-68 rating and every individual product is tested before the sale to a water depth of 16.4 feet. The Catalyst iPhone cases are also two meters drop proof.

Catalyst also offers phone mounts that fit their waterproof iPhone cases. The phone mounts are priced at $45. The iPhone cases are priced at $74.99 for the iPhone 6S+, and $69.99 for the smaller iPhone 6S. The waterproof case for the Apple Watch is priced at $59.99. All Catalyst products are available now.

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Where Are The Smart Watches?



Michael KorsQueuing for rides at theme parks is a great opportunity for sizing up the fashions of fellow thrill seekers. Everyone docilely shuffles along and the folding line passes lots of people both in front and behind. As a watch fan, I enjoy checking out the timepieces around me and at Disneyland, Paris, there was plenty to see in the warm weather.

The wrists of Disney’s guests provided a good selection of horology from Rolexes and Omegas to Tissots and Casios. Michael Kors must be selling watches by the truckload: there were probably more of these fashion watches than anything else. What slightly surprised me was the dearth of smart watches. In five days at the House of Mouse and hundreds of people, I saw two Apple watches, one Sony smartwatch and a handful of Pebbles.

The Sony owner was next to me at one point and I engaged him in conversation about the watch. He confessed that it had been a gift and he didn’t use it very much. Interestingly, both the Apple watches were on women’s wrists. I’m not quite too sure what to take away from that…perhaps they were gifts too, or perhaps Apple has made the watches sufficiently fashionable and appealing that women will be the leaders here. Or perhaps it was pure coincidence.

Where are the smart watches? They’re not at Disneyland, that’s for sure.


MLB Manager Chided for wearing Apple Watch



MLB logoThe use of “assistive devices” is nothing new to Major League Baseball. For decades, pitchers have snuck things like sandpaper or razor blades onto the field to alter the way baseballs reacted to different kinds of pitches. Major League officials have cracked down on these shenanigans over the years, and for the most part, they’re a thing of the past. But the drive to cheat the system will never die. And it’s in this spirit that Major League Baseball banned players and coaches from using smartphones in dugouts during games. But smart technology is moving beyond phones and into wearables, creating a new potential for team members to access data that might give them an unfair advantage during games.

This led to a reported questioning of Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost, who’s been wearing an Apple Watch in the dugout during games. MLB officials wanted to make sure Yost wasn’t using the electronic device to somehow gather information on opposing teams during games. But in the end, it was determined that Yost wasn’t actively pairing his Apple Watch with an iPhone, meaning the watch was pretty much just… a watch. Aside from being able to tell time, Yost could also get basic weather information thru the unpaired device. That’s it.

Overall, this incident was really just a friendly reminder to Yost (and all other MLB players and coaches) that they can use wearables like the Apple Watch during games. They just can’t let those devices communicate with the rest of the connected world. Professional baseball sure has come a long way from the spit ball and the corked bat!


Todoist for Apple Watch is here



Todoist LogoTodoist is my favorite to-do list management app. I use it every day on my Mac and my iOS devices. Earlier this week, Todoist released an Apple Watch version of the app that brings many of the app’s functions to Apple’s smallest screen. Here’s a list of key features:

  • Glance View allows you to view your next upcoming task and the number of tasks you have left for the day.
  • Main View gives you access to your Inbox, Today view, Projects, Labels (Premium), and Filters.
  • Quick-Add with Voice Command allows users to add new tasks to Todoist by simply speaking them into the watch.
  • Reminders will provide a gentle buzz on the wrist when you’re near a certain location or at the exact date/time associated with your task.
  • Notifications are a great way to keep up with shared tasks, as Todoist will let you know when someone sends you a new task or comments on an existing task.

Todoist worked hard to make use of the Apple Watch’s small display to ensure its app worked well with a minimalist design. The primary objective with the app’s layout is to keep things focused and distraction free. Todoist carried this mindset over from its other apps which are set up to allow you to focus on whatever you need to work on now, so you’re not burning brain cycles thinking about stuff you need to do tomorrow, next week or next year.

In order to start using Todoist on your Apple Watch, just download the app (if you don’t have it already) to your iPhone, open the Apple Watch app and enable Todoist on your watch in the “My Watch” tab.

Then get ready for your productivity level to soar!


Swatch may Bring a Smartwatch to Market in August



Swatch logoSwatch, the Swiss watch maker best known for its colorful and untraditional designs, is looking to enter the smartwatch market. It’s still unclear as to what exactly Swatch is planning. But at a recent company meeting, Swatch CEO Nick Hayak stated that Swatch’s smartwatch will be launching in two countries within the next three months.

