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Can an Apple Watch prevent fatal car accidents? It just might.

Today’s connected cars try to deliver a lot of safety features, such as using radar and video cameras to detect an imminent accident and sometimes take over braking and steering control in an effort to avert that accident. At the very least, the cars will issue increasingly loud and bright visual and audio alerts to get the driver to take action to avert the accident.

But a new University of Missouri College of Engineering study calls into question whether such systems work and, far more frightening, whether they might indeed be counterproductive and make drivers less safe. Yet it’s possible that a simple smartwatch might be part of the solution. Ah, the joys of IoT and connected computing never end.

The problems with these systems — sometimes called advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) — come down to two issues: alert fatigue (where the driver gets so annoyed by the frequent and seemingly pointless alerts that the driver either ignores them or turns them off), and distractions that come at the worst possible instant.

Although alert fatigue can make the system unable to improve safety, it’s the distraction problem that can make the experience literally less safe. According to Jung Hyup Kim, an assistant professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering in the University of Missouri College of Engineering and a primary author of the study, there are two possible driver states at the moment of alert that a serious accident is imminent: The driver either already knows about the situation and is actively working at this instant to avoid the accident; or the driver doesn’t already know about it.

If the driver happens to not have noticed anything yet, then the alerts can be lifesaving and critically helpful. But if the driver has already detected the problem and is actively trying to solve it, an insistent alert at the instant can distract the driver at the worst possible time. In theory, that distraction alert might even cause a brief delay in response, which itself could prove fatal.

What does Kim suggest doing about this? He is proposing a system that will try to determine if the driver is already aware of the problem and is actively engaged in protective measures. Kim’s proposed system will feature video cameras in the dashboard, which will watch the eyes and look for changes suggesting that the driver is already in panic mode, as well as a wrist-based sensor that will track changes in muscle tightening. That wrist-based sensor would likely be a smartwatch and quite possibly integrated into an existing popular smartwatch.

To get more technical and specific, let’s look at how the report describes these monitoring mechanisms: The system will use “physiological measures to advance our understanding of the relations between human biometric signals and physical reactions, such as pupillary response, electroencephalography, electromyography signals, etc. The dilation of pupil could reveal the upcoming choice of the human about half-a-second before the actions in the dynamic decision-making process. Also, other studies have supported that the patterns of pupillary response could reflect human perceptual decisions. Therefore, in this study, we assumed the pupil dilation changes could be one of the indicators of physical responses once drivers give a physical reaction to the collision warning. Also, electromyography (EMG) is an electrodiagnostic medicine technique for evaluating and recording the electrical activity produced by skeletal muscles. As it quantifies muscle force levels, it has been widely used to classify human postures, with decoding user intent and indicating patients’ physical movement in healthcare. So it was introduced as another indicator of physical movement in this study. Therefore, the research objective is to predict drivers’ upcoming physical reactions to collision avoidance warnings by using the ratio of pupil diameter changes and EMG responses as two physiological measures.”

In a phone interview with Computerworld, Kim compared the distraction problem to a husband driving a car with his wife a passenger when a pedestrian runs out into the street. This prompts the wife to shout at her husband, ostensibly to flag the pedestrian problem. “The wife screaming might make you more frightened,” Kim said, and therefore less able to maneuver the car quickly to avoid hitting the pedestrian.

The EMG sensor is looking for “a strong muscle constriction that we might be able to detect” whereas eye movement could be tracked by either a dashboard camera or having the driver wearing an eye-tracking device, such as $20,000 eye-tracking glasses.

I would argue that the glasses are a bad idea. The only way for this approach to work — and it would be up to car manufacturers to do it — is to make the system seamless, piggybacking on existing systems, such as a smartwatch the driver might already be wearing. A dashboard camera would be invisible to the user. And Apple, for example, would probably love the idea of embedding EMG sensors in a future Apple Watch so that the latest version of the watch would be pushed by Toyota or Ford or whoever.

If this works, it would sharply reduce unnecessary alerts (“unnecessary” being defined as trying to tell the driver something the driver already knows), which should reduce both alert fatigue and distractions during emergencies. It would be a welcome improvement. Now if I can only get my car to stop beeping when I have the audacity to put a bag of groceries on the front passenger seat without then connecting the seatbelt.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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The Best Zombie Series on Netflix to Watch This Halloween

Are you feeling zombie fatigue yet? Zombies have been on trend for decades. People still love them, and there’s no sign of that stopping. Fortunately, the genre isn’t completely stale, as evidenced by some of the best Netflix zombie series currently available.

If you’re looking for a TV series to satisfy your zombie fix this Halloween, here are the best zombie shows on Netflix ranging from horror to comedy, and from drama to action.

Drama, Horror | IMDb: 8.3 | RT: 89%

Kingdom is, without a doubt, the best zombie series on Netflix. This South Korean production isn’t just about survival against the undead—it’s set in medieval South Korea and drenched in political intrigue, class warfare, and cultural insight.

While many zombie shows suffer from long seasons and repetitive story beats, Kingdom is smart and knows the story it wants to tell. The first season is a tight six episodes, and the overall narrative is based on a South Korean webcomic series with clear direction.

Plus, there’s something unusual about the zombies in Kingdom…

Drama, Horror | IMDb: 8.3 | RT: 80%

The Walking Dead needs no introduction. Even if you’ve never watched it, you’ve certainly heard of it. According to Variety, in 2016, The Walking Dead finished its fourth straight year as the most popular drama in the 18-49 demographic.

But if you’ve never heard of it, here’s what you need to know: a comatose sheriff in rural Georgia wakes up and finds himself in a world overrun with zombies. He sets out to find his family, and runs into all kinds of trouble along the way.

The Walking Dead is well-produced: atmospheric, cinematic, with top-notch costume design and special effects. But the writing is slow and shaky throughout its seasons. Is it thrilling? Sure. Just know that it’s often described as “a soap opera with zombies,” and for good reason.

Action, Drama | IMDb: 6.7 | RT: N/A

Z Nation is, in many ways, the exact opposite of The Walking Dead. Whereas The Walking Dead loves to build up and stretch out suspense through slow-burning plotlines, Z Nation is all about action. It’s fast, it’s thrilling, and it will leave you breathless.

If you’re tired of zombies as lumbering sacks of rotting meat, you’re in for a treat. Z Nation pulls its inspiration from films like 28 Days Later, where zombies are rage-filled and semi-intelligent. It’s frightful to watch and fills a hole that The Walking Dead left wide open.

Drama, Comedy | IMDb: 7.9 | RT: 91%

iZombie is a series on The CW loosely adapted from a comic book series of the same name. The premise involves a medical student who gets turned into a zombie and must eat brains to keep from raging—but also absorbs the memories and personalities of those whom she eats. These memories help her to solve criminal investigations.

