The week in gadgets: iWatch, Moto X, and a tiny tool to bring back the boombox

8 Jul 2013

iWatch concept design by Esben Oxholm

A look at gadget happenings, as Apple’s iWatch trademark tour hits roadblocks, the Moto X’s customisation options are leaked, HTC drops updates for the HTC One S, O2 brings the world’s slimmest smartphone to Ireland, Canon has a new DSLR for aspiring photographers and Bit More has a device that will make use of your old CD player.

Tracking iWatch trademarks around the world

Over the last week, the tech community has been closely tracking Apple’s world tour of ‘iWatch’ trademark filings. We reported on the Japanese filing last Monday and, since then, trademark requests from Apple have been discovered in Mexico, Taiwan, Russia, Turkey, Colombia and Chile.

The submission to Mexico’s Institute of Industrial Property was made on the same day as the Japan filing, 3 June, according to TechHive.

While these trademark filings have increased the speculation around Apple’s alleged smartwatch, guesses for when it will actually materialise range from late this year to late 2014.

Trademarking the name won’t go over so easily in some places, though, as the New York Post revealed that OMG Electronics has already filed for this name for a smartwatch product in the US, while MacWorld UK discovered that Italian company Probendi already lays claim to this trademark in the EU as the name of a mobile streaming app, found more iWatch trademarks from across Europe, and Electronista claimed that nine companies in China have already registered this trademark, though most are now invalid.

Attention has now turned to Apple’s patent filings in an attempt to discover what the rumoured iWatch will actually look like. Business Insider has compiled a collection of patent diagrams from the US Patent and Trademark Office, including those indicating a flexible or curved battery pack.

Moto X is as customisable as it is ‘made in America’

Just ahead of the 4th of July celebrations in the US last week, Motorola – now rebranded as ‘a Google company’ – released teaser ads for its forthcoming Moto X, the customisable, made-in-America smartphone.

The level of customisation available on the Moto X is yet to be confirmed, but sources told ABC News this would involve colour selection and the option of engraving the device, which was backed up by The Verge.

Reports also claim that users will be able to send on their own image to be used as the phone’s wallpaper.

Customisations will be made via the Moto X website and could likely be only available to US customers. The majority of the components of the Moto X won’t be made in America, but the phones will be assembled there, meaning faster delivery to residents.

At least four of the colours that can be selected for the rear cover and trim of the Moto X may have been leaked images posted by French tech site NWE last week.

Moto X leaked images via NWE

Moto X leaked images via NWE


To me, these colours reflect the palette surrounding the M in the new Motorola logo, which could be an indicator of the full colour range.

Motorola logo

While hardware customisations aren’t looking likely, the Moto X is said to come with innovations such as added voice capabilities and enhanced sensors that will be able to tell when a user is driving and automatically launch speakerphone. The Moto X is expected to be a mid-range device running at least Android 4.2.2 and coming with various storage options.

HTC calls it a day on the HTC One S

On the back of some disappointing financial results announced last week, HTC confirmed that the HTC One S, a top-end smartphone launched worldwide in March 2012, is already being cut off just over a year later.

The One S will no longer receive Android or HTC Sense updates, which will leave it trailing behind its sister devices, the HTC One X and HTC One X+. “We realise this news will be met with disappointment by some, but our customers should feel confident that we have designed the HTC One S to be optimised with our amazing camera and audio experiences,” said HTC in a statement.

Though the specs on the One S are more mid-range compared to its sisters, its price doesn’t reflect this, and owners will now be stuck with Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean while One X and One X+ users will soon receive a Sense 5 update bringing them up to Android 4.2 and introducing BlinkFeed and Zoe.

Bit More music

This clever little Universal Bluetooth Wireless Audio Adaptor, stg£19.99 plus shipping from UK-based retailer Bit More, is just the ticket for homes with expensive sound systems gathering dust.

In recent years, we’ve stopped filling our shelves with CDs and started filling our mobile devices with digital music. To get amped-up, room-filling sound from personal devices at home often requires a speaker dock tailored to that specific product, while that expensive hi-fi you bought only a few years ago laments in a corner.

Bit More Universal Bluetooth Wireless Audio Adaptor

With this dinky audio adaptor from Bit More, you can revive your old boombox or any other sound system and connect it to any Bluetooth-enabled device. The small receiver plugs into a 3.5mm jack (such as a headphones port) and then allows you to connect your smartphone, tablet, laptop or MP3 player for easy listening within a 10m range.

O2 brings slim Ascend P6 to Irish market

The Huawei Ascend P6 was recently launched as the world’s slimmest smartphone at just 6.18mm thick. At the time, the 4.7-inch Android device was expected to reach Europe in July and, on Friday, 5 July, it was released exclusively with O2 in Ireland.

Huawei Ascend P6

A unique feature of the Ascend P6 is its 5MP front-facing camera, built for taking selfies. The device also has an 8MP rear camera, 1.5GHz quad-core processor and 2,000mAh battery, and runs on Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2.

The Ascend P6 from O2 is priced from free on bill pay and for €329.99 on pre-pay, available online and in-store.

Canon’s next top model

Canon’s latest DSLR for the aspiring photographer, the EOS 70D, was announced this week, arriving in Ireland next month.

With a 20.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor and 14-bit Digic 5+ processor, the EOS 70D offers full-resolution images at up to 7fps and full-HD video recording at a choice of frame rates. It’s Canon’s first DSLR to feature Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology, which will help keep moving subjects in sharp focus when shooting videos and lets users create pull-focus effects.

Canon EOS 70D

The EOS 70D also features a 19-point all cross-type AF system, 3-inch vari-angle Clear View LCD II capacitive touchscreen and integrated Wi-Fi.

Available from late August, the suggested retail price is €1,399.99 for the body only, or €1,599.99 with an 18-55mm lens, €1,849.99 with an 18-135mm lens. Those that pre-order or purchase from up to 31 August will also get a free Canon 300EG Gadget Bag from selected retailers.

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Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic