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I Finally Got An Apple Watch, And I Love It (With One Caveat)

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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.  

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Moxie The ‘Social Support’ Robot Is Super Creepy

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Embodied/YouTube

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article reporting on new robots specifically designed to entertain children during the pandemic. Specifically, it talked about two companies, whose offerings are on the complete opposite spectrum in terms of price.

On the low end, you have Purrble, a lovable looking stuffed animal “with a heartbeat.” In a video on their website, the creators of Purrble talk a lot of child psychology mumbo-jumbo to the effect that Purrbles help kids control their emotions and regulate their behaviors. This might well be true, but it does not take away from the fact that Purrbles are really the latest in a long line of “life-like” toys from the Cabbage Patch Kids to Hatchimals. Even their name is reminiscent of the Furby. At $50, it is relatively fairly priced for a child’s toy, and its attempt to sell itself as a “social support” device is relatively harmless.

Then there is Moxie. Moxie retails at $1500. The introductory video that Embodied, the company that makes Moxie, has on its website is straight-up one of the most dystopian things I’ve seen in my life:

According to the Wall Street Journal, Moxie is “a robot recommended for kids ages 5 to 10 that speaks in a childlike voice, remembers what it learns from prior conversations, and provides what eerily resembles human empathy.” My initial thought upon seeing Moxie in action was to the “Black Mirror “episode “Ashley Too,” in which a Moxie-like robot for teens is voiced by Miley Cyrus. Check out this clip:

See what I mean?

In a sendup of prescription drug ads that are legally required to quickly disclaim their antidepressants may lead to suicidal intentions, the “Black Mirror” faux ad for the Ashley Too notes “Ashley Too may perpetuate loneliness. Not to be used as an authentic companion.”

Should the same be said about Moxie?

This same thought occurred to Julie Jargon, the Journal reporter, who poses the question: “Is there a possibility that these new robots could end up being too effective, causing kids to prefer robots to people?”

This question was waved away by Embodied’s CEO, who noted that Moxie shuts down automatically if a child tries to use it for more than two hours a day.

But what does “shuts down automatically” mean? Does that mean that Moxie can’t be turned on again until some probationary period has elapsed? Or is it like a hot tub, which for safety reasons has to shut off after 20 minutes, but which everyone just turns on again anyway? Furthermore, two hours is a long time! Surely it is the job of a parent to come up with productive and educational ways to occupy their children and not outsource the work to some tech nerds.

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Why Is The iPhone 12 So Small?

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YouTube/Unbox therapy

In many ways, Apple is the Ford Motor Company of our times. Like Henry Ford with the automobile, Steve Jobs did not invent the cell phone, but he standardized it and popularized it in such a way that ended up dominating both the marketplace and public imagination. And I can think of no better exemplar of the old Ford saw “You can have any color you want, as long as it’s black” than the iPhone, which changes year after year with little apparent consideration given to consumer desires. The main difference between 20th century Ford and 21st century Apple is that the former actually employed Americans to make its products (though not for lack of trying to offshore, as evidenced by industrialist’s failed attempt to move some operations to “Fordlandia” in the heart of Brazil).

Apple is changing things up on us again, whether we like it or not. After years of trying to convince us that what we needed were bigger, sleeker smartphones, Apple is returning to its roots with the iPhone 12. Unbox Therapy got its hands on a model of the next version of the iPhone, and it looks like an iPhone 4. Yes, it has some major improvements, including the larger screen-to-body ratio we’ve all become accustomed to, but the box-shaped form factor is back.

Check out the video below and let us know what you think in the comments:

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With The Nebula Capsule, Movie Night Has Never Been Easier

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Amazon

For years, my family owned a DBPower projector. We’ve long been fans of outdoor movie nights, especially during the summertime, and for better or for worse, we relied on DBPower to get the job done.

Sadly, it was mostly for worse. I was the one responsible for getting the movie queued up and ready to go, and it was an absolute nightmare. I would have to start the setup process nearly two hours before it was due to get dark; that’s how long it would take to get the machine to function.

At the end of the day, the DBPower projector did always function, but it would take several reboots, several times plugging it and unplugging it (both from the wall and from the HDMI source computer) and a lot of smashing buttons on the remote that rarely worked. Then when it was finally up and running (often still without sound), the picture quality was very poor. And don’t even get me started on adjusting the distance.

When it became clear that there would be few pleasures allowed this summer save the ones you can create in your own backyard, I realized it was time for an upgrade. I decided to invest in the Nebula Capsule, made by Anker. Nearly $200 pricier than DBPower’s models, the Nebula Capsule is worth every penny. It is by far the simplest projector system I have ever used.

One of the biggest selling point of the Nebula Capsule is its size. Most projectors on Amazon are shaped like DBPower’s: big and bulky, about the size of a VCR (remember those?). The Nebula Capsule, as it boasts in its product description, is the size of a soda can. You could easily carry the thing around in your pocket if you had somewhere to go.

Turns out, you actually might want to! The Nebula Capsule maintains a 4-hour charge, so you can take it with you and use it without it even being plugged in. The picture is clear and easy to adjust, whether you need to fit it to a movie screen or your bedroom ceiling.

Where the Nebula Capsule falters is in accessing content. The device very easily connects via HDMI, USB and even AirPlay to your laptop or smartphone. That’s how I’ve been using it, and I’ve been very content. However, it does claim to give you access to streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu and YouTube without having to plug anything in. Turns out it is not so straightforward. True, the first time you turn on your Nebula Capsule you will see those apps on the display. But you have to download the Capsule app on your smartphone to log into them, and even that is liable to yield an error message. Save yourself the effort by using a cable instead.

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