The Wirecutter’s best deals: Save $70 on an Apple Watch Series 2

This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a buyer’s guide to the best technology. When readers choose to buy The Wirecutter‘s independently chosen editorial picks, they may earn affiliate commissions that support their work. Read their continuously updated list of deals here.

You may have already seen Engadget posting reviews from our friends at The Wirecutter. Now, from time to time, we’ll also be publishing their recommended deals on some of their top picks. Read on, and strike while the iron is hot — some of these sales could expire mighty soon.

Garmin Forerunner 230 Running Watch

Street price: $ 190; MSRP: $ 250; Deal price: $ 155 with code AFFEMFIT

This is the lowest price we’ve seen on this GPS running watch at $ 155 after applying coupon code AFFEMFIT. While the street price of the Forerunner 230 has fallen under $ 200 in recent months, this is still a new low by a nice margin and a good opportunity to pick one up if you’re a runner looking to up your game. Black, Yellow, and Purple colors are available at the $ 155 price. Shipping is free.

The Garmin Forerunner is our pick for the best GPS running watch. Jim McDannald writes, “The Garmin Forerunner 230 (FR 230) has everything we were looking for in a great GPS running watch. It takes the accuracy and long battery life of our previous pick, the Forerunner 220 (FR 220), and makes the screen larger and more readable during activities, while retaining a light and small profile that won’t feel weird wearing as an everyday watch. The FR 230 can pass along smartphone notifications and track your steps and other casual activities. The interface and data syncing are easy enough to use if you are new to GPS watches, but the FR 230 also contains deep features and optional app downloads that experienced runners and statistics wonks can dig into. It can track some advanced running metrics we’ve only seen in higher-priced models and can also work with separate cycling monitors for speed and cadence. All of these features rest on top of Garmin’s unparalleled reputation for making reliable GPS watches; adding up to a watch that, while right in the middle of the pricing curve at about $ 250, feels many product cycles ahead of its competitors.”

Fitbit Flex 2 Fitness Tracker

Street price: $ 100; MSRP: $ 100; Deal price: $ 60

Here’s a nice drop on our new budget pick for best fitness tracker, the Fitbit Flex 2. This is the first sale we’ve seen on the Fitbit Flex 2 since making it one of our picks and marks a $ 40 drop from the usual street price. Most of the sales we see on this Fitibit only drop the price $ 20 down to $ 80, so this is a great price to pick it up. Since the only other time we saw this Fitbit at $ 60 was last year during Black Friday sales, it’s unlikely that this deal will stick around for too long. The deal is currently available in black, lavender, magenta, and navy.

The Fitbit Flex 2 is our new budget pick in our guide to the best fitness trackers. Amy Roberts wrote, “If you just want a simple way to monitor and track your daily activity (including workouts), nightly sleep habits, and get reminders to be more active, the Flex 2 is a great choice—especially if all your friends are on Fitbit. Unlike other Fitbits, it’s water resistant to 50 meters so you can track swimming and shower with it. However, there’s no screen—just five status LEDs to track progress towards your daily step count goal. It also doesn’t track heart rate, but Fitbits in general continue to struggle with heart-rate accuracy, so we don’t see this as a major issue; it helps the Flex 2 maintain its slim profile and lower price. The Flex 2 syncs wirelessly to the Fitbit app on a smartphone or the Fitbit website on a computer to keep a record of your activity and link you to other Fitbit users—a real highlight, as research shows that friendly competition can be very motivating.”

Apple Watch Series 2 – 38mm Aluminum

Street price: $ 370; MSRP: $ 370; Deal price: $ 300

This is the first big drop we’ve seen on our upgrade Apple smartwatch pick. We haven’t seen many (or any) really worthwhile sales on the Apple Watch Series 2, so if you’ve been waiting for a decent sale, now is the time. This deal is available in space gray, rose gold, and white, as well as the 42mm size for $ 30 more.

The Apple Watch Series 2 is our upgrade pick in our guide to the best smartwatch for iPhone owners. Dan Frakes wrote, “The Apple Watch Series 2 has three features that make it far more useful than the Series 1 for outdoor or water exercise: onboard, no-phone-required GPS, a waterproof design (up to 50 meters in fresh or salt water) that can handle swimming or surfing, and a brighter screen that’s easier to see outside. Combined with the watchOS 3’s improved Health app, these improvements mean the Series 2 watch can compete with fitness trackers and running watches while also being stylish enough to wear in casual and work settings.”

Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet

Street price: $ 90; MSRP: $ 90; Deal price: $ 65

This comes in $ 5 below the previous sale we featured last month and is one of the best sales we’ve seen on this tablet. Since those sales tend to be pretty short, it’s safe to assume that this one won’t last longer than a few days. Outside of the occasional lightning sale, this is likely the new best price you’ll find on the Fire HD 8.

The Amazon Fire HD 8 is our budget pick in our guide on the best Android tablet. Chris Heinonen wrote, “If you want a cheap tablet for watching videos, reading, or browsing the web, Amazon’s Fire HD 8 tablet is great. It doesn’t have access to the Google Play Store or any of Google’s apps, but it costs less than $ 100 and makes it easy to access Amazon content (especially for Prime members). Amazon’s Fire OS (based on Android) runs very well, and the Fire HD 8 offers better battery life than the Shield K1 or Pixel C. The display is only 1280×800, but that’s fine for a budget media tablet. Amazon’s app store is not as extensive as the Play Store, but it does have free versions of many apps and games that cost money on other Android tablets. The Fire HD 8 also has more extensive parental controls than other tablets, making it a great family device.”

Because great deals don’t just happen on Thursdays, sign up for our daily deals email and we’ll send you the best deals we find every weekday. Also, deals change all the time, and some of these may have expired. To see an updated list of current deals, please go to The Wirecutter.com.

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Pinterest’s app can identify multiple items in one photo

Last year, Pinterest started encouraging its users to buy things with just a photo. Last February it gave everyone in the US access to its new Lens beta, which lets you search for pins of cool things with a snapshot. Today, Pinterest continues to improve its Lens feature with a new update that gives you the power to “lens” more than one thing at a time, snap QR codes and use app shortcuts on the iPhone, along with improvements to Lens’ analysis.

Now you can search between multiple objects in a single photo, which should come in handy when you want to search for Pinterest boards about kitchen decorating ideas. Simply snap a photo of the entire room and Lens will detect a bunch of objects in the scene and give you the option to dig deeper for boards about it. A tap on the back arrow takes you to the original snap, so you can basically just search around a single photo. If you still live in a world where QR codes are relevant (education, libraries), Lens now acts as a QR-reader — just point your phone and Lens at one of those squiggly squares and Lens will bring up whatever it links to without you having to tap.

Lens shortcuts migrate their way from Android to the iPhone with this new update, as well. If you have an iPhone with 3D Touch, you can hard press on the Pinterest icon on your home screen to find shortcuts that will take you directly to Lens, Explore, Search and your Saved Pinterest boards without having to navigate within the app itself.

Pinterest’s Lens feature will make mistakes from time to time, of course, but you can always tap the plus button if it analyzes your photo incorrectly to help the entire system do better. So whether you’re looking to find a sweet antique coffee table for your swank apartment or an adorable pair of shoes to match that cute little outfit you just got, snapping a photo for Lens could be a solid option.

Source: Pinterest

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‘King’ smartphone charges its 10,000mAh battery in three hours

Chinese phonemaker Oukitel is releasing a new Android phone June, according to The Verge and Android Headlines, and its slogan is apparently “To be the king.” You’ll be hard-pressed to recognize the device as “the king” when you see its specs. However, it does have one impressive feature: a 10,000 mAh battery that only takes three hours to charge, just like Oukitel’s $ 240 K10000 smartphone launched a couple of years ago. In fact, this one’s its direct successor called the K10000 Pro. The company showed the phone off at MWC this year, but it hasn’t officially announced its details and availability yet. We can probably expect to hear something similar to the 10 to 15 days per charge claim it made when it revealed the K10000, though.

One of the biggest issues with smartphones today is that manufacturers tend to load them with all sorts of features without giving their battery life the proper boost it needs. That why compared to most smartphone’s batteries today, 10,000 mAh is massive. Even Asus ZenFone Max only has 5,000 mAh. Google’s Pixel XL has a 3,450mAh battery, while Samsung’s Galaxy S8 Plus has 3,500 mAh. The downside is that the K10000 weighed a ton. This one is reportedly lighter at 292.5 grams, but it’s still much heavier than, say, the iPhone 7 Plus, which weighs 188 grams. Whether it can actually last 10 to 15 days is another story, but it’s worth noting Android Headlines got 24 hours of on-screen time out of it at MWC.

Despite its enormous power source, the K10000 Pro is far from the ideal phone we’ve all been dreaming of. According to The Verge and The Hans India it will sport a 5.5-inch 1080p Gorilla Glass display, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and will be powered by a MediaTek octa-core 1.5Ghz processor. It’s definitely no tech titan flagship material. If you think it’s the perfect phone for camping trips, though, keep an eye out for Oukitel’s announcement.

