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At WWDC this year, Apple unveiled the future of its software platforms, detailing new features in iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, macOS 12 Monterey, and more. Head below for a full recap of everything that Apple announced.

iOS 15 FaceTime

Apple kicked things off with the official introduction of iOS 15. This update includes major improvements for FaceTime, new Focus features designed to reduce distractions, an all-new Weather application, and more.

The FaceTime improvements in iOS 15 are especially notable, and they’re also coming to other platforms including iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey. A new Portrait Mode feature for FaceTime calls allows users to blur their background. Spatial audio for FaceTime is a new feature that separates the user’s voice from the background noise.

For group FaceTime, a new grid view enables participants to see more faces at the same time. Another new feature for FaceTime is called SharePlay. This allows you to listen to music, watch TV shows and movies, and share your screen with people over FaceTime. You can tune in and watch the same content together and communicate at the same time over FaceTime.

Apple says that it is also working with third-party apps to integrate a SharePlay API, including Disney+, ESPN+, HBO Max, Hulu, MasterClass, Paramount+, Pluto TV, TikTok, Twitch, and more.

Focus and notifications

iOS 15 also includes a host of new digital wellbeing features called Focus. This allows users to filter notifications, signal to friends that they are unavailable, and hide distractions without missing what’s important. When a user’s Focus is blocking incoming notifications, their status is automatically displayed to others in Messages, reflecting that a user is not currently reachable.

Focus allows users to set different home screens based on times of day. For instance, you can set specific home screens for when you’re at work and for when you’re at home.

Notifications have also been redesigned with a focus on making them more glanceable. There is also a new notification summary feature that collects non-time-critical notifications for delivery at a more opportune time, such as in the morning and evening.

Apple Maps

Apple has announced a handful of new features for Apple Maps. There are a variety of design updates for Apple Maps to bring a ton more details for cities in commercial districts, buildings, and more. Apple is also rolling out a handful of new transit features, including specific directions, information on when to disembark, and more.

Weather app

Apple has redesigned the Weather application with a ton of new capabilites and an all-new design. Apple says that the layout of the new Weather app changes based on the weather in your current location. There are new animated backgrounds in the Weather app, notifications for incoming rain and snow, and more.

More in iOS 15

Be sure to check out our full coverage of iOS 15 below for more details on what’s new. The first developer beta is available now, while Apple says a public beta will be released in July. A stable release is expected this fall.

iPadOS 15 Widgets and App Library

Next up, Apple introduced iPadOS 15. One of the biggest changes here is that widgets are now available on the iPad home screen for the first time. No longer are widgets delegated only to the Today View on the side of the home screen, but now they be placed in the midst of all of your other app icons.

iPadOS 15 also brings the App Library to the iPad for the first time. The App Library is located directly in the dock for easy access to all of your applications, regardless of where you are in iPadOS.

Multi-tasking

iPadOS 15 also includes a new multi-tasking system for applications. The new system is similar to iPadOS 14, but Apple has rethought how you access the controls. The new multitasking menu appears at the top of apps, letting users go into Split View or Slide Over directly from that menu. You can also now have access to the Home Screen when using Split View, making it easier to get to the right app. 

The experience is also changed when using an external keyboard with your iPad, with all-new keyboard shortcuts and a redesign of the menu bar. Users can quickly set up and switch between Split View and Slide Over with new shortcuts for multitasking right from the keyboard.

Translate for iPad

The Translate application is now on the iPad for the first time. The Translate app first came to the iPhone with iOS 14 last year, and now Apple is bringing it to the iPad. Text can now be translated anywhere on iPad by selecting it and tapping Translate, and handwritten text can also be translated. 

Swift Playgrounds

Xcode for iPad was not announced during WWDC 2023, but Apple did announce that Swift Playgrounds now allows users to build iPhone and iPad apps right on their iPad, and submit them to the App Store. Code is immediately reflected in the live preview while building apps, and users can run their apps full screen to test them out.

