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Apple yesterday officially confirmed its annual September special event for next week. The September 15 event is said to focus primarily on a new iPad Air and new Apple Watch hardware, including the Apple Watch Series 6. Interestingly, Apple is also reportedly preparing a new Apple Watch Series 3 replacement. Read on as we detail what that could mean for the Apple Watch lineup this year.Apple Watch Series 3 backstory
The Apple Watch Series 3 was first introduced in 2023, and it was a notable update at the time. It was the first Apple Watch model to offer cellular connectivity. It was also powered by Apple’s S3 processor that brought significant speed improvements to the watchOS experience.
Since 2023, the Apple Watch Series 3 has continued to be a focal point of Apple’s wearables lineup. Apple sells it today for $199 with GPS or $299 for GPS and Cellular. Multiple research firms estimate that it accounts for a large percentage of Apple’s wearables business.
The Apple Watch Series 3 is starting to show its age, particularly as we approach the release of the Apple Watch Series 6. The S3 processor inside the Series 3 simply isn’t up to the task of many watchOS features nowadays, and the boxier design looks especially dated compared to the modern Apple Watch Series 4 and newer design.
With the looming release of the Apple Watch Series 6, the Apple Watch Series 3 is tricky to recommend. This year, however, things are further complicated by reports that Apple is also planning a lower-end Apple Watch that will serve as a direct replacement to the Series 3.The Apple Watch SE
Bloomberg was first to report that Apple is planning a lower-end Apple Watch for this year. In a report published last week, Mark Gurman wrote that the Series 3 replacement will help Apple compete with lower-cost devices such as those from Fitbit:
The new Apple Watch lineup will include a successor to the Apple Watch Series 5 and a replacement for the Series 3 that will compete with lower-cost fitness devices such as those from Fitbit Inc.
Essentially, it appears as if Apple has plans to give the Apple Watch lineup a treatment similar to the iPhone lineup with the introduction of what sounds a lot like the Apple Watch SE.
Earlier this year, Apple released the new iPhone SE as a replacement for the iPhone 8. It features the same physical design, but with Apple’s latest A13 processor inside, upgraded camera technology, and wireless charging support. It’s the most affordable iPhone in Apple’s lineup, and it’s a popular option for those who want a reliable and future-proof phone, with a familiar design and lower price tag.
Apple Watch Series 3 vs Series 5 design
The reported Apple Watch Series 3 replacement could be quite similar to the iPhone SE: bringing one of Apple’s latest processors to the lower-end market for budget-conscious shoppers. The new processor would give the lower-end Apple Watch much more headroom for new watchOS 7, from both Apple and third-party developers alike.
One thing that’s unclear, however, is what kind of design the Apple Watch Series 3 replacement might feature. Currently, the Apple Watch Series 3 is available in 38mm and 42mm sizes, while the Series 4 and Series 5 are available in 40mm and 44mm sizes.
The Apple Watch Series 3’s 38mm/42mm form factor sticking around has been a pain point for many developers. It’s possible that Apple is able to give the Series 3 replacement a minor redesign to increase the screen size options to 40mm/44mm, but it’s unclear for now.
Finally, the Apple Watch Series 3 lacks many of the health features that make the Apple Watch Series 4 and Series 5 so appealing. While it’s unlikely that Apple will bring the ECG functionality to the lower-end Series 3 replacement, it could absolutely add fall detection functionality.Should you buy the Apple Watch Series 3 now or wait?
The Apple Watch Series 3 is a tempting option in Apple’s wearables lineup. However, we absolutely recommend waiting to see what Apple has in store for next week. The Apple Series 3 replacement will certainly be a better product than the current Series 3. What’s unclear, though, is if Apple will be able to maintain the $199 price point.
Ideally, the Apple Watch SE will use Apple’s 64-bit S5 processor and add additional health features, while retaining the $199/$299 pricing structure. We’ll learn more from Apple itself on September 15.
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HomePod was introduced back in 2023, but since then, the future of Apple’s smart speaker is uncertain. More recently, however, we’ve heard rumors about a new “HomePod mini” that is expected to be announced this year.