Source: The Verge, The Hans India, Android Headlines

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Senator confirms FBI paid $900,000 to unlock San Bernardino iPhone

In early 2016, Apple was embroiled in a battle with the FBI over privacy, specifically whether it could (or would) crack an iPhone 5C following the San Bernardino terrorist attack. Apple refused to specifically create a backdoor piece of software that would circumvent the security protections built into iOS, citing concerns for the privacy of the other millions of people out there using iPhones and iPads. Ultimately, it became a moot point: the FBI purchased software to crack the iPhone in question. The agency refused to say how much it spent, but now Senator Dianne Feinstein has revealed that it cost $ 900,000 to break into the shooter’s phone.

That’s less than the $ 1.3 million that was estimated before, though that estimate was a back-of-the-napkin calculation based on a statement from FBI director James Comey. He said that the cost to the FBI was greater than what he’d make in the seven years and four months leading up to his retirement. Reuters did the math based on his salary, but it looks like the figure wasn’t quite accurate.

Senator Feinstein noted the $ 900,000 figure this past Wednesday while questioning Comey at a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing. “I was so struck when San Bernardino happened and you made overtures to allow that device to be opened, and then the FBI had to spend $ 900,000 to hack it open,” Feinstein said (as reported by the AP). She would know — she’s the top the Democrat on the Senate committee that oversees the FBI.

Until this statement, the FBI has refused to disclose either how much it spent to break into the San Bernardino iPhone; it also has protected the identity of the individual or company that broke into the phone. The agency has said both of those pieces of information are classified.

Via: Popular Mechanics

Source: Associated Press / CNBC

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Scan Spotify Codes to play songs instantly

Sharing songs with your buddies while on the go has typically been a hassle, with weird Shazam-style workarounds to get a song from one phone to another. It looks like Spotify knows this, too, as it’s rolling out a new feature to use Snapchat-style codes that will let you grab a photo of your friend’s screen to grab the song they want to share with you. We’ve confirmed the new feature in the Spotify app, though there’s been no official word yet.

Photo of an iPhone showing a Spotify code for a song.

To pull up a Spotify Code, you just toggle the Share function with a tap on the three dots to the right of your screen when playing a song. Hit Share and you’ll see the code (which looks like an audio waveform) just under the album image at the top of your screen. To grab the track, your friend just needs to tap the camera icon to the right of the Search bar in their Spotify app and aim their phone at your screen. The captured song will start playing right away.

Snapchat, of course, has a similar system that lets potential chatters grab each other’s contact details with a simple photo of their Snapcode, which looks more like an old-school QR code than the Spotify one does. We can’t wait to start using the new Spotify codes, though: we love anything that makes sharing obscure indie songs and deep house tracks simpler.

Via: TechCrunch

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Apple TV will reportedly get Amazon’s Video app this summer

The squabbling between Amazon and Apple might soon be over — at least, on the TV front. Amazon’s Video app might finally be heading to the Apple TV this summer, giving consumers an easy way to watch Amazon’s streaming content on the set-top box, Recode reports. Up until now, you were forced to use AirPlay to send Amazon’s streaming video titles to the Apple TV. That’s been one of the Apple TV’s biggest downsides since it debuted in 2015, together with a lack of 4K support.

The deal between Apple and Amazon might also lead to other changes. Amazon, for example, stopped selling the Apple TV in 2015 because it didn’t support its Prime Video service. That likely made a big dent in sales for Apple, especially as newer devices from Roku hit the market with 4K support. If Apple actually plans to release a newer 4K Apple TV this year, as rumors suggest, then landing back on Amazon would be essential.

At this point, it’s unclear if anything will change for Amazon’s Video apps on iOS. You can currently use them to watch Amazon Prime videos, as well as things you’ve already rented or purchased, but you can’t actually make those transactions within the app. That’s similar to how Amazon handles digital purchases on its Kindle and Comixology iOS apps. By forgoing in-app purchases on Apple’s ecosystem, Amazon avoids having to give the iPhone maker a cut of the revenue.

Source: Recode

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Splitting up with Apple is a chipmaker’s nightmare

Apple is such a powerful company that, for third-party suppliers, it’s hard not to become reliant on the cash that it pays you. But when Apple says that it’s done, choosing to move whatever technology you provide in house, the results can be really painful.

Imagination Technologies is one such supplier, famously designing the iPhone’s PowerVR graphics as well as pushing MIPS, a rival to ARM. But back in March, Imagination publicly announced that Apple was ditching it in favor of its own graphics silicon.

