iLounge has posted an unboxing gallery for the Apple Watch. In a full photo gallery, we take a closer look at the device, along with some comparison photos between the 38mm and 42mm Sport models.
We’ll be putting the device through the paces throughout the weekend, so be sure to check back for our full review on Monday.
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Does not Commute (free) — We were pretty impressed with Mediocre’s efforts last year on their Smash Hit game (no pun intended), so naturally we were intrigued by their latest new title. While a big departure from last year’s game, Does not Commute is fun and interesting in its own right, and its clear that Mediocre has put some nice depth and creativity into it. The premise seems deceptively simple — navigate a car through a town’s streets and obstacles to reach a set exit point on the map — however, the game builds nicely on your prior efforts by replaying each of the cars and routes you’ve previously “driven” with each new task. In essence, this game has you creating your own obstacle course, and how easily you accomplish each route is going to depend largely on how well you did on the prior route, adding a really interesting strategic aspect to the game. A single timer counts down for the entire set of trips in each round, so you can’t take too long for any one trip or you’ll cost yourself time on future ones, and bonus coins on certain trickier routes add time back. Run out of time, and the game is over. In addition to the interesting game play, Mediocre has done a cute job with providing an entertaining and oft-humorous little background story for each commuter at the beginning of each trip.
Pursuit of Light (free) — Casual surrealistic games have become a popular genre on iOS devices, and this new entry from Lemon Jam Studio fits in nicely. Billed as an “action adventure game set in a mystery world,” formed by the dream of a little girl, the game basically sports a simple user interface of tapping on one of two symbols — a moon and a star — to jump the character from one step to the next. As players advance to higher levels, the steps and routes become more complicated, and obstacles begin to appear. The magic to Pursuit of Light, however, is found in the aesthetics of the game; the music and other background noises that play, the shimmering mists of a dream-like state, and the use of color all contribute to a surprisingly immersive experience.
Tiltagon (free) — “Tilt. Fall. Repeat.” is the motto of this surprisingly addictive new arcade title from Noodlecake Studios. Hearkening back to Labyrinth-style ball rolling motion games, Tiltagon requires you to tilt your device to move your ball across a series of hexagons, picking up the target cube on each without falling off. The catch, however, is that each hexagonal platform only remains solid for a few seconds before disappearing, the next platform only appears once you’ve grabbed the target cube from the one you’re on, and you have no idea on which of the six sides it’s going to show up. A variety of different platform styles and moving blocks that try to block your path and knock you off add to the challenge. The game includes two difficulty levels, appropriately named Hard and Hard+ — with the latter setting, making contact with any of the obstacles will cause your ball to explode, requiring an even greater precision of navigation. The game supports both portrait and landscape modes, which actually provide a different sort of play style since the game is entirely based on device orientation and motion. The energetic, club-like soundtrack, varying tile colors, and psychedelic background lighting also contribute to the high-paced action.
Q: I just upgraded to a new iPhone 6 Plus as I liked the larger screen, and the ability to get sideways iPad-like views for things like Mail. However, these don’t seem to be working for me. Whenever I turn my iPhone sideways, I just get the normal landscape view, kind of like I had on my iPhone 5. Is there somewhere special I need to turn this on? I’ve pored over all of the settings and can’t seem to find it anywhere. I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong. Any ideas?
A: It sounds likely that your problem is that you setup your iPhone 6 Plus with “Display Zoom” on when you went through the initial setup assistant. While Display Zoom is useful if you want to see larger icons and text on the bigger screen, one of the unexpected side-effects that Apple doesn’t really explain to you (outside of the iPhone User Guide) is that turning this setting on will also disable all of the special layouts that are available in landscape view, at least within Apple’s own built-in iOS apps. You can toggle Display Zoom back to “Standard” view by going into the Settings app and selecting the option from the Display & Brightness section.
Australian site FoneFox has posted a YouTube video demonstrating the water resistance capabilities of the Apple Watch Sport. The video begins by showing general splash tests — which the Apple Watch unsurprisingly survives — and then moves on to taking the Apple Watch through a two-minute shower, dunking it in a bucket of water, and then swimming with it in a pool for 15 minutes. While the Apple Watch was not usable while underwater due to the capacitive touchscreen, the device survived the experience and was able to be used normally when emerging from the pool.
Apple has stated that the Apple Watch is IPX7 certified, meaning that it is certified as withstanding submersion in up to 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes. Apple’s Watch page describes the device as “splash and water resistant but not waterproof,” suggesting that the water resistance is suitable for exercise, use in the rain, and while washing hands, but that submerging the Apple Watch is “not recommended.” Apple also notes that the leather bands are not water resistant.
iFixit has already begun its expected teardown of Apple Watch, this time posting the results in real-time as the site proceeds through each step. While the teardown is still ongoing, iFixit has already made some interesting observations by examining the innards of Apple’s new wearable device, including the nature of the device’s construction, how tightly integrated and packed in the circuitry is, and the likely proprietary nature of the inductive charging system. Notably, iFixit also reports that the heart rate monitor in the device is “actually a plethysmograph,” suggesting that it can be used as a pulse oximeter, despite Apple not advertising this feature; the report speculates that this may be due to FDA regulations on health monitoring devices. After finishing up with the Sport Edition, iFixit has now begun tearing down the Stainless Steel model, and is promising to report back later with more details on that one.
Today in iLounge Deals we’re offering the Hand Stylus for 40% off – only $14.95. Masterfully designed to provide maximum precision, Hand Stylus features a slim 4mm retractable rubber tip that’s perfect for taking notes, drawing, typing, playing games, and more. Auto-rotating functionality helps ensure the tip wears down evenly, and the small size lets you easily select items even on smaller screens. The tip can also be easily replaced when needed so you don’t have to replace the entire stylus.
Zagg's Pocket Keyboard ($70) is a foldable Bluetooth keyboard designed for use with smartphones and small tablets, such as iPhones and iPad minis. A small ledge flips out to hold the device during use; though as a Bluetooth keyboard it could conceivably be used with a larger iPad, the keyboard ledge won't accommodate an iOS device that large. According to Zagg, Pocket Keyboard takes up more than 85 percent of a desktop keyboard's typing space. The tri-fold keyboard charges using an included micro-USB cable — Zagg makes no claims regarding expected battery life.
The new Predictive Text feature in iOS 8 can be useful for helping you quickly peck out sentences when working with one finger, however, sometimes the extra space above the keyboard just gets in the way. The good news is that in those situations it can easily be hidden or turned off entirely without having to resort to a trip all the way into your keyboard settings.
If you place your finger on the Predictive Text bar above the keyboard, and swipe downward, the bar can be dragged down into a hidden position. You’ll see a small horizontal line representing the hidden bar, and reversing the gesture by tapping and swiping back upwards will return the bar into view. Alternatively, if you’d rather switch the Predictive Text bar off entirely instead of just hiding it, you can tap and hold on the Emoji or language button near the bottom left corner of the keyboard to bring up the keyboard selection options, at the top of which will be a “Predictive” toggle; this mirrors the “Predictive” option found in Settings, General Keyboard.…
Apple has posted the Apple Watch User Guide online in an advance of tomorrow’s public release of the new device. Designed as an interactive web guide, the site provides instructions on how to use the features and built-in apps on the Apple Watch, ranging from the basics of getting started and telling the time to using the wearable device as a remote control for an Apple TV or iPhone camera. The guide provides some insight into the details of many of the features on the Apple Watch.