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Apple set expectations for the March 27 event with the invite: ‘creative new ideas for teachers and students’. It’s going to be themed and directed at education markets, no question.
But that doesn’t mean the event will be irrelevant to an average consumer outside of a school. Whilst software announcements will almost certainly focus on things like Apple Classroom, any new hardware revisions affect normal customers just as much as schools. Here’s what I’d like to see happen.
I feel like Apple wants to say that the 12-inch MacBook is that device. If you look at the Apple Store website, it is the first Mac in the navigation. Compare this to the equivalent page for the iPad, where the iPad Pro is listed first.
It is a sliver of metal with incredible portability, a Retina display and the new keyboard design. The latest 2023 revision finally gave it enough CPU power to not feel dog slow. The problem is it is priced like a higher-end machine.
It gets squeezed by the MacBook Air on price; as poor as the Air’s screen is, it is 30% cheaper and technically has a larger display. (Refurbished Airs regularly get discounted even more significantly.) Customer psychology is always driven by price. The Air is the only Mac laptop that doesn’t have a four digit price tag.
On the other end, the MacBook bumps up against the 13-inch MacBook Pro with 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports. For the same $1299 price, you can get a much more powerful machine with modern I/O connectivity, albeit half as much storage.
What I want Apple to introduce is a machine that can be priced cheaply enough to cut out the need for an Air for a regular consumer. Honestly, I think they are already close with their current hardware. If they made a 128 GB SSD configuration of the 12-inch MacBook, they could push it lower without making any revolutionary hardware changes. I don’t think it’s a pie in the sky proposition to envision a 12-inch MacBook for $1099, $999 at a stretch.
The rumor is that Apple will make the MacBook Air more affordable. This is less ideal in my head, because the folly of psychology that people ‘buy what’s cheapest not what’s best for them’ (even if they have the budget) will still apply. If they are going to do it, make it noticeably different — like $799.
Tieing into another rumor we heard last week, Apple could be prepping a higher-end 13-inch MacBook (maybe with two ports?) that would slot in above the 12-inch but below the Pros. This product probably wouldn’t ship until June, and is unlikely to even be announced until WWDC, but the changes made next week could signal a gap in the lineup ready to be filled. For instance, the Air could shift down to $799, the 12-inch MacBook hits the magic $999 number, and then the 13-inch MacBook fills a $1199 price point in a few months time.
If it was me thinking just about my own needs, I’d love to cut out the Air altogether and simplify the range. However, I don’t think that’s practical for Apple’s margins or customer needs quite yet.
In terms of spec changes, I wouldn’t expect a huge leap. Unlike the Air, the 2023 iPad is a pretty respectable product overall. The A9 is still a very capable chip. It’s just cheaper. Given that the invite looks like a pen stroke, I am inclined to think that maybe the new school iPad will support Apple Pencil though.
I’m not familiar with the technical requirements here, but I don’t think the expensive part of making an iPad work with the Pencil is in the iPad; it’s in the accessory that you pay $99 for. So, bringing Pencil support to the cheapest iPad doesn’t seem impossible. It’s also a technology that is now several years old, starting with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro in late 2023.
Of course, using Pencil with the 9.7-inch iPad wouldn’t be as nice a canvas as a True Tone ProMotion screen from the iPad Pro, but those are niceties and not requirements for a good baseline experience. After all, Apple happily debuted the 2023 iPad Pro with neither 120 FPS screen refresh nor True Tone.
I think an update to the Apple Pencil itself is possible but could come later in the year, to accompany with new iPad Pro hardware.
The other thing I’d like to see is an Apple designed keyboard accessory for the low-end model. Apple currently recommends this Logitech case for schools to use. The reality is, though, it’s really ugly. Moreover, it relies on Bluetooth to communicate, so it needs to be charged separately.
An Apple solution would be prettier, have zero-effort pairing, and ideally eliminate the need for a separate battery to charge. This last wish would require a Smart Connector in the iPad itself. Again though, I don’t think that connector represents a price premium for the overall bill of materials.