The premise sounds silly, but iZombie executes well. The cast is mostly great, the stories are engaging, and it walks a fine line between several genres: crime, horror, comedy, and romance. It still feels like a show on The CW—a bit corny at times and doesn’t have the best camera work—but it’s one of the better zombie series out there.

Comedy, Drama | IMDb: 7.8 | RT: 89%

Santa Clarita Diet is a bit rough in the first two episodes, but eventually grows on you if you give it a chance. The hardest thing to accept is that this show intentionally goes for its over-the-top, over-acted style of humor that has turned some people off from the show.

What’s it about? Joel and Sheila are a pair of California realtors who wake up one day to find that Sheila now craves human flesh. Santa Clarita Diet explores the comical side of how a husband, wife, and daughter might deal with such a life-changing event.

Despite the over-the-top humor, Santa Clarita Diet is smart comedy. No laugh track, no inconsistent punchlines, and lots of mature character development. It’s one of the best sitcoms to watch on Netflix

The 15 Best Sitcoms You Can Watch on Netflix

The 15 Best Sitcoms You Can Watch on Netflix

Sometimes it’s nice to sit back, tune out, and wipe tears from your eyes while laughing maniacally. Which is why we’ve put together a list of the best sitcoms to watch on Netflix.
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right now.

Horror, Drama | IMDb: 7.7 | RT: N/A

Do you like your TV shows to be more than mindless entertainment? Then you’ll probably enjoy Dead Set, which is an exploration of what might happen on the set of Big Brother if the world succumbed to a zombie outbreak during filming. It’s horror, yes, but also acts as commentary on the state of modern media and entertainment.

Would you expect any less of Charlie Brooker? Indeed, the guy behind Dead Set is also the guy who created Black Mirror, an anthology series about the unintended consequences of new technology. If you love Black Mirror, then Dead Set is one of the next TV shows you should watch.

NB: Dead Set is a five-part mini-series, so you could treat it as one long movie cut into five acts.

Drama | IMDb: 7.2 | RT: 50%

Containment follows the story of an epidemic outbreak in Atlanta, which results in a quarantine that keeps a group of people stuck inside the city as the outbreak spreads. Not a situation you want to be stuck in with an illness brewing all around—doubly so when that illness turns people into manic zombies.

Here’s the thing about Containment: it’s one of those shows that’s hated by critics but enjoyed by the masses. If you’re looking for a thrilling disaster movie-type experience without a care for artistic nuance or original story beats, this show will be right up your alley.

NB: Containment is a 13-episode limited series.

Sci-Fi, Mystery | IMDb: 6.8 | RT: 81%

From the creator of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica comes Helix, a science-fiction show that follows an Arctic research team tasked with investigating a disease outbreak. While infected victims don’t necessarily become zombies, the similarities will satisfy zombie tastes.

Unfortunately, Helix received mixed reviews and was canceled after two seasons. It’s not a bad show per se, but many viewers thought that it tried to do too much and failed to deliver satisfying resolutions. But if you’ve run out of zombie shows to watch and dying for more, it’s certainly worth a try.

Action, Drama | IMDb: 6.3 | RT: 75%

Black Summer has a simple premise: a mother is separated from her daughter and will stop at nothing to find her and be reunited. The problem is, the world is six weeks into a zombie apocalypse and she’s going to run into plenty of obstacles on her journey.

Black Summer is produced by the same company behind Z Nation, so if you liked that one and want more like it, you should definitely check this out. There are elements that are different, of course, but it’s an enjoyable zombie drama with enough action to keep you on the edge of your seat.

More Thrills and Chills for Halloween

Halloween is about more than just zombies, you know. There are plenty of other scary TV shows on Netflix

15 Scary TV Shows to Binge-Watch Over Halloween

15 Scary TV Shows to Binge-Watch Over Halloween

Here are some of the most disturbing, gruesome, and horrifying TV shows you can stream and binge-watch over Halloween.
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and scary horror movies on Netflix

The 11 Best Scary Movies on Netflix Full of Frights

The 11 Best Scary Movies on Netflix Full of Frights

Not Halloween yet? Not a problem. The best scary movies on Netflix can be enjoyed at any time of the year.
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to watch to get yourself into the Halloween spirit.

Image Credit: leolintang/Depositphotos

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The secret ingredients that could make a Pixel Watch matter

If we’re going to talk about a Pixel Watch, we need to get one thing straight right out of the gate: All signs suggest there is no Pixel Watch — not yet, anyway. As of this moment, there’s no reason to believe Google has any such product prepared to launch at its Oct. 15 hardware event. In fact, recent reports say a Pixel Watch isn’t on the agenda at all for this year — period.

But hang on: That isn’t the end of the story. It’s actually just the beginning.

Those same reports, y’see, also tell us a Pixel Watch was ready to be released three years ago, at Google’s first-ever Pixel-branded hardware hoedown in 2016. The company apparently had two LG-manufactured watches on its hands but decided to scrap ’em at the last minute, as they were deemed to be too underwhelming to bear the Pixel name.

If the details are to be believed, that decision was probably wise: The watches in question reportedly ended up being released under the LG brand as the LG Watch Sport and LG Watch Style — devices that were decidedly ho-hum, with nothing meaningful that made ’em stand out or seem especially worthy of attention.

And that, sadly, sums up much of the smartwatch market today — more of the same, without any real excitement, inspiration, or convincing argument that this technology is something you truly want in your life. If Google’s gonna accomplish anything by releasing its own Pixel-branded device, it needs a product that pushes the form forward in some new, exciting, and inspired way. It needs something that isn’t just more of the same.

Well, here’s the kicker: Google has the ingredients for that very recipe in its possession right now. The only question is how — and when — it’s going to use ’em.

The Pixel Watch recipe: Parts I and II

First things first: Remember Project Soli — the radar-based hand gesture technology that’s now confirmed to be making its public debut with this fall’s Pixel 4 phone?

That same system was designed specifically to work in smartwatches — in some pretty intriguing ways.

Let’s rewind for a second: Back at its 2016 I/O developers’ conference, Google’s Soli team showed off a newly shrunken-down version of its radar chip running in, yes, a smartwatch — with Android software behind it. Even in that early form, they said, it’d allow a variety of gestures to be performed from as far as 49 feet away from the watch to control its functions and interact with info.

Take a look for yourself:

When confirming the presence of that same Soli technology in its upcoming Pixel 4 phone, Google made a point to say that the phone would be “the first device” with Soli in place — thus implying, it would seem, that it won’t be the only. So the real question is likely not if Google will release another device with Soli’s gesture-detecting ability but rather which device will be the next to feature it.

