Scroll through any tech news and rumors site these days, and you will be inundated with Apple coverage. Everyone wants to talk about the new AirPods and Apple News+ and the Apple Card and everything else the behemoth tech company announced at their Apple Special Event last week. But if you read one of those articles, you will have read them all – a lot of speculation, a lot of talking points and, especially in the case of Apple News+, a lot of derogatory information. (Apple News+ represents a direct threat to tech reporters’ employers and ultimately their livelihoods).
That coverage is all well and good if you are an Apple fanboy – someone who HAS to know about the latest and greatest Steve Jobs’ old brainchild has to offer. But what if you are a regular old consumer? What if you are someone who still rocks the iPhone 6 and has yet to make the jump to a smartwatch. This article is for those people. Because I am one of those people.
In the past two months, I made two separate (but related) Apple purchases. First, I got an Apple Watch Series 4. I did not want an Apple Watch, mind you. I liked my classic Bulova. I’ve sneered at digital watches since I was a child. And what is an Apple Watch but a digital watch made cool? But I got a deal, and with my Bulova needing a new battery, I decided I would at least try it out.
If my immediate experience with the Apple Watch wasn’t disappointing, it was only because of how low my expectations really were. The thing just flat out did not work. I followed all of the instructions, downloaded the app on my phone, turned it on and off about half a dozen times. Nothing. Ok, sure, it told time. And I suppose it looked cool. But it could not make or receive calls. It sometimes could send text messages but usually couldn’t. It began to seem like a giant waste of money.
Indefatigable as I am, I was determined not to give up. I scoured the internet for reasons that my Apple Watch might not work as expected. The only thing I could reasonably come up with was that my phone was too old.
Apple’s website claims that the Apple Watch Series 4 will work with iPhones 6 or later. I had an iPhone 6S, so my watch should have been compatible. Could it be that Apple was not entirely truthful? Maybe they wanted schmucks like me to think they could get away with spending $400 for a new watch without simultaneously shelling out $700 for a new phone.
Turns out, that is exactly what happened. While Apple may not have been completely mendacious when claiming the Series 4 “works” with the iPhone 6, the assertion is clearly misleading. If you want your Apple Watch to perform the primary function of an Apple Watch – namely, sit on your wrist and show other people that you own an Apple Watch – then an iPhone 6 is perfectly suitable. If you want it to perform all of the advertised secondary functions, then you need a newer model.
So, I did it. In what turned out to be more of a necessity than I had ever imagined, I bought an iPhone XR, hopeful that the upgrade would solve my Apple Watch problems. And you know what? It did. Since getting the iPhone XR, I have no complaints about any piece of Apple tech I own. The watch excels at making and especially taking calls. (I had never answered a phone call from the golf course before). Another feature I like is that I can control the music on my phone when it is plugged in to an audio jack on the other side of the room. (The downside here being that I needed to buy a special Apple-sanctioned adapter in order to be able to even play such music anymore).
Long story short: I do recommend the Apple Watch Series 4 for any traditional watch wearers considering making the leap. But caveat emptor, depending on what is in your pocket, it may end up costing you hundreds more than expected.
Why MKBHD Doesn’t Like The RAZR
Marques Brownlee, aka YouTube’s MKBHD, has a job most of us would kill for. He hobnobs with the world’s plutocrats, he gets a first-hand look at cutting-edge products, and pretty much every piece of tech he owns he gets for free.
However, maybe the job isn’t as easy as it looks. Sometimes a company may send him a $1500 product free of charge, but the product is one that he does not particularly care for. It is still his duty to share this take with his millions of fans on the Internet.
This is the case with the new Foldable Moto RAZR, which has a foldable screen and is meant to resemble the original Motorola RAZR from two decades ago. Unlike many other tech reviewers, MKBHD is not a fan of the new RAZR. He admits that this may be because he lacks the nostalgia that is this phone’s sole raison d’etre. (Even for tech reviewers, Brownlee is on the younger side, and it is entirely possible that he never owned a Motorola RAZR back in its initial run).
His main complaint, related to the aforementioned absence of nostalgia, is with the phone’s shape. He finds it unnecessary to fold a phone with a 6.2-inch screen, since that size phone would already fit into your pocket without being folded in half. He would rather a phone with a foldable screen to be double the size.
As Brownlee puts it, he is unsure if this “form factor is even a good idea to begin with.” What do you think? Is he right? Let us know in the comments.
Do You Really Need An AI-Powered Toothbrush?
Never doubt the power of technology to make simple things complicated. As we examine trends likely to define the year 2020 in tech, a few commonalities stand out to us. One such indicator points to an upcoming boom in “AI-powered toothbrushes.” Out with your regular old electric toothbrush and in with its “machine learning” successor. Why anyone needs such a thing remains to be seen.
Multiple brands are attempting to either create or co-opt this advancement in oral hygiene technology. At CES in Las Vegas earlier this month, Oral-B made the biggest splash. Turns out Oral-B already makes an AI-powered toothbrush, called the Genius X, which hit the market in late 2019. In Vegas, Oral-B unveiled a new model, the iO, which claims to improve the mapping of the interior your mouth, so it can give you a numerical answer to the question of what areas you are skimping on. Like the Genius X before it, Oral-B’s iO has received fawning coverage by tech bloggers. Still, we can’t imagine spending upward of $200 for a toothbrush, since you can get a toothbrush at CVS for all of $4 (and even an electric one on Amazon for about $50).
Oral hygiene is important, and it is almost certainly true that most of us do not do a good enough job taking care of our teeth and gums. But if I had to venture a guess, I’d say the people most likely to pay $200 for a toothbrush are the ones who do already care about their oral health, making them the least likely to need such a product. This in turn makes the iO and other AI advancements in the industry naught more than a gimmick. You don’t need an AI toothbrush any more than you need Charmin’s new toilet paper robot.
Whether you get Oral-B’s new iO toothbrush when it is released later this year depends on if you have $200 burning a hole in your pocket. If you do, then go for it; it’s not as if it is going to make your brushing experience any worse. Just do not expect some sort of savior in toothbrush form. Like a dollar store toothbrush, an AI-powered toothbrush requires you to use it and use it right. At the end of the day, that is up to you and you alone.
WATCH: Unbox Therapy Gets A Sneak Peak Of The Motorola Razr
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même. Here we are, in the year 2020, and the cutting edge piece of phone technology is a Motorola Razr. Like the one you probably owned as a much younger person, this new Motorola Razr is a flip phone that folds open and closed. However, unlike the original, the screen itself is now foldable, bringing the old Razr model up-to-date as a modern smartphone.
The Motorola Razr is not available for purchase yet, but some influencers have already got their hands on one. For example, take a look at Lew’s experience with the new phone over at Unbox Therapy:
As you can see, the big takeaway from the new Motorola Razr is just how slender it is. Lew is amazed at how such a little device can be so powerful and hold so much information. As he says at the video’s conclusion, this is “the future in your pocket.”
If you are thinking about getting the new Motorola Razr when it hits the shelves, there are a few things you need to know. For one, at least to start, the phone will be Verizon-exclusive in the United States. Oh, and perhaps most importantly, it will set you back $1,500. If that seems like a lot, you must remember that it’s main competitor in the foldable screen space, the Samsung Galaxy Fold, goes for nearly $2,000. The Huawei Mate X, for it’s part, is not even available in America.
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