Apple Watch reviews, ad-free YouTube, Microsoft teases Redstone, Facebook Messenger on the Web, Popcorn Time on iOS, and The Legend of Zelda gets a Game of Thrones makeover.
A Slew of Apple Watch Reviews
The Apple Watch will be available to pre-order online tonight (April 10), and be released on April 24. But should you buy Apple’s first attempt at a smartwatch? The early reviews are in, and, when consumed collectively, they should help you decide whether the Apple Watch is for you.
The Wall Street Journal, which also produced the amusing video embedded above, produced a review full of mixed messages. Joanna Stern loves the device, but still suggests it has “been the most helpful to me as a plain, old regular watch.” Ultimately, this is more of a fashion accessory than anything else, and the review concludes with, “The Apple Watch makes you look good. But the next one is bound to make you look even better.”
The New York Times is mostly positive about the Apple Watch, with Farhad Manjoo stating that it took him several days to “fall for the Apple Watch,” but once he did, he “fell hard.” After admitting the Apple Watch “is not suited for tech novices,” Manjoo concludes by saying, “The first Apple Watch may not be for you — but someday soon it will change your world.”
The Verge presents its review as A Day In The Life, which reveals the disappointing battery life. Still, Nilay Patel states that the Apple Watch is “the most capable smartwatch available today,” and “one of the most ambitious products” he has ever seen. However, ultimately there are more negatives than positives, and he concludes that Apple needs to finish “figuring out what it does.”
Re/Code begins by revealing the problem with this whole genre of gadgets, suggesting, “Smartwatches can sometimes feel like a solution in search of a problem.” However, the Apple Watch is, it suggests, the best in its field, and akin to using the original iPhone for the first time. The review concludes with, “Smartwatches are still unproven, but Apple has made a pretty strong case for them.”
By my reckoning, that means the jury is still out on the Apple Watch. And you should probably try this particular device for yourself before deciding whether to buy one or not. It’s certainly not essential, but then very few of the gadgets we buy actually are.
An Ad-Free YouTube Is Incoming
It looks increasingly likely that Google is planning to bring monthly subscriptions to YouTube, with those willing to pay enjoying an ad-free experience. It’s believed that YouTube will charge around $10-per-month for the pleasure, and the subscriptions will be launched later this year.
This is all according to an email recently sent to content creators, who will share in the revenues generated by the paid tier. As well as removing ads, subscribers will be able to save videos on their smartphones for offline viewing.
The email sent out to YouTube partners states, “By creating a new paid offering, we’ll generate a new source of revenue that will supplement your fast growing advertising revenue.” Which is absolutely fine all the while a free option exists for the vast majority of people who won’t pay for YouTube.
Microsoft Looks Beyond Windows 10
Microsoft already has one eye firmly on the future, with plans for a major Windows 10 update having already leaked. The update, which is currently codenamed Redstone will be released sometime in 2016. This isn’t Windows 11, but is instead likely to be more akin to Windows 10.1.
The decision to codename this update Redstone is a rather interesting one. Redstone is an element within Minecraft — which Microsoft acquired for $2.5 billion in 2014 — that, according to Mary Jo Foley at ZDnet, is used as the foundation for building new technologies. Is that a clue as to the nature of this update, perhaps?
Facebook Launches Messenger on the Web
Facebook has launched Messenger as a standalone website, bringing all of the extra features available on the mobile version directly to your Web browser. Located at Messenger.com, all you need to do to get started is sign in using your Facebook credentials.
Popcorn Time Launches on iOS
In a daring move that’s sure to annoy Apple, Popcorn Time has launched on the iPhone and iPad. Unsurprisingly, this app hasn’t been approved by Apple, but it can easily be installed to your iDevice using an installer running on Windows. And it doesn’t matter if your device is jailbroken or not.
For the uninitiated, Popcorn Time is a movie streaming app which looks and feels more like Netflix. It’s now been up and running for a year despite concerted efforts to kill it. The reason being it allows users to quickly and easily watch copyrighted content without permission, a practice otherwise known as piracy.
When Zelda Meets Game of Thrones
And finally, this video is what you get when you cross The Legend of Zelda with Game of Thrones. It shows how the opening of a Zelda television show might look if it was created in the style of Game of Thrones, with a 3D Hyrule slowly rising out of its 2D environment.