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Galaxy Watch 4: Samsung is coming for Apple Watch's crown with Wear OS 3 – CNET



The Galaxy Watch 4 (left) and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic (right) look sharp. And they’re running a whole new Google-Samsung OS.

Drew Evans/CNET

This story is part of Samsung Event, our full coverage of Samsung Unpacked.

There’s one clear go-to smartwatch for iOS: the Apple Watch. But for Android, there hasn’t been a singular option. Will the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 finally be that watch? At Samsung’s newest folding-phone-focused Unpacked announcement where the latest Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 phones were unveiled, the company also announced the Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic — which can be preordered now and go on sale Aug. 27. They’re the first Samsung watches to have the Google co-designed Wear OS 3, which isn’t coming to other smartwatches until next year. Following the already-excellent Watch Active 3, will the Galaxy Watch 4 be even better? It certainly looks like it.

Much like previous Samsung watches, there are two designs: a sleeker, less expensive Watch 4 and a more traditional-looking Watch 4 Classic. The latter brings back Samsung’s physically rotating outer bezel and has more traditional watch-like looks and straps. The prices ramp up based on either design ($250 for the aluminum 40mm Watch 4, $350 for the stainless steel 42mm Watch 4 Classic), size (the larger 42mm Watch 4/46mm Watch 4 Classic cost an extra $30) or LTE data compatibility (an extra $50 on top of that). In the UK, the Watch 4 starts at £249, and the Classic at £349. Australian prices are TBD.

Samsung’s watches have always been good. Then there’s also been Fitbit and even Google Wear OS. But Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 is looking to tie it all together and reboot the Android watch landscape by finally not having a weird split between Samsung’s watch experience and Google’s. 

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Promises of better watch-phone connection

The Watch 4’s new Google- and Samsung-developed OS will eventually show up on other smartwatches. But for Samsung’s newest watches, it should mean a more Android-fluid connected experience. Notifications, calls, controlling your phone, syncing with your phone settings: Samsung promises that the Watch 4 will do all this better than previous watches. Samsung’s also promising better battery life and speedier performance. That battery life may still only be about two days, but it’ll be enough to go to bed with and track sleep overnight. Samsung also renamed its watch: The Watch Active name is gone. (Welcome back, Galaxy Watch.)

The Galaxy Watch 4 is only made for Android phones, with no plans for iOS compatibility right now. While previous Wear OS and Samsung watches could pair with iPhones, the Watch 4 is clearly made to be a seamlessly connecting watch for Android (and specifically Samsung) phones. Samsung’s “One UI” philosophy is about syncing wallpapers, designs and settings across phone and watch. Will the watch feel like a seamless extension of the phone? We’ll see when we test-drive one.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 ClassicSamsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

The new rear sensor array includes electrical bioimpedance, which promises scale-like body fat/BMI estimates.

Drew Evans/CNET

Health tech: Snore detection and bioimpedance-based body analysis

There are several new health features on the Watch 4 on top of the ones that carried over from the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3. Besides heart rate, blood oxygen and electrocardiogram (and stress-sensing/blood pressure testing that requires calibration with a blood pressure cuff), Samsung is adding a few extras to sleep tracking. Snore detection works using the paired Android phone’s microphone, and the blood oxygen checks now run continuously once a minute overnight (or as a spot-check during the day).

Samsung also added a new sensor to its rear array: an electrical bioimpedance sensor for full-body analysis using a weak electrical current to measure how conductive you are — and therefore showing what you’re made of. This type of sensor tech hasn’t been on recent smartwatches; the last wearable I remember promising bioimpedance was the Jawbone Up 3

When using the body analysis feature, there will be readouts on your BMI, muscle mass and body water along with body fat percentages, much like some scales. I’m not sure how I feel about that! Samsung Health will use this readout to calculate a range of where your health is compared to optimal levels. 

New sensor tech is always a toss-up: Will it work? Will it be useful? We don’t know yet. Samsung is aiming for this to be a comprehensive body analysis tool, which sounds awfully ambitious. Last year, the Fitbit Sense also introduced new electrodermal stress-detection sensors, but I never found them meaningful in my everyday life. Jury’s still out on the bioimpedance features, too.

