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Best Apple Watch Series 7 Cases

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Apple manages to make each new generation of its Apple Watch more durable. But it’s still not super rugged and can certainly get dinged up if something ends up hitting it with enough force (and sometimes not that much force). While Apple doesn’t sell cases like it does for its iPhones, plenty of third-party cases are available for your Watch 7, whether it’s the smaller 41mm or larger 45mm version. These cases won’t make your Watch 7 indestructible or completely prevent the screen from getting scratched or cracked, but they will help provide some extra protection without adding much bulk to your Watch.

We’ve tried out all these cases and will add more to the list as we test more top Watch Series 7 cases.

Read more: Best Apple Watch Deals

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Made from 85% recycled ocean plastic, the Lifeproof Case for Apple Watch 7 easily slips over your Watch’s bezel and lives up to its “form-fitting” billing. It comes in four colors that play well with Apple’s various band colors (Lifeproof also sells eco-friendly Apple Watch bands).  

Element

Available in black or green, Element’s Special Ops Watch Band integrates a case and band in the same accessory. It’s got a military vibe and seems durable, offering “double-reinforced” construction and good screen protection with an option to put a band over the middle of the Watch’s screen. That said, it’s lighter than it looks and comfortable to wear.

I had to watch an instructional video from Element to figure out how to get my Watch 7 into the case, but it’s a straightforward process once you see how it’s done. I actually dropped my watch on the pavement (face down on the screen) as I was trying to put the band around my wrist. I’m happy to report my watch survived and was undamaged so the case definitely works. 

Jared Dipane/CNET

My colleague Jared DiPane bought this affordable band-and-case combo, which is available in multiple colors for less than $10. He reports: “The Kaihand Apple Watch band with a built-in bumper case offers great protection for the edges and front of my Apple Watch while also giving it a unique style. I’ve always been a G-Shock fan and this gives me some of that style to combine with the smarts of my Apple Watch.”

David Carnoy/CNET

Catalyst has long made attractively designed rugged cases for the iPhone and its Active Defense Vibe band with an integrated case offers decent protection in a slim design. It’s easy to get your Watch in and out of the case and the band is well-designed and comfortable to wear.

David Carnoy/CNET

The Spigen Ultra Hybrid is a slim, translucent cover for your Watch 7. It’s not super protective but will prevent your bezel from getting scratched up.  

David Carnoy/CNET

Spigen’s Rugged Armor case offers more protection than its Ultra Hybrid case. It wraps partially around the bottom of your Watch 7 but allows for wireless charging. It’s easy to slip in and out of the case but you do have to take your band off to get it in the case.

Spigen also makes the Rugged Armor Pro that integrates a watch band for $7 more but is otherwise similar.


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Overwatch 2 Beta Begins Tomorrow: Start Time and What to Expect

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Overwatch 2 starts its second beta on Tuesday, June 28, for PC and console players. The beta begins at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT and runs through Monday, July 18. Sign-ups are still open for a chance to participate, and you can still get guaranteed access if you’re willing to spend some cash.  

The next beta will be our first look at Junker Queen, a new tank hero who first appeared in posters on the Junkertown map that was released in 2017. Fans have been hoping to play her ever since, and five years later, we’re finally getting the chance. The new beta also adds a new hybrid map, Paraiso. The developers have laid out their goals for the beta, which include testing server capacity and hero balance. 

Overwatch 2 is the sequel to Blizzard’s class-based shooter, featuring two teams of five players fighting over objectives. Overwatch devs announced in June that the game will be free to play and will launch in early access on Oct. 4. The first beta injected a frantic pace into the game, which was a welcome change from the slower, more grinding pacing that’s plagued Overwatch in recent years. The free-to-play PvP element will bring the game more in line with other competitive shooters, like Valorant and Apex Legends.

How to sign up for the Overwatch 2 beta

Anyone can sign up for Overwatch 2’s second beta, but it’s not technically an open beta. The game will add people gradually as it ramps up server capacity, and the first big wave of beta access will happen on July 5, according to the beta FAQ page. Even if you were in the previous beta, you’ll need to sign up again. 