More in iPadOS 15

Be sure to check out our full coverage of iPadOS 15 below for more details on what’s new. The first developer beta is available now, while Apple says a public beta will be released in July. A stable release is expected this fall.

macOS Monterey Shortcuts and TestFlight apps

For the Mac, Apple announced macOS 12 Monterey to the public. One of the biggest changes here is that the Shortcuts automation app is now available on the Mac for the first time.

You can build new shortcuts, access existing shortcuts, and more. The Shortcuts app on the Mac also integrates with Spotlight, appears in Finder, supports multitasking, and integrates with the Menu bar. It also features support for importing Automator automations.

Apple has also brought its TestFlight beta testing app to the Mac this year, allowing developers to beta test their apps easily on the Mac.

Universal Control

Universal Control lets users work with a single mouse and keyboard and move between Mac and iPad for a seamless experience, with no setup required. Users can even drag and drop content back and forth between devices. The feature also works between two Macs, allowing you to use a single mouse and keyboard for two Macs.

Safari

Safari features a redesign for the browsing experience with a new tab design that lets users see more of the page as they scroll. A new tab bar takes on the color of the webpage and combines tabs, the tool bar, and the search field into a single compact design. 

Tab Groups offer a new way to easily save and manage tabs. Tab Groups also sync across Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

AirPlay to Mac

With macOS Monterey, your Mac is also now an AirPlay target, which allows you to cast videos from your other Apple devices to your Mac’s display. The Mac’s sound system can also be used as an AirPlay speaker, so users can play music or podcasts on their Mac, or use their Mac as a secondary speaker for multi-room audio.

More in macOS Monterey

Be sure to check out our full coverage of macOS Monterey below for more details on what’s new. The first developer beta is available now, while Apple says a public beta will be released in July. A stable release is expected this fall.

watchOS 8

Perhaps the least exciting update announced by Apple at WWDC was watchOS 8 for Apple Watch users. This update brings a new version of the Breathe app, now called Mindfulness.

The Photos app and Photos watch faces have gotten notable updates. Photo watch faces can now include depth using portrait mode photos. The Photos app has been overhauled with featured highlights and memories. Photos can also now be shared from the watch with Messages and Mail.

The always-on watch face has been updated to work with three new applications: Music, Maps, and Calculator. Apple also says that apps that don’t support the always-on face include new enhancements to improve compatibility.

The first beta of watchOS 8 is available now to developer beta testers, and a public beta will be released sometime next month. A stable release is slated for later this fall.

iCloud+

Apple also unveiled iCloud+ during its event, giving users new privacy features such as Private Relay and Hide My Email. Through Private Relay, all traffic leaving your device is encrypted and sent through two separate relays. Apple says that no one, not even Apple, can access or view this data. 

Hide My Email is a new feature built into Mail, Safari, and other services and it allows you to randomized, unique emails that forward to your main account. This means you can hide your email from services for increased privacy. 

iCloud+ also includes unlimited HomeKit Secure Video cameras. Currently, iCloud users are limited to five cameras per account, but this limit has been removed for iCloud+. 

iCloud+ comes at no additional cost for existing iCloud subscribers.

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This Week’s Top Stories: Wwdc 2023 Confirmed, Ios 14.5 Beta 6 Changes, More

In this week’s top stories: Apple officially announces WWDC 2023, a massive Apple Arcade expansion, iOS 14.5 changes, and more. Read on for all of this week’s top Apple stories.

iOS 14.5 beta 6 changes

Apple this week released the sixth developer and public betas of iOS 14.5. The update continues to introduce new features and improvements, this time related to Siri and battery heath.

With iOS 14.5 beta 6, Apple has added two new Siri voices from which users can choose. iOS will also no longer default to a female voice starting with this update. Instead, users will be able to pick which voice they’d like to use.

iOS 14.5 beta 6 also introduces a new battery recalibration tool for iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and IPhone 11 Pro Max. This means that users will be able to recalibrate their battery if they believe things like battery health data and maximum capacity are incorrect.

Be sure to check out our full video right here for a look at everything new in iOS 14.5 beta 6.

Apple Arcade expansion

On Friday, Apple announced a massive expansion for its Apple Arcade game subscription service. The company is now offering two new categories of games: Timeless Classics and App Store Greats.