Samsung Health remains the fitness and health platform default for the Galaxy Watch 4, despite the OS change. But a shift to Google Play for apps and new support for watch face complications should mean a lot of fitness apps make the shift, too. (Complications are basically those little watch-face widgets that show data from other apps, and they’re pretty helpful.) Samsung’s already announced that Strava, Calm and Adidas Running are supported. Spotify’s also supported for on-watch music playback.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 ClassicSamsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

See that rotating bezel? It’s back.

Drew Evans/CNET

Boosted specs

The Watch 4’s new processor should be faster than the last Watch 3 (20% faster CPU and 50% faster GPU, according to Samsung) and there’s more RAM (1.5GB) and storage (16GB) than before. That should make animations and app-launching speedier. The Super AMOLED display is sharper: the 1.2-inch 42 and 40mm models have a 396×396-pixel resolution, while the 1.4-inch 44 and 46mm models are 450×450. The watches can also quick charge, gaining 10 hours of battery life on a 30-minute charge.

The rotating bezel is back

Both the Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic lean heavily on touching the outer rim of the watch to “spin” and navigate: the Watch 4 has a touch-sensitive rim, while the Classic has a physical rotating bezel. Samsung’s also putting touch controls into these watches to allow swipe navigation, much like Wear OS watches. You can choose how to interact.

A few other buttons on the side of the watch control moving back and forth in the interface and can be reprogrammed. One can be pressed and held for Samsung’s Bixby assistant; the other for Samsung Pay. But you can make Google Assistant and Google Pay the go-to apps instead.


Some of the Google apps on the Galaxy Watch 4 have a familiar Google look.


Google apps onboard

Google’s Wear OS 3 being on the Galaxy Watch 4 means it’ll hook into Google Play, but it’s also getting some revamped Google apps. Google’s already committed to new YouTube, Google Maps, Google Pay and Messages apps, which have new designs for Wear OS 3. There are also third-party updates with new Tiles: Calm, Komoot, MyFitnessPal, Period Tracker, Sleep Cycle, Spotify and Strava are among the first to get updates. Google is committing to rolling out more updates over time, meaning that both Samsung and Google should be keeping this watch full of apps.

But you’re stuck with Bixby for now. Samsung’s voice assistant is still the default on the watch, which comes up when pressing and holding the top button. Google Assistant isn’t available at the moment, which is frustrating — that’s one of the top things I’d want to access on a Google-connected watch.

Could this be the best Android watch?

The Galaxy Watch 4 looks like the ultimate fusion of a Samsung watch with Google watches — and that could be a winning formula for using Google Maps, connected phone features and third-party fitness apps on Google Play, which is the Galaxy Watch 4’s default app store. It should be the hardware-boosted Google watch that we’ve been waiting years for. The software interface seems exactly like what you’d expect: part Samsung, part Google. But is it worth waiting to see how it works out, or should you just go for this first model? Hard to tell, since it’s the first of its kind.

It’s not surprising that Samsung’s new health features and its new OS aren’t coming to older Samsung watches for now. Some of them might, but expect this to largely be a clean break and a reboot. And we also don’t really know how many of the Galaxy Watch 4’s features will carry over to the rest of Google’s future Wear OS 3 watch lineup, which will include watches from Mobvoi, Fossil and eventually Fitbit.

Those Wear OS 3 watch updates won’t come to those other watches until 2022, which makes the Galaxy Watch 4 the only new Google-connected Wear OS 3 watch this year. For that reason alone, it could very well be the best Android watch of the moment. As to how it actually feels and works? We’ll have full hands-on impressions and a review in the days ahead… but the Galaxy Watch 4 looks extremely promising for any Android phone owner who wants a much more hooked-in watch.

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Forgot to Pre-Order Your iPhone 13 or 13 Pro? Apple Store Pickup Remains an Option for Launch Day – MacRumors



iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro pre-orders began last Friday at 5:00 a.m. Pacific Time, and soon after, shipping estimates for select models began slipping to late September or early October for some models.

If you weren’t prepared to get up at an early hour or you haven’t got round to pre-ordering for another reason, there’s still a chance to get an ‌iPhone 13‌ mini, ‌iPhone 13‌, ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌, or ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ Max in your hands when they launch on Friday.

In the United States and other countries that have Apple retail stores, such as Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, many ‌iPhone 13‌ models are still available for in-store pickup on Friday, September 24.