If you’re planning to buy a new HomePod, read on as we walk you through what you need to know.The current HomePod
The first-generation HomePod, which is also the only one to date, is designed to offer a great sound experience with some smart features built-in. It has a seven-tweeter array and a single woofer that delivers an immersive audio experience.
HomePod is powered by the A8 chip, which is the same from the iPhone 6 and Apple HD TV (4th generation). Even if it’s a six-year-old processor, the A8 chip can handle all the HomePod’s tasks without struggling. Because of that, HomePod has maybe of the features present in other Apple devices, including Apple Music, Siri, and HomeKit.
You can ask Siri to play songs, set alarms, call someone, or turn off the lights of your living room. HomePod has a six-microphone array that recognizes voice commands from any direction, even while a loud song is playing.
As the HomePod uses AirPlay 2 to connect with other devices, you can pair two HomePods in stereo mode or even more HomePods to synchronously play the same content.What we know about the next generation HomePod
Although there isn’t much evidence that Apple is planning to announce a significant update to the regular HomePod soon, there are rumors about an upcoming so-called “HomePod mini.”
Compared to competitors like the Amazon Echo lineup, HomePod is still very expensive — even after last year’s price cut from $349 to $299. Having a smaller version would reduce production costs, making the product cheaper.
According to a Bloomberg report, the HomePod mini is expected to keep the same cylindrical design as the larger version, but it would be about half the current product’s size.
Apple is unlikely to sacrifice audio quality to make a cheaper version of the HomePod, but keep in mind that having less physical space means the speakers will be reduced, and consequently, the sound may be lower than in the current HomePod model.
Besides, the HomePod mini should also have Siri for voice commands and AirPlay 2 for pairing it with other compatible speakers.Should you buy a HomePod right now?
If you don’t already have a HomePod and you’re planning to buy one, we recommend that you wait until later this month before making your decision.
As Apple will host WWDC 2023 on June 22, the new mini HomePod might be introduced at the event. Even if you don’t want the smaller version, the regular HomePod might have its price reduced once again or get updated with internal improvements such as a more powerful processor.
For those who will wait to make a decision, the regular HomePod is ideal for people who want the best sound quality at home, no matter how much it costs. But for those who want a cheaper smart speaker that works with all Apple devices, HomePod mini may be the best choice.
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Apple Watch Series 3: release date, LTE, redesign
Though we’re expecting Apple to devote much of its keynote address today to the new iPhone, the company actually kicked off the show by introducing us to Apple Watch Series 3. After giving us an introduction to the Steve Jobs theater, Tim Cook shared some of the successes the Apple Watch has enjoyed over the last year. For instance, the Apple Watch has grown 50% year-over-year, becoming the number one watch in the world and boasting a 97% customer satisfaction rating.
Those are some fairly impressive numbers, and they give Apple plenty of reason to continue with the Apple Watch line even as the smartwatch market seems to be floundering a bit. Cook brought Apple COO Jeff Williams on stage to do just that, as he announced both WatchOS 4 and Apple Watch Series 3. In WatchOS 4, Apple will be more focused on heart health, measuring things like resting heart rate and recovery heart rate after workouts.
Williams says will give you a clearer picture of your heart rate throughout the day. Through a new app called Apple Heart Study, the Apple Watch will even help you detect irregular rhythm in your heart beat. This, in turn, will help users identify when they have a serious problem such as Atrial Fibrilation, which can increase the risk of stroke but often goes undiagnosed because people who have it often don’t feel any symptoms.
Of course, the new WatchOS needs a home, and that’s where Apple Watch Series 3 comes in. The big change with Apple Watch Series 3 is that it will now offer cellular support, allowing you to connect it to your carrier’s mobile network. This not only means that you’ll be able to stream music directly from your watch (assuming you have a pair of Apple EarPods), but it will also allow you to place and receive calls through the Watch itself, just as Williams did on stage.
Apple Watch Series 3 is outfitted with a dual-core processor that promises 70% more power over previous iterations, while an Apple-made W2 chip will handle WiFi and Bluetooth connections. The watch is also “swim proof” and while the addition of a cellular antenna would usually increase the size of the Watch itself, Williams says it’s virtually the same size as Series 2. The only difference is that the back crystal extends an extra 0.25mm.
