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Apple Daily: Secret Apple Watch Port; Beats Music Rebranding; Free Office 2016 Preview

That old saw about waiting until the next generation to buy a new Apple product might also apply to the Apple Watch, as new reports suggest that future versions could have a special port for “smart straps” and similar peripherals. In other news, we likely won’t get to listen to Apple’s rebranded streaming music service until WWDC, and Microsoft has released a free preview version of Office 2016 for Mac users.

Future Apple Watches Could Have Special Ports for ‘Smart Straps’

If you’re planning on picking up an Apple Watch and you have dreams of hooking up all kinds of fancy doodads to it, you might want to wait until next year before you plop down ,000 or more on the Edition version. A new report from TechCrunch claims that a version of the Apple Watch (although, 9to5Mac‘s sources say, not the one that’s about to ship) has a hidden port that could potentially be used to attach “smart straps” to the device.

“It’s being used for diagnostics and direct access to the Watch operating system, but it’s feasible that could be used to connect accessories in the future,” says TechCrunch. “The port has a 6-dot brass contact array inside the groove for the ‘bottom’ strap connector slot. Several sources have confirmed its existence and placement to me.”

We’ll likely get to see what Apple has in store for the current version on Monday, when the Cupertino company hosts its “Spring Forward” media event at 10:00 a.m. PST. We at Mac|Life will be on hand to relay the news as we hear it.


Apple’s Rebranded Music Streaming Service Likely Won’t Debut Until WWDC

Apple’s makeover of the Beats streaming music service has been expected for a while, but, according to a new report from 9to5Mac, we’ll reportedly have to wait until WWDC to see it. Some spurious earlier rumors suggested that we might see it at Apple’s upcoming “Spring Forward” event on Monday, but that seems like it won’t be the case. (TechCrunch later followed up with its own anonymous source, who also claimed the service wouldn’t debut until June’s flagship conference.)

The service is thought to be competitively priced at around .99 per month, which should give it a leg up on competing services such as Spotify, Rdio, Google Play Music, and (for now) Apple’s own Beats Music. Much like iTunes Radio, the service will be closely interwoven into the experience of using iTunes and the Music app on iOS. In addition, Apple is reportedly making an Android version of the service, marking one of the few occasions when Apple has actively designed software for its massive competitor.


Microsoft Offering Free Preview of Office 2016 for Mac Users

After years of treating Apple’s devices as something barely worth paying attention to, Microsoft is at last making direct efforts to entice Mac users into using its products. Starting today, Mac users running OS X Yosemite can access a free preview build (i.e., beta) of Microsoft’s upcoming Office 2016 suite, which will launch sometime later this sunny summer.

The last Office release for Mac was Office 2011, which actually came in out in 2010. This newest release plays off the strengths of today’s cloud-based environments, and as such you’ll get the most out of the experience if you use an Office 365 account (although you won’t need one to access to preview). The new version also boasts interfaces that are designed for Retina displays, new features, and a heavy emphasis on collaboration.

You can download it right now from Microsoft’s website (although, again, you have to be running OS X Yosemite). Just keep in mind that it’s still a beta, and that the occasional bug or two might make an appearance.

Follow this article’s writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.


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