Here’s how to sign up:

1. Go to the Overwatch 2 beta site.
2. In the top right corner, log in to your Blizzard Account.
3. At the bottom of the Overwatch 2 beta page, choose your platform (and region for PlayStation players).
4. Then hit Request Beta Access.

If you want guaranteed beta access on June 28, you can purchase the Watchpoint Pack ($40). In addition to beta access on day one, you’ll also get two legendary character skins, a unique player icon and enough digital currency to buy the first two battle passes.

How do I download the Overwatch 2 beta?

Blizzard hasn’t released details on downloading the second beta, but it should follow the same process as the first beta. Here’s how that worked:

1. Log in to your Battle.net account and navigate to Overwatch on the game launcher.

2. In the bottom left, click the Game Version drop-down.

3. Select Overwatch 2 Tech Beta to install.

4. When the download is complete, hit the blue Play button to start.

Junker Queen spinning her axe

Junker Queen’s ultimate ability helps her close distance and end fights quickly.


Blizzard

Junker Queen abilities

The new beta finally gives fans a chance to play as Junker Queen, a hero we’ve all been excited about and/or thirsting over since she was first teased on the Junkertown map. Here’s what we know about Junker Queen’s abilities, from the Overwatch Twitter account:

New Hybrid Map: Paraiso

The beta also adds Paraiso, a new hybrid map that explores Lucio’s home, including the DJ’s Clube Sinestesia. As with all hybrid maps, players will start by attacking or defending a control point, and if the attackers succeed, players will spend the rest of the map attacking or defending a payload. 

An underground club with light-up floor

Clube Sinestesia is where support hero Lucio found fame as a DJ.


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For more Overwatch 2 news, check out everything we learned from the Overwatch 2 reveal event.



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Icebergify: How To Create an Iceberg of Your Most Listened to Spotify Artists

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Been on social media today? Seen those bizarre musical Icebergs floating around in your feed? You’re not alone. Screenshots like this have been doing the rounds today, particularly on Twitter. 

It’s all created via the magic of a website called Icebergify.

Using the data from your Spotify listening habits, Icebergify creates an Iceberg of your most listened to artists ranked by popularity. At the tip of the iceberg? Your favourite “mainstream” artists. Your Taylor Swifts, your Beyonces, your Drakes, etc. The further down you go, the more obscure it becomes. It looks a little like this…

If you want to see your own iceberg, you can head to the website directly. Be warned: it does require your Spotify log-in. 

The Icebergify website was developed by Akshay Raj, a freshman studying Computer & Data Science at Rice University. He says he has no plans to monetize the site or use the data collected — which is limited to your username, Spotify account ID and the top 50 tracks and artists listened to over the past few years. 

How does it work? It’s fairly simple. Icebergify takes your most listened to artists and sorts them according to popularity rankings. Streams, shares, saves, likes, and followers are all taken into account. This is why Beyonce might be at the top of your iceberg, but lesser known artists are at the bottom, beneath the ocean. Also worth noting: It seems like Icebergify is being flooded due to its surprising popularity. Head back later if it doesn’t immediately work.





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Apple’s First Mixed-Reality Headset May Sport New M2 Processor

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Apple’s first mixed-reality headset could come with the company’s flagship M2 processor, just one of the “deluge” of new products the company is expected to unveil in the next year, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported Sunday.

The M2, unveiled in June, features redesigned central processing units and a significant memory increase, which would provide a significant boost to the much-rumored headset over the previous M1 chip.

The much-rumored headset incorporating both virtual and augmented reality environments is expected to provide a boon to the gaming industry. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier week that the headset — expected to be announced in January 2023 — would be the most complicated product Apple has designed yet.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been vocal about his excitement about AR. Earlier this week, he explained that the tech industry is still in the “very early innings” of this technology’s possibilities.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we’ve seen in this space, and sort of stay tuned and you’ll see what we have to offer,” Cook told China Daily.

Other products Gurman expects to debut in the next 12 months include four iPhone 14 models, three Apple Watch variations, several Macs with M2 and M3 chips, iPads, updated AirPods Pro earbuds, a fresh HomePod, and an upgraded Apple TV. 

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read moreApple AR, VR Headset Rumors: WWDC, Release Rumors, M1 Chip and More



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