Reviews

Review: ETA drives speedy directions and traffic prediction to Apple Watch

Want to get somewhere quickly — and know how long it will take you? ETA's on the job.

At the beginning of this year, my roller derby league moved their practice space north of Boston, changing my five-minute commute to somewhere in the 55-minute vicinity. Boston is notorious for its rush hour traffic, and our move meant that for the first time, my naive work-at-home self was routinely stuck in it.

Lucky for me, I had ETA.

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Tweetbot 2.0 for Mac brings Tapbots' signature look into the age of Yosemite

It's clean, it's crisp, and you better believe Tweetbot 2.0 for Mac is vibrant!

The transition from the old, richly textured look of Apple software to the current, more physical age meant a lot of designers and apps had to figure out how to translate their personality from rendered pixels to physics and animation. Tapbots and designer Mark Jardine had among the most distinctive styles of the previous era. Tweetbot 3 for iPhone showed that his skills were every bit as fierce in the post iOS-era. So how do they hold up post-Yosemite?

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Classic Buckle band for Apple Watch review

The Classic Buckle for the 38mm and 42mm Apple Watch is made of Dutch leather from the ECCO tannery in the Netherlands, and is a refreshingly new take on tradition.

I didn't order the Classic Buckle for Apple Watch the same time as I ordered the Watch itself and the Leather Loop. I ordered it later, when I was at the try-ons, and I was speaking to one of the Apple reps about it. I'd almost dismissed it before then. The Link Bracelet was going to be my classic strap, after all, and the loop, my leather. But we got to talking, then trying, and then liking... From there it was one tiny step to ordering.

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Fantastical comes to Apple Watch — with reminders!

Fantastical by Flexibits is the calendar app I use on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

I'm typically a default app kind of person, but Fantastical makes entering and finding appointments so much faster and better than the default calendar app, it overcame my usual bias. So now that Fantastical has made the leap to the Apple Watch, will I leap to it there as well?

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Link Bracelet band for Apple Watch review

The Link Bracelet for the 38mm and 42mm Apple Watch is made from 316L stainless steel alloy and can be easily re-sized, no jeweler or tools required.

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Soundfreaq Pocket Kick Review: Nothing pint-sized about the sound of this speaker

Are you looking for a pint-sized speaker with gallons of sound? Time to get your Soundfreaq on.

Portable Bluetooth speakers are a dime-a-dozen these days, which makes differentiating them even more difficult. At a reader's behest, I recently checked out Soundfreaq's offerings; their Pocket Kick is an impressive speaker that's truly small enough to fit in your pocket.

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Leather Loop band for Apple Watch review

The Leather Loop band for the 42mm Apple Watch is made of quilted Venezia leather from Arzignano, Italy, and has a magnetic closure, making it both comfortable and endlessly adjustable.

I ordered the black version of the Leather Loop the same time I ordered my Black Steel Apple Watch. I just loved the way it looked at the Apple events and was eager to try it out. The Loop arrived a couple of weeks before my watch, but I had a stainless steel review unit, so it gave me a chance to try that pairing first. Since then I've been wearing the Leather Loop, off and on, for almost a month now and under a wide variety of circumstances. So, how's it holding up?

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Jumpstart your creative writing with Haven for Mac

If you suffer from writer's block or just want to try a different approach to writing, you might want to give Haven a try.

Text editors and word processors for the Mac abound, but Haven is different. Pitched as "a creative writing tool," Haven offers a meditative and immersive environment to help your ideas flourish. It gives you inspiration and insight when you need them and gets out of your way when you don't.

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Review: Fugoo blasts other Bluetooth speakers out of the water

Waterproof, dustproof, portable, and classy: Fugoo is a fantastic Bluetooth speaker for your indoor and outdoor needs.

The $179 Fugoo speaker and I were first introduced back in January, when, during a tradeshow, I heard the boom of Taylor Swift's Shake It Off, a splash, then an exclamation: "It's playing underwater!"

When I turned to look, I found a member of Fugoo's staff smiling and chatting with the aforementioned exclaimer. Both stood around a large fish tank, where several other staff members were dunking active Fugoo speakers, then tossing them on the floor with abandon. On an otherwise sleepy day, the booth was a beacon of sound and life.

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Apple Watch: The definitive review

Apple's attempt to bring the watch into the computer age — and computing into the age of wearables.

We've seen it countless times: A starship reaches orbit, then launches a smaller ship. Enterprise. Executor. Galactica. They're meant for the bigger jobs, the longer jobs, the harder jobs. But the small jobs — the brief yet important ones — are better left to something lighter and more agile. So too, the iPhone and the Apple Watch.

The Apple Watch, however, isn't just a smaller, lighter, more wearable iPhone. With the iPhone, Apple sought to emphasize the mobile computer. With the Apple Watch, the company has chosen to focus on the watch.

This reflects the reality of how we've traditionally worn technology on our wrists — from mechanical to digital, from chronograph to calculator. By incorporating all the benefits of modern mobile computing, including communications and control, tracking and payments, it gives us more: It gives us our dreams.

We've read and watched them since childhood. Dick Tracy. Michael Knight. James Bond. They've been in the pages of our comics, and on our TV sets and movie screens, tantalizing us with just exactly those features.

That makes the Apple Watch a unique challenge. To succeed it needs to balance both past and future, tradition and technology, expectations and power efficiency. It needs to satisfy both reality and our dreams. So, does it?

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