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Tag: Apple Watch

In Search of an Apple Watch Stand with a Built-In Charger

A third-party charging stand for your Apple Watch shouldn’t be hard to find, right? Well think again… Here’s what’s really out there…

I’m a big Apple Watch fan and have been happily wearing my Series 4 throughout this past year. But it’s also brought me two lingering problems to solve…

The fueling of my Apple Watch has been entirely reliant on the one magnetic charging puck that came with the Apple Watch when I bought it. If it breaks or I misplace the cable, my watch will effectively become a hockey puck within 48 hours.
(I don’t have the same challenge with my iPhone XS Max, because over the years, I’ve accumulated several backup cables and USB wall chargers through past iPhone purchases.)

The other ‘problem’ is the general clutter that both my Apple watch and iPhone creates when I’m charging them overnight on my nightstand next to the bed.

An Apple Watch ‘charging dock’ would certainly help clean things up a bit…

Assessing the Landscape
So, of course Apple provides the perfect solution… but at a premium price.

  • The official Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Dock goes for $79.
  • And a simple back-up Apple Magnetic Charger to USB Cable costs $29.

Hmmm…

So, I did a little research to see what else was out there, and surprisingly, I found a fairly barren landscape…

Most third-party Apple Watch charging stands are just… stands.
(You’ve got to provide your own magnetic charging cable and USB power adapter.)

And nobody with any recognizable name is making their own magnetic charging cable for less.

There does appear to be a healthier market for ‘portable’ Apple Watch chargers with their own batteries for on-the-go travel… but that’s not specifically what I was looking for.

The Belkin Choice
I did find one name-brand candidate…


The Belkin is a simple, silver and white stand with a built-in Apple Watch magnetic charging module.

It lists for $79.99, but Amazon had it for $34.95.

The Value of Yesterday’s Model
It seems like this Belkin model was more in vogue a few years back and has been superseded by a dual charger design by Belkin that also handles an iPhone.

But I’ve got my iPhone XS Max imprisoned in its ‘bullet-proof’ Kevlar protective case made by Pelican. So my iPhone isn’t slipping easily into a sleek charger any time soon.

The Runner-Ups
After some intense research, I scrounged up two other choices to consider.
(The market is really almost nonexistent.)

  • Mangotek Apple Watch Charging Stand
    $46.99 on Amazon Prime
    This one looks a lot like the Belkin and also comes with a USB charging port you can plug your iPhone into.
  • UGREEN Portable Charger Stand
    $33.95 on Amazon Prime
    Its portable design flips open to become more stand-like if you want, or you can also use this black charger in its flat position.

While both stands are Apple MFi-certified, include integrated chargers and also receive decent reviews, at the end of the day, I decided to go with the ‘name’ manufacturer I knew.

Buying the Bargain
I presumed the Belkin’s price was cut by more than half, because it’s a relatively old model, and at only five dollars more than just the cost of the simple Apple magnetic puck, I figured it was a real bargain!

Click.

Now, I’ve got my back-up plan for charging my Apple Watch, and a little less clutter next to the bed…

Yay!

Belkin Really Isn’t the Choice… Anymore
But as satisfied as I am with my Belkin purchase, there’s a major wrinkle…

As I prepared this post to share my happy story, I realized a disturbing reality that made me feel a bit like the last man on Earth… or the last man on Earth to buy this Belkin charging stand… because I think I am.

It’s not available anymore on Amazon.

And Belkin’s website lists it as having only a “last few remaining.”

Huh.

So, I got a close-out deal on yesterday’s tech that there’s apparently no market for anymore…
(Hey, Belkin… Really?!)

I usually try to end these blog posts with a clear choice or solution that I can extend out to the world…

But for today, all I can really offer are my two runner-up options…
the UGREEN or the Mangotek.

Something is better than nothing…
(UGREEN and Mangotek are really the last two third-party stands with integrated chargers left standing.)

Of course, there’s always the option of going with the Apple-made dock.
It’s already perfect.

You’ve just got to spend more money…

Four Ways Technology Changed My Life this Year

I’m happy to report that my use of these tech devices has indeed improved my day-to-day life. Here’s why…

Technology is usually meant to make your life better. While it can often be more frustrating than anything else, I find that it does occasionally have a clearly positive impact.

Here are the four tech innovations that made a meaningful difference for me this year…

#1
Apple Pay on My Apple Watch Replaced My Credit Card

I didn’t really feel the impact of Apple Pay when I had access to it on my iPhone. I still had to pull my iPhone out of my pocket… so the physical exercise was mostly the same as sliding a credit card out of my wallet.

Plus, I was still locked into the mindset of having to use my credit card and chipping/swapping it. The concept of contactless payments still felt foreign, and I just couldn’t get comfortable with it.

Then I tried Apple Pay with my new Apple Watch, and I finally experienced my ‘breakthrough.’