As part of this expansion, Apple has added more than 30 new titles to Apple Arcade, including hit iOS hits like Threes!, Cut the Rope, and Fruit Ninja, as well as classics including Good Sudoku and Chess.

You can find the full breakdown of all of the new Apple Arcade titles right here.

WWDC 2023

Finally, Apple has officially set the dates for WWDC 2023. This year, the annual Worldwide Developers Conference will be held as a digital event from June 7 through June 11.

At the event, we expect Apple to introduce iOS 15, watchOS 8, macOS 12, and more. Apple says that WWDC 2023 “will offer unique insight into the future of iOS, iPadOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS.”

Apple says that WWDC 2023 will include keynote and State of the Union events, online sessions, 1:1 labs for developers, and new ways for developers to interact with Apple engineers and designers.

These and the rest of this week’s top stories below.

Listen to a recap of the top stories of the day from 9to5Mac. 9to5Mac Daily is available on iTunes and Apple’s Podcasts app, Stitcher, TuneIn, Google Play, or through our dedicated RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

Sponsored by ALOGIC: 30% off the ALOGIC Rapid USB-C Wall Charger on Amazon [Amazon UK] and enter the iPad Pro giveaway. 

Jeff Benjamin joins Zac Hall to give Apple Watch Series 3 and Series 5 an exit interview before new models are announced. 9to5Mac Watch Time is a podcast series hosted by Zac Hall. In this series, we talk to real people about how Apple Watch is affecting their lives.

Sponsored by Pillow: Pillow is an all-in-one sleep tracking solution to help you get a better night’s sleep. Download it from the App Store today.

Week 6

9to5Mac Watch Time

This week on Watch Time join 9to5Mac’s Zac Hall and Tempo developer Rahul Matta in the final episode of this podcast “season”.

Follow Zac Instagram @apollozac Twitter @apollozac Follow Rahul Matta Twitter @rmatta Twitter @TempoLog Blog indie.sh Follow 9to5Mac Instagram @9to5mac Twitter @9to5mac Facebook Listen & Subscribe

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Toning down the Apple Watch: Tips and feature requests to avoid being overwhelmed Apple releases watchOS 7.4.1 with security improvements Apple Watch blood sugar and blood pressure measurement could be a step closer watchOS 7.4 brings iPhone mask unlock feature for Apple Watch

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Week 6

46:48

With guest Sigmund Judge

42:59

Week 5

52:45

Week 4

57:20

Week 3

56:40

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Apple @ Work by 9to5Mac is available on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, and via RSS for other podcast players.

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Holiday Stress Is All About Expectations

This post has been updated. It was originally published on November 25, 2024.

For most people, family gatherings during the holidays are rarely stress-free. Maybe you have that cousin who ruins dinner by igniting political debates, or the turkey is burnt, or your relatives won’t stop asking you about what you’ll do after you finish school.

Sometimes these situations are small, unpleasant blips in otherwise enjoyable celebrations. But for some, the feelings go deeper—many people dread the holidays, becoming stressed or anxious in the weeks leading up to a family get-together. Why is that familial stress especially potent during the holidays? Popular Science spoke with a few experts to understand what causes that stress and steps that individuals and families can take to offset it.

[Related: Take great family photos you’ll actually like]

Feeling stressed out by the people you love can feel isolating, but if you’re one of the people for whom this is the case, you’re far from alone. There isn’t much hard data on this, but several experts told Popular Science that many or most people feel some degree of stress surrounding their families. And though some people stress about it more than others because of their personalities or family history, the stress itself is a “very normal” feeling, says Pamela Regan, a psychology professor at California State University in Los Angeles.

By definition, stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from demanding circumstances. That can have both psychological and physical effects. “If you feel anxious, rushed, or pressured, your body changes—your heart rate rises and some people say they feel nauseous,” says Terri Orbuch, a relationship expert and sociology professor at Oakland University. Usually, these effects are short-lived, but over time the effects of stress can take a toll on the body, especially if an individual doesn’t know how to handle his stress well. “Many psychological theories look at the accumulation of stress—if we don’t figure out some positive coping mechanisms, we’re not able to reduce the effects of current and future stress,” Orbuch adds.

