Watch OS 3 – The Watch OS we’ve been waiting for?

So now we know Apples plans for the watch for the fall thanks to the recent WWDC event. Just in case you missed it here’s the round up from WWDC

Apple really feels that people who are using Apple watch love it, particularly for quick glances, information and quick interactions and have taken heed of the frustrations of launching an app and waiting. In their own words “our top focus is performance.”

Looking at the demonstrations, yes carefully coreographed, but again when Kevin P said

We’ve made optimizations across the entire system including a serious acceleration in app launch time. Your app should actually respond instantly. The information you look at should be updated before you go look so it’s ready the instant that you are, so you are not waiting.

Almost all agree that those waiting times have been the achilles heel of the Apple watch. In this age of uber responsiveness across product offerings, Apple Watch has almost been an embarrassment. Taking a look at these

In watch OS/3 your favorite apps can respond instantly. So let’s take a look. We are going to accomplish this by keeping your favorite apps in memory, we are going to support background updates of data and refresh the information so it’s ready the instant that you are and then we support quickly launching these apps interacting with them.

This is going to work for both the built in apps and third-party apps. Let’s take a look at an example this is watch OS/2 and were going to look at an app called 1Football. We’re going to launch it from the complication in the bottom left and were going to see how long it takes.

So here we are launching the app, takes a few seconds the launch and then once it launches it loads some data and it updates there we go. So that is pretty typical example on watch OS/2.

Now to take a look at 1Football launching in watch OS/3 are you guys ready? Dont blink

Thats it! That example is about seven times faster but it feels like a million times faster.
So we made it really easy to access your favorite apps you can just press the side button below the crown to show we called the dock. You can choose which apps go here and you can quickly scroll through them. The apps are now both collapsible and interactive rather than separate concepts and this is a dramatic improvement in how it feels to use the watch.

So this increase performance allowed us to have access to have access to our favorite apps quickly we want to be able to access them anywhere to be using the side button and get to them easily.

Another key design goal we had was to make the watch feel more familiar and so we’ve done with the watch face now we have added control center. You to swipe up from the bottom, just like on iOS, and very familiar. This is a giant improvement in how it feels to use apps and to navigate the watch very simply and easily in watch OS/3.

Weve also made it more powerful powerful to reply to messages. So now when you receive a message you can see the ways to respond right there we’ve removed the step you don’t to actually have to press replied just pick the way you would like to reply. If you just scroll down you’ll see your smart replies right below the message so you can tap to reply in less than a second.

Introducing Scribble

Now sometimes you don’t see exactly the response you like and you are not in where you can use dictation so wouldn’t it be great if you could just write your message on the watch. Were introducing a new way to do that with something that we call scribble.

With scribble you have a new way to respond just by writing what you like on the screen you can just quickly draw the letters for your message right there like writing something like Starbucks. You can see the letters go right on top of each other. So it’s a great new way to respond with just a response that you link on your watch.

More Watch Faces

Now the watch face is great for quick looks and it reflects your style and it’s also the character of the device Now we have had Mickey as a fun watch face that I like to use on weekends but I know my daughters gonna love this as Minni is coming to the watch now.

Of course you can choose from a variety of colors for her outfit that match bands perfectly.

Activity and Numerals Watch Faces

One of the most frequent things people do is look at their activity rings were adding a new watch space specifically for that called activity. It’s a great beautiful way to see your rings throughout the day.

It comes not only in the analog version but also really nice chronograph version and a digital version. So a super good way for looking at your progress during the day.

We’ve also added a really simple new face that we call ‘numerals’ which is very beautiful and the hours actually go around the dial during the day and you can choose from a variety of fonts that match your style, so a really simple new watch space called numerals.

Now there’s a lot of watch faces to choose from and finding the people are actually switching between faces for different occasions so were going to make that super easy. You can now just swipe to switch the face you like to use and you can choose which faces you like and how there configured so you can easily get to them.

We’ve also added the ability to add more complications to faces like the weather here on the photos face. So now really simple to navigate and use your watch faces.

SoS on Apple Watch.

It’s so exciting to achieve this new level of performance on the watch and were finding the people who are wearing Apple Watch wear it all the time this. This opens up some new great ways that we can help in one of these is actually getting help in critical situations just by pushing a button that’s actually on you.

You might be a having a medical emergency for example or a safety situation and were going to be able help with that with SOS on the watch adn were going to make it easy to call for help.

