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Apple supporting National Parks next month w/ Apple Pay donations & new Watch Activity challenge

Apple has announced a new Apple Pay initiative to raise funds for the National Parks Foundation, running for the first half of July.

From July 1 through 15, Apple is donating $1 to the National Park Foundation for every purchase made with Apple Pay at any Apple Store, on apple.com or through the Apple Store app in the US

Tim Cook explained why the company is doing it …



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Activity++ for iPhone and Apple Watch is an alternative dashboard for your fitness goals

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Starting with iOS 9.3, third-party app developers can tap into Apple Watch activity data like move and stand goal progress as well as exercise duration. Developer David Smith has used that new capability to create an alternative dashboard to Apple’s Activity app on iPhone and Apple Watch. The new app is called Activity++ (following Pedometer++ and Sleep++) and it’s out for iPhone and Apple Watch today. Here’s what it offers:



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Poll: Three months in, are those Apple Watch activity circles motivating, annoying or irrelevant?

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I asked back in May whether you thought the Apple Watch Activity app would lead to a leaner, fitter you. At that point, more than 80% of you said that it either would or already had.

A Wristly survey yesterday suggested that the reality perhaps hadn’t quite lived up to this promise, but still contained some pretty impressive numbers. More than 50% of Watch owners said that they were exercising more and were making better health choices, with around 40% reporting weight loss.

For those of us who were lucky enough to take delivery of our Apple Watches on day one, we’re now three months in. Plenty of time for the novelty to wear off – and to see whether the anticipated benefits really have shown up on the bathroom scale, in our waistlines or in the gym … 

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Apple Watch fitness lead Jay Blahnik holding Apple Store events in Asia & Australia

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Jay Blahnik, one of the lead directors behind the health and fitness functionality in iOS 8 and the Apple Watch, is continuing to host events at Apple Stores. At the end of April, Blahnik held an interview with Christy Turlington Burns at an Apple Store in the United Kingdom, and now Blahnik is making his way to Australia and Asia. Late last week, Blahnik held a Q/A session in Australia with personal trainer Michelle Bridges. Here are videos of Blahnik discussing the importance of walking along with other health tips with Bridges:



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How to calibrate Apple Watch to improve accuracy of calorie, distance, & other fitness data

Apple takes user submitted data for age, height, gender and weight to help it calculate the different data points it provides for workouts and activities, but there is also a way to calibrate Apple Watch to improve the accuracy of the data.

By initiating the calibration process, you can get more accurate readings for calorie, distance, Move, and Exercise estimations in the Watch’s Activity app, and also improved calculations in the Workout app.

By following the steps below, you’ll start calibrating the device’s accelerometer and improve Apple Watch’s accuracy by allowing it to learn your personal stride patterns at various speeds:

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New interview with Kevin Lynch reveals more Watch details, early prototypes used timeline UI

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WIRED has posted a new story on the Apple Watch, which revolves around interviews with Apple human interface designer Alan Dye and Apple’s VP Technology Kevin Lynch, who heads Apple Watch software. The piece shines new light on the foundation of the smartwatch project at Apple as well as some new details about the product — which ships later this month.

Amusingly, Lynch did not know what he would be working on when he accepted the Apple job. He walked into the role with the project already underway; early ‘experiments’ from the iPod team with click-wheels and such. Dye says that the idea for a watch blossomed during design meetings for iOS 7, Apple’s major software overhaul.



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Developer unlocks Activity app inside iOS 8.2, appears when an Apple Watch is paired to iPhone

Developer Hamza Sood has done some digging inside the public iOS 8.2 build that was distributed to users on Monday. Although the Apple Watch is included by default as stock app (undeletable, whether you like it or not), the OS also includes an Activity app. Although it was previously known that the app existed, Apple has not shared details about what features the app has or even how you installed onto your phone.

Sood claims that the Activity app automatically appears on your Home Screen, once an Apple Watch is paired to the iPhone. After setup of the Activity features on the Watch itself, the app unlocks.



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Sources offer hands-on Apple Watch details: battery life, unannounced features, and more

Just ahead of the finalized Apple Watch’s presentation at Apple’s March 9th “Spring Forward” event, sources with hands-on Apple Watch experience have revealed a collection of new details about the device’s features to 9to5Mac. Our sources have offered new information on the Watch’s real-world battery life, health and fitness features, apps, and experiences using Apple’s next-generation touchscreen hardware…



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GT Advanced’s recent trading activity under investigation by SEC following bankruptcy filing

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GT Advanced disclosed on Thursday that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is seeking information about the sapphire glass maker’s trading activity since January 2013 after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month. GT Advanced’s latest Form 8-K report claims that the company is fully cooperating with the SEC during its investigation.

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Twitter for iPhone updated with enhancements to search and notifications

Twitter just announced on its blog that its iPhone client will get an update today with enhancements made to “discover, search and notifications.” The update does not appear to be live, but it will be available here when it is.

Included in the update is a new “Activity” stream within the Discover tab. The blog post explained:

With this update, you can see Activity on Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Android. Activity is a stream of updates that shows which Tweets are favorited or retweeted by the people you follow and which accounts those people follow or add to lists… Activity appears below the redesigned stories in Discover. Now you can tap any story once to see Tweets about a particular trend or news article. You can then read the entire story or join the conversation by replying, retweeting or favoriting related Tweets.

Improvements to search include suggestions for spelling and related terms, autocomplete for first and last names in the Connect tab, access to your most recent queries in the Discover tab, and the ability to jump directly to a user profile by tapping usernames in Connect.


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