Even if Apple didn’t want to brand it as their own, a Smart Connector and partnership with Logitech would allow them to make a second-generation case that is significantly improved.
Check out our roundup from earlier this week on all the potential software and hardware rumors that have been circulating … and stay tuned as we bring live coverage of all the announcements on Tuesday!
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We’ve already rounded up everything Apple announced at WWDC during the keynote presentation – and it was a lot!
Let’s start with what I saw as the headline on the software side …iPadOS
Apple made a more powerful version of iOS 13 for the iPad, and rebranded it as iPadOS – something many of us wanted.
Yesterday, Apple granted that wish.
It didn’t give me absolutely everything I wanted – we did technically move beyond the static grid layout on the Home screen thanks to that widget option, but I’d have liked Apple to have gone a lot further there. However, we did get a lot. Multiple windows per app, OS-level support for SD cards and external drives, desktop rather than mobile browsing … and some neat smaller touches like a smaller keyboard and a new three-finger gestures for easier cut/copy/paste and undo.
I also got another big thing I wanted, admittedly hidden away in accessibility options: trackpad and mouse support.
Finally, the iPad can now act as a wired or wireless external monitor for the Mac without the need for third-party software.iOS 13
I must say there weren’t any individual iOS 13 features that wowed me, but there were a succession of really nice enhancements which will add up to a significantly better feel. Some of these are cross-platform things I address under macOS Catalina, below.
I do have to mention one small thing, though …
I joked before the keynote that we’d all remember where we were when Apple finally fixed the volume indicator after years of complaints. We first revealed this was happening in iOS 13 in a report back in April.
The existing volume indicator is so terrible it became a meme. I did hope that Apple would simply copy the YouTube indicator, which strikes me as perfect: it’s clear and obvious, yet completely unobtrusive. However, Apple’s approach is certainly a massive improvement, with an initial large indicator quickly being replaced by a slimline one.HomePod music handoff and multi-user features
I’d long called for music Handoff between HomePod and other devices. So I could start listening to something on HomePod at home, and continue listening on my iPhone when I leave, or vice-versa: be listening through headphones while out, then continue on HomePods when I got back.
Yesterday, I got this wish – along with multi-user support on HomePod. Finally, it will be able to recognize different voices, and play appropriate music for each family member, as well as handle personal requests for each person.macOS Catalina
Another wish finally granted, this one from 2023: a standalone Music app on the Mac!
Let’s have a new OS X Music app just like we got a new iOS one. Have it be a music player, and a means of transferring music to iOS devices, and nothing else. Strip away absolutely everything that isn’t about music […]
Pull out Podcasts into their own app, exactly as per iOS.
Apple yesterday gave us both these things. I didn’t get everything I wanted, but I did get the most important things.
I’ve already mentioned Sidecar, allowing an iPad to easily act as an external monitor.
We also got two key security enhancements: Activation Lock on the Mac, and the new cross-platform Find My feature: where even a sleeping Mac’s location can be tracked by relaying its position via other nearby Apple devices belonging to strangers.
Voice Control is a huge deal for many users with disabilities. There are already screenreader apps that do some of this, but these are often clunky. Apple has always prioritized accessibility features for its devices, and the way Voice Control works looks wonderfully quick and easy to use.
Again, there were many other improvements, but these are the ones that stood out to me.watchOS and tvOS
The new health and fitness features are small but worthwhile improvements – especially the ability to track trends over time – but overall I didn’t think the watchOS changes were a big deal. The App Store may be to some, but to me this was more for Apple than for me. I’m never going to browse apps on my Watch, but it does bring Apple closer to the point at which it can sell the Watch to people who don’t own an iPhone.
I haven’t had a TV for 20 years, so tvOS passed me by as usual.SwiftUI
I’m not a developer (the last programming I did was in BASIC and Pascal back in the 1980s!), so I’ll let others deliver a verdict on this, but judging from what I could see, and the audience reaction, this is a pretty powerful new tool that should make life easier for developers.The Mac Pro
Apple completely missed the mark with the trashcan Mac Pro, offering very little of what pro users really wanted – which was plenty of power and expansion options.
