TIME Gadgets

These Are the First 24 Apple Watch Apps

An attendee displays the Apple Watch Edition during the Apple Inc. Spring Forward event in San Francisco, Calif. on March 9, 2015.
Bloomberg—Getty Images An attendee displays the Apple Watch Edition during the Apple Inc. Spring Forward event in San Francisco, Calif. on March 9, 2015.

There's Twitter, but no Facebook yet

Pre-orders for the Apple Watch don’t begin for another two weeks and sales don’t begin for four, but the App Store team has already approved two dozen third-party apps for the new device.

The list below, scraped from the App Store by 9to5Mac’s Zac Hall, was presumably curated by Apple with a purpose. Initial impressions are critical for a device whose utility is still an open question.

These apps — and any others approved before April 10 — are the ones staffers will be showing customers in Apple Store test-drives. They will shape the initial impressions in the first wave of Apple Watch reviews. They will also get a huge leg up — a first-mover advantage — on the competition.

It’s an interesting list. All 24 are updates of existing iOS apps. Some are there to show off functions — as hotel keys, credit cards, airline boarding passes. Others target narrow interests — cricket, baseball, fantasy football. Some — like WeChat and AliPay — are pitched to the Asian market. Some, like SkyGuide, are probably there because they’re just so cool.

Two notable omissions: Google and Facebook.

Most of the images in Apple’s TV ad, below, were generated by home-grown apps.

Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter at @philiped. Read his Apple coverage at fortune.com/ped or subscribe via his RSS feed.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

Read next: These Are the Most Expensive iPhone Apps

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TIME Gadgets

This Is the Best Budget Gaming Laptop You Can Buy

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Asus Asus ROG GL551JW

Asus ROG GL551JW has the best gaming performance and build quality for a lowest cost

This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a list of the best technology to buy.Read the full article below at TheWirecutter.com.

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There’s no such thing as a perfect budget gaming laptop, and every one we’ve tested so far has at least one serious flaw. But after 40 hours of research and testing, we determined that the $1,100 Asus ROG GL551JW is the budget gaming laptop we’d recommend for most people because it has the best gaming performance and best build quality among the competition, and for the lowest cost.

The GL551 has uncommonly good build quality compared to nearly everything else in this category. Plus, it keeps the most important parts of a gaming laptop at a reasonable temperature—which cannot be said for the competition—and has a comfortable keyboard.

Who’s this for?

Expensive gaming laptops aren’t for everyone. Desktop computers offer better gaming performance per dollar, and ultrabooks are slimmer, lighter, and have much better battery life. Budget gaming laptops are a good fit for students and others who want to play games but have a tight budget and need a portable PC.

How did we pick what to test?

First, we determined the best possible combination of components that fit in our budget. Our ideal budget gaming laptop costs under $1,200 and has an Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M graphics card or better, an Intel Core i7 4700HQ CPU or higher, 8 to 16 GB of RAM, and at least 500GB of storage. We looked at every gaming laptop currently available, tested three finalists ourselves, and concluded that the Asus ROG GL551-JW DS71 is the best for those on a budget. (For more information on our criteria for narrowing down the field, see our full guide.)

Our Pick

The $1,100 Asus ROG GL551JW has amazing specs for its price. That’s the whole point of a budget gaming laptop. On the inside, it has a mid-range Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M graphics card with 2GB of dedicated memory, an Intel Core i7-4720HQ processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive. (We originally tested last year’s model, the GL551JM, but the GL551JW is identical aside from its more powerful graphics card and faster CPU.)

With these specs, you won’t be able to play recently-released games on Ultra settings. Games like Dragon Age: Inquisition, Far Cry 4, and Watch Dogs must be bumped down to High or Medium settings to run at a decent framerate on any budget gaming machine.

 

Like every budget gaming laptop we tested, the GL551 gets too warm, with a surface temperature of 102 degrees Fahrenheit. But the underside of the chassis and the WASD keys stay at a reasonable temperature between 92°F and 94°F, which can’t be said for most of the competition. The fan on the left side of the laptop isn’t loud enough to distract from games or movies.