To activate it you just press and hold the side button, it’s going to count down to let you know it’s calling 911 and then you’re going to be a live call with the emergency services right on your watch. This works either as a cellular call via your iPhone or directly from the watch if you’re connected to Wi-Fi.

After done talking on the on the phones emergency services the watch will automatically notify your emergency contacts and send them a message. The message also will include a map of your current location they know where you are they can coordinate with each other.

After sending the message your watch will actually now show your medical ID which is also a new feature in and watch OS. It has things like for example your age and allergies and other information you like to put there.

SOS works not only just in the US but works internationally. So for example you might be traveling to someplace like Hong Kong and you might not know the emergency number to the call but your Apple watch does. So in this case it calls 991.

So this is an emergency feature that isn’t one that you’ll use often but when you need it it’s gonna be there and that’s SOS.

Enhanced Activity and Workout

Now one of the primary reasons people are wearing the watch today is for fitness and health and were enhancing the activity and workout apps and were adding a new app that we think you’re going to love.

Breathe.

Breathe is really terrific I was actually using the breathe app backstage to help me a bit. So watch OS/3 is a giant step forward for you as developers. When someone adds your app to dock or to the watch face it benefits from all the instant launch experience that we are showing and you get background time to update your information before someone goes and looks and that will enable really quick interactions with your app on the watch.

You can already build apps that are native to watch thatcan run independent of iPhone but we are also adding a number of new APIs you can take advantage of when you’re building apps for the watch.

Apple Pay Within Watch Apps

One of those is support now for Apple paid within your app on the watch CD purchases right there within their apps

Fitness Apps Can Access Real Time Data

Fitness Apple now be able to run the background during workouts enabling access to real-time heart rate information and motion data. This is going to enable a whole new category fitness apps on the watch.

Sprite and Scene Kit On Apple Watch

Also were enabling a much richer and expressive apps in watch OS including support for sprite kit and scene kit also native event support from the crown and for touch gestures. you can find a good audio video can be embedded right inside your app UI and connect across devices with game center and cloud kit.

So we are really excited about what new apps now can be created on watch and they’re going to be amazing . This is a great new opportunity for all of you.

The preview release for you is available today so you can get going. The free upgrade is coming to all watch users this fall and its going to like a whole new watch that’s just some of what’s coming and watch OS.

Eddy Cue On The Future Of Apple tvOS

So let’s talk about tvOS and Apple TV. Last fall we introduce the next generation of Apple TV and for the first time developers had a modern platform like iOS to develop for in the living room.

We said the future of TV’s apps and the response to Apple TV has been incredible here is what Chris Albrecht the CEO stars had to say

“tvOS has allowed stars to create an experience on Apple TV unlike anything we’ve done before and our subscribers are loving it”

here’s what the CEO of BoomBit a very popular iOS game developer had to say

“we easily extended our iOS game experience to the living room – something that is incredibly difficult to do on traditional consoles”

Our last generation Apple TV had 80 video channels and thanks to many of you we now have over 1300 video channels and we have over 6000 native apps in just seven months and I’ve got some new apps to tell you about

More Stations and Channels For Apple TV

First sling which offers a great selection of live cable channels is coming to Apple TV today. Fox sports go I’m a huge sports fan four sport games all at the same time on one screen coming this summer to Apple TV.

Molotov a revolutionary new TV service in France with over 100 live channels, video on demand exclusively on iOS and Apple TV coming next month.

Great sports games like NBA 2K, adventure games like mine craft story mode and sketch party use your iPhone or iPad to draw and then you sit around the TV to guess it’s a lot of fun do this with your group of friends.

Apple TV remote App

Now we got great updates to tell you about for tvOS and let me start with the Apple TV remote app. Apple TV comes with incredible Siri remote, it uses touch for navigation, Siri to tell it what you want to watch and motion to play games but a lot of our customers have told us that they would love an app on their iPhone that had all the same capabilities and so were making a new version of the remote app.

This is what it looks like it’s got a beautiful now playing screen with playback controls but most importantly all the features of the Siri remote. You have touch for navigation, Siri to give it commands and uses the accelerometer and gyroscope to play games. Of course you can enter text with the keyboard.

Next let’s talk about Siri. Siri changes the way we interact with our television because now we just tell it what we want to watch and were making it even better because now you can search movies by topics.