Boy did the company deliver that yesterday!
The options available with the new modular Mac Pro are insane. A Xeon processor with up to 28 cores. An incredible maximum of 1.5TB of RAM! The option of up to two dual-card Radeon Pro Vega II GPUs (four GPUs total)! Afterburner allowing real-time editing of three streams of 8K video or 12 streams of 4K. A thousand tracks in Logic. I could go on, but a maxed-out one of these will satisfy the needs of the most demanding pros in the business.
Of course, pricing will be as insane as the power of the machine. $6000 gets you an 8-core machine with just 32GB RAM and only 256GB of SSD storage. A maxed-out version is probably going to cost you $50k or more – the price of a nice car. Indeed, there are parts of the world where that will get you a house.
But I think Apple had to do this. Having erred so badly in one direction, it had to prove that there is no pro on the planet who could say the new machine didn’t meet their needs (financial ones excepted …). Almost nobody is going to buy a maxed-out one – perhaps a handful of big movie studios – but the fact that it’s there is important to Apple’s narrative. And whatever lesser machine you want, you’ll be able to configure it.Pro Display XDR
Apple has taken the same tack with the new Apple display, the Pro Display XDR. Once again, it had to do this: offer something which will satisfy the needs of any pro.
6K (over 20 million pixels), true reference modes, P3 gamut 10-bit color, 1600 nits peak and 1000 nits constant, 1M to 1 contrast ratio, single-cable connectivity, and even a matte finish again – something I still miss from my former 30-inch Apple Cinema Display.
Again, the price reflects the power. $5k for the basic model, an insane $1K extra for the low-reflectivity finish and an utterly crazy $1K again for the stand. I mean, yes, it looks like a very nice stand, but basically a less sophisticated version of the Microsoft Surface Studio one, which comes included with the machine.Everything Apple announced at WWDC – my verdict
Not everything Apple announced at WWDC met my expectations – but there was a lot to like. iPadOS was the big one for me, finally letting us use more of the power of the hardware. A bunch of other iOS 13 features which are individually small but will add up to a significantly enhanced experience. SwiftUI looks like a big help to developers. The Mac gets better security, iPad monitor support and – best of all – standalone Music, Podcast and TV apps. The HomePod gets music handoff and multi-user support. The Watch gets some nice health enhancements. And well-heeled pros finally get all the Mac Pro and display they could ever have asked for. Overall, I give the event 8/10.
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When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone seven years ago last week, he described it as “three revolutionary devices” in one: touchscreen iPod, mobile phone and Internet communicator.
The iPhone wasn’t the first touchscreen smartphone. It wasn’t even close: Handspring launched the Treo 180 a full five years earlier (I know this because I owned one). Same with the iPod before it, launched three years after the MPMan (yep, I owned one of those too).
Smartwatches today are about where smartphones were ten years ago: limited functionality, clumsy user-interfaces, poorly integrated with other devices – and for the most part, downright ugly. It’s no surprise that Apple is taking its time creating something worthy of wearing an Apple logo.
So, just for fun, let’s say the iWatch was also introduced with that “three revolutionary devices” description – what do we think they might be? Here’s my take …
The first revolutionary device would be … a watch. No, I’m not crazy: remember, one of the three revolutionary devices in the iPhone was the phone. Revolutionary because it transformed both the form-factor and user-interfaces of smartphones. Apple’s first task will be to create something that actually looks like a watch, not like someone trimmed down a smartphone and strapped that to your wrist.
Revolutionary? Given what’s out there at the moment, yes. Apologies if you’re wearing your Pebble watch right now and think it looks fine, but you’re a 9to5Mac reader and by definition a techie. What you will accept in the name of gadgetry is very different to what the average person in the street will rush out to buy.
Sure, the Pebble Steel looks a little better, but it’s still not something anyone is going to wear as a fashion accessory. Let’s contrast it with a couple of watches out there right now.
A Jony Ive-designed smartwatch will. I’ll wager good money that a fair chunk of the people who buy it will do so on the basis of it looking cool and giving them a choice of watch faces, without caring too much about the rest of its functionality.