But, as Orbuch points out, the events themselves aren’t inherently stressful—it’s our perception of them that stresses us out.

So why do we get stressed about seeing family, and around the holidays in particular? Expectations are one of the biggest reasons—we watch Christmas specials or remember celebrating Thanksgiving as children and anticipate a Rockwellian experience, but, often, that’s simply not a reality. “We think this should be a perfect time, the food will be perfect, and our conversations will be respectful. But when our realities don’t match that, we get frustrated,” Orbuch says. The holidays can also be a time where we’re reminded of what we don’t have, Regan adds, further highlighting the celebration’s non-idyllic qualities.

Sometimes those realities don’t match up to fantasy simply because we’re human. Grandma may no longer be capable of cooking an entire feast on her own, even if she wants to; relatives’ unpleasant or grating behavior doesn’t cease on holidays, despite their best efforts. In most cases, we’re just not capable of creating that Rockwellian ideal. And these days, that picture of the happy nuclear family is even further from our experience. More people have more complex family structures—parents divorce and remarry, families blend—and as a result, traditions clash. Those traditions are deeply rooted in our religion, identities, and childhoods—in short, they are emotionally charged, and celebrating holidays in a new way can bring its own form of disappointment and tension.

“Grown siblings start to behave as if they’re eight years old.”

Families also bring special forms of baggage. Even for the closest families, conflicts do happen, especially when people are confined to a limited space during family gatherings that last for days. “Because conflict is a normal part of relationships, the closer you are and the more you self-disclose, and the more you hear things you don’t like,” Regan says. People returning to their parents’ houses for holidays may feel guilty for not being as close as they once were, or family members’ habits that may have been innocuous when you were all living under the same roof now seem intolerable. Sometimes, as we work through the discomfort of shifting familial roles (kids growing up, parents getting older), we snap back into old behavioral paradigms: “I’ve seen this myself—grown siblings start to behave as if they’re eight years old. They tap into long-buried habits and actions,” Regan adds.

Even though there are lots of ways family gatherings can go wrong, most of the time people can forget these unpleasant and distressing interactions relatively quickly. “Once relationships are established, they are resilient. They can really weather a lot. That’s what we see in the literature,” Regan says. “People think, ‘This is the family I’ve got, and it may not be perfect, but we can get through this.’”

Occasionally, though, disastrous family gatherings can have long-term effects, either on an individual’s health due to accumulated stress, or souring the familial relationships themselves.

If you find yourself dreading the annual family gathering, there are steps you can take to mitigate the negative effects, both as an individual and as a family. “The best thing you can do is to manage your expectations, to set realistic ones so that you don’t get frustrated or angry around the holidays,” Orbuch says. There’s no reason to assume that this family gathering will be different than any others, and preparing for that mentally can offset some of the disappointment you may feel if your Christmas celebration is more National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation than It’s A Wonderful Life.

There are ways to structure the family gatherings to reduce the temptation to over-hype the holiday. One friend of Regan’s has such a complex extended family that they realized it was too stressful to have Thanksgiving on the designated calendar day—instead, every year they all get together the weekend after. That simple shift not only reduced the family members’ stress surrounding the logistics of the meal, but also made their expectations for the meal more realistic, Regan says.

If you’re the person organizing or preparing the meal at the holiday gathering, you can do a lot to make the experience less stressful for your family, Orbuch says. You can make sure that you serve food that is respectful of guests’ dietary needs. If there are kids coming, you can set up a play area so their parents won’t worry about them getting into trouble. Keep the mood light, keep people laughing; you can guide the conversation to avoid topics that you know are stressful, or organize an activity after dinner, like a non-competitive board game, so everyone isn’t sitting around talking and trying to be pleasant.

[Related: The best family board games for all ages]

Of course, these mitigation strategies require families to acknowledge that their holidays are less than perfect, to look the problem squarely in the face. And not all families are ready to do that. So if you’re going to be a guest at a gathering and are preparing to cope with the stress, Orbuch recommends that you have a conversation with your partner about how to support one another if things get tense. You can make sure you arrive at the gathering with your own method of transport so that you don’t feel trapped if you feel like you need to leave. If you are dreading the big gathering with all the extended family, try implementing a tradition of your own to give the holiday new meaning for those closest to you.