Now my daughter is actually going to high school this fall and I remember back when I went to high school, been a while, there’s some great movies but I’d love to watch with her and now Siri makes this really easy because I can just say high school comedies from the 80s and there are some of my favorites I have actually watched them all.

Let’s take a look at Ferris Bueller’s Day off and with just one tap we can start watching. Now Siri actually searches over 650,000 movies and TV shows now but what about YouTube?

Well that’s easy to do because now you just ask Siri “Search YouTube for Steph Curry’s three-pointers” Siri launches YouTube and shows you the results but a big part of your TV experience is live channels

We got some great channels on Apple TV like ABC, CBS, FX a lot more than give you wide channels but to start watching you gotta find the app you launch it and then you gotta find the channel. We got a great new feature called live tuning and all you have to do is say “watch ESPN 2” and you’re taken straight to the action.

This is already working with a lot of great channels and were making wide tuning available on both your iPad and Apple TV as well.

Single Sign On

One problem with this is let’s be honest, when you go in and you watch a video channel app for the first time you get something like this and you gotta go find a browser, authenticate with a code and then authenticate your TV provider. Well we are going to make this change a little bit but it’s worst because you got to do it for each and every app and now to make it all go away with a feature we call single sign.

Sign in once on your Apple you get access to all of your network apps and we make it even better, a page on the app store will show you all of the apps that you now have access to and of course for bringing the IOS as well.

Apple TV Dark Mode

In addition to single sign I have some other great updates. Apple TV looks beautiful their times were you wish it was darker because you are in a home theater or dark room and now that’s really easy as you can just switch to dark.

We want to make it even easier for customers to get your apps and so just like when you download an app on your iPhone it automatically downloads to your Apple TV and now automatically downloads to your Apple TV and the this is really great,

Im going to show so I get the major-league baseball app on my iPhone you do nothing and there it is right on your Apple TV. Now there has never been a better time for all of you to build apps for the big screen we got some great new features for you as well

Replay Kit For AppleTV

First of all replay kit where you can live broadcast your gameplay or save the video to share it later.

PhotoKit For Apple TV

Photokit gives you access to your complete iCloud photo library, all the videos all the photos

HomeKit

Where you can create apps to control all the devices in your own at home

and that’s just some of the many features we got things like support for four game controllers, multiplayer game sessions and a lot more

That is a quick update to the tvOS a new Apple TV remote app, great Siri enhancements with topic search, YouTube and live tuning, obviously single sign on so now you get access to all your network apps and great tools for developers

All of you will get a developer preview today. I can’t wait to see all of the apps you start building and our customers will get it this fall and that is tvOS

Decoding The WWDC 2016 invite / Predictions

With only hours to go before WWDC, which just happens to be 30 minutes after Microsoft are doing their E3 announcement, here is our stab at decoding the invite sent to developers

Hello love at first swipe. 

Mark: An update to the lock screen. More information, maybe a more notification style view like you get from swiping down from the top on the home screen? although that might be contradictory with Apple’s your data is private mantra.

Serenak: Some other sort of swiping API? The ability to create “gesture commands” from shaped swipes perhaps?

Karl: Apple is getting into Tinder territory? 

Hello other side of the road

Mark : This could be a sign of iMessage coming to Android maybe?

Serenak : Some form of peer to peer messages. I am thinking both Android and based on some sort of iDrop type technology

Karl: Other side of the road? It’s official! The Apple Car will be unveiled…or Apple Streeview. 

Hello yogi on my wrist. 

Mark : If that isn’t a hint towards more Apple watch faces I don’t know what is. Perhaps Apple has a licensing deal with Hanna Barbera?

Serenak : A yogi is also a practitioner of Yoga… and yoga is about more than just all them “tantric positions” – there is a lot of that “if a tree falls in the forest” stuff too…”. Or perhaps a stream of inspirational stuff messaged to you?

Karl: Your Watch will nag you even more to stand up, except now it will say stand up, walk about, eat more kale, do star jumps and loose some damn weight fatty.

Serenak: Ha ha – no it will demand you assume the Tiger Stance / Now the Crane / And Relax….or perhaps make you sit on a bed of nails 😀

Hello driver, fast as you can.

Mark : Baked in Uber commands. Wonder if this will extend to other cab companies such as in London. Here’s hoping for a worldwide roll out and not just USA only. Also it will translate english into the native language of the Uber driver so it knows there the heck I am.