The gadgetization of fitness significantly predates the Nike Fuel Band. GPS watches with bluetooth links to heart-rate monitors and on-board calorie calculators have been around for years. What Nike did was take something clunky and inconvenient and turn it into something sleek, simple and stylish. Sound familiar?
The problem is, fitness bands don’t offer much in the way of smartwatch functionality, and smartwatches, even with fitness apps, don’t offer the at-a-glance usability of a fitness band.
The iWatch, I’m sure, will integrate the two in a way that will seem blindingly obvious after the fact. Integrated fitness functionality in a smartwatch, then, will be the second revolution.
The M7 chip in the iPhone 5s can already replicate the functionality of the dedicated fitness bands. Add a discreet heart-rate monitor in the strap and you have everything available today. (Sure, the radial pulse isn’t the perfect way to measure heart-rate, but we’re never going to see a chest-strap with ‘Made in Cupertino’ embossed on it.)
But I suspect Apple won’t stop there. Beyond mere fitness, we’re seeing a growing number of gadgets aimed at monitoring heath in a more general sense. Blood pressure monitors, blood sugar meters, breathing rates, oxygen saturation, perspiration, temperature, metabolic rate …
Sensors are the new black, and my guess is that the iWatch will be bristling with them. Perhaps bristling isn’t quite the right word, as I expect them to be invisible, but I think the iWatch will provide the most holistic view to date of our overall health.
Which leaves the third revolution: the smartwatch functionality. I’ve got a few theories there, but the one thing I’m pretty sure of is the iWatch is not going to look anything remotely like this:
That size of screen massively fails the stylish and discreet test that I’m confident will be a key part of the design brief.
Conversely, a true watch-sized display is never going to be usable as a primary input device, nor as a way of running apps that require a lot of interaction. Siri will help, but not everyone shares my enthusiasm for it, so I see an iWatch as mostly a secondary screen for an iPhone rather than a standalone gadget.
A smartwatch as a simple second screen to an iPhone might not sound that revolutionary, but I think what will set it apart from existing offerings is the depth of integration into the Apple ecosystem. Existing smartwatches get whatever notifications Apple permit and the developers can pull off; the iWatch will, I think, be capable of displaying anything in the Notification Centre. Alerts pop up as they occur, and you can then scroll through them as you would on your phone.
I’d also hope that the iWatch would have some degree of intelligence, aiming to anticipate your needs. For example, if the M7 sensor can tell you’ve just stopped running, it’s likely you’ll want to see the run data, so that should pop up on the display unprompted. If you got an alert a couple of minutes ago and then lifted your arm to look at the watch, you probably want to see what that alert was, so it should reappear.
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There is a common saying among expats in China – particularly longtime “China Hands” – that goes like this: The more time you spend in China, the less you understand it. So it’s with this in mind that we try and break down exactly what’s going wrong for Apple in China these days, likely a confluence of factors from politics and economics to nationalism and a rapidly changing consumer market. There’s no easy answer.
People have begun wondering what’s wrong following a few worrying signs: Apple announced a severe slowdown in iPhone sales in China on its recent earnings call, a new report by IDC confirmed a concerning tumble in iPhone sales, and Apple’s uncharacteristic decision to cut prices on the latest model phones sold at some of China’s largest retailers. These don’t seem like moves that would be made by a strong, confident company.
So what’s wrong in China? Let’s dig in.Competition
Let’s face it, competition in the technology realm is fierce in China. If you haven’t been there, it’s hard to understand the dizzying speed at which innovation happens — and the willingness of even older people to become early adopters.
While the country claims to have a 5,000-year unbroken civilization, this current era of innovation and optimism has made people hungry for anything “new”. In the early days of smartphone sales, Apple had cachet, but with a perceived slow development cycle there’s a lot more interest in Huawei phones, in particular. Huawei is a national champion that manufactures high-quality phones at nearly half the cost (take a look at some of the photos taken with the P20).
Chinese manufacturers also create phones tailored for the Chinese market, with dual-SIM slots (now finally available on some iPhone models), local GPS providers, and popular selfie apps that are way over-modulated for western tastes. (If you want to see what I mean, download Tantan, China’s answer to Tinder).