That’s part one — our first ingredient. Now, back to smartwatch-specific planning: We know Google’s been thinking about making its own Pixel Watch for a while. Even last year, amidst a fresh round of rumors that such a device might be on the brink of debuting, Google deliberately avoided saying it was flat-out not making such a product; rather, it said it wasn’t quite there yet. A Wear OS exec even went as far as to imagine what a Google-made Pixel Watch might have to offer:

Our Google Pixel line of phones is the best experience and Google’s take on it, so I imagine we would focus heavily on the [Google] Assistant to integrate A.I. and machine learning into the device, which is Google’s forte.

That’s the software side of the equation — our second ingredient — and it’s precisely what we saw Google start to pivot back toward around that very same time, following a year and a half of ill-advised Wear OS flailing. We’ve long discussed how a focus on easily glanceable info and predictive intelligence could tap into Google’s unique set of strengths and serve as a strong foundation for its smartwatch platform, but the reality remains that interacting with info on a tiny wrist-based screen just isn’t particularly pleasant, no matter what sort of software is involved. And that’s precisely where Soli and its gesture-sensing technology could fit into the puzzle.

See how this is all starting to come together? And there’s one more piece to this puzzle yet.

The Pixel Watch recipe: Part III

Even beyond further refinements to the Assistant experience and a vastly improved method of interacting with the interface, a Google-made watch would need to look good if it were gonna have any chance of selling well. And on that front, let’s not forget about the company’s $40 million acquisition of “top-secret smartwatch technology” from Fossil earlier this year — something that was at the time described as a “new product innovation that’s not yet hit the market.”

Technology aside, the deal brought a dedicated research-and-development team into Google’s Wear OS department — our third ingredient and as clear of a sign as any that this is an area Google is actively pursuing.

As for that technology, a recent report indicates it involves a “hybrid smartwatch” system that allows physical watch elements to be combined with digital functions, with or without screens in the mix. In addition to creating a more traditional-watch-like appearance, that arrangement apparently allows the watches to have a battery life of two to four weeks — quite the dramatic improvement over the current one-day-ish standard.

Some clue-hunting sleuths even uncovered images of unreleased (and presumably now cancelled) products that match the technology’s codename and seemed to be under development by Fossil prior to the acquisition:

Pixel Watch / Fossil Technology BOL.com

When you put all these pieces together — the Soli radar stuff, the pivot back toward a focus on Assistant and predictive intelligence as the software’s core, and the Fossil-born system for improving both a watch’s appearance and its stamina — well, it sure seems like we’re staring at the ingredients for a standout smartwatch that pushes the form forward in some new and potentially compelling ways.

Now let’s see how — and when — it all comes together.

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[Android Intelligence videos at Computerworld]

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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Apple Watch Series 5 Review & Rating

The Apple Watch is truly a product of iterationevery year, it gets better just enough to stay ahead of the competition. This year, the Apple Watch Series 5 doesn’t come with any aesthetic changes or improvements to battery life, and its starting price of $399 remains unchanged. So what’s different? In addition to a new processor, the Series 5 comes with a Compass app and an International Emergency Calling feature, and watchOS 6 brings new apps like Cycle Tracking for women and a Noise app that measures sound exposure. These are welcome additions, but the most transformative feature this go-round is an always-on display, so you you can see the time, workout stats, and other information at a glance. The rest of the experience remains the same, but these changes are enough to keep Apple at the head of the pack, and earn the Series 5 our Editors’ Choice for smartwatches.

Apple Watch Pricing

The Apple Watch Series 5 costs anywhere from $399 to $1,399, depending on the model you choose. The GPS-only model with an aluminum case in gray, silver, or gold and starts at $399 for the 40mm size or $429 for 44mm, both of which come with your choice of Apple’s classic rubber Sport Band or fabric Sport Loop Band.

Apple Watch Series 5-05

For the GPS and cellular model, pricing ranges from $499 to $529 depending on size. There’s also a stainless steel model in black, gold, or silver (only available in GPS and cellular) that ranges from $699 to $799 depending on the case size and watch strap. A titanium model starts at $799, while a ceramic watch starts at $1,299. And if you want an Hermès edition, it can go all the way to $1,399.

I tested the 40mm aluminum case (with GPS and cellular) with a white Sport Band. For the GPS and cellular model, it’s important to note that you also need to pay for a data plan with your cell service provider.

Same Design and Battery Life, New Display

In terms of design, the Series 5 looks virtually identical to the Series 4—when placed next to one another, it’s hard to tell the difference. The right side of the case is home to the Digital Crown (which features a red dot on the cellular version), above the microphone and side button. The left side holds the speaker, which gets loud enough to easily hear phone calls and Siri.

Apple Watch Series 5-06

The biggest (and long overdue) design upgrade comes in the form of the always-on display. Rather than having to constantly flick your wrist to activate the screen, you can now see everything at a glance. This makes a tremendous difference in terms of user experience. When working at my desk, for instance, I can simply look down at my wrist to check the time. And when working out, all of my stats are readily displayed for me to quickly check without interrupting my exercise.

When your wrist is stagnant or down, the display goes into ambient mode, which shows a barebones version of your watch face. If you have an app open, like Spotify or iMessage, the watch goes into ambient mode by blurring the background and displaying the time instead.

Apple Watch Series 5-02

Of course, this raises some concerns about battery life, but Apple uses a low-temperature, polysilicone and oxide display, an ultra-low power display driver, and a new ambient light sensor to help keep the Series 5 keep the same 18-hour battery life as its predecessors. It’s not nearly as strong as the Fitbit Versa 2’s five days of power, but it’s enough to comfortably get you through the day.

Following a three-hour workout in the morning, a few phone calls throughout the day, and lots of music streaming, I still had about 50 percent of juice left by the end of the day. During another day of testing, without working out, the watch was also able to make it through the night (with the always-on display turned off and Do Not Disturb mode turned on when I went to bed), leaving me with 25 percent of power when I woke up the next morning.

Finally, the Series 5 packs Apple’s new S5 chip under the hood. It delivers smooth, snappy performance. Scrolling through menus feels fluid and apps load very quickly.

More Apps and an Updated OS

New to the Series 5 is Apple’s highly touted International Emergency Calling feature. No matter where you are, the watch can make calls to emergency services, even if you’re in another country or if your cellular plan isn’t activated. The watch can also automatically place an emergency call if it senses that you’ve fallen and remain motionless for 60 seconds. It’s important to note that this feature is only available on the cellular model, however.

The Compass app is another new feature exclusive to the Series 5. In conjunction with the updated Maps app, you can use the Compass to navigate your surroundings. It shows information like heading, incline, latitude, longitude, and elevation. There are also three Compass complications that you can add to your watch face so that you don’t have to open the app each time.

Apple Watch Series 5-07

WatchOS 6 brings along new apps as well. Unfortunately, sleep tracking remains missing from the list, but the latest additions are still useful. Following in the footsteps of Fitbit and Garmin, a Cycle Tracking app is now available for women to track their menstrual cycles. But unlike Fitbit and Garmin, Apple’s app doesn’t strictly display predictions. It also allows you to directly log your period, along with any symptoms and notes, right from the watch rather than having to use phone. That said, I found the predictions were quite off from the Fitbit app and a third-party period tracking app I use, but hopefully the algorithm will improve as I continue to log my cycles.