Karl: Apple Maps with realtime traffic updates like Waze…or a native get-away driver app

Serenak: Something more advanced for the Apple Auto Mode? I like Karl’s idea

Hello workout in my living room.

Mark: Improved fitness tracking. In the far flung reaches of my mind something on the Apple TV (apps) where you can work out to and the Apple watch will gather some stats.

Karl: Mandatory monitored fitness regime. We no longer want fat people using our thin products…’Yeah, we ARE looking at you Madden’

Hello every pitch, every highlight.

Mark : Say hello to a tie in with the MLB coming to your watch. Perhaps you will receive instant notifications with a more video / interative twist that won’t require your iOS device, just a working internet connection. Failing that what about real time Darts updates when someone bangs in a 180?

Karl: Watching all the sports highlights you want. I hope they include THE ENGLISH TIDDLYWINKS ASSOCIATION

Serenak: It will be a live stream of SharkTank / Dragon’s Den… once you sign in you find there is not any “I’m OUT” button 😀

Hello selfcombusting selfies.

Mark: Say hello to sherlocking (part 1) the idea from SnapChat.

Karl: It may be too late for Anthony Weiner but this selfie will selfie-destruct in 5…4…3…2…1…pfft.

Hello double tap heart.

Mark: Can anyone remember how to use the Tap the screen and send it to someone feature?

Karl: built in defibrillator that following a double tap will use all remaining iPhone power to give a bit of a jolt…or double tapping a photo means you really, reeeeeeaaallly like it.

Hello rain in five minutes.

Mark: Say hello to sherlocking (part 2) of Dark Skies coming to Apple watch but more baked in. Localised weather is great providing that it’s not just for the USA as normal to start with.

Karl: updates to the Weather app to make it more real time…or just predicting rain every five minutes for UK users, as it will probably be spot on 90% of the time.

Serenak: Either it is sherlocking Dark Skies et al or Karl’s nailed it – either that or Apple have created weather control and you can order your own weather in advance 😀

Hello 6 seconds of fame.

Mark : I’ll take a pass on this unless we’re back to snapchatting.

Serenak : Vine type video service. who says it has to be to the Watch? I am thinking some sort of 6 second video thing tied into maybe iMessages?

Karl: Because 15 minutes was just too long dammit.

Serenak: Even Andy Warhol admitted that 15 minutes was probably a massive over estimation before he died

Hello big idea.

Mark : Sharing and collaborative working? Will Swift get a new dev environment to work within?

Serenak: What if “Big Idea” is more like the “one more thing” and is actually a BIG IDEA unfortunately I am not Jony Ive or TC so I have no idea what that might be

Karl: Because there are no small ideas, just small actors…no, wait.

Why is it rumoured that the new OS will be called Fuji? That’s not in California… and if they only managed 3 in that series that’s a bit pants boys and girls… 
 

Essential Apple PodCast 006 : Mark’s 1Revelation.

We were going to go WWDC prediction bonkers but just before going live Apple announced the subscription plans for the App store. So we talk about that, Mark Gurman, press expectations, our expectations, worth a chirp and some interesting listener comments.

After yet another password breach where some lucky soul thought they bagged themselves a Amazon Prime subscription, it was finally time to put 1Password through it’s paces. The end result.. Just get it because it turns out I’m not the only fan of it on the show.

  • Thanks to the TechFan and MyMac Podcast for the mention.
  • Marking Gurman on a grade. We discuss (sort of) his past and present predictions.
  • WWDC what are we most looking forward to and hoping for.

Nemos Hardware Store takes a look at the Adata i-Memory SDXC card which adds some serious storage to those Macbook Airs (and other Macs). If you’re interested in this or anything else on Amazon please consider using our affiliate link.

Thanks to all of the listeners from our Facebook, Google + and Twitter accounts who gave us some feedback and some challenging stories to get through. Check out Karls YouTube video on how to leave iTunes feedback.

Worth A Chirp

Barry : istopmotion3 by Boinx – Mac App Store£39.99

Karl : DeadPool £9.99 in iTunes

Matt: Pythonista – £7.99 http://omz-software.com/pythonista/Mac App Store

Mark : 1Password for iPhone / iPad / Mac / Windows.
Prodigy Medley: Jericho / Out of Space / No Good –
Hackney Colliery Ban
 


How to listen and share the show

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If you like the essential apple show please do help spread the word. It’s always nice to hear voices from the vast expanse of the Internet’s.  