By simply double clicking the side of my Apple Watch to activate Apple Pay and then holding my wrist near the payment terminal to complete my payment… that simplicity and convenience really opened my eyes to the obvious benefit of Apple Pay.

It’s so fast. Plus, I don’t have to play roulette with the payment terminal to see if my credit card’s chip (or the payment terminal) is going to malfunction again.

#2
GoPro Became My New Family Vacation Camera

My GoPro allowed me to finally go on vacation with my family and not stress over the possibility of destroying my camera if I tried to snap a photo.

I used to treat the beach like the landscape of a hostile foreign planet. The corrosive nature of salt water was clear and if nothing else , the salty, moist air would quickly cloud the lens. A tiny molecule of sand could fly by and wedge itself into the lens mechanism, immediately immobilizing it.

In short, the beach was a clear danger zone for my vacation photography.

But my new GoPro was essentially impervious to these threats.

  • Sand? HA!
  • Underwater? Now we’re talking!!
  • How about some slow motion video? Yes, please!

I should mention it’s a good idea to wash your GoPro with fresh water after a day of action at the beach.
(Dried salt moisture can seal the little watertight doors in place, making it difficult to pop the battery or memory card out.)

This year, I was finally able to capture some fun family shots at the beach and also have fun while doing it…

Thanks, GoPro!

#3
I Generated Whole-House Wireless Internet Using Mesh WiFi

I lived for years with spotty WiFi in our house. The weakest WiFi signal was actually in our bedroom. That’s such a bummer, right?

I thought about extending the signal of my Apple Airport Extreme many times, but I was concerned about degrading my WiFi. So, I did nothing…

Until I read that Apple had exited the WiFi router business. And I finally decided to make a change…

I retired my Apple Airport Extreme.

And upgraded to a new WiFi mesh system:

My Orbi consists of a base unit, which essentially replaced my Apple Airport Extreme and a satellite device, which I placed in the center of my house. Together, the two devices successfully created a large enough WiFi bubble to reach all corners of our little house.

Suddenly, whole-house WiFi became the standard throughout the Lester universe.

I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to check your email before your head hits the pillow and see strong WiFi bars.

#4
YouTube TV Made Me Cut the Cord

I cut the cord this year.
…Can I say that again?

Yep, I cut the cord this year.
(Thank you.)

I replaced my cable service with YouTube TV, which is an app that streams all of the cable networks I want for just $40/month.

Yes, I’m still paying Cablevision for my internet… so technically the cord is still technically tethered.

But I returned my cable box, and my decades long relationship with an industry that helped to define my existence finally entered a more enlightened reality.

I’m saving money, only paying for what I want, gaining a sense of control and successfully trying something new.

I highly recommend it.

Don’t Forget the Human Factor
I know these ‘headaches’ that technology has helped to alleviate are First World problems.
(I do understand that.)

And I’m thankful I get to complain about these particular issues.

That said, if you’re fortunate enough to have the resources to play with technology, then technology should simply play nicely with you.

And sometimes, you’ve got rely on the human equation to figure out how to really make technology work… for you.

How to Update Apple Watch’s Operating System

When your Apple Watch stops displaying sweet nothings about your potential and starts talking business, it’s time for a software update. Here’s how…

My new Apple Watch has been reminding me every morning that an updated operating system is available, and I can install it overnight if it’s connected to Wi-Fi.
(That’s a nice way to say that I really should be taking some responsibility as a human and keep my technology up to date!)

And of course, I forget about it the next day, and the cycle has been repeating itself.
(It would help if my Apple Watch reminded me right before I went to sleep.)

But wait a minute… my Apple Watch is connected to Wi-Fi overnight….
Why doesn’t it just update itself?

Is there something more you need to do?

Find the watchOS Update
Well, of course.
It’s just like any Apple operating system update. You’ve got to actively opt in…

For the GPS model:

  • Open Apple Watch app on your iPhone
  • In “My Watch…”
  • Tap “General”
  • Tap “Software Update”
  • Tap “Install”
  • Enter your password

And then, your iPhone begins the software download process.
…followed by the update to your Apple Watch.

Get it Done Overnight
So, much of the heavy lifting actually takes place on your iPhone.

Do you really need to do the update overnight?
(Is it that slow?)

Not necessarily, but any Apple operating system update takes some time… so, I think it’s a great practice to do it overnight when you’re not waiting for it to finish up.

Those Compliments are Nice
Happily, my Apple Watch is now updated and free to display its morning affirmations again.

I must admit, those little encouraging messages from my Apple Watch do help to perk me up as I’m working through my cup of Joe in the morning.

And yes, by the way… that’s an Apple Watch Series 4 plastic bumper I’m sporting in the photo above. I’m not proud of these training wheels, but this little third-party ‘Frankensteinian’ cover has helped me to stop worrying that I’m going to whack my wrist and scar my beautiful Apple Watch.
(It’s made by Alritz and costs $9.90 on Amazon Prime.)

So, now my Apple Watch is both up to date and protected.

#happyhuman

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