The Asus ROG GL551 has a comfortable, red-backlit keyboard and a decent trackpad. It also has uncommonly good build quality for a budget gaming laptop. Most are plasticky, hollow-feeling, and creaky. The keys on the Asus are deep enough, responsive, and comfortable to type and game on. The Asus is sturdy, and we expect its metal lid and palmrest to hold up better over years of heavy gaming.

The Asus’s battery lasted about 3 and a half hours during ordinary work at 50 percent brightness. It’s not what we consider to be “good” battery life, but it’s what you can expect from any budget gaming laptop at the moment. The Asus ROG GL551 weighs 5.95 pounds— nearly twice as heavy as an ultrabook, but much less than the 17-inch gaming laptop we recommend for people with bigger budgets.

The Asus has a few drawbacks, but they are not deal breakers. Few cheap gaming laptops have great screens, and the Asus GL551’s 17-inch 1920×1080 screen is bad. It has a pinkish tint and there’s little distinction between different intensities of white and black at the far ends of the spectrum, making it potentially difficult to spot enemies lurking in the shadows. The GL551’s speakers are flat, tinny, and quiet, so pick up a decent pair of headphones to get the most out of your gaming experience.

Runner up

If our pick sells out, we recommend the $1,100 Lenovo Y50 with an Intel Core i7-4710HQ processor, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M with 4GB graphics memory, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB hybrid hard drive. It has a better keyboard and speakers than our pick, but it had the hottest temperatures and the worst screen of the three laptops we tested. The Y50 also has a weaker graphics card and creaks and flexes more under pressure.

Some Lenovo laptops sold in 2014 and early 2015, including the Y50, contained Superfish: potentially dangerous adware that allows fake security certificates. If you buy (or already bought) this laptop, go here to see if you’re affected and here to remove the program and its certificate.

What if you want to upgrade?

If you’re not constrained by funds and want good gaming performance, it’s worth it to get something better. Check out our guide to the overall best gaming laptop.

In closing

The Asus ROG GL551JW-DS71 is the best budget gaming laptop for most people because it has powerful specs for the price, is well made, and is cheaper than the competition. It has a comfortable keyboard, and it keeps its most-used keys and bottom cooler than any other budget machine we tested. It’s not perfect, but no cheap gaming laptop is.

This guide may have been updated. To see the current recommendation please go to The Wirecutter.com.

TIME Gadgets

9 Bicycle Gadgets That Will Keep You Safe in Style

Bicycle Technology
Guido Mieth—Getty Images Bicycle Technology

Turn some heads in the name of fun and safety with this techy cycling gear

Sure, the bicycle was invented in the early 1800s, but lately, a renewed interest in the two-wheeler’s eco-friendly footprint has yielded many great innovations for riders. Concerned first and foremost about sharing the road with gas-guzzling automobiles, cyclists want better visibility and more ways to pedal safely. But beyond that, they’re into making their commutes and cruises fun again.

These nine gadgets may have not exactly reinvented the wheel, but they’d be welcome additions to any modern-day ride.

Blink Steady

High design meets high visibility in this low-profile, rear flashing light. Hewn from solid aluminum, the $125 tail light securely affixes to your seat post using a 2 millimeter allen wrench, not the kind of tool your everyday thief typically carries. Lit by two 120-degree, low-powered LEDs, the waterproof flasher sips power from two AAA batteries.

But don’t worry about leaving the light on — an accelerometer ensures the light only flashes when you’re riding, and a photosensor only turns Blink Steady on when it’s dark enough.

Cycliq Fly Cameras

A pair of action cameras disguised in working bike lights, the Fly 12 and Fly 6 are ingenious devices for recording the road rage that goes on around you. Named after 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock, the front- and rear-facing cameras (respectively) are two different products.

Fly 12, which just nearly tripled its Kickstarter goal, is a smartphone-compatible 400 lumen headlight that records 1080p video. Fly 6, which appears to be sold out thought Cycliq but is still in-stock through Amazon for $210, packs a 720p video camera into a 30 lumen flashing light. Whether it’s keeping an eye out for you or helping you to be seen, this smart technology certainly has your back.

Helios Handlebars

As righteous as many riders can get, there are quite a few that actually know their hand signals from their hind quarters. Due out this summer, Helios makes a range of connected handlebars (they come in bullhorn, drop, or straight styles) that not only pack a 500-lumen headlight, but also a blinker system into the ends.