There is also a strategy that most of us don’t consider: Simply opting out of the family gathering. “If it’s going to be that awful, if you dread going [to the gathering] to the point where you are anxious and depressed about it for weeks leading up to the event, you don’t have to suffer through,” Regan says. You don’t have to feel guilty about making an excuse if it’s necessary to prevent real psychological damage—people put a lot of time and energy into saving face, and you might provide relief to both yourself and the organizers of the gathering by saying you aren’t feeling well or that you have to work. It’s not worth traumatizing yourself just to save face, Regan adds.

But for most of us with the typical amount of family baggage, going to the annual holiday dinner is a compromise worth making. The event might be vaguely unpleasant at the time, but you’ll still go because it’s important to someone important to you. That ephemeral unpleasantness will strengthen the relationship, and those benefits are long-term.

“Even though we just talked about all those stressors, it’s definitely possible to relieve stress and maintain harmony at these family holiday gatherings,” Orbuch says. With realistic expectations and a bit of a sense of humor, your stressful holidays could even transform into cherished family moments.

The Best Smartwatches For Women: Apple, Samsung, And More (June 2023)

It isn’t easy to maintain exercise goals, stay on top of notifications, and keep up with daily tasks, but for many women, wearing a smartwatch helps. For everything from connectivity to tracking workouts, we’ve compiled the best smartwatches for women you can buy right now.

Purchasing a new smartwatch is about finding a suitable device for your needs. Consider the factors below when choosing the right fit.

Smartwatch features: If you’re hoping for an extension of your smartphone, a smartwatch with solid notification support and a large display is vital. The Apple Watch Series 8 has the best app support and tons of smart features. For non-Apple users, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is the best Wear OS smartwatch on the market.

Fitness tracking: From steps and calories to training and recovery tools, there are also a host of fitness tracking features to consider. For runners and cyclists, GPS is especially important. Some devices feature built-in GPS, plus track dozens of sports and activities.

Health monitoring: Smartwatches can also play a role in your health and wellness. Sensors, features, and dedicated health apps broaden a device’s potential impact. Choose a smartwatch with the tools you need, be it a reliable sleep tracker or an SpO2 monitor.

Device size: How about fitting all these features on your wrist? Many of the devices below come in multiple sizes. For women looking for something more petite, the Fitbit Charge 5 packs tons of fitness features into minimal real estate. Likewise, the Xiaomi Mi Band 7 offers a similar aesthetic but at a budget price.

Software: Finally, look, feel, comfort, and functionality are all top priorities but don’t forget to look for timely software updates. Some brands are better than others at keeping devices fresh.

The best smartwatches for women

Apple Watch Series 8: The best smartwatch for women is the Apple Watch Series 8. You do need an iPhone to use it, so if you’re an Android user, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 series: The Galaxy Watch 5 is the best alternative to the Apple Watch and the best Wear OS smartwatch for women. It can pair with most Android phones, though the best results are had with a Samsung phone.

Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5: Another solid Wear OS pick is the TicWatch Pro 5. Boasting Google’s latest software, the device packs powerful internals and great features.

Fitbit Versa 3: The Versa 3 is the best value pick from Fitbit. Though technically not as feature-packed as the Sense lineup, the Versa 3 drops a few sensors in favor of a lower price tag.

Garmin Venu 2 Plus: The best Garmin smartwatch for women is the Venu 2 Plus. It’s one of the best multisport tracking watches available right now and Garmin’s best smartwatch yet.

Fitbit Charge 5: The Fitbit Charge 5 is the best fitness tracker for women. It offers a full fitness tracking feature set and compact design.

Xiaomi Mi Band 7: The best affordable fitness tracker for women is the Xiaomi Mi Band 7. Though the company has since launched a Mi Band 8, it is not yet globally available. Meanwhile, the previous generation is incredibly cheap and punches well above what its weight (and price tag) would suggest.