 

Third-Party Apple Watch Straps That Won’t Break The Bank

I love my Apple Watch. There, I said it. The device has had many detractors since it was first announced, some of them reasonable and some not. Personally it is the best watch I have ever owned. The two main reasons being Apple Pay and notifications. Obviously all of its other functions are also valuable, but these two features really make the device invaluable for me.

Another handy aspect of the Apple Watch is the ability to customise it. Not only the face, complications and the array of apps available for installation, but also the ever growing number of Apple Watch straps. These have been steadily increasing with ever more brands, especially high fashion designers, creating bands, with Apple itself recently announcing a new line of Woven Nylon straps.

As with most items Apple sells the cost can sometimes be prohibitive if you are looking at acquiring a fairly large collection of straps to fit your various moods or occasions. Fortunately, as with iPhone and iPad assesories, there is a thriving third-party market that offers some excellent alternatives without threatening your bank balance excessively.

Elobeth Apple Watch Band The Extra Long Genuine Leather Band Double Tour Bracelet Leather Watchband for Apple iWatch (42mm, Blue) – £29.88

  <a href="http://geni.us/7OdBKcu"  target="_blank" ><img src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/57388caab09f95c3fbe348ae/5738974dc2ea512278cd96c8/575be3bb3c44d8eebe902a2e/1465639961412//img.jpg" alt=""/></a>

I must admit I had never even heard of a Double Tour strap let alone ever seen one before the new Apple Watch straps from Hermes were revealed. The official Apple Watch Hemés Double Tour is only available for the 38mm version and is priced at £420 (no, that’s not a typo). It is hand made by artisans in Paris and so it is probably not that surprising to have such a price tag attached.

Fortunately a quick search an Amazon reveals a number of ‘faux-party’ alternatives, which are available for both sizes of the Apple Watch. Although these probably do not have the same soft leather feel of the original they still serve their function and look pretty stylish once double wrapped around your wrist. I had originally thought double tour was strictly a female style but a quick search on Google revealed a number of male versions.

It was a little odd initially wrapping the strap twice around my wrist and it took a few tries before I felt comfortable performing the seemingly easy operation. As with most leather third-party straps they are initially pretty unforgiving and seem to want to retain their inherent stiffness, but a few sessions of wearing them in soon combats this resilience.

The strap does indeed look elegant and stylish. Although I went for a blue option I think I’ll be purchasing another in either black or brown leather very shortly… Again, at a price that won’t make my debit card cry.

Apple Watch Band – Trop Saint® Genuine Leather Strap with Stainless Steel Closure Replacement Band for Apple Watch (42mm) All Models – Brown – £17.95

  <a href="http://geni.us/TropSaint"  target="_blank" ><img src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/57388caab09f95c3fbe348ae/5738974dc2ea512278cd96c8/575be4be27d4bd874f37b799/1465640144582//img.jpg" alt=""/></a>

If your preferred style is more tilted towards the classic leather watch strap then this elegant looking strap may be for you. Although the quality of leather may be nowhere near the standard provided by the official Apple Watch straps neither is the price.

The strap feels very stiff and unforgiving initially but it soon softens with use and time to become very comfortable on the wrist. This is probably the most basic strap I purchased during my buying sessions over the past year. I tend not to wear it much as I am not really a fan of how the straps don’t reach right into the lugs of the watch itself but rather have their own secondary lugs which the strap is afixed to. This might not bother everyone, but it bothers me for some reason, just a personal hangup I guess.

That being said the strap does feel very light and the buckle secures the watch safely in place. The strap was not that long and I only managed to fasten it by the last available hole, however bear in mind I’m a 6’7” guy and so my wrists are pretty big.

Apple Watch Band, JETech 42mm Stainless Steel Strap Wrist Band Replacement w/ Metal Clasp for Apple Watch All Models 42mm (Black) – £11.95

  <a href="http://geni.us/pJGP4J"  target="_blank" ><img src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/57388caab09f95c3fbe348ae/5738974dc2ea512278cd96c8/575be561e707eb7352195ad7/1466367812009/Apple+Watch+Band+By+JETech.jpgApple+Watch+Band+By+JETech?format=original" alt=""/></a>

I have always been a fan of the chunky looking metal straps for watches. Back in the day, when I still wore a regular watch, these were the kind I typically went for, feeling the usual leather variety were too feminine (don’t worry, I’ve grown up a bit since then…honest).