Even foreigners I meet on this side of the world love their Huawei phones, concerns over spying excepted.
Of course, comparing specs is important in China, but isn’t enough to move the needle in Huawei’s favor on its own. That requires…Economics
China is a big country, with a lot of people — 1.4 billion of them, roughly. But while media attention showers the country in praise for its perceived riches, the truth is the vast majority of the people in China remain poor. The per-capita GDP of the USA is nearly $60,000, but only $8,800 in China, on par with places like Lebanon and Cuba and just slightly above Botswana. Sure, people in China aspire to own nice things, but without a social safety net, a savings account becomes a do-or-die necessity.
A massive wealth gap, though, still leaves millions of wealthy people in the eastern cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and others, who don’t hide their ability to pay whatever Apple asks. But even with them, doubt is setting in, partially driven by…Culture / Nationalism
This is a hard one to explain without ruffling a few feathers, but let’s just say that the cultural divide between the United States and China is probably so much more vast than most people realize. From top to bottom, inside and out, from belief systems to decision-making, everything about China is different.
Adding to that is an authoritarian government that has long stoked nationalist tendencies through propaganda delivered over the country’s television, radio and internet airwaves, which it directly controls. If China, or its people, feel attacked or treated unfairly, there is plenty of evidence showing that large-scale boycotts of foreign brands have worked.
Most recently, after a private conversation featuring Dolce & Gabbana founder Stefano Gabbana making disparaging remarks about China leaked, several flagship shops were forced to close and events canceled.
Then there was the boycott against South Korean companies after South Korea said it would work with the US on a missile defense system. From a Forbes article in 2023:
Much of the wrath has targeted Lotte, a Korean conglomerate that will swap land to allow installation of the anti-missile system. Supposed failure of regulatory inspections suddenly prompted the closure of 55 Lotte stores, about half the total in China. Chinese have also quit arriving South Korea on tours. About 3,300 tourists wouldn’t leave a cruise ship that arrived Saturday at the South Korean resort island of Jeju. Korean pop concerts once popular in China are off the marquees.
Lotte is, loosely speaking, similar to Walmart, and the closure of 55 stores dealt a blow to their revenue. There are many, many more examples of this, even against American companies. Some protests are genuinely spontaneous (like the Dolce & Gabbana one), but the government-led ones pack the most punch. China’s government has enormous power to influence buying decisions, particularly if it frames certain companies as anti-China.
Apple isn’t an official target yet, but it’s treading awfully close. I already have anecdotal reports that some Chinese companies are frowning upon staff still using iPhones, and people are ditching them for Chinese-branded smartphones. A combination of trade war rhetoric, cheaper/better models produced by Chinese companies, and general distaste for anything seen as “yesterday’s hit” is a real factor that will affect Apple’s future in the country.
If the trade war intensifies, Apple is a massive target for China — the country still contributed $13.17 billion to Apple’s coffers in the last quarter and is also where the majority of its products are manufactured — making the company particularly vulnerable compared to its peers. The precipitous drop of nearly $5 billion in China revenue last quarter was without any official call to boycott Apple products. This could get worse before it gets better.
With so few ways to really stand out, one key differentiator is the choice of mobile phone. But for years now, the iPhone hasn’t really undergone any large physical design changes that would be noticeable to others, aside from maybe the introduction of the notch with the iPhone X in 2023. I personally don’t think Apple should change the look and feel of the phone just for change’s sake, but it’s true that in China, people want the newest and most cutting-edge — so they can show it off. The go-it-slow approach to innovation and continual tweaks to improve the user experience just aren’t sexy enough for some of the country’s highest earners and biggest influencers.WeChat
A unique quirk in China’s mobile phone industry is the dominance of WeChat, which has become the de facto operating system for Chinese users. I wrote a piece looking at how WeChat works and why it’s so popular earlier, but the reliance on this single app, which works well on both Android and iOS, makes the choice of operating system much less important and removes Apple’s normal “stickiness”. It, alone, makes the Chinese smartphone market unique.So what’s next?