Now, Imagination has revealed that it’s going to take Apple to dispute resolution, maintaining that the iPhone maker used Imagination’s IP without permission. It’s the second chipmaker in recent months who believes Apple isn’t playing fair, with Qualcomm counter-suing Apple in its own licensing dispute.

Secondly, Imagination is going to have to sell off MIPS and Ensigma, two parts of its business that aren’t as profitable as PowerVR. Gamers with long memories will remember that MIPS designed the CPUs that lurked inside the PlayStation, PS2 and Nintendo 64. Imagination bought the company in 2013 in an attempt to turn the company into a mobile chip rival to ARM.

But since ARM chips are now the world’s “most used consumer product,” MIPS never stood a chance of competing. As a consequence, the technology remained vital only in the embedded device markets such as set-top boxes, routers and automotive systems.

MIPS was also pushed to hobbyists under the Creator platform, which Imagination described as a “Raspberry Pi, on steroids.” When MIPS is sold, however, it’s possible that any attempts to sell MIPS to hobbyists will be put on ice.

Then there’s the fact that PowerVR’s graphics have been slowly ditched by other members of the mobile industry in favor of ARM’s Mali alternative. As a consequence, Imagination began pushing PowerVR to budget smartphone suppliers, like MediaTek.

The decision to go public with the news was extraordinary, since Apple’s partners are often subject to the same vows of corporate silence Apple itself observes. But it also heralded doom for a small British company that had been involved with Apple since the iPod and, for too long, relied on those licensing dollars for the bulk of its profit.

It’s likely then that, if Imagination survives, you’ll see PowerVR go from a premium brand to one attached to $ 50 and $ 100 devices. The company will also serve as a reminder that, if you get too deeply involved with Apple, there’s always the risk that the party will end.

Source: Imagination Technologies

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Qualcomm might try to block iPhone shipments over royalty dispute

The Qualcomm vs. Apple licensing squabble had already gotten messy with lawsuits flying in both directions, but a report by Bloomberg says things could go to the next level soon. That’s because according to sources, Qualcomm plans to ask the ITC to block Apple from importing its phones from where they’re built in Asia to the US, ahead of new devices that we’re anticipating in the fall. We don’t know if it could be successful, although Qualcomm holds a number of patents in the space and Apple stopped making payments while the dispute is ongoing.

Qualcomm has cut its revenue outlook by $ 500 million because of the anticipated lack of licensing fees, so this is no small matter. It claims its patented technology is crucial to the iPhone even as it’s being manufactured by someone else, while Apple disagrees. We don’t know if there’s any chance the ITC will side with Qualcomm and actually ban any devices, but the threat puts billions of dollars in iPhone sales at risk.

Source: Bloomberg

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The Morning After: Wednesday, May 3rd 2017

Microsoft has announced a new laptop, in addition to a new lighter OS aimed at education (and Chrome OS), all in the middle of the week. YouTube also got a makeover, and we take a look at the most notable VR submissions at this year’s Tribeca festival.


There aren’t any special hinges or kickstands this time.
Microsoft’s Surface Laptop is built to beat Apple’s MacBooks

Microsoft has always tried to do something different with its hardware. The Surface and Surface Pro helped popularize the idea of hybrid laptops that could also be used as tablets. The Surface Book took that idea a step further with a bigger screen, a unique hinge and more powerful hardware. But with the Surface Laptop, it’s almost as if Microsoft is going back to basics. It’s basically a straightforward notebook, albeit one with the Microsoft’s slick Surface aesthetic. Most importantly, it’s the flagship device for Windows 10 S, Microsoft’s new streamlined OS targeted at the education market. Similar to ChromeOS, it’s meant mainly for web apps and software from the Microsoft Store, with an emphasis on security and battery life. The Surface Laptop launches on June 15th starting at $ 999 for the Core i5 model.


Eye-catching mouse design is back.
Microsoft’s lie-flat Surface Arc mouse is a new take on an old formula

The Surface Arc Mouse is an evolution of the well-established Arc Touch Mouse . While the new Bluetooth peripheral still has that eye-catching, travel-friendly design that snaps flat for stowing in your bag, there aren’t any distinct left and right buttons, or even a scroll strip. Instead, a touch-sensitive button handles all of that.


It trades app support in the name of security and performance.
Microsoft takes on Chrome OS with Windows 10 S

Microsoft has already taken some potshots at Google’s Chromebooks in the past — Windows 8.1 with Bing, anyone? Now, though, it’s going for the jugular. The newly introduced Windows 10 S (not Cloud like the rumors suggested) is a stripped-back, education-oriented version of the operating system that gives up some app support in the name of simplicity and performance. You can only run Windows Store apps (including Office 365 apps, which are coming soon), but that’s the point — schools don’t have to worry about the vulnerabilities that come with running any old Windows app. All in time for a big Minecraft Education Edition upgrade.