With quite large wrists I was a little bit apprehensive that this style of watch strap would not fit me. However my apprehensions proved unnecessary because not only did the strap fit it, was also too big. Fortunately an adjustment tool (a tiny screwdriver) was included in the box and, although not as easy as Apple’s method of adjusting the size, I had soon removed the extraneous link, reattached the strap and had it fitted snuggly on my wrist.

This stainless steel strap unsurprisingly adds quite a bit of weight to your device and you can certainly feel its presence as you move your arm around. Although that being said, it is still comfortable and very easy to fasten and remove, thanks to the easy clip clasp at the rear.

Apple Watch Band, JETech 42mm Genuine Leather Loop with Magnet Lock Strap Replacement Band for Apple Watch 42mm All Models No Buckle Needed (Black) – £19.95

  <a href="http://geni.us/JETech42mm"  target="_blank" ><img src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/57388caab09f95c3fbe348ae/5738974dc2ea512278cd96c8/575be5f71d07c00975adaa1d/1466367847284//img.jpg" alt=""/></a>

I was quite taken aback with this strap when it arrived from Amazon. It felt comfortable on the wrist and the magnetic clasp meant it was a breeze to slip on every day. It added a degree of classiness to my device and was the first leather covered strap I purchased. As a result I wore it everywhere, including when I went training. This may have been a mistake.

The strap does closely resemble that of the official Leather Loop from Apple, but of all the straps I have purchased, this is the only one to show any significant wear and tear. Some of the leather coating has started to peel from where the strap connects to the watch, not a significant amount but enough to distract me every time I flick my wrist to see what the time is. I doubt anyone else looking would notice, but for me it is glaring each and every time. As I say this is probably my own fault for wearing it so hard initially, but here is the biggest advantage of a third party option. I can just buy another without breaking my piggybank and save it for less stressful occasions, instead of when working out or visiting the tax man.

Apple Watch Band, with Unique Magnet Lock, JETech 42mm Milanese Loop Stainless Steel Bracelet Strap Band for Apple Watch 42mm All Models No Buckle Needed (Black) – £12.99

  <a href="http://geni.us/JETechMilanese"  target="_blank" ><img src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/57388caab09f95c3fbe348ae/5738974dc2ea512278cd96c8/575be693d210b8173a49a869/1466367859555/Apple+Watch+Band%2C+JETech+milanese+42mm.jpgApple+Watch+Band%2C+JETech+milanese+42mm?format=original" alt=""/></a>

For months it was rumoured that Apple would produce a black Milanese strap, in fact there were often reports that Apple employees had been sighted on the Apple campus sporting such fabled items, which were not available to the greater public. However, if you’d been paying attention to the third party market, you could have had a black Milanese loop strap shortly after the Apple Watch first arrived.

This is probably still my favourite strap to wear. It is so comfortable that I never even realise I’m wearing it until my watch vibrates to get my attention. I had initially feared that the magnet would not be powerful enough to hold the strap in place and it might slip from my wrist without me noticing, but to date I have never had an issue with it and doubt I will as fortunately the magnet feels very strong for the task it is assigned. Again, having such a large wrist, I thought the strap might not reach all the way around but again this fear was unfounded. In fact it might only prove an issue if your wrist is of the small variety, as there is no way to shorten the strap.

Apple Watch Band, MoKo Soft Silicone Replacement Sport Band for 42mm Apple Watch Models, Antique WHITE (3 Pieces of Bands Included for 2 Lengths) – £7.99

  <a href="http://geni.us/Moko"  target="_blank" ><img src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/57388caab09f95c3fbe348ae/5738974dc2ea512278cd96c8/575be70a8259b5a456796c35/1465640756271/Apple+Watch+Band%2C+MoKo.jpgApple+Watch+Band%2C+MoKo?format=original" alt=""/></a>

Finally we come to the third party equivalent of what most people probably got when they purchased their Apple Watch. Although these may not be made of Apple’s custom high-performance fluoroelastomer, they do still have the pin-and-tuck closure. The silicone does feel very cheap and far more flexible than the official version. However, as with all the above straps, the asking price doesn’t even come close to Apple’s version.