Pair the $280 smart handlebar with your phone through Bluetooth, and you can make the lights turn on when you’re near (a great battery-saving feature), enable GPS tracking, and use the rear-facing LEDs (which serve as blinkers) to guide you around using your phone’s Google Maps turn-by-turn navigation.

Monkey Lights

Sure, a Tron light cycle would help improve night-time visibility, but you don’t need to replace your entire rig to turn heads. Monkey Lights snap onto your bike’s spokes and flash colored LEDs in certain patterns to give your wheels a brightly-colored visual. From rainbow stripes to barreling fireballs, the 8-bit-like graphics can be programmed in hundreds of color and pattern combinations. And ranging in price from $25 to $75 dollars (per wheel, and depending on how many LEDs you want) the waterproof and theft-resistant lights don’t draw much attention in the daylight, making them a cool surprise once the sun goes down.

Orp

Designed and tested on the mean streets of Portland, Ore., one of the bike-friendliest cities in the world, Orp is a bike bell for the 21st century. Give its rubber button a light tap and the $65 handlebar-mounted peripheral will emit a 76-decibel chirp, the kind of sound that seems to say, “oh hi!”

But if you lay down on that same “wail tail,” an urgent 96 decibel roar emits from the cute little device instead, also causing it to flash its LEDs angrily. USB-chargeable and easy (for you) to remove from a bike (so thieves don’t do it instead), Orp’s battery lasts up to eleven hours in slow strobe mode, or for three hours with a constantly-running 87-lumen headlight.

Scosche BoomBottle H2O

Back in the day, it was no big thing to see someone cruising down the street carrying a boombox. Okay, maybe it was a minor curiosity. But now, you can wirelessly stream your music into a battery-powered speaker that’s so small, it can fit into the water bottle cage on your bike.

Designed to take all the bumps and splashes your ride can dole out, the Schosche BoomBottle H2O can handle both dirt and water (and, therefore, mud) with an 11-hour rechargeable battery to help rock your ride. And, since your bike won’t be carrying any water, if you opt to take a plunge, fear not — the $99 speaker also floats.

Skylock

The only item on this list that is solely available through pre-order, this solar-powered, keyless bike-lock is the u-bolt for the smartphone set. Pairing via Bluetooth, the accelerometer-equipped lock will alert you if anyone is tampering with it, and send notifications to your friends if you’re in a serious accident (it’s got the brains to know when it’s gotten bashed).

In addition, you can set the Skylock to let your friends unlock your ride, so you can take part in bike-sharing without all the sign-ups. Chargeable through the sun or USB, the steel, shock-proof, device is weather resistant and both Android and iPhone compatible — and $159.

Siva Cycle Atom

It seems like a long-overdue technology, but Siva Cycle solved it anyway: Of all the energy we’re expelling pushing down on a bike’s crank, why can’t we capture it to do something useful, like charge a phone? The Atom, a wheel-mounted portable battery charger, turns kinetic energy into potential energy, storing it in a 1650Ah battery that’s perfect for topping up your phone on the fly. And, with an extension cord routing up to the seat-post, the $130 charger will even power your phone directly while you pedal. Talk about a stroke of genius.

Torch T1 Bike Helmet

Usually, a bright idea is symbolized by a lightbulb going off over someone’s head, but this brilliant concept integrates lights right into the helmet. Shining bright with 10 LED lights, this shatterproof helmet has a white headlight and red rear light that give you great visibility on the road. A marked improvement in safety because it puts the lights higher into drivers’ line of sight, the Torch helmet can last up to 12 hours before needing to be recharged, and only takes 1.5 hours to juice up.

Currently the T1 is on sale for $109. But get it while you can, because it looks like they’re cleaning out inventory while they gear up to sell the Torch T2, a new version currently fundraising on Indiegogo.

TIME Smartphones

Your Next Phone Could Stay Unlocked As You Carry It

US-TECHONOLOGY-GOOGLE
Jewel Samad—AFP/Getty Images Google's lead designer for "Inbox by Gmail" Jason Cornwell shows the app's functionalities on a nexus 6 android phone during a media preview in New York on October 29, 2014.

