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      Report: “Apple Watch X” will redesign the popular wearable for the first time / ArsTechnica · Monday, 14 August, 2023 - 19:38

    Apple Watch models set out on a table

    Enlarge / The Apple Watch (seen here in its current iterations) is set to get a new look. (credit: Corey Gaskin )

    Annual updates to the standard Apple Watch have been almost too small to mention for the past few years, and it looks like that trend will continue with the new wearables Apple plans to debut next month. But, according to a Bloomberg newsletter , a major Apple Watch overhaul is coming as soon as next year.

    Dubbed "Watch X," it will be the 10th edition of the Apple Watch that was originally announced in 2014 and released in 2015. To commemorate the occasion, Apple is planning the most significant redesign of the Watch yet apart from the recently launched Ultra, which is more of a spinoff than a direct follow-up.

    Of course, that's not saying much. Each year's update has typically brought one small change—like a slightly bigger screen, a modest CPU speed bump, or a new health tracking feature aimed at one specific ailment—such that there's little reason to upgrade even once every two or three years, much less annually.

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      Report: Halo’s final survival attempts made even Amazon’s workers concerned / ArsTechnica · Monday, 1 May, 2023 - 19:48

    Amazon Halo

    Enlarge (credit: Amazon )

    Amazon is discontinuing its Halo project , including the Band and View fitness trackers and the Rise bedside sleep tracker, making the devices useless on August 1. Amid the company's largest-ever wave of layoffs and reports that even the popular Alexa voice assistant has failed to bring in money, this wasn't surprising. It's still sad, though, to realize that countless devices will become obsolete and at huge risk of becoming e-waste (despite Amazon telling customers to recycle devices through its recycling programs, all costs covered).

    But perhaps it's just as well, because a report from The Verge today claims to peer into Halo's last attempts at survival. And the Halo that Amazon reportedly tried to realize is one we're happy not to encounter.

    Halo reportedly creeped out its own creators

    Reported plans for Halo could have pushed products to gather more data on how users exercise in order to provide virtual rewards, to offer recommendations, and to track performance. However, the features Amazon is said to have explored sound potentially invasive, collecting uniquely personal data.

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      Amazon Halo will charge a subscription fee to monitor the tone of your voice

      Samuel Axon · / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 27 August, 2020 - 18:02

    Amazon has announced Halo , a combination subscription service, app, and fitness wearable that promises to use some of the same technology the company developed for Alexa to add a new dimension to personal health tracking—tone of voice.

    The product's announcement copy makes the case that "strong social connections are just as important to long-term health as adequate sleep, being fit, having a good diet, or even not smoking."

    Using machine-learning-driven speech processing, the device intermittently records your voice and analyzes its tempo, rhythm, pitch, and intensity to make judgments about "the positivity and energy of your voice" where "positivity is measured by how happy or sad you sound, and energy is how excited or tired you sound."

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      Fitbit’s 3 new trackers want to destress you and eventually diagnose you

      Corey Gaskin · / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 25 August, 2020 - 13:00 · 1 minute

    Fitbit has just launched three new fitness trackers: the Inspire 2, Versa 3, and the brand-new Fitbit Sense. While they focus on the requisite tracking metrics we’ve come to expect from Fitbit, the company is also hoping they’ll further impact users’ mindfulness of stress and, eventually, recognize warning signs for COVID-19, among other illnesses.

    The Fitbit Sense retails for $330 and offers sensors for ECG (to be activated pending FDA clearance), skin temperature, and electrodermal activity (EDA) for quantifying stress levels. The Versa 3 comes in at $100 less for $230 and lacks those three sensors, while the Versa 2 still offers nearly the same features as its successor at a more amenable $180. Lastly, the Inspire 2—with its more simplistic, OLED touchscreen and better battery life—can be had for $100.

    All three trackers come with complimentary memberships for new Fitbit Premium users, which lends insight into longer health trends and offers guided workouts and even one-on-one health coaching with tailored fitness regimens and consultations. The Sense and Versa 3 only get six free months, while Inspire 2 owners get even more bang for their buck with 12 months included. Fitbit users can also opt in to the company’s study , which tracks various biological metrics in an attempt to detect COVID-19 infection before the onset of more demonstrative symptoms.

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