And we’re finally getting a “dark mode.”
YouTube’s latest redesign puts added focus on videos

Approximately 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Soon, its desktop website will be getting a makeover to make combing through all those cute cat clips a bit easier. Google is refreshing the look of its desktop site by applying its material design aesthetic to the site, basically flattening the UI. “We want to make content the star,” Fred Gilbert, Head of User Experience at YouTube, said during a recent interview. “Everything else should recede from that.”


But the Mac is up again!
iPhone sales continue their slow and steady slide

Apple couldn’t quite keep iPhone sales growing for the second quarter in a row. The company sold 50.8 million iPhones in the last quarter, down a scant one percent from the 51.2 million it sold a year ago. It’s worth remembering that last year marked the first quarter where iPhone sales didn’t grow year-over-year, so this decline isn’t exactly a surprise. Meanwhile, in the “other products” business, which includes the Apple Watch and Apple TV, revenue jumped a whopping 31 percent. Perhaps Apple’s wearable is doing better than people give it credit for. Indeed, Cook said on Apple’s earnings call that Watch sales nearly doubled year-over-year in the last quarter.


Chet Faliszek, who also worked on Steam VR, has left.
Valve has no more ‘Half-Life’ writers left

Chet Faliszek and Erik Wolpaw, co-writers on Half-Life 2: Episode One and Episode Two, stuck around after Half-Life writing lead Marc Laidlaw’s departure from Valve last year. But not for long. Wolpaw departed Valve in February, and Faliszek has now also left the company. Faliszek was also key part of Valve’s push into virtual reality, from the early days of secret testing at the company’s Bellevue headquarters through to the public launch of the HTC Vive.


The Aura H2O can survive your next beach trip.
Kobo’s latest waterproof e-reader is sized for poolside reading

Kobo’s recent Aura One e-reader was potentially the dream device for anyone who likes to read in the bath or at the beach, but it had some catches. It was big, with a 7.8-inch screen, and came with a $ 229 price tag. Enter the just-introduced Aura H2O — just as waterproof, but shrunken down to a 6.8-inch touchscreen, while an accompanying tinier $ 180 price.

But wait, there’s more…

  • Republican Senators outline anti-net neutrality legislation
  • T-Mobile plans to launch a national 5G network by 2020
  • VR is telling deeper, more important stories

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iPhone sales continue their slow and steady slide

Apple just released earnings details for the last quarter, and the company couldn’t quite keep iPhone sales growing for the second quarter in a row. The company sold 50.8 million iPhones in the last quarter, down a scant one percent from the 51.2 million it sold a year ago. It’s worth remembering that last year marked the first quarter where iPhone sales didn’t grow year-over-year, so this decline isn’t exactly a surprise. The iPhone 7 briefly managed to turn things around last quarter, but we’re now back to seeing sales decline, albeit very slightly.

Despite the iPhone slide, Apple’s revenue increased to $ 52.9 billion on the quarter, up five percent year-over-year. Some of that could be due to the Mac — Apple sold 4.2 million Macs in the quarter, a four percent increase over a year ago. That marks the second consecutive quarter of Mac growth, despite the grumbling coming from both fans and press about the lack of updates Apple’s computers have received in recent years.

Apple’s third major product category, the iPad, once again failed to turn around sales that have slumped for more than three years now. The company sold 8.9 million tablets, down nine percent from the 10.25 million it sold a year ago. But Apple’s services business keeps growing — revenues of $ 7.04 billion marked an 18 percent increase year-over-year. CEO Tim Cook said that App Store revenue grew 40 percent year-over-year and hit a quarterly high, and Apple Music also hit double-digit growth.

And the “other products” business, which includes the Apple Watch and Apple TV, jumped up a whopping 31 percent. Perhaps Apple’s wearable is doing better than people give it credit for. Indeed, Cook said on Apple’s earnings call that Watch sales nearly doubled year-over-year in the last quarter.

But things are likely not going to get any easier on the iPhone front for Apple any time soon. The company’s biggest rival Samsung just launched the Galaxy S8, a phone that gives Samsung a significant edge over what Apple currently offers. Naturally, loyal Apple fans aren’t going to be abandoning the ecosystem any time soon (and that growing services revenue is good evidence of their loyalty), but Samsung now likely has until September at least to press its advantage.

Source: Apple

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