Excellent Retina display

Premium design and build

Advanced health-tracking sensors

Crash detection

Improved sleep tracking

Plenty of watchOS 9 upgrades

Cons

Battery life still hasn’t improved

No third-party watch faces

Tougher build

Comfortable on the wrist

Better battery life on 44mm model

Faster charging

Reliable fitness tracking

Good value for money

Cons

Very similar to its predecessor

Skin temperature sensor not ready at launch

Small models still have short battery life

Awkward touch bezel

Some features exclusive to Samsung ecosystem

Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5

Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5

Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 is snappy and efficient • Digital crown • Dual display

MSRP: $349.99

The latest Wear OS meets Qualcomm’s top chipset on this powerful device

Running Wear OS 3.5 out of the box, Mobvoi’s durable TicWatch Pro 5 elevates the brand’s lineup to the ranks of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 series or Google Pixel Watch. The device also features a powerful processing chip for a smooth and seamless user experience, plus plenty of health and fitness tools. While Mobvoi’s unique power-saving dual display makes a welcome return, the company also adopts a digital crow for easier navigation of the watch has to offer.

See price at Amazon

Pros

Runs on the latest Wear OS

Snapdragon W5 Plus Gen 1 is snappy and efficient

Digital crown streamlines navigation

Dual display adds even more functionality

Cons

Pricier than its predecessor

Inconsistent sleep tracking

Band design is cheap and attracts dust

No wireless charging

Fitbit Versa 3

Fitbit Versa 3

Decent battery life • Accurate health tracking • Built-in GPS

MSRP: $229.95

The best value Fitbit smartwatch

The Fitbit Versa 3 carries all the smart features you could want on a mid-range smartwatch, including Google Assistant support, voice replies, and reliable health tracking. It’s effectively a Fitbit Sense without the pricier specialized sensors.

See price at Amazon

Save

$59.95

See price at Best Buy

Save

$30.00

Pros

Decent battery life

Pretty accurate health tracking

Built-in GPS

Google Assistant and Alexa support

Speaker with phone call support

Good price

Cons

Tiny app library

Onboard music limited to two services

The capacitive button isn’t ideal

Proprietary charging cable

Excellent design and build quality

Rapid charging helps make up for battery woes

Clear call quality on the wrist

Slow, but useful voice assistant support

Accurate fitness and health tracking

Cons

High price tag

Battery life is shorter than Garmin’s claims

Heart rate sensor still has issues

Bright, full-color AMOLED display

Sleek, slim design

EDA, SpO2, and skin temperature tracking

Sleep tracking is top tier

Accurate GPS and heart rate sensors

Cons

No altimeter

Battery life could be better

Expensive

Xiaomi Mi Band 7

Xiaomi Mi Band 7

Bigger, brighter display • Accurate resting heart rate • Continuous SpO2 monitoring

MSRP: $46.30

A budget band that delivers more than it’s price tag might suggest

A long battery life, bright always-on display, and impressive health and activity tracking smarts make this affordable tracker a great pick for anyone on a budget. Xiaomi’s Mi Band 7 delivers more than 100 sport modes, plus continuous SpO2 monitoring. You can even personalize your device with tons of animated watch faces.

See price at Amazon

Save

$0.30

Pros

Bigger, brighter display

Accurate resting heart rate

Continuous SpO2 monitoring

Comically huge number of sport modes

Fun new band colors

Slightly more expensive, but still has amazing value

Cons

No built-in GPS

No NFC or voice assistant on global model

Inconsistent sleep tracking

Confusing app situation

There is no straightforward answer to this, but users who are new to wearables should consider ease of use. Smartwatches that are only compatible with specific smartphones will likely have similar operating systems to those phones, which may help with faster learning.

On smartwatches, GPS allows users to accurately track distances as well as map runs and other workouts. Some devices offer connected GPS which tethers your device to your smartphone. Other devices offer built-in GPS, which means a GPS sensor is inside the watch itself, and you do not need to carry your smartphone during workouts.

Smartwatches track steps most precisely using three sensors, a 3-Axis accelerometer, an altimeter for measuring elevation, and a gyroscope for measuring orientation. However, not all devices feature all three of these sensors. Those that do will be the most accurate.