Google might bring the feature to more Android phones

Google wants to make unlocking your phone less of a hassle.

The company is introducing a new Android feature called “on-body protection” that will allow a phone to remain unlocked as long as a person is carrying it in their hands, purse or pocket. The feature makes use of smartphones’ accelerometers to detect when the phone is in motion. When the phone comes to a standstill for a while, like when it’s placed on a desk, the lock screen will reappear.

There’s a tradeoff for the added convenience, of course. On-body protection could make it easier for a pickpocket or phone-snatcher to gain access to your device after they swipe it.

The new option was first spotted on Nexus phones but is expected to roll out to other Android devices soon, according to The Verge.

TIME Gadgets

These Apple Watch Accessories Might Be Cooler Than the Apple Watch Itself

The Apple Watch isn't out yet, but the accessories are already hitting the market

TIME Gadgets

This Is Where Apple Has Been Testing the Apple Watch

Apple has been using it to fine-tune the Watch’s fitness features

One of the most anticipated features of the new Apple Watch will be its ability to help users track their workouts, among other fitness-related functions. ABC News got a chance to see just how Apple tested the watch in a company gym:

This is the first time the company let media—or anyone outside of Apple—inside the fitness lab. It has Apple employees hooked up to robotic-looking gear, doing exercises like biking and yoga. The tests taught Apple how to measure things like how many calories people burn doing certain exercises.

The Apple Watch is set to be released April 24. It’s the first brand-new product line released by the Cupertino tech giant under the leadership of CEO Tim Cook. Some analysts expect 28 million smartwatches to be sold this year, with the Apple Watch accounting for over half that number.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

TIME Apple

Conan Has a Much Cheaper Apple Watch Alternative for You

It's like an Apple Watch—but it fits in your pocket!

The Apple Watch has been maligned for being too expensive, and not particularly useful.

So Conan O’Brien has announced his alternative: the Apple Pocketwatch. It’s got all the functionality of your iPhone, including, well, being a watch in your pocket. And it costs $259.

“It’s more than just a binder clip and wallet chain. It’s $259,” intones the speaker dubbed over the faux commercial.

It’s Conan’s way of poking fun at the hyped-up, $349-to-begin device, which some have argued just moves your phone onto your wrist and doesn’t add much else.

TIME Gadgets

Fitbit CEO: Wearables Aren’t a Cancer Concern

Fitbit Inc.'s Fitbit Flex wireless activity and sleep wristband sit on display at the Wearable Expo in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015.
Bloomberg/Getty Images Fitbit Inc.'s Fitbit Flex wireless activity and sleep wristband sit on display at the Wearable Expo in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015.

Fitbit's CEO pushes back against a controversial new story

Fitbit CEO James Park is rebuking a recent high-profit report raising health concerns in the use of wearable technology.

“In general, cell phones are definitely a very different beast than the low powered wearables,” Park told TIME. “The transmit energies are orders of magnitude higher. So if people are comfortable wearing Bluetooth headsets, I think wearables are even less of a concern because Bluetooth headsets are also close to your head. Wearables are not, unless you happen to sleep right on top of your wrists. For us we feel, again, whatever the studies might show, the overall health benefits of fitness trackers probably vastly overweighs the risks of any type of RF [radio frequency] issues.”

Earlier this week, The New York Times published an article—originally titled online as “Could Wearable Computers Be as Harmful as Cigarettes?”—that discussed the potential links between cellphone radiation, cancer and modern wearable devices. While the report noted that wearables like the Apple Watch or Fitbit’s fitness trackers should be fine since they don’t have a cellular connection, the overall carcinogenic concerns raised and sources used were widely derided. While the author stands by his Times report, the Times’ public editor Margaret Sullivan wrote that the article “clearly needed much more vetting” and that a careful interpretation of the facts was “lacking.”

Park said he had not “thoroughly researched” the Times’ claims, but took particular issue with comparing cell phones to wrist wearable devices. Fitbit, whose ubiquitous digital consumer fitness trackers now even claim the wrists of fitness fanatic President Barack Obama, has a 72% market share in its category, according to Park.

