All posts in “apple store”

Spire Health Tags are now on Apple’s shelves

Spire’s Health Tags, the dark and tiny devices you stick on your clothes to gather all sorts of health data from your steps, heartbeat and stress levels is now available at your local Apple Store.

The company started out with a breath tracking device to detect when you are feeling tense and help calm you down. But four years in and its now all about the wearable “tags” you stick on items of clothing like your pants or sports bra.

Yes, yes, there are lots of gadgets out there to gather similar information — the Apple Watch will now even detect if you have a fall or something is wrong with your heart — but the Spire health tag is nothing like a Fitbit or Apple Watch, according to the company. For one, there’s zero need to charge the device. One tag’s battery will last a year and a half before dying out. They’re also machine washable. You just pick a few outfits and stick a tag on each of them.

Of course a few other startups out there are working on making smart, washable, data-gathering clothes. Enflux makes the clothing and then sews in the motion sensor to tell you if you are lifting correctly. Vitali is a “smart” bra with a built-in sensor to detect stress. Then there’s OmSignal, which makes body-hugging workout clothes that gather “medical-grade biometric data to achieve optimal health.” But these tiny health tags are different in that they allow you to choose the clothes you want to adhere the monitor to.

Like Spire’s first product, the Stone, which earned more than $8 million in sales, according to the company, the tags will also pick up on times of stress and help calm you down through a series of breaths and focus on the app.

“Continuous health data will revolutionize health and wellness globally, but early incarnations have been hampered by poor user experiences and a focus on the hardware over the outcomes that the hardware can create,” Spire’s founder Jonathan Palley said. “By making the device ‘disappear’, we believe Health Tag is the first product to unlock the potential.”

Spire’s Health Tags will be sold in Apple Stores as a three-pack for $130, six-pack for $230 and an eight-pack for $300, with additional pack sizes available on the company’s website.

Apple store evacuated after iPad blows up in smoke, reports says

Apple Store in Leidseplein square in Amsterdam.
Apple Store in Leidseplein square in Amsterdam.

Image: ADE JOHNSON/AFP/Getty Images

Apple Store in Leidseplein square in Amsterdam has been evacuated after an iPad exploded, Dutch outlet AT5 reported Sunday. 

The incident was confirmed by the city’s fire brigade, which tweeted that three people had respiratory problems following the incident. 

The incident was probably caused by a leaking battery pack, the tweet said. 

AT5 posted a short video showing the empty Apple Store at Leidseplein with some of the evacuated customers standing in front. 

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We’ve contacted Apple for comment and will update this article when we hear from them. 

Exploding iPads are rare but not unheard of. In fact, in 2013, a Vodafone store in Canberra, Australia, was evacuated after an iPad Air exploded there, and there have been several instances of iPhones bursting into flames as well. 

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Apple Store app for iOS gets voice search

Apple is making a huge change to the way you search for products in its online store.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company just released an update to its Apple Store app on iOS that adds voice search. Now, you only need to tap the microphone icon in the search bar and say the keywords out loud to search the entire store for the product you’re looking for.

The new voice search feature appears in the latest app update (version 5.1), and brings over the redesigned search bar that first appeared in the  App Store and iTunes Store. Following the redesign, trending topics will now appear with a ‘Try Searching’ heading. 

More importantly, with voice search you can now ask for things naturally without having to type them in. For instance, you can ask for the nearest Apple Store or a USB-C to micro SD card dongle. The app will return results for either query.

When I asked for cases that work with my device, it populated several iPhone X cases on its own. The smarter search can also locate a store and search previous orders.

The new search field in the Apple Store app includes trending topics and voice searching.

The new search field in the Apple Store app includes trending topics and voice searching.

Image: Screenshot by jake krol/mashable

For those of you who use Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program, you can also quickly get information about your account, like when an upgrade will be available. This is crucial for anyone who closely follows the latest iPhone releases.

The redesigned bottom navigation bar.