It’s very difficult to put one’s finger on a single statistic, or one element of the Chinese economy, to explain Apple’s decline. A concoction of all of the reasons above create a toxic brew that Apple is now confronting — and that’s without taking into consideration other macro-economic trends like China’s slowing economy and devaluation of its currency.
Make no mistake: Apple has been one of the most successful US companies operating in China to date, but its long-term success there is far from secure. There could be some even bumpier days ahead.
Photo: The Observer
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Eric Zeman / Android Authority
A decent smartwatch doesn’t have to set you back. There are plenty of options for tighter budgets. Whether you’re looking for basic smartwatch features, fitness tracking, or even higher-end health sensors, there’s an inexpensive option for every need. To narrow it down, we rounded up the best cheap smartwatches.
See also: The best cheap fitness trackersThe best cheap smartwatches
Apple Watch SE: This is the best overall budget smartwatch and hands down the best option for iOS users. The Apple Watch SE has most of Apple’s top features at an affordable price.
Mobvoi TicWatch E3: This is the best option for Wear OS users with a promising upgrade ahead. Plus, this is also the only inexpensive wearable currently eligible for Wear OS 3 in 2023.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2: Samsung’s 2023 fitness watch is the best Wear OS alternative for Android users. Still running Samsung’s platform, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 is a unique choice for Tizen loyalists.
Garmin Venu Sq: The best cheap smartwatch for Garmin enthusiasts, the Venu Sq brings back most of what made the original Venu such a great wearable.
Xiaomi Mi Watch: Xiaomi’s Mi Watch is the best cheap smartwatch for even tighter budgets. At a $100 price point, this device offers the basics and does it well.
Apple Watch SE (40mm, GPS)
The Apple Watch most people should buy
The Apple Watch SE is affordable and has a solid feature set, making it the right Apple Watch for most people.
See price at Amazon
See price at Best BuyPros
Short battery life
Limited sleep tracking
Limited color selection
Check out our full review to learn more about the Apple Watch SE.
Mobvoi TicWatch E3
The Mobvoi TicWatch E3 marks a generational update over its predecessor thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform. It also boasts an updated design and improved performance.
See price at AmazonPros
Decent battery life
NFC and Google PayCons
Iffy automatic activity tracking
Inconsistent sleep tracking
Stuck on Wear OS 2 until later notice
Check out our full review to learn more about the Mobvoi TicWatch E3.
Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
The Galaxy Watch Active 2 features a circular display with a touch bezel. It also tracks your activities, such as cycling, running, swimming, and more. It even features Samsung Pay, which you can use with regular and NFC-enabled card readers.
See price at AmazonPros
Sleek, premium design
Sharp AMOLED display
Touch-enabled bezel for quick navigation
Bluetooth + LTE variants for more flexibility
~2 day battery life
Fantastic sleep trackingCons
No MST payments with Samsung Pay
Tizen app ecosystem is still lacking compared to Wear OS
Heart rate, GPS, and altimeter sensor can be wonky
Setup process still needs work
Check out our full review to learn more about the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2.
Fitbit Versa 3: The best cheap smartwatch from Fitbit
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority
There are certainly cheaper options when it comes to the Fitbit stable, but compared to the Fitbit Sense, the Fitbit Versa 3 is the option with phenomenal value. In a way similar to the Apple Watch SE, the Versa 3 has pretty much every necessary feature of its higher-priced sibling. Users can expect accurate health tracking, sleep tracking, SpO2 monitoring, built-in GPS, voice assistant support, and more. Plus, you can typically find the Versa 3 around the $200 mark.
If that still feels a bit out of reach, the Fitbit Versa 2 remains a strong contender. However, with the Versa 2, users will miss out on some of the Versa 3’s health tracking as well as voice assistant support.Pros
Decent battery life
Pretty accurate health tracking
Google Assistant and Alexa support
Very small app library
Onboard music limited to two services
Capacitive button isn’t ideal
Proprietary charging cable
Check out our full review to learn more about the Fitbit Versa 3.