Even if a particular iPhone model isn’t estimated to be delivered on launch day, it’s still possible to reserve some versions for in-store pickup.

iphone 13 pickup1

iphone 13 pickup1
An ‌iPhone 13 Pro‌ in Silver with 128GB of storage, for example, is currently estimated to ship in 4-5 weeks on Apple’s online store. However, the device is available for pickup on September 24 at multiple retail stores in several countries.

Once you proceed to the checkout and click the blue “Checkout” button, select “I’ll pick it up,” then choose a store location, pickup date, and an available 15-minute check-in window from the options.

If you will be picking up the ‌iPhone‌ personally, enter your phone number. If someone else will be arranging the pickup, enter his or her contact information. The person making the pickup must be carrying a valid photo ID.

Then, proceed with the checkout process as usual. Once payment has been made, wait until you receive a pickup notification email or text message by September 24 before picking up the ‌iPhone‌. If you don’t receive one, call the store.

iphone 13 pickup2

iphone 13 pickup2
Since the ‌iPhone‌ is paid for ahead of time, the store will hold the device in its back room until you arrive. Your order will be held for 14 days.

Of course, another option is to simply wait until Friday and walk into an Apple store, preferably right when they open. You may have to wait in line, but the queues have typically been shorter in recent years. Note that temperature checks and face masks may be required.

You can use the pickup tool on Apple’s website on launch day to check if stores in your local area have stock, or call the store directly.

All in all, there are still a few days to ensure you get your new ‌iPhone‌ on launch day, even if you missed the pre-order rush. Just make sure to select which color, storage, and carrier combinations are still available for pick-up by September 24.

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iOS 15 now available with new FaceTime features and Focus notifications – MobileSyrup



iOS 15 is here, so saddle up your iPhone and start downloading the latest update to try out all of the new features. This year’s update is overall pretty bland, especially compared to the new hotness that is Material You over on Android, but it’s a worthwhile update nonetheless.

Below I highlight a few of my favourite new features and what I like about them based on a few weeks I’ve spent with the latest iOS 15 beta, but before that, let’s go over how to install the update. As with all iOS updates, simply navigate to your Settings app, open the ‘General’ section and select ‘Software update.’

The update is compatible with smartphones as old as the iPhone 6s and the iPhone SE.

What is this new Focus mode?

The most noticeable iOS 15 update is the new look for notifications. This time around, the app icon with each notification is larger to make it easier to see at-a-glance which app is begging for your attention.

Beyond that subtle visual flourish, there’s a new ‘Focus’ button within Settings and Control Center (the menu that allows you to change screen brightness and play/pause music playback). When you open this, it shows you a few new notification filters that can block preset apps during specific times. You need to set this up on your own, but once activated, it can be useful for blocking social notifications during work hours and work notifications during social hours.

FaceTime invites Windows and Android to the party

FaceTime Gridview

Perhaps the part of iOS 15 that will be used the most is a new FaceTime feature that allows users to set up chatrooms that you can invite people to with a link. This is just like how Zoom, Google Meet and Teams all work, putting FaceTime on slightly more level footing with those competitors. It also allows FaceTime users to invite Android and Windows users for the first time.

To be clear, non-Apple users can only be invited to a FaceTime chat; they can’t start one.

On top of all this, Apple has also added some new layouts to Facetime to make it easier to see everyone in a chat at once.

The new iMessage updates take a bit to get used to

One of the more subtle updates that’s come with iOS 15 is a new form of iMessage. For the most part, the app looks the same, but now, when you send or receive multiple photos, they get stacked in the chat instead of all displayed at once.

This looks nicer, but you can easily mistake it for just a single photo if you just glance at it.

One of the more exciting updates that seems cool but might not catch on is the new ‘Shared with you’ sections within Safari and Photos. In each of these sections, you can see links or pictures that people have sent you via iMessage, so you can quickly open them or check them out later.

Copy text from anywhere

One of the sleeper updates added in iOS 15 is the ability to copy text from pretty much anything.

Within the Photos app, you can click on a little icon in the bottom right of each picture to copy text from within the photo. If you’re in Safari, you can tap and hold onto text in images and, in pretty much every case, the phone will be able to copy it accurately.

You can also highlight phone numbers to instantly call them or addresses to get directions in Maps.

Spotlight search is the real way to get around your iPhone in 2021

If you’re not already utilizing the power of Spotlight Search on iPhone, you should really start with iOS 15.

When you pull down on the home screen in the new update, you can search for pretty much anything now. This includes the web, your photos, contacts and messages, among many other sources. You can even now use it from the iOS lock screen.