Apple has also added a new health and wellness element in the form of a Noise app, which measures the environmental sound levels around you periodically throughout the day. You can choose a decibel threshold, and the Apple Watch will notify you if the average sound level around you exceeds it. I tested the Noise app outside of my New York City apartment building. After opening the app, I watched as it measured 62 decibels, indicating an OK rating, which means the noise won’t affect my hearing.

The Noise app also measures headphone audio levels. It works with any headphones (wireless or wired), but the Health app states you’ll get the most accurate results when using Apple or Beats headphones. In testing, I used AirPods, and found that over the course of seven days, my average audio levels were at 84dB, also an OK rating.

Apple Watch Series 5 Noise App

To help paint a better overall picture of your health and fitness, there’s a new Activity Trends app. I have yet to test out the feature, since it takes 180 days of activity to start your trends. But it essentially gives you a long-term view of your activity patterns to help make sense of your progress.

Lastly, watchOS 6 brings along a new App Store. Now, you can download and browse through apps right from the watch itself, rather than having to use the Watch app on your phone. Simply specify the app you’re looking for, using Dictation or Scribble, and results will begin to populate. Once you select an app, it automatically begins to download to the watch.

As for the Apple Watch’s app ecosystem, it remains unrivaled. Apple offers the widest selection of third-party apps of any smartwatch. I was able to find a majority of the apps I use on my phone on a regular basis, including Bank of America, Facebook Messenger, PolarBeat, Spotify, Stryd, Uber, and more. You simply can’t do this with any smartwatch ecosystem, including Google’s Wear OS.

Health and Fitness Accuracy

The Apple Watch Series 5 delivers excellent accuracy in the health and fitness department. In testing, I wore a 3D TriMax pedometer and a Fitbit Versa 2 to compare results. During a one-mile walk on the treadmill, the Series 5 logged 2,098 steps to the pedometer’s 2,303 and the Versa’s 2,154 steps. After a one-mile run on the treadmill, the watch logged 1,967 steps to the pedometer’s 2,390 and the Versa’s 2,154 steps. During a one-mile run outside, the Series 5 logged 2,180 steps to the pedometer’s 2,263, for a difference of only 83 steps.

As for distance tracking, I compared the Series 5 against a Stryd footpod. During a one-mile walk on the treadmill, the watch logged 1.0 mile to the footpod’s 1.03 miles. When the Apple Watch hit 1.0 mile during a run on the treadmill, the Stryd logged 0.97 miles; I got the exact same result for a one-mile run outdoors.

The Series 5 was also spot-on when testing heart rate. I wore a Polar H10 chest strap to compare results, and during a one-mile walk, the watch recorded 141bpm to the Polar’s 140bpm. During a one-mile run, both the watch and chest strap logged 157bpm. Results remains consistent during a one-mile run outdoors, where both the Apple Watch and Polar logged 167bpm.

Still Reigns Supreme

The Apple Watch Series 5 packs a ton of functionality into a stylish, proven design. Not only is it good enough to replace your dedicated fitness tracker, it comes with a variety of health-related features you may not even have thought about, like International Emergency Calling, Cycle Tracking, and the Noise app. Add in an unrivaled app experience and the always-on display, and the Series 5 is Apple’s best smartwatch yet, as well as our Editors’ Choice.

Of course, it’s hard to ignore the hefty price tag, especially when you can pick up an Apple Watch Series 3 for half the price. While it doesn’t come with ECG capability, fall detection, or an always-on display, both watches share a lot of similarities when it comes to battery life, design, and features. Like the Series 5, the Series 3 is available in GPS-only or cellular models. And it’s compatible with watchOS 6, so you have access to the same health and fitness apps as well. It’s worth considering if you’re just starting out, or if you have no use for some of the Series 5-specific features.

If you aren’t an iOS user, meanwhile, we recommend the $200 Fitbit Versa 2. While it doesn’t feature nearly as much in the way of apps as the Apple Watch, it offers an always-on display, accurate fitness tracking, and up to five days of battery life.

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How to Install Apps Directly On Your Apple Watch

Apple Watch showing new App Store app
Khamosh Pathak

With watchOS 6, the Apple Watch is inching ever closer to being a standalone device. While you still can’t set up an Apple Watch without an iPhone, you can now install and delete apps without touching your smartphone.

How to Install Apps on Apple Watch

When you open the Watch app on your iPhone and go to the App Store tab, you’ll find that it’s empty. The App Store has now moved to your wrist in the watchOS 6 update.

To install apps on your Apple Watch, press the Digital Crown to open the Apps screen. Here, locate the new “App Store” icon and tap on it.

Open the App Store on Apple Watch and tap on Search

You’ll see that the entire Apple Watch app store is here on your wrist, listing all the watchOS specific apps.

The App Store’s landing page includes a search bar at the top and a curated list of apps below. You can scroll through the whole screen and find interesting apps that you want to install.

If you’re looking for something specific, tap on the “Search” bar located at the top. You’ll see two ways to search for an app. Tap on “Scribble” to write words on the Watch’s screen with your finger. You can also tap on the “Dictation” feature to use Siri dictation to look for apps.

Tap on Scribble to search for an app on App Store

Tap on an app from the list to see the detailed view. From here, you can read the app’s description and see the screenshots.

Select the “Get” button to download the app. If it’s a paid app, you’ll see the price in the download button.

App Store lists and download options

If this is the first time that you’re downloading an app from the App Store on Apple Watch, you’ll need to enter your Apple ID password. You can scribble it on the Apple Watch screen, or you can type it on your iPhone, which will be easier.

Tap on the “Password” button and then on the keyboard button to get a text prompt on your iPhone.

Tap on Password option and then select the Keyboard button

Enter the Apple ID password on your iPhone.

Enter the Apple ID password in the text box on your iPhone

Once you enter the password, the App Store app on Apple Watch will go back to the app’s page, and you’ll see that the download has begun.

Once it’s downloaded, you can tap on the “Open” button to launch the app. You can also find the app listed in the apps screen.

RELATED: 15 Things You Can Do with Siri on the Apple Watch

iPhone Apps with Apple Watch Companion Apps

When it comes to companion Apple Watch apps, it’s business as usual. If you’ve installed an iPhone app that comes with a companion Apple Watch app, it will be installed automatically on your Apple Watch.

You can disable this feature in the Watch app. Go to the “General” section from the “My Watch” tab. Next, tap on the toggle next to “Automatic App Install.”

Tap on the toggle to automatically install the app

You can also remove an app individually from the Watch app. From the “My Watch” tab, find the “Installed on Apple Watch” section and select an app.