Garmin Venu Sq
Garmin Venu, but make it cheap
Take the Garmin Venu, swap out its OLED display for a rectangular LCD, remove a few sensors, and you have the Garmin Venu Sq. This is Garmin’s first “affordable” smartwatch in some time, coming in at $200-$250 depending on your music preferences.
See price at Amazon
See price at GarminPros
Entry-level price point
Long battery life
Garmin Pay support on all models
Accurate fitness and health tracking
Useful and accurate sleep trackingCons
Music Edition costs $50 more
Small display can be difficult to use
GPS accuracy could use work
Check out our full review to learn more about the Garmin Venu Sq.Pros
Big, bright display
Simple, sleek design
Lots of fitness data and sport profiles
Workout analysis powered by Firstbeat
Fantastic battery life
Amazon Alexa supportCons
Limited smartwatch features
SpO2 sensor is nothing more than a flex on the spec sheet
Poor heart rate monitoring
Xiaomi Wear app needs a lot of work
Check out our full review to learn more about the Xiaomi Mi Watch.Honorable mentions
That’s it for our list of the best cheap smartwatches you can buy, but it’s only a fraction of what’s out there. We also want to give an honorable mention to the following products:
Amazfit Bip U ($60): At about $60, with a 1.43-inch display, SpO2 sensors, heart rate monitoring, and more than 60 sport modes, the Amazfit Bip U is well worth its price tag.
Amazfit Bip U Pro ($70): For just $10 more, the Amazfit Bip U Pro offers built-in GPS. It also boasts Amazon Alexa support, but the results are mixed.FAQs
A: Two top smartwatch ecosystems, Fitbit and Garmin each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Choosing the right fit comes down to what type of user you are and what tools you value most. Luckily, we have a dedicated guide to help you compare both options.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to become an Uber driver? It’s not a very magical transformation, but there’s a hiring process involved and they send out a pretty cool care package as well. Well, we were able to get a hold of an Uber driver starter kit and thought it would be neat to share the experience…
In case you’re not familiar with Uber, it’s a ride sharing or alternative taxi service available in many different locations around the world. With Uber, all you need to do is download the app and request a ride based on your location. I’ve used Uber countless times while traveling and the experience has been great.
Like I mentioned, we were able to get a hold of Uber’s driver kit and thought it would be interesting to take a look at. When you get hired as an Uber driver, there are a few tools you’ll need to make the job easier and thankfully, the company has got you covered.
Check out the video below for a closer look:
First off, the packaging is surprisingly great. The presentation made it feel like I was unboxing a high-end product. Very Apple-esque. The first thing you’ll find is an “Uber Driver Guide” which will get you up to speed on using the “Driver” app and best practices when picking up customers.
Next up, you’ll get an iPhone. In this box, we were presented with a 16GB iPhone 4s, but it may differ for everyone. Uber also left a small welcome card next to the iPhone. In some areas, Uber includes a “driver light” that can be stuck to a car window, but due to laws and restrictions in certain areas, this package didn’t come with one.
Finally, you’ll find a small accessory kit. It’s nothing special, but inside of the kit you get an auxiliary cable, dual-USB car adapter, 6 ft. 30-pin to USB cable, and even a dash/windshield mount for the iPhone 4s.
Speaking of the iPhone, that thing is locked down. Uber is using special profiles to disable most of the iPhone’s features, but you are left with a handful of stock iOS apps. Unfortunately, you won’t find the App Store, iTunes, or Safari as they have been hidden and restricted. Also, even though the Phone and Messages apps are available, they aren’t functional. I’d assume that these restrictions are in place because Uber wants its drivers to do their job, instead of play around on the phone.
The only app you’ll actually need on this phone is called, “Uber Driver.” This is the app that you will use to conduct all driver business with Uber. Once signed in and “live,” you will be able to accept rides as they are requested from customers through the driver app.
Overall, there’s nothing magical or amazing here, but this isn’t something you see every day and we thought it would be interesting to share. If you’d like to find out more about Uber, you can visit the company’s website or download the app available for free on the App Store. Currently, Uber is giving out $30 in credit for new customers, find out more details here.
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