Not a whole lot anymore. Here at Android Authority, we refer to devices with big displays prioritizing apps and notifications as smartwatches. Devices with small displays that look more like a traditional fitness band, we refer to as fitness trackers.

If you are an iOS user, the Apple Watch is hands down the best smartwatch available. However, Fitbit’s ecosystem has plenty to offer anyone new to activity tracking, including a user-friendly companion app and one of the best sleep-tracking platforms in the business. To find out more, read our Fitbit vs Apple comparison guide.

Web3 At Ces 2023: Vr, Luxury Nfts, The Metaverse, And More

The Consumer Electronics Show of 2023 just wrapped up just this past weekend, and Web3 was a common theme among one of the most significant tech events of the year. In years past, it garnered a reputation amongst tech enthusiasts excited to see what the future holds for audio, video, mobile, and computer hardware.

Despite the bear market challenges posed to the crypto and NFT sectors last year, massive growth of Web3-ready markets continues worldwide. Reflecting this growth, CES 2023 went beyond Web3 gaming and other enthusiast crowds. Indeed, several legacy brands took the time to elevate their commitment to building in Web3. Additionally, several talks from industry leaders in the growing Web3 sector headlined panels at CES 2023, focusing on the future role of Web3 technologies in streaming, AI, and more.

CES 2023 events spotlight the metaverse, luxury and Web3 fashion

Notably, fashion and luxury were also featured prominently during CES 2023, with one discussion titled “Luxury Brands Embracing Innovation: How the Best of the Best Are Leaning Into AI, Metaverse, and Beyond”. The convention held an entire additional track of sessions on the creator economy and NFTs — with talks on the question of Web3 skepticism, lasting change, and the paradigm shift needed for builders, collectors, artists, and communities to view the most life-shattering challenges as opportunities for growth, harmony, and prosperous innovation.

LG’s market-leading hardware exhibits the best of Web3-ready tech

Despite exiting the mobile phone market in early 2023, the Korea-based tech giant LG has more than made up for the loss of one of its most prominent businesses by doubling down its efforts in other industries and establishing itself as a market leader in the rapidly growing display market over the past years. To extend its lead over competitors in the space, LG led the way in making innovative technologies like OLED panels accessible to its consumer base. Judging by its stint at CES 2023, this year looks to be more of the same for the Korea-based company.

In terms of displays, LG exhibited a truly innovative display that’s sure to please even the stingiest of pixel peepers in the TV market: a 97-inch OLED TV with no wires. Amidst all its eye-watering technical specs, one tidbit regarding what’s shaping up to be the most luxurious TV on the market stood out: like all other new LG TVs, it’ll come with access to several NFT marketplaces right out of the box. As per a Yahoo! report, LG TVs will now also come with access to several metaverse platforms such as Sansar, ELYNXIR, and Auxworld.

Aside from shaking up the display market at CES 2023, LG also looked to extend its reach into the footwear market with its Monster Shoe, a virtual collectible sneaker set to launch with a slate of shoecare-focused IRL products sometime in 2023, according to a CoinDesk report.

Mastercard unveils Web3-focused music incubator for tomorrow’s artists

Legacy payments company Mastercard unveiled its latest initiative at CES 2023: the Mastercard Artist Accelerator. It aims to join the ranks of the Red Bull Music Academy as one of the world’s leading incubators for the next generation of music superstars. However, what sets it apart from other accelerator programs for emerging artists is its focus on equipping these budding artists with all the tools to succeed as a Web3-native artist.

As such, its planned curriculum is slated to provide “five emerging artists […] with the tools, skills and access to forge their own paths in the digital economy,” as stated on its official website. To make this happen, Mastercard has partnered with Ethereum layer 2 network Polygon to handle the blockchain side of this initiative. Most notably, this includes its planned Mastercard Music Pass, an NFT pass that will make course materials related to the program’s curriculum — along with a host of other exclusive benefits — readily available to its holders.