Tap on an Apple Watch app from the list

From the next screen, tap on “Show App on Apple Watch.”

Tap on toggle to disable app from showing up on Apple Watch

How to Delete Apps on Apple Watch

Deleting an app from the Apple Watch is just as easy. Go to the apps screen by pressing the Digital Crown and then tap and hold on an app.

Here, you’ll see a little “X” icon on the top-left corner of apps that you can delete. You can also delete some stock apps like Breathe and Stocks if you want.

Tap on the “X” icon and then tap on “Delete app.”

Tap on X button and then Delete button to delete an app from Apple Watch

If you haven’t upgraded to watchOS 6, it’s worth it for the new App Store and the new customizable watch faces.

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10 new Apple Watch features most owners get for free

Apple offers most Apple Watch users ten brand-new features with watchOS 6, which should also run faster than before.

What’s happening?

The new Apple Watch Series 5 (from $399) with its always-on display seems to be attracting positive reviews.If you’re using a Series 3 or 4 the new operating system delivers a much-improved experience, just like owning a new watch.

Apple will release iOS 13 and watchOS 6 on September 19 with the Apple Watch Series 5 and iPhone 11 range on sale in store from September 20.

The company is offering the new OS to all currently supported Apple Watch models (ie, not the Series 0 versions). It won’t ship for Series 1 and 2 models until later this fall. You need iPhone 6s or later running iOS 13 or later to install the upgrade.

The company says three-quarters (75%) of Apple Watch buyers are completely new to the device, which suggests both that the market is growing and that Apple now has a pool of existing customers who may choose to upgrade in future.

That pool will likely grow, now it sells the entry-level model of Series 3 watch for $199.

So, what’s new in the new OS?

You get new watch faces

For reasons no one really understands, Apple continues to resist demand to introduce a watch face store, preferring instead to dripfeed new watch faces inside each OS iteration.

The new OS maintains this tradition introducing Modular Compact, Solar Dial, California, Gradient, Numerals Mono, and Numerals Duo faces, though not all of these work on every watch model.

One more timekeeping improvement: You can also ask the Taptic engine to tap the time on your wrist, or hold two fingers on your watchface to make it tell you the time audibly.

[Also read: How to use Apple’s 6 cool new watchOS 6 tools]

You’ll know when you’re turning into a couch potato

Apple has made several improvements in its health app, but the introduction of Activity Trends will give you even better insight into your activity levels.

Activity Trends shows your exercise, stand minutes, distance, cardio fitness and movement trends over the last 90-days in comparison to the previous 365 days. That means you’ll be able to see when your fitness activity is declining. Activity will also provide you with coaching suggestions to get you back on track.

watch os 6 Apple

You get new Complications

Complications are those useful apps you can choose to make visible on your watchface. New Complications in watchOS 6 include current decibel levels, cellular strength, or chance of rain.

Putting women in control

The new Cycle Tracking app can be used to log daily information about menstrual cycles. Women can add flow information, record symptoms like headaches or cramps, and check cycle length and variation using a chart provided in your iPhone’s Health app.

As you enter the data, Health generates insights about you and your Apple Watch will let you know when it thinks your next period may begin and when you should be at your most fertile.

watchos 6 faces Apple

Voice memos on your wrist

Want to record a quick memo to yourself? Apple has added a Voice Memos app. Open the app by tapping it the App screen, or asking Siri, and then tap the large red button to begin recording. Tap the big button again to make recording stop. The memo will be saved and made available across all your logged-in Apple devices. It can even be exported for transcription.

You get new apps…

Apple has added a Calculator and redesigned the Reminders app. The calculator has prebuilt controls to help you figure out tips and share bills. You can find out how these work here.

Apple has also introduced the Noise app, which listens to the noise around you and lets you know when it detects that the noise decibel level has reached a point at which it can damage hearing. When it does, Noise will tap you on your wrist to let you know.

You can recognize new songs

Apple’s recently acquired Shazam song recognition service is now built into your watch.

This is very easy to use – just raise your wrist and ask what song is playing. It works even when you don’t have your iPhone, so long as you use a cellular-enabled watch to connect to the ‘Net.

apple watchos 6 noise Apple

An App Store anywhere

One of the biggest improvements is the inclusion of a new App Store on Apple Watch, so you can search for and download apps to your watch without an iPhone. You can search for apps by name and check trending apps and download and install them directly to your device.

Apple has been moving to make the watch more independent of the iPhone since Apple Watch Series 3, which introduced a cellular version.

Today you can make calls, use and download apps and most everything else with your watch, no iPhone required. Though you do still need an iPhone for upgrading the software.

Developers can build new apps

Keep an eye on your app updates after the new operating systems ship. In part this is because watchOS 6 includes new developer tools that let them build apps to stream music, radio, and podcasts. It is also now possible to build watch-only apps.

Apple made several developer-focused improvements in watchOS 6, including theprovision of extended runtime to sensor data, which means you can reasonably predict new apps for various tasks, perhaps led by workout and mindfulness apps – Strava, for example.

You’ll also find Sign-in With Apple and Apple ID verification codes when you need to log in to your Apple account appear on Apple Watch.

You can browse the Web

Ask Siri to open your favorite website and you’ll be able to browse it on your watch, navigating the page using the Digital Crown. You can also search for websites and information using Siri on your watch.

And listen to audiobooks

Another new app, Audiobooks does precisely what it promises – lets you listen to your audiobooks using your watch. Titles are split between ‘On iPhone’ and ‘Library’ categories, the latter are items stored on your watch that you can hear even if you don’t carry your phone. Built-in controls let you move backward and forward in 15 second increments. You can also select chapters and control the playback rate and volume.

How to install the new watchOS

You must be using an iPhone 6S or later running iOS 13 to upgrade your Apple Watch to watchOS 6. You should also backup your data before you follow these steps:

  • Connect both the phone and watch to power. NB: Apple Watch needs to be on 50% power and connected to power for this to work.
  • Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
  • Tap General, then choose Software Update.
  • The new watchOS update process should be listed there, tap it to begin the process.
  • You’ll need to keep both the phone and the watch within a few feet of each other during the upgrade, which can take a while.

Please let me know if you find any other interesting or unknown features inside watchOS 6.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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A Kid’s Phone Watch for Privacy

Tracking your kids will become more private, secure, and safe when SpaceTalk, a 3G, GPS-equipped phone-watch for communicating with your kids, releases in the United States or United Kingdom in late 2019.

The SpaceTalk kid-tracking watch features all the basics, such as a torch light, and weather forecasts. For many, the higher attention paid to privacy may prove a key selling point. SpaceTalk specifically designed their device to keep your kid’s data from being sent across the ocean to remote servers. But there’s a lot more going on than just privacy.

SpaceTalk Watch: Safety and Security

image of spacetalk app

SpaceTalk comes with an application for ease of use.