Apple Watch Series 3 orders will open up on September 15, with the watch launching on September 22. The cellular model will run $399, while a model without cellular will cost $329. Apple Watch Series 1 is also sticking around, only with a new price tag from here on out: $249.
Apple Watch Series 3 will be launching in a number of regions with support for a variety of carriers – which you can see above – while the WiFi-only version of Series 3 will be getting a larger release. We’ll have plenty more from Apple’s 2023 keynote, so keep it right here at SlashGear for coverage of all the big announcements!
Wondering if you should update to MacOS Catalina or not? Are you not sure if you’re truly ready to update and install MacOS Catalina? Perhaps you have a critical app or two that you know aren’t supported by Catalina, or maybe you’re hesitant to update because your current Mac system is working just fine for you, or maybe there’s some other reason you’re wondering if you should or shouldn’t update to Catalina.
If you’re not sure whether or not you should install MacOS Catalina, or you’re thinking of holding off on MacOS Catalina for a while, or even ignoring it entirely, we’ll discuss those ideas and present some alternatives here.
With every major new MacOS update, some users end up wondering if they should bother updating to the latest version of MacOS or not, and MacOS Catalina 10.15 is no different in that regard. But MacOS Catalina is different in that it no longer has support for 32-bit apps, and no longer has iTunes (instead it’s replaced by a series of apps to serve the same purpose), and those changes are different from other recent MacOS software updates. So what are the options? Let’s review some of the choices available, but ultimately it will be every users own decision to make on whether or not to update to MacOS Catalina now, later, or never at all.1: Waiting Until Critical Apps Updated to 64-bit
If you have any mission critical apps that are 32-bit, you’ll likely want to hold off on MacOS Catalina until those critical apps are updated to be 64-bit, or until you find a replacement app for them.
You can find all 32-bit apps on a Mac in System Information tool as shown here if you aren’t sure.
If you aren’t sure whether or not a particular app will ever become 64-bit, your best bet is likely to contact the developer of that application directly, and inquire with them.2: Waiting for MacOS Catalina 10.15.1, macOS 10.15.2, macOS 10.15.3, or later
While many users report MacOS Catalina works great for them, there are others who report the initial macOS 10.15 release is still fairly buggy.
There are mixed reports that the first release of MacOS Catalina 10.15 has some bugs which can impact various users to varying extents, with issues impacting things that worked fine with prior macOS versions. Reported issues include wi-fi difficulties, external device incompatibilities, problems with network sharing, problems with various apps not working (many likely related to 64-bit requirement), some users are finding the new security mechanisms to be annoying, amongst other possible bugs, complaints, and opinions.
If you’re not concerned about being on the bleeding edge, then you can always wait for a future point release software update.
You can always wait to install Catalina when one of the point release bug fix updates becomes available, whether that is MacOS Catalina 10.15.1, or even MacOS Catalina 10.15.2, MacOS Catalina 10.15.3, MacOS Catalina 10.15.4, or MacOS Catalina 10.15.5 (or maybe even later, depending on the updates schedule).
There’s nothing wrong with this approach, and many cautious Mac users do will wait until later more refined versions of system software are available before jumping in.
Any future bug fix and point release updates for MacOS Catalina will arrive to Macs that are running prior versions the same way that the initial MacOS Catalina download has arrived; through Software Update and the Mac App Store.3: What About Skipping MacOS Catalina Entirely?
Is your Mac working great for you exactly as it is right now? If MacOS Mojave, macOS High Sierra, MacOS Sierra, or even an earlier system software version, is working fine for you and your Mac workflow, then you can always consider just staying put, and ignoring MacOS Catalina entirely.
This is a particularly valid approach if you rely on some 32-bit apps that you know will never be updated to 64-bit, or require some extensive upgrade that you’re not ready for. If you’re going to lose access and functionality of critical apps to your work, perhaps avoiding MacOS Catalina is a reasonable solution for you.
You’ll obviously miss out on any new features within the macOS Catalina operating system, as well as some stricter security measures available in Catalina, but for some users that’s a reasonable trade off to maintaining their currently working system as it is.