Personally, I now only use this kind of strap when I am working out. Due to their relative cheapness I have bought a few different colours over the months to add a little colour and variety to my workout sessions. As I mentioned, they do feel cheaper than their official counterparts, probably the most cheap feeling comparison of all the above straps, but they still perform the task required. In other words they are light and secure your watch safely to your wrist. What more can you ask for when out on a run?

Conclusion

I feel the Apple Watch is still a wonderful device despite what many non-owners would try and have me believe. Sure, there are still several areas that need to be addressed in future updates and I have no fear Apple will do so. The only real issue I had with the watch initially was the price of the straps. I am not a rich man and so I was a little disheartened by the cost of all the official offerings. I was also concerned that Apple might litigate anyone who dared to copy their lug design for fitting new straps. As it transpired my fears were unfounded and this has allowed a thriving third-party market to develop. As I mentioned several times above, do not buy these straps expecting the same quality of design and materials used by Apple and its associated designers, as you may be sorely disappointed. However, it you want a cheap way to expand the look, style and feel of your Apple Watch, then these third-party offerings may be the way to go.

I have only listed a few here and I have purchased all the ones listed with my own money. Every month I continue to check what else is available and am heartened to see many more options joining the list all the time. I am pretty sure that no matter which style of strap you are looking for you will find a quality product listed on the pages of Amazon or eBay that will satisfy your style as well as your wallet.

Please note: All prices were correct at time of publication. Due to the nature of sales on Amazon they may fluctuate over time.

Do you have an Apple watch strap that you love or have you been bitten by a cheaper alternative? Why not share the details in the comments section below? We’d love to hear from you.
 

Essential Apple PodCast 006 – Marks 1Revalation

We were going to go WWDC prediction bonkers but just before going live Apple announced the subscription plans for the App store. So we talk about that, Mark Gurman, press expectations, our expectations, worth a chirp and some interesting listener comments.

After yet another password breach where some lucky soul thought they bagged themselves a Amazon Prime subscription, it was finally time to put 1Password through it’s paces. The end result.. Just get it because it turns out I’m not the only fan of it on the show.

More show notes at EssentialApple.com

  • Thanks to the TechFan and MyMac Podcast for the mention.
  • Marking Gurman on a grade. We discuss (sort of) his past and present predictions.
  • WWDC what are we most looking forward to and hoping for.

Nemos Hardware Store takes a look at the Adata i-Memory SDXC card which adds some serious storage to those Macbook Airs (and other Macs). If you’re interested in this or anything else on Amazon please consider using our affiliate link.

Thanks to all of the listeners from our Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter accounts who gave us some feedback and some challenging stories to get through. Check out Karls YouTube video on how to leave iTunes feedback.

Worth A ChirpBarry : istopmotion3 by Boinx – Mac App Store£39.99
Karl : DeadPool £9.99 in iTunes
Matt: Pythonista – £7.99 http://omz-software.com/pythonista/Mac App StoreMark : 1Password for iPhone / iPad / Mac / Windows.
Prodigy Medley: Jericho / Out of Space / No Good –
Hackney Colliery Band

Listen to the show via.

iTunes | TuneIn | Opinion | RSS | Overcast | Google Play | Direct Download | Stitcher

Apple Getting Serious About SIRI?

In a recent article published on iMore, Rene Richie makes a very valid point regarding the recent comparisons between SIRI and Amazon’s Alexa. The tech press does seem to have a massive love for Alexa from Amazon without ever seeming to quantify the slight issue that if you are outside the borders of the United States of America then ‘Hey Alexa’ gets you “diddly squat”.

I know that most tech publications are US-centric but I have even started noticing a few UK publications gleefully lamenting the fact that SIRI can’t compete with Alexa when it comes to digital assistants… if you omit the rather tiny issue of it not being available that is. Yes Alexa is soooooo much better, I mean it must be, it’s not made by Apple so QED better, right? If we had ever had the opportunity to try it I’m sure it would be better… Obviously.

I don’t want to be that guy who feels they have to defend Apple. They are big enough and rich enough to do that themselves (though they do tend to keep quiet most of the time) but let’s get some perspective here. Technology can be a wonderful thing, as can choice, also competition can lead to some fantastic advances and discoveries but simply saying something is much better because in one small area it currently exceeds the alternatives seems a little juvenile and shortsighted.