The SpaceTalk app allows parents to remotely interface with their children through the smartwatch. It works like this, parents access the application in order to find their child’s whereabouts. If they want to update the watch’s firmware, they can also shoot off a remote update using the SpaceTalk application, which is available in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Battery Life

While the watch doesn’t come with a lot of applications by design, it also gets longer battery life than you might expect. The SpaceTalk watch gets around two-days of battery life. But users can stretch the battery life out even longer if they decrease the GPS polling rate.

SpaceTalk’s SOS Button

spacetalk is a smartwatch for kids

Like many assistive technologies for kids (and equally appropriate for seniors), the SpaceTalk watch also permits the user to emit a SOS distress call through triggering a special button on the side of the watch. The SOS button works like similar devices. All the child needs to do is press the button and the SpaceTalk watch fires out a call, SMS, and notification to a pre-approved list of contacts.

SpaceTalk Watch Cost and Availability

The SpaceTalk watch is already available in Australia and New Zealand. It should release in the United States and elsewhere before the end of the year. The price in the UK will be GBP 199. It’s currently selling for 349 in Australian dollars.

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The Best Sci-Fi Short Films to Watch Online

If you’re looking to get your sci-fi fix, but don’t have the time to settle down for to watch a full-length sci-fi movie, these amazing sci-fi short films should scratch that itch.

In this article we list the best sci-fi short films to watch online. From early 1900 imaginings of what we might find on the Moon and the future of VR, to modern takes on alien invasions and human teleportation. It’s all here for your viewing pleasure…

A Trip to the Moon (1902)

Considered one of the first science fiction films ever made, this Georges Méliès silent movie is both enjoyable from beginning to end. This is your chance to see what the imagination conjured up about the Moon long before we ever set foot on it. From rockets constructed with sledgehammers, to alien civilizations, this short has it all.

Best Friend (2018)

This beautifully animated short offers a despondent look at social interaction in the near-future. In this fictional world, loneliness is tackled with an electronic chip that offers characters the chance to “never be alone”.

Digital friends accompany the protagonist through a world where technology has all but eradicated personal relationships

How to Connect with People & Stop Feeling Lonely

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. Yet what was promised as a solution soon leads to addiction, violence, and, ultimately, a bleak look at what the world could become.

Liminal (2019)

Liminal, by Collin Davis and Matt Litwiller, is a one-scene short that is utterly engaging. This is the story of a lead scientist who has just conducted the first interplanetary teleportation of a human being. If successful, this experiment will have massive implications for space travel. But things aren’t so simple, with the experiment not going quite as planned.

World Builder (2007)

This short, dialog-free film from Bruce Branit gives us an exciting glimpse into what the future of VR could hold. It’s like Second Life, but for medical purposes, with convincing worlds being conjured up through the pinching of fingers and twisting of wrists. If this turns out to be close to reality, VR 2.0 looks seriously mesmerising.

The Answers (2016)

This is an award-winning (loosely sci-fi) short film with an interesting concept. What if when you die, you get to search through your past life as if you’re using a search engine. Discover how many times you’ve smiled, the happiest or bravest you’ve ever been, and even the biggest mistakes you’ve made.

This moving, creative short is a reminder to make the most of what you have, while you still have it.

Strange Beasts (2017)

Initially looking like an infomercial for a new augmented reality game where users create and raise digital pets, this short film quickly twists into something far more creepy and worrying. This is a movie that is sure to make you think about how far augmented reality can go, and how far we should actually allow it to go.

Final Offer (2018)

Mark Slutsky’s dark comedy, “Final Offer,” follows Henry, a lawyer who has been chosen to represent the human species in an trade negotiation with a seductive woman he met at a bar the night before. Unfortunately for him, she turns out to be a ghastly alien, here to expropriate what she can of Earth’s natural resources.

A Date in 2025 (2018)

This award-winning short written by Matthew Hart and directed by Ryan Turner is a stunning tale of a relatable young man who is over-reliant on technology. So much so that he desperately needs human connection to prevent a further spiral into depression.

This is written as a rom-com, twinned with a Black Mirror-esque view of where technology will take us. However, the story is realistic enough to be taken seriously.

The Adept (2018)

In just eight minutes, The Adept, by Adam Stern, pulls you in to a captivating scenario of what could happen if the human mind were able to access a higher plane.

What would be possible if we could reach this kind of academic enlightenment? And what undesired consequences would it hold? Here’s to hoping this sci-fi short film is expanded into a full-length feature.

Contact (2017)

This superbly animated short by Katy Wang is a simple, moving story of a stranded astronaut sending out a distress signal in the hope of finding human contact, and perhaps a way to return to Earth. The ending is equally emotional, hopeful, and helpless. The perfect combination.

R’ha (2013)

Kaleb Lechowski created this entire short movie on his own at the age of 22. The special effects are incredible, and the back-story is riveting. In this world, an extraterrestrial species is at war with its own self-created army of machines, and it isn’t going well. This short was so well received, it’s now being turned into a full-length feature film.

The Lie Game

From the back story, through the twist in the middle, and the satisfying ending, The Lie Game, from Jyothi Kalyan Sura, is a complete sci-fi short film in all ways. This gives us an important insight into the world of tech funding, the compromises that are made, and the twisting of beneficial ideas into commercial objectives.

Alternate (2019)

Shot over just six days with zero budget, Alternate is a short movie to behold. Earth is undergoing an alien invasion, not dissimilar to War of The Worlds. The problems that humans now face render all of our previous squabbles meaningless.

The only complaint would be that the film doesn’t offer much closure, but for a short 13-minute story of this kind, that may be asking too much.

What Are Your Favorite Sci-Fi Short Films?

These creative sci-fi short films cover a huge range of topics, and each one is well worth your time. However, there are plenty more out there worth watching, so feel free to let us know about them in the comments below.

And if you find yourself craving yet still more geeky science fiction, be sure to check out our list of the best science fiction books for geeks

10 of the Best Science Fiction Books All Geeks Should Read

10 of the Best Science Fiction Books All Geeks Should Read

Every reader has to start somewhere, and they might as well start with the cream of the crop. So, for the essential science fiction library, here are 10 books that definitely belong on your shelves.
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and the best cyberpunk films to watch online

The 10 Best Cyberpunk Films to Watch Online

The 10 Best Cyberpunk Films to Watch Online

To guide your journey into this often bleak vision of the future, here are the best cyberpunk films to watch online…
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Time to install the August Windows patches — but watch out for the bugs

August brought loads of drama to the Windows and Office patching scene. Microsoft’s first round of patches killed Visual Basic, Visual Basic for Applications and VBScript in certain situations — on all versions of Windows. Fixes for the bugs dribbled out three, four, six and 17 days after the original infection. 