Auto translate

The iOS translate app can automatically detect when a person is speaking and will begin translation immediately. Since you can also select text in images and other things in iOS 15, you can also translate them quite easily.

This isn’t the new Safari iWanted

The new design is on the left and the old is on the right.

When Apple first revealed iOS 15 and its other software updates earlier this summer, it planned to revamp the look of Safari on all of them. While I was really excited about these visual changes, the world, apparently, was not.

The first version of iOS 15 safari was a simple bubble that floated at the bottom of the screen. If you tapped on the bubble, you could search using Google. There was also a three-dot menu and a button to see all your open tabs. Swiping across the bubble also allowed users to jump through all their open tabs quickly. This functionality, thankfully, is still in iOS 15.

The search bubble didn’t last, and instead, Apple replaced it with a much more accessible and technical-looking bottom navbar. While this version might not look as nice, it’s likely going to be a lot easier for people to adapt to.

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Apple Prompts Pre-Order Customers to 'Get Ready' for New iPhone 13 With iCloud Syncing and Trade-Ins – MacRumors



iPhone users who have pre-ordered an iPhone 13 model are seeing a new prompt in the Settings app that walks through the steps of preparing for a new device.

Tapping on this prompt encourages users to make sure that iCloud syncing is enabled for all of their apps for a complete ‌iCloud‌ backup, offering up an option to turn on syncing for any app that doesn’t have it on.

The feature also explains how to use an existing ‌iPhone‌ to set up a new ‌iPhone‌ for a quick sign in process, and it offers up details on finding out how much an existing ‌iPhone‌ is worth for trade-in purposes.

Apple is likely showing this information based on Apple ID, so many customers who pre-ordered an ‌iPhone‌ may be seeing the new popup. For those who want to get rid of it, just tapping through the prompts should be enough to get it to disappear.

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Update: As of 5:30 a.m. Pacific Time, the “Expired Pre-Order” issue appears to have been fixed for many Apple customers. Some Apple customers who went through the pre-approval steps to purchase a new iPhone 13 on Apple’s website or Apple Store app are seeing the message “Your iPhone pre-order has expired” when subsequently checking their order status page.
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iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max Now Available for Pre-Order

Apple is now accepting pre-orders for the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max through its online storefront and through the Apple Store app.
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Apple Online Store Down Ahead of iPhone 13 and 13 Pro Pre-Orders

Apple’s online store is down ahead of iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max pre-orders, which are set to begin at 5:00 a.m. Pacific Time in the United States.
“You’re… early,” reads the Apple Store message when attempting to visit the U.S. website. “Pre-order begins at 5:00 a.m. PDT. Enjoy the extra sleep.” Apple used to do new device pre-orders at 12:01 a.m….

iPhone 13 Orders Begin Shipping From Apple Ahead of Friday Launch

Apple has started shipping out iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max orders to customers who pre-ordered one of the new devices on Friday, September 17.
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iPhone 13 Pro Pre-Orders Off to Promising Start With Strong Early Demand, Says Analyst

While it has been many years since Apple stopped providing first weekend sales numbers for new iPhones, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty today said that iPhone 13 Pro pre-orders are “off to a promising start” with “strong early demand.”
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Deals: A Look at the iPhone 13 Sales Offered by AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Best Buy, and More

iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max pre-orders went live on earlier today, and now you can also pre-order the newest Apple smartphones across many carriers and retailers in the United States. Carriers typically offer numerous deals and bonuses to ordering through them instead of Apple, and that’s no different for the iPhone 13 launch.
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Apple Starts Offering 0% Financing on iPhones for 24 Months in Canada

Coinciding with the start of iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro pre-orders, Apple today started offering 0% financing for an extended 24 months on new iPhone purchases in Canada through financing partner PayBright, up from six months previously.
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Some Customers Have Experienced Issues Pre-Ordering the iPhone 13 With an Apple Card [Updated]

iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro pre-orders started today, and while many customers have successfully placed their pre-orders, some have experienced issues when attempting to complete their purchase with an Apple Card or Apple Pay.
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Everything Announced at Today’s Apple Event

Apple today held its annual iPhone-centric event, introducing the iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max. We also got a look at the new Apple Watch Series 7 and were surprised with the new ninth-generation low-cost iPad and the iPad mini 6.
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