When Apple bought SIRI it was a much more US-centric service that could perform a number of tasks such as booking you a table for dinner. Apple tends to look at the bigger picture and doesn’t just focus on the US market. As a result SIRI was stripped of a number of its features but its language understanding grew considerably so that today it can recognise and respond to 33 different languages, including its most recent addition, Hebrew.

Rumours are now growing that SIRI will see a significant upgrade at this year’s WWDC following Apple’s acquisition of UK-based VocalIQ. Apple is also possibly making an SDK available to developers and rumours of a stand-a-lone SIRI device persist, such as the recently announced Home by Google. This might just be the start of big things for Apple’s digital assistant, even for those of us outside the borders of the great US of A.

How do you think the current digital virtual assistants are performing? Are any of them up to a level where you feel you can use them constantly?   
 

Apple Getting Serious About SIRI?

In a recent article published on iMore, Rene Richie makes a very valid point regarding the recent comparisons between SIRI and Amazon’s Alexa. The tech press does seem to have a massive love for Alexa from Amazon without ever seeming to quantify the slight issue that if you are outside the borders of the United States of America then ‘Hey Alexa’ gets you “diddly squat”.

I know that most tech publications are US-centric but I have even started noticing a few UK publications gleefully lamenting the fact that SIRI can’t compete with Alexa when it comes to digital assistants… if you omit the rather tiny issue of it not being available that is. Yes Alexa is soooooo much better, I mean it must be, it’s not made by Apple so QED better, right? If we had ever had the opportunity to try it I’m sure it would be better… Obviously.

I don’t want to be that guy who feels they have to defend Apple. They are big enough and rich enough to do that themselves (though they do tend to keep quiet most of the time) but let’s get some perspective here. Technology can be a wonderful thing, as can choice, also competition can lead to some fantastic advances and discoveries but simply saying something is much better because in one small area it currently exceeds the alternatives seems a little juvenile and shortsighted.

When Apple bought SIRI it was a much more US-centric service that could perform a number of tasks such as booking you a table for dinner. Apple tends to look at the bigger picture and doesn’t just focus on the US market. As a result SIRI was stripped of a number of its features but its language understanding grew considerably so that today it can recognise and respond to 33 different languages, including its most recent addition, Hebrew.

Rumours are now growing that SIRI will see a significant upgrade at this year’s WWDC following Apple’s acquisition of UK-based VocalIQ. Apple is also possibly making an SDK available to developers and rumours of a stand-a-lone SIRI device persist, such as the recently announced Home by Google. This might just be the start of big things for Apple’s digital assistant, even for those of us outside the borders of the great US of A.

How do you think the current digital virtual assistants are performing? Are any of them up to a level where you feel you can use them constantly?   
 

How to increase the recording time in Garageband for iPad or iPhone

I had this problem when recording “the essential apple show” on my iOS device when using Garageband. When you start to record anything in Garageband you can only record for 8 seconds. For the musical types this might make sense but for those like me who pick up and fiddle about with things, its confusing. Here’s how you increase the recording time in Garageband.

Ready to record your first Podcast in Garage Band that’s longer than 8 seconds? Right then, fire up garageband and get the recording screen. On the top bar where the slider moves along at the top, tap the nicely hidden + button. This brings up the song sections dialogue.

The guide has been updated for the latest versions of Garageband for iPad and it applies to the Mac version of GarageBand as well.

And before we get into the HOW TO if you use GarageBand, produce a podcast or anything at all (within reason) let us know and we’ll be happy to share your creations with the world. Hit the contact us link at the top and go from there.

  <img src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/57388caab09f95c3fbe348ae/5738974dc2ea512278cd96c8/5752b1a527d4bd17be94e1b9/1465037231508//img.jpg" alt=""/>

Tap on the area that says “Section A 8 Bars” or whatever you have there if you’ve already been tinkering to get the below options.

  <img src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/57388caab09f95c3fbe348ae/5738974dc2ea512278cd96c8/5752b1e2f8baf3ab332fdebd/1465037326872//img.jpg" alt=""/>

Slide Automatic toggle to the right and Garageband should look like this.

  <img src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/57388caab09f95c3fbe348ae/5738974dc2ea512278cd96c8/5752b23937013b03916afec8/1465037373321//img.jpg" alt=""/>

Now all you have to do is go back to the recording screen and start recording and you can now record for more than 8 seconds in Garageband for iOS.