Those Microsoft-introduced bugs were all the more daunting because the August patches are the ones intended to protect us from DejaBlue — the recently announced “wormable” malware infection vector that (thankfully!) has yet to be exploited. The mainstream press picked up the Chicken Little cry to install August patches right away. Then the buggy offal hit the impeller, and the press fell silent.

Funny how that works.

At any rate, if you’ve been following along here, you’re ready to get the August patches installed. Here’s how to do it.

A special note about Win10 version 1903 and SearchUI.exe

Those of you running Win10 version 1903 have reason to be … perturbed. 

Microsoft put the “optional, non-security” second August cumulative update through its Insider beta-testing process for an extra couple of weeks. All of the other versions of Windows had their VB/VBA/VBScript bugs fixed on Aug. 16, 17 and 19. The fix for 1903 sat in the Windows Insider Release Preview ring — supposedly getting a thorough shine — until Aug. 30.

Now it looks as if all of that extra delay in delivering the patch didn’t do much.

Microsoft finally acknowledged the Cortana/SearchUI.exe redlining bug in the KB 4512941 patch four days after the bug was originally reported. We got a single tweet that said:

We are currently investigating an issue where users are reporting high CPU usage linked to SeachUI.EXE [sic] after installing the optional update on August 30 (KB4512941). We will provide an update in an upcoming release.

The next day, the KB article was updated to say:

Microsoft is getting reports that a small number of users may not receive results when using Windows Desktop Search and may see high CPU usage from SearchUI.exe. This issue only occurs on devices that have disabled searching the web using Windows Desktop Search.

We are working on a resolution and estimate a solution will be available in mid-September.

This isn’t a fringe case. Microsoft has encountered so many complaints about searching the web in Windows Desktop Search that they published a Knowledge Base article with step-by-step instructions for disabling it. If you followed those instructions, and installed the second monthly cumulative update, part of your machine is redlining.

The new Win7 Security-only patch is, uh, security-only

The July Windows 7/Server 2008 R2 “Security-only” patch brought an unwanted surprise: it installs the same kind of telemetry found in the Monthly Rollups. Many of the folks who go to the bother of downloading and manually installing the Security-only patches specifically do so to avoid the snooping, but if you want the July security fixes, telemetry comes along for the ride.

I’m happy to report that the August “Security-only” patch only includes security patches. Who woulda thought?


Here’s how to get your system updated the (relatively) safe way.

Step 1. Make a full system image backup before you install the latest patches.

There’s a non-zero chance that the patches — even the latest, greatest patches of patches of patches — will hose your machine. Best to have a backup that you can reinstall even if your machine refuses to boot. This, in addition to the usual need for System Restore points.

There are plenty of full-image backup products, including at least two good free ones: Macrium Reflect Free and EaseUS Todo Backup. For Win 7 users, If you aren’t making backups regularly, take a look at this thread started by Cybertooth for details. You have good options, both free and not-so-free.

Step 2. For Win7 and 8.1

Microsoft is blocking updates to Windows 7 and 8.1 on recent computers. If you are running Windows 7 or 8.1 on a PC that’s 24 months old or newer, follow the instructions in AKB 2000006 or @MrBrian’s summary of @radosuaf’s method to make sure you can use Windows Update to get updates applied.

If you’ve been relying on the Security-only “Group B” patching approach to keep Microsoft’s snooping software off your PC, you’re stuck again this month. You can install the August Security-only patch without bringing in the snooping routines. But unless you install the telemetry-laden July Security-only patch, you’re missing a month of (not really all that important) patches. Think of it as a preview of your January 2020 Win7 end-of-support conundrum.

For most Windows 7 and 8.1 users, I recommend following AKB 2000004: How to apply the Win7 and 8.1 Monthly Rollups. You should have two Windows patches, one dated August 13 (the Patch Tuesday patch) and the other dated August 17 (the patch for the pernicious Patch Tuesday patch). Say that ten times real fast. They should both be checked.

Realize that some or all of the expected patches for August may not show up or, if they do show up, may not be checked. DON’T CHECK any unchecked patches. Unless you’re very sure of yourself, DON’T GO LOOKING for additional patches. In particular, if you install the August Monthly Rollup, you won’t need (and probably won’t see) the concomitant patches forJuly. Don’t mess with Mother Microsoft.

If you see KB 4493132, the “Get Windows 10” nag patch, make sure it’s unchecked.

Watch out for driver updates — you’re far better off getting them from a manufacturer’s website.

After you’ve installed the latest Monthly Rollup, if you’re intent on minimizing Microsoft’s snooping, run through the steps in AKB 2000007: Turning off the worst Win7 and 8.1 snooping. If you want to thoroughly cut out the telemetry, see @abbodi86’s detailed instructions in AKB 2000012: How To Neutralize Telemetry and Sustain Windows 7 and 8.1 Monthly Rollup Model.

Realize that we don’t know what information Microsoft collects on Window 7 and 8.1 machines. But I’d be willing to bet that fully-updated Win7 and 8.1 machines are leaking almost as much personal info as that pushed in Win10.

Step 3. For Windows 10 prior to version 1903

If you want to stick with your current version of Win10 Pro — a reasonable alternative — you can follow my advice from February and set “quality update” (cumulative update) deferrals to 15 days, per the screenshot. If you have quality updates set to 15 days, your machine already updated itself on August 28, and will update again on September 25. Don’t touch a thing and in particular don’t click Check for updates.

1809 feature update 240 days Woody Leonhard

For the rest of you, including those of you stuck with Win10 Home, go through the steps in “8 steps to install Windows 10 patches like a pro.” Make sure that you run Step 3, to hide any updates you don’t want (such as the Win10 1903 upgrade or any driver updates for non-Microsoft hardware) before proceeding.

If, after the update, you bump into a message that says “Procedure call error,” realize that you didn’t do anything wrong. Microsoft did. If you get that error message, you have to go through the “8 steps” again, but this time install KB 4512509 (for Win10 version 1803) or KB 4512534 (for Win10 version 1809), and curse the patching gremlins. Some day Microsoft will figure out this patching thang. Or maybe not.

If you see a notice that “You’re currently running a version of windows that’s nearing the end of support. We recommend you update to the most recent version of Windows 10 now to get the latest features and security improvements” you can safely chill. Win10 1803 is good through November. If you see a link to “Download and install now,” ignore it — for the same reason.

Step 4. For Windows 10 version 1903

Windows Update in Win10 version 1903 has gone through a major makeover in recent weeks. The result, if it works the way it’s been described, will be a major step forward in Windows 10 patching.

There’s a legacy fly in the ointment, though. If you’ve moved to Win10 Pro version 1903, and you set 15 day deferral on quality updates (as shown in the earlier screenshot), you’ll no doubt discover that the settings shown in the screenshot are no longer available on your machine. Microsoft hasn’t yet deigned to tell us what’s going on, but you can rest assured that your 15 day deferral was obeyed — and you got the August patches on Aug. 28. Don’t worry about changing the deferral settings. You’re protected until Sept. 25.