 

TIME Gadgets

How Fitbit’s CEO Sees a Future In the Medical Industry

James Park, co-founder and chief executive officer of Fitbit Inc. in San Francisco on Aug. 22, 2014.
David Paul Morris—Bloomberg/Getty Images James Park, co-founder and chief executive officer of Fitbit Inc. in San Francisco on Aug. 22, 2014.

Fitbit looking at making the leap from products you talk about with your coworkers to those you talk about with your doctor

The last time James Park was in Washington, D.C., it was for a sixth-grade field trip. So the fact that the CEO of San Francisco-based Fitbit decided to stop by Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers was surely not solely for pleasure.

In an interview with TIME, Park insisted he was simply here to make some new friends and discuss issues such as privacy and data security, a process paved by his company’s hire of super lawyer Heather Podesta. He said the company doesn’t have any bills or regulations it’s concerned about in the pipeline.

“It’s just mainly about introducing ourselves to people and letting them know that we’re willing to work very cooperatively with policy makers and trying to craft pretty balanced policies,” Park said.

But Park, in a tie underneath a sporty company zip-up, did have an unusual amount to say about an area that could be of interest to Fitbit down the road: the regulation of medical devices through the Food and Drug Administration.

Fitbit is among the most successful fitness trackers aimed at the consumer market, with 72% market share, according to the company. But the next big evolution for the company, founded in 2007, might be to create products you talk about with your doctor instead of those you talk about with your coworkers.

“I think right now everyone is focused on pure consumer benefits and motivating people to change their behavior,” said Park, who spoke with TIME for 40 minutes in its D.C. bureau. “I think there’ll be a next big leap in benefits once we tie into more detailed clinical research and cross the hurdles and dialogue with the FDA about what we can do for consumers and what’s regulated or not.”

As an example, Park noted that some Fitbit products measure your resting heart rate. Some customers have written in to the company to note that they noticed their heart rate went down after they quit smoking, which gave them an added incentive to quit. But for now, that’s an anecdotal argument, and one that Fitbit can’t use in an advertisement without risk.

Park says that consumer-oriented wearable technology produced by companies like Fitbit could further help customers in the coming few years by making sense of data and making “lightweight” medical diagnoses. He also believes that such companies would have an easier time adapting to the medical device industry than those companies already in it flipping around to create the next Fitbit Flex or Apple Watch.

“I would definitely prefer to be in our position where we’ve really focused on the consumer experience,” said Park. “I think most likely the regulatory issues can be learned and addressed over time but having a consumer product DNA is I think something really difficult for medical device companies to replicate. You look at blood glucose meters today, I wouldn’t necessarily say that those are the most attractive or consumer friendly devices. I would say consumer focused companies, whether it’s us or Apple, probably have an inherent advantage in the future.”

“There’s no cool blood glucose meters,” he added.

TIME Gadgets

You’ll Try On the Apple Watch in a 15-Minute Appointment

Apple Watch
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images The new Apple Watch is displayed during an Apple special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts on September 9, 2014 in Cupertino, California.

Devices will be demoed in Apple Stores starting April 10

Trying an Apple Watch before you buy one may not be as simple as strolling into an Apple Store and slapping one on your wrist.

According to 9to5Mac, Apple customers will be encouraged to schedule 15-minute appointments to try on an Apple Watch with the assistance of an Apple Store employee. Walk-in appointments will be accepted, but it’s likely those people will end up waiting a long time to try the device, given the care Apple is taking in presenting it to customers.

Stores are expected to have at least 10 “try-on stations” for the Apple Watch, where employees will guide customers through the device’s featureset and give them an opportunity to pre-order the watch. For the gold Apple Watch Edition, which starts at $10,000 and will only be sold in select stores, specially-trained Apple Store employees called “Experts” will pitch big-spending customers on the device.

Employees are expected to walk through the health, communication and timekeeping features of the device, according to 9to5Mac. Apple Stores will dedicate most of their employees to selling or explaining the Apple Watch for the device’s initial launch period.

Apple will begin in-store previews of Apple Watch on April 10. The device goes on sale April 24 and can be pre-ordered at physical Apple Stores or on Apple’s website.

Read next: Tim Cook: The Apple Watch Is the First Smartwatch ‘That Matters’

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