Some users may end up avoiding and skipping MacOS Catalina entirely, or using the earlier possibility of waiting for a later macOS 10.15.1, 10.15.2, or even 10.15.5 point release update.
If you’re considering skipping Catalina, keep in mind that Apple typically releases major security updates to the two prior MacOS releases, suggesting that MacOS Mojave and MacOS High Sierra will likely still receive critical security updates, even now that Catalina has been made available. Accordingly, if you stay on MacOS Mojave or High Sierra, be sure to install those security updates as they become available.
If you do plan on skipping macOS Catalina, you can learn how to hide MacOS Catalina software update from System Preferences here so that it stops showing up as an available update.4: Want to Try Out MacOS Catalina Without a Full Commitment? Consider Dual Booting
Want to dip your toes in and just try out MacOS Catalina to see what’s new, while preserving your primary MacOS installation? You can do this easily with a dual boot environment thanks to the new APFS file systems.
If you aren’t entirely sure you’re ready to commit to upgrading your primary MacOS installation to Catalina, then you can give it a test by dual booting MacOS Catalina and MacOS Mojave (or High Sierra) using APFS volumes as discussed here. You will absolutely want to backup your entire Mac before attempting this procedure.
That particular approach obviously requires an APFS file system, which means you wouldn’t be able to do it with earlier macOS versions.
Ultimately whether or not you update to MacOS Catalina right away, wait, or never update at all, are entirely a matter of personal choice, so do what works for you.
The Apple Watch Series 5 is as much an accessory to my iPhone as it is a personal health and fitness assistant, but despite being an iPhone peripheral by nature, I use a handful of accessories to augment my Apple Watch Series 5 experience. Indeed… insert the ‘we heard you liked accessories, so we put accessories on your accessories…yada, yada, yada’ meme here.
In this piece, I’ll be giving you all a first-hand look at my favorite accessories that I use with my personal Apple Watch Series 5 every day.My favorite accessories for the Apple Watch Series 5 1) Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition
The Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition is an integral component of my accessory collection. It brings the mobile device wireless charging experience all together as Apple once set out to do with the now-cancelled AirPower project.
This product looks as premium as it performs, coated in an unsuspecting space gray finish and topped off with a beautiful leather-covered Qi-enabled wireless charging pad for up to two iPhones (or an iPhone and a pair of AirPods or AirPods Pro), this charger delivers up to 7.5w of power to compatible handsets.
At the rear of the charging dock is a Nightstand Mode-compatible Apple Watch charging puck mounted on a subtle hump, and Nomad even puts a little rubber bumper on the base to keep your Apple Watch’s finish from getting scuffed. Another design feature that we like is the integrated ambient light sensor, which dims the charging LEDs at night.
If I had to list any negatives about this charger, my only gripe would be that the AC adapter is bulky and clunky, causing clearance concerns for some home environments.
You can purchase a Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition from Nomad’s website for $150.2) Speidel Twist-O-Flex Band
Perhaps the most personal Apple Watch Series 5 accessory I use is the one that touches me all day long, and that award goes to the Speidel Twist-O-Flex band, an exquisite stretchy and flexible stainless-steel band that feels great and fits most wrist sizes.
For those unaware, I use the Apple Watch Series 5 Edition in the black titanium finish. Paired with a set of dark Clockwork Synergy-brand lugs, I absolutely love the way that this brushed stainless-steel band pops against Apple’s dark titanium finish, giving it a fancy two-tone appearance.
Speidel is a trusted name in the watch industry, and it was only a few years ago that the company began dabbling with the Apple Watch. When fully contracted, the band looks just like any other solid stainless-steel wrist strap, but the claspless on-and-off process is both convenient and comfortable.
I have little bad to say about this strap as I love using it so much, and if you’re interested in trying one, then it can be had for $60 from Amazon.3) OtterBox EXO EDGE Case
I’m not usually one to use cases with something as personal as my Apple Watch, especially with the robust materials Apple uses in its higher-end smartwatch lineup. On the other hand, my New Year’s resolution was to become more active and to enhance my sleep tracking, both of which pose higher risks for watch damage. For that reason, I turned to OtterBox’s new EXO EDGE case for the Apple Watch.