Long story short, the setting shown in the screenshot may not be visible on your machine. Not to worry. You have a belt-and-suspenders kind of second choice. If you’re on Win10 version 1903 (either Home or Pro), click the link on the Windows Update page that says “Pause updates for 7 days,” then click on the newly revealed link, which says “Pause updates for 7 more days,” then click it again.

By clicking that link three times, you’ll defer cumulative updates for 21 days from the day you started clicking — if you do it today, you’ll be protected until Sept. 27 — which is typically long enough for Microsoft to work out the worst bugs in its patches.

There are several group policies and a handful of registry settings working in the background when you make those changes. But if you’re using Pro and set the quality update deferral to 15 days, and punch the “Pause updates for 7 days” button three times (on either Home or Pro), you should be in good shape.

If you encounter the “Procedure call error” bug, you need to install the second August cumulative update. Lucky you. To do so, click Check for updates (yes, you read that correctly), then under Optional updates available, look for 2019-08 Cumulative Update for Windows 10 Version 1903 for x64-based Systems (KB 4512941) (see screenshot) and click Download and install now.

1903 second august cum update prompt cropped
Woody Leonhard

That’ll introduce even more bugs, but at least it’ll fix the “Procedure call error” bug.

Thanks to the dozens of volunteers on AskWoody who contribute mightily, especially @sb, @PKCano, @abbodi86 and many others.

We’ve moved to MS-DEFCON 3 on the AskWoody Lounge.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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Should You Get an Apple Watch? 6 Cool Things You Can Do With One

The Apple Watch is the best wearable available for iPhone users. Even so, maybe you’re asking yourself, “Should I get an Apple Watch?”

Even though the device is more popular than ever, many potential buyers don’t know quite what the Apple Watch is capable of doing. And this could be holding you back from buying one.

So here are some of the best things you can do with an Apple Watch…

1. Use Complications to Interact With Apps

Apple Watch Complications

No one wants to hold their wrist up to play a game, compose a novel, or tackle other time-consuming tasks that are much easier to achieve on an iPhone. So there’s a different and even better way to interact with apps on the small screen of the Apple Watch… Complications.

Complications on Apple Watch are customizable pieces of information from both Apple’s own apps and some third-party apps. With a little work, you can easily customize any watch face with the exact information you’re looking for. And it’s all available at a glance.

As a bonus, touching the complication will also automatically open the app. So it’s easy to quickly see a calendar event or email on the Apple Watch face and then select the complication to see more information inside the app.

To get started with the great feature, take a look at some of the best Apple Watch complications you should use

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The 10 Best Apple Watch Complications You Must Use

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2. Use Apple Pay Without Your iPhone

Apple Watch Apple Pay

Both banks and retailers continue to add support for Apple Pay, and the contactless payment system can turn any Apple Watch into a digital wallet.

Unlike on an iPhone, there’s no need to confirm each purchase with a fingerprint scan or Face ID authentication. That’s due to the way the Apple Watch handles security.

Just double-tap the side button below the Digital Crown, select which card you want to use and then place it near the reader. It’s quick and easy when using a wearable device.

Just to note, there is one major task you’ll need to take care of before using Apple Pay on the Watch. As an added security measure, you’ll need to add any applicable credit or debit cards separately through the companion Apple Watch app. Cards in your iPhone wallet won’t be available on the Watch and vice versa.

To add a card, open the companion Watch app and select the My Watch tab. Scroll down to Wallet & Apple Pay. On that screen select Add Card.

3. Take an ECG to Monitor Your Heart

Apple Watch ECG

Starting with the Apple Watch Series 4, wearers can use the device to take an electrocardiogram. Also known as an ECG, the test looks at the timing and strength of electrical signals of your heartbeat. It’s an important way to see if your heart is functioning normally.

The Apple Watch electrical sensor can help you determine whether you need to consult a physician to check for the possibility of atrial fibrillation.

When taking an ECG for the first time, open up the app of the same name on your Apple Watch. You may need to answer a few quick questions in the Health iPhone app.

Rest your arms in your lap or on a table. Hold your finger on the Digital Crown for 30 seconds without pressing down to take the recording. After the 30 seconds, you’ll see the results.

Obviously, the ECG shouldn’t be used in place of a physician. But in just a few months after the Series 4 was released, a number of different users shared stories on how the ECG function helped warn them of previously unknown heart conditions.

4. Use a Cellular Apple Watch Without an iPhone

Apple Watch LTE

With a cellular-enabled Apple Watch, you can easily leave your iPhone behind and still be connected.

First, you’ll need to sign up with a plan with your carrier when setting up the Watch. Then, when out of range of an iPhone or Wi-Fi network, the Watch will connect to a cell network. You can still make and receive phone calls, send and receive messages, use most apps, and more. If you subscribe to Apple Music, it’s also possible to stream music to wireless Bluetooth headphones. Which makes it perfect for a workout or run.

As a nice touch, you can also see all of the notifications received on your iPhone.

The only downside of using an Apple Watch on a cellular network is battery life. Because it requires more battery, you’ll only be able to use an Apple Watch with an LTE connection for up to four hours at a time before needing to recharge it. So while it’s not practical to use all day, it is a great option for shorter periods away from an iPhone.

5. Unlock Your Mac Automatically

apple watch mac unlock

If you’re a Mac user, your Apple Watch can automatically log on and unlock any laptop or desktop. A Mac will need to be a mid-2013 or later model using macOS Sierra. You will also need to set up two-factor authentication on your Apple ID if you don’t already have that very useful security feature activated.

Once that’s complete, make sure you Mac is awake and the magic will happen. It’s a simple feature, but one that does save time and improve your computer’s security.

6. Control Your Smart Home Devices

apple watch smart home app

The Apple Watch is also a perfect way to control smart home devices, especially anything using Apple’s HomeKit. If you haven’t heard about HomeKit, it’s a connected home platform that allows users to quickly and easily control any number of devices using the Home app or Siri. Along with the wearable device, control is available on your iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac, and HomePod.

On the Apple Watch, a simple Siri command can accomplish a number of tasks in a smart home, like turning lights on or off and even locking and unlocking doors. The Home app on the Watch is good for more customizable control, including interaction with groups of devices and scenes.

Should You Get an Apple Watch?

As you can see, the Apple Watch is more than just a fitness tracker that can help you live a healthier lifestyle. The Apple Watch can easily be your wallet, calendar, and much more besides.

And just like with an iPhone, keeping your information secure on the Apple Watch should be a top priority. Make sure to take a look at these Apple Watch security tips

3 Apple Watch Security Tips: Everything You Need to Know

3 Apple Watch Security Tips: Everything You Need to Know

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to better understand how to protect your device.

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