The redesigned bottom navigation bar.

Image: screenshot by jake krol/mashable

Along with enhanced search, there’s also a slight design tweak. The bottom bar has a simpler design language that looks very sleek.

Beyond all of these subtle changes, the Apple Store app is essentially the same. Hopefully, Apple will realize the usefulness of this voice search and bring it to the App Store and iTunes. For now, this is a pretty sweet consolation.

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Apple and Android are destroying the Swiss Watch industry


In Q4 2017 – essentially during the last holiday season – market research firm Canalys found that more people bought Apple watches than Swiss watches. Two million more, to be exact. Brian Heater has more data but this news is quite problematic for the folks eating Coquilles St-Jacques on the slopes of the Jura mountains.

The numbers are estimates based on market data but they still point to a trend. In Q1 2016 Apple shipped 1.5 million watches to Switzerland’s 5.9 million. The intervening quarters were about the same until the launch of the Apple Watch 3 in September 2017, just in time for holiday shopping. The boost of a new phone and a new watch at the same time meant a perfect storm for upgraders, driving the total number of Apple Watches sold past the Swiss watch sales numbers.


This switch does not mean Apple will maintain that lead – they have one product while Switzerland has thousands – but comparing a single company’s output to an entire industry’s in this case is telling.

Wearing watches is, as we all remind each other, is passé.

“I check the time on my phone,” we said for almost a decade as phones became more ubiquitous. Meanwhile watch manufacturers abandoned the low end and began selling to the high end consumer, the connoisseur.

Take a look at this chart:

Sales of low- to mid-tier watches – and a mid-tier watch can range in price between $500 and $3,000 (and I would even lump many $10,000 watches in the mid-tier category) – were stagnant while the true cash cows, the expensive watches for the ultra-rich, fell slowly from a high in 2014. This coincides with falling purchases in China as what amounted to sumptuary laws reduced the number of expensive gifts given to corrupt officials. Sales are up as December 2017 but don’t expect much of a bump past the current slide.

As a lover of all things mechanical – I did ruin a few years of my life writing a book about a watch – I look at these trends with dismay and a bit of Schadenfreude. As I’ve said again and again the Swiss Watch industry brought this on itself. While they claim great numbers and great success year after year the small manufacturers are eating each other up while nearly every major watch brand is snooping around for outside buyers. There is no money in churning out mechanical timepieces to an increasingly disinterested public.

As time ticks ever forward things will change. The once mighty Swiss houses will sink under the weight of their accreted laurel-resting and Apple will move on to embedded brain implants and leave watches behind. The result, after a battle that raged for more than four decades, will be a dead Swiss industry catering to a world that has moved on.

How the Apple Store in Chicago became a dangerous place this winter

Ominous, high-hanging icicles have turned Apple’s sleek, MacBook-inspired waterfront store in Chicago into a potentially perilous environment. 

Apple has cordoned off, with caution tape and signage, vulnerable areas where the sharp ice could fall. Chicago blogger Matt Maldre first spotted the architectural mishap, brought on by this winter’s severe Arctic blast.

The architectural company Foster + Partners designed the carbon fiber roof to mimic a flat MacBook Pro laptop. They even emblazoned an Apple logo atop the roof — just like on the actual devices. 

The building might be a design marvel — with pure glass walls and svelte steel columns — but it apparently lacks much winter utility, notably for a place specifically designed for public gathering, conducive to a social, urbanite atmosphere.

At the Apple event in September, Apple’s senior vice president of retail, Angela Ahrendts, said forthcoming Apple Stores would be “town square” spaces.

But perhaps not in winter. There are no gutters to catch falling snow or ice. Nor is the roof sloping, so icicles that do form aren’t dangling from 20 some feet overhead.

Indeed, it’s common for icicles to form on buildings in Chicago, especially during these freeze events; so the Apple store isn’t uniquely forming sharp icicles. But come winter, this particular “town square” can become a precarious place. 

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