Virtual Reality (VR) is obviously immersive by design, but current VR tech is primarily constrained to engaging a user’s senses of sight and hearing. Over the past decades, numerous players in the space have experimented with the use of haptic technology as well. However, its implementation in current technology is mainly limited to mobile phones and gaming peripherals like Sony’s DualSense for the PS5. CES 2023 saw gaming-centric tech company Razer unveil Project Carol, a cushion designed for use in their lineup of gamer chairs. It offers users haptic feedback to go with a limited surround sound speaker implementation.

Traveling To San Francisco For Wwdc

My iPhone 5 (16GB, black) was the most important item to bring of course. I even ended up with two iPhone 5’s before the week was over, but more on that in a bit. For me, the iPhone has become the most important computer I own. It may not be my default computer, as I still need my Mac to post to the site for the most part, but I’m composing the bulk of this article on my iPhone. That speaks volumes for me.

My iPhone included my boarding pass for JetBlue, enough podcasts and offline reading material to entertain me for the duration of the flight, and Über for arranging black car pick-up service from the airport to the hotel.

I packed my Nikon 1 camera expecting to use it most often during the trip, but the ease of access made the iPhone 5 my primary camera it turns out. As Apple has reminded us time and again, it’s just so personal.

My bag of choice is made by Incase. It’s called the Incase Nylon Compact Backpack and fits most of my needs. It respects my gear and offers plenty of pockets and stash spots for a number of accessories. Most importantly, it’s plenty spacious and keeps it shape regardless of how packed or how empty it is.

I packed my MacBook Air (13-inch, 256GB, mid-2012), which still impresses me with how light and beautiful yet capable it is, and found it especially useful on the plane for watching movies and drafting thoughts in text files.

I watched the keynote on the television in the hotel room using my Apple TV (3rd gen), which I packed in case Apple announced an update. The hotel offered WiFi but required a browser splash page, so I connected my AirPort Express to my MacBook Air to share the network (thanks to some help from Michael Steeber).

On the second day of WWDC, I attended The Talk Show, Live at WWDC, which made useful the Nikon 1. I’ve noted in previous posts that I’m no photographer by any means, and the iPhone is fantastic for most situations, but my vantage point was just far back enough that any photo taken with the iPhone would have been utter garbage. Having a “real camera” certainly enhanced the experience and that 30-110mm lens is essential for long shots.

Another essential in any bag is any form of battery backup for your iPhone. It’s so easy to find one these days, and you’ll most always regret it if you don’t carry one. For me, I travel with a Tekkeon MP1580 TEKCHARGE and a big pack of AA batteries. Living in South Florida means intense tropical storms and hurricanes that cause power outages, and AA batteries are easily accessible, so this solution works better for me than other battery packs with rechargeable batteries. But they all accomplish the same thing.

Aside from a good battery backup, the most important thing in my bag was the abundance of Tic Tacs. I know, it’s not an Apple gadget or fancy device, but fresh breath never goes under appreciated.

My colleague @apollozac just ran across the street to buy a white iPhone 5 because of the iOS 7 UI. This isn’t a joke. Someone help.

— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) June 10, 2013

For the first few hours after installing iOS 7 on my test iPhone, I kept my SIM in my iPhone running iOS 6 while hot spotting the iPhone 5 with iOS 7, but soon decided, okay, the iOS 7 device is really sexy and stable enough to rely on (save for a few scheduled crashes), but kept a paperclip in my bag in case I needed to quickly move my SIM to an iPhone running stable software.

During my flight home, I spent most of my time with my iPad mini. Its weight and size is perfect for holding and reading for hours at a time. I pre-loaded Safari Reading List with tons of reaction articles to all the news of the past week. Offline reading is really a great feature on a redeye across country. It sort of felt like I was breaking the rules being offline but having hours of content on the web to read and enjoy.

In summary, I can recommend a spacious bag for lots of gear, an iPhone and MacBook (iPad optional), an AirPort Express to enhance your hotel WiFi experience, a battery backup and breathe mints, and absolutely bring comfortable shoes! If you hit all these bases (plus maybe some post-Beard Bash Advil), WWDC week in San Francisco should be as frictionless and enjoyable as possible.

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