We all know that the Apple Watch doesn’t exactly have great battery life. At best, it’ll get you through the day. But, of course, one of the big sells of the Apple Watch is that it’ll save your iPhone battery life, because you don’t have to pull it out as much.
Of course, then you end up in a Catch-22. Your Apple Watch depends on your iPhone to work properly, but without pulling out your iPhone, you can’t tell how much battery you have left, therefore risking both your Apple Watch and your iPhone crapping out on you in the middle of the day. If only the Apple Watch could tell you your iPhone’s battery level.
It can’t, but luckily, there’s an app for that. And it might be the loveliest one yet.
The week's best gadget announcements, rolled up into a nougaty gallery.
BioLite BaseCamp stove
The BaseCamp is the family-size version of BioLite’s iPhone-charging camping stove. Like its little brother, the BaseCamp burns any fuel you find (wood is good) and uses the heat to power a USB charger and drive a fan. The fan pumps air into the fire and makes it burn hotter and faster. The BaseCamp version adds a grill on top for those off-the-grid BBQs. $300
Picard’s German-made Latthammer (or carpenter’s roofing hammer) is 600 grams of hot, hot nail-starting action. Slot a nail into the groove up top, whereupon it will be held in place by a magnet. Whack it against your target chunk of wood and the nail is started without ever putting your fleshy fingers in harm’s way. It even comes with a beautiful leather grip. €70
Lifelogger POV camera
The dorkitudinal Lifelogger is an alway-on POV camera that looks like a Bluetooth headset, the large camera unit counterbalanced by a headband that wraps around from ear to ear. The eye-level mount means you always record what you’re looking at, but it also makes you look like you work in a call center. Available December.$249
TYLT Energi Travel Charger 2K
TYLT's Energi Travel Charger 2K is a regular USB wall charger, only it packs a built-in 2,200mAh battery and comes in at the same price as most regular (battery-free) chargers. The fold-out prongs let it sleep safely in your bag until needed, and the colored LED indicators tells you how much is left in the tank. I wonder why all chargers aren't this clever. $30
Range smart thermometer
Supermechanical’s Range thermometer looks as good as the beautiful (universal) app it works with. It’s a food-probe thermometer that comes in two models – one long and rounded, for sticking into cooking pots, and one short and sharp, for jabbing into meat. Both plug into your iPhone’s headphone socket, letting you set temperature alerts, check graphs and look up USDA temperature recommendations. $70
Satechi’s LightMate is what would happen if Jedis carried iPhones. The lightsaber-shaped emergency LED light can work as a lamp or, if you remove the “saber,” as a flashlight. It’s waterproof, is designed to smash car windows (for escape, not for burglary) and the (swappable) lithium-ion battery can be used to juice your iPhone via its USB port. $30
La Sardina Birds of Paradise DIY bundle
Imagine a sardine can made into a camera. Well done – you just imagined La Sardina, a plastic camera based on the classic sardine tin. Lomography's wide-angle shooter is so DIY it comes with a screwdriver to help customize it. The lo-fi Lomo film camera now comes in pretty versions with decorative skins, like this Bird of Paradise “dress.” Get ready for summer. $109
Photojojo’s Power Purse is a place to protect your phone and also provide portable power. It works like a regular clutch purse, only it has a secret 2,600mAh battery inside to recharge your iPhone on the go. We all have a friend who leaves the house with their iPhone at like 15 percent every frickin’ day. If that friend is into pink or polka dots, you should buy him/her this as a gift, if only for your own peace of mind. $49
This Tower of power extends outlets from the floor and puts them up by your desktop. It packs two 2.1A USB ports plus four regular power outlets with circuit breakers, and the base is weighted to stop it from tipping over. There’s even a little plastic mesh pocket to keep your iPad safe while it charges. $99
Cooking, charging, camera-ing and generally staying out-of-doors are the themes this week. But if you are stuck inside out of the sun, don’t worry – we have you covered too.
This week we get cooking with a gadget-charging camping stove and a slick, iPhone-friendly food thermometer. We also do DIY projects (without tenderizing our thumbs) with the German Latthammer, charge our flagging phones with a purse that packs a built-in battery, and record everything using the super-dorky Lifelogger camera. Is the sun shining? Yes it is!
The portable battery from Halo is perfect for those times when I want to go stealth, keeping my iPhone 5 as free of those bulky, heavy battery cases as possible.
Between running levels of Hodappy Bird and checking Twitter for any vanity retweets, slapping photos of my meals up on Instagram and surreptitiously reading Facebook posts from ex-girlfriends, I am a battery killer.
With the Halo charger available, I found myself grabbing it and a lightning cable on my way out the door all the time, whether heading to the coffee shop or just for a quick bike ride along the Coastal Trail in Anchorage. It’s a perfect way to ensure I have the power I need on demand without strapping my iPhone into some fat case like the Mophie.
Back in the day, I used to care for a couple of labs full of Macs. Invariably, I’d find myself in the lab at the end of the day, shutting them all down for the night. I’d run up and down the rows of eMacs or whatever they were at the time, and hit the power button, then click on the Shut Down button. Or, if I was feeling frisky, I’d just hold down the power button until they shut off.
This took some time, needless to say. I wish I’d known of these useful keyboard commands to shut down or sleep the Macs, saving myself several minutes each day.