I’ve tried different Apple Watch cases before, but most felt too bulky, while some felt like they’d pop off too easily. Others simply didn’t have the bezel I wanted to see around the display, which is perhaps the Apple Watch’s most vulnerable surface. Fortunately, the OtterBox EXO EDGE has me covered on all these fronts.
While maintaining good access to the Digital Crown, buttons, microphones, and sensors, this case integrates a proper bezel around the display to prevent screen scuffs, and there’s no chance it’ll be falling off any time soon. The installation process necessitates that you physically remove your Apple Watch strap, and that’s not something I’ll be doing while working out or sleeping.
Despite OtterBox’s reputation for bulkiness, the EXO EDGE doesn’t add that much extra heft to the Apple Watch, and if you’re planning on getting active, especially with the more vulnerable lower-end materials found in the Apple Watch Sport, then I’d definitely recommend giving one a shot.
The OtterBox EXO EDGE Apple Watch case can be purchased from Amazon for $50 with an optional buy-two-get-one-free deal for the family.4) Satechi USB-C Magnetic Charging Dock
When I first laid eyes on Satechi’s new USB-C Magnetic Charging Dock for Apple Watch, I immediately fell in love with it. The dock is almost as small as can be and plugs directly into any USB-C enabled device, including the latest iPad Pro and most modern-day Macs. Obviously, you could plug this into any USB-C enabled power adapter or battery pack as well.
The wire that you see in the photo is nothing more than a USB-C extension cable, and it can be removed from the dock itself on demand. If you have a case on your iPad Pro, or you need more space when using your AC adapter or battery pack, then the cable can come in handy.
Satechi always does a nice job color-matching its products to Apple’s device lineup, and this accessory doesn’t stray from that practice. It works exceedingly well and looks great simultaneously. That said, I have virtually no complaints about this product and I use it frequently.
You can pick up a Satechi USB-C Magnetic Charging Dock from Satechi’s website for $39.99.5) SENA Leather Apple Watch Case
When it’s time to store my Apple Watch Series 5 when not in use, I find putting it inside of my SENA Leather case to be a better solution than just laying the smartwatch on a hard table surface.
Not only does the SENA Leather Apple Watch case integrate a soft, felt-like base for your Apple Watch to sit on, but it integrates with any one of your OEM Apple charging cables to provide a Nightstand Mode-compatible charging solution if you should ever need it on the go.
The lid of this case connects to the base magnetically, and it doubles as a height-increasing stand if you should choose to place it underneath the base instead.
Those interested in grabbing a SENA Leather Apple Watch case for the safe storage of their Apple Watch can snag one from Amazon with Prime shipping for just $30.Conclusion
Apple Watches can be personalized to a high degree, and I find that accessory usage can be just as personal. That said, while these are my favorite accessories to use with the Apple Watch Series 5, I’m sure opinions will vary substantially from person to person.
Also read: My favorite wrist bands for the Apple Watch
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Apple Watch Series 2
The Apple Watch Series 2 will have built-in GPS and be waterproof.
Apple today unveiled the first significant update to its smartwatch hardware: Apple Watch Series 2 is packed with new features targeting outdoor and active lifestyle users.
Most of the new features mentioned during today’s keynote address in San Francisco were specifically geared toward runners, hikers, and swimmers. But those features also have some larger implications for general users.
In addition to the brightest Apple display ever, Apple Watch now has built-in GPS and better tracking for things like monitoring your swim and checking out constellations in the night sky.
It’s waterproof on the same level as most diver’s watches, with a speaker that pushes water out after submersion.
And in addition to all the new features, it comes in ceramic now:
There’s also a runner-specific Apple Watch partnered with Nike. The Apple Watch Nike Plus:
Apple Watch Nike+
Apple Watch Nike+ makes you a better runner.
It has tons of features to encourage you to run more, run smarter, join running meet-ups, and comes in four colors.
Both products will be priced at $369, Series 2 will be available this month and Nike+ in October. Oh, and if you want a cheaper option, the original Apple Watch “Series One” will get the new processor as an upgrade and retail for $269.
And, perhaps most importantly of all for some potential wearers: Pokémon Go is coming to the Apple Watch with a special app designed to let you hatch Pokémon eggs on the go.
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