2015 is definitely shaping up to be the year of the smartwatch. And while tech companies like Apple, Motorola and Pebble have all made headlines this year in the smartwatch space, it seems few established watchmakers have entered the fray. Given its history as a known and trusted brand in watchmaking, could Swatch bring a new perspective to the field?

Little is known yet about Swatch’s proposed smartwatch. Will Swatch develop a proprietary OS? Will the company implement some version of the Android operating system? During that company meeting, Hayak said that Swatch will launch its smartwatch in two countries. The first will be Switzerland and the other was only described as a “large country.” It seems logical that this other country would be the United States. But Swatch has made deals with China UnionPay, a Chinese financial firm, and it’s likely that the Swatch smartwatch will ship with a near field communication chip that could allow the device to make mobile payments. Given the prevalence of the Apple Watch and Android Wearables in the U.S., perhaps Swatch’s second launch country will be China instead.

Despite its rapid growth in recent months, the smartwatch space is still fairly new and much is likely to change. If Swatch is able to bring a product to consumers that’s unique and reasonably priced, the watchmaker might just find a whole new market to tap into.


Line 6 brings Amplifi Remote app to Apple Watch



Line 6 logoLine 6 is a musical instrument and audio equipment manufacturer that’s been a real industry innovator for nearly two decades. I bought my first Line 6 guitar amp back in 2001 and have been hooked on the company’s products ever since. At this point, it’d be a neck-and-neck battle between Line 6 and Apple as far as which company has made a bigger dent in my overall net worth.

One thing that Line 6 has done recently that’s really intriguing is the development of “remote” apps that work wirelessly with its various products. The first of these connected-app lines is the Amplifi guitar amp/smart speaker system.  Amplifi was designed to bridge the gap between practicing at home and jamming with other musicians. At home, the Amplifi could be used as a speaker for entertainment systems. At the rehearsal space, Amplifi also works as a full-power electric guitar amp.

Amplifi is also the first Line 6 product to use a remote app to control different features of the device. The app originally launched for Android and iOS, running both on iPhone and iPad. Now, Line 6 has brought its Amplifi Remote app to Apple Watch:

The new AMPLIFi Remote v2.11 update enables guitar players to control and access guitar tones via Apple Watch. Guitarists can now access tones, control levels, search the Line 6 Tone Cloud, and use the tuner, right from their wrist. AMPLIFi Remote works with the entire AMPLIFi family, and provides guitarists with unprecedented control over every aspect of their guitar tone and effects.

Amplifi Remote features such as Tuner, MyTones and master/instrument level controls will be accessibly directly on the Apple Watch version of the app. Users will also be able to do a “dictation search” of Line 6’s Tone Cloud service, which will allow them to use vocal requests to search thru guitar tones saved to Line 6’s cloud service. Tones can then be quickly loaded onto an Amplifi device for immediate use.

It’s great to see Line 6’s continued development of things like the Amplifi Remote App. The company has also started rolling out other products that work with similar apps. I’m definitely excited to see what else Line 6 comes up with this year.


IFTTT Brings Apps to iPad and Apple Watch



IFTTT logoIf This Then That, better known as IFTTT, is a popular service that ties a plethora of online apps. services and devices together to perform specific tasks. For example, you could create an IFTTT “recipe” (the term that IFTTT uses for actions created thru the service) to automatically save your Instagram photos to Dropbox. IFTTT can also be used to work with things like smart sensors, home automation systems and more.

The IFTTT interface itself is accessed mostly thru the company’s website. There, you can search for recipes created by IFTTT staff and users. Once you find a recipe you’d like to try, just add it to your own IFTTT account where you can then configure the recipe to specifically work with your own user accounts across whatever services are referenced in the recipe. Along with that interface, IFTTT also offers its own apps that work in complementary ways to IFTTT’s core functionality:

  • Do Button: This app gives you a simple one-button interface to trigger the recipes that you’ve made thru IFTTT.
  • Do Camera: Create a “personalized” camera that will automatically share your photos with services like Facebook, Dropbox, Evernote and more.
  • Do Note: Use this app like a “digital notepad.” Make a quick note and then use IFTTT recipes to share it with Evernote, Google Calendar and more.

All of these apps were originally available for iPhone only. But IFTTT recently brought all of these apps to iPad and Apple Watch. The company is touting this move as “small, medium and large” versions of its apps for the different devices. Now it’s easier than ever to access and activate your IFTTT recipes.

I’ll admit, I’m still kind of an IFTTT newbie. But with the ease of use provided by these new apps, I’m definitely going to be looking into using the service more.