Earlier this month, we shared an iPhone case called the Reach79, which debuted at CES. The Reach79 case claimed to boost the signal strength and performance of the iPhone, improving battery life, reducing dropped calls, and improving download speeds, statements that were quite controversial in our forums.

Readers were understandably skeptical of the Reach79's promise that it could deliver up to 2x stronger signal strength, so MacRumors decided to go hands-on with the Reach79 case to see if we could prove the company's claims.

We've been extensively testing the Reach79 case on an iPhone 6 Plus for more than a week in various areas around the San Francisco Bay Area, but after several days of use, it remains difficult to conclusively say that the case improves signal in a meaningful way due to mixed test results. For a quick summary of what we found, scroll down to the "Bottom Line" section, or read on for our full results.

Our Testing

We used the Reach79 case on an iPhone 6 Plus connected to the AT&T network on multiple days, at multiple times, and in multiple locations, both indoor and outdoor. The phone was put into Field Test mode so that signal strength could be viewed as a raw decibel number rather than as dots or "bars," in order to better determine if and when the case was improving signal. All testing was done in the hand or up against the head, which is how the case is designed to work.

We also tested with the Ookla Mobile Speed Test app to see if the case improved data speeds, but we were told that this is not a particularly reliable testing method due to the many factors that can affect data transfer.

If there's one word that sums up our testing, it's inconsistent. At times, when the Reach79 case was placed on the iPhone, signal definitely improved as evidenced by the raw numbers and speed tests, but just as often, putting the case on did nothing to improve signal, or even seemed to degrade it somewhat.

What was most frustrating during testing was the fact that it was nearly impossible to repeat a test result more than once. When we did see signal improve while using the case, removing it and trying again often did not give the same level of improvement or gave -- For more information read the original article here.
During today's earnings call covering the first fiscal quarter of 2015, Apple CEO Tim Cook shared some new details on the prospective launch date of the Apple Watch. According to Cook, Apple Watch development is currently on schedule, and the company is planning to ship the device in April.

Development for Apple Watch is right on schedule, and we expect to begin shipping in April.
When the Apple Watch was announced, Apple gave a vague "early 2015" launch date for the device, making it unclear when it would actually ship. Several rumors recently pointed towards a March launch date for the device, but it appears it will actually begin shipping out to consumers a month later, in April.

Cook confirmed that the Apple Watch's April shipping date was within the expected range of early 2015, which Apple considers to be the first four months of the year. Cook also said there are some amazing apps in the works for the device, and he mentioned that he couldn't live without the Apple Watch.
My expectations are very high on it. I'm using it every day and love it and can't live without it.
Now that we know when the Apple Watch is expected to launch, the only unknowns about the device are battery life and its cost. Rumors have suggested that battery life will be somewhat disappointing, lasting approximately 19 hours during "mixed use."

Cost is also up in the air, aside from a known starting price of $349 for the lower-end device. Pricing on the middle tier version is unclear, as is pricing for the high-end gold Apple Watch, which rumors suggest could sell for thousands of dollars.

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New, lighter batteries are under development for soldiers now, in-house, at the Army Research Laboratory.

Chemists at the lab do materials research on lithium ion batteries and other advanced battery chemistry in an effort to support the warfighter.

“We help to develop new battery materials that are lighter and last longer for the soldier, so he doesn't have to carry so many batteries,” said Cynthia Lundgren, a chemist and Chief of the Electrochemistry Branch of the Power and Energy Division in the Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate.

Army chemist, Jan Allen, demonstrates how to build a “button cell,” the type of battery used in a watch, at the Army Research Laboratory. (Photo by Gary Sheftick/Released)

To create a better battery, Lundgren and her team experiment with small “button cells,” such as what one might find in a watch. A cell consists of two electrodes: an anode, which is the side marked with a “minus” sign; and a metal oxide or phosphate cathode, which bears the plus sign.

Between these two electrodes is a liquid electrolyte soaked separator that facilitates the transfer of lithium ions to transfer charge. One or more of these cells is used to construct a battery pack.

The team tinkers with the different materials that make up both the cathode and the anode. They also tinker with the chemistry of the electrolyte of the battery. Lundgren said that one way to make a battery lighter is to use electrodes that increase its cell voltage.

“If we could raise the voltage of a single cell — energy density is a direct function of the voltage — we could make the battery lighter,” she said. “The problem is, as you go up in voltage, the electrode becomes much more energetic, and so it reacts with the electrolyte.”

The reaction of electrodes with the electrolyte is one of the key problems Lundgren and her team have proven successful at tackling.

Emily Wikner, an Army Research Laboratory intern (left), assists Army Research Laboratory scientist Arthur Cresce, in the Electrochemistry Branch. Cresce is the co-inventor of an electrolyte additive with the potential to increase lithium battery energy density by 30 percent. (Photo by Conrad Johnson, RDECOM Public Affairs/Released)

“The electrodes are very corrosive, and they react with the electrolytes,” said Von Cresce, a chemist at the lab. “So what ends up happening as you cycle the battery back and forth is that the electrolytes are degraded -- For more information read the original article here.

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While other developer's apps are displayed in the iTunes Connect dashboard, attempting to take further action results in an "unable to process request" error and a redirect to the proper account. Sales and payment information are also not accessible for the mismatched account. For some other users, iTunes Connect also appears to be experiencing issues with logging in. Apple has yet to comment on the matter. This post will be updated as further details become known.

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