I got a pic with Patrick Stewart. He was thrilled.
This week: Why Apple Watch will win the wrist war, we snap a pic with Patrick Stewart but he’s not amused, the good and bad of a George Lucas-free Star Wars 7, Microsoft’s new HoloLens looks incredible, and we reveal some of our favorite apps and gear on an all-new Under Review.
Our thanks to Automatic for supporting this episode. Plug Automatic into your car’s data port, and their beautiful app will show you where you parked, learn how to save fuel with tips based on your actual driving, and even diagnose and turn off your car’s check engine light.
If you want Minesweeper in your Notification Center, better grab it fast. Screenshot: Cult of Mac
Although it’s a Windows game, I’ve never met anyone without a sweet spot for Minesweeper, the addictive little puzzle game that Microsoft debuted in Windows 3.1. Sadly, though, it never came to the Mac.
But if you love a good game of Minesweeper, we’ve got some great news. You can now play it right within Notification Center. Better act on it soon, though: Apple has a tendency to pull interesting iOS 8 widgets like this one.
The Apple Watch might be Cupertino’s most hotly anticipated product, but for my money, the two releases I’m most excited about this year are the 12-inch MacBook Air and the 12-inch iPad Pro. Outside of a few leaked images, though, we still have not seen either of these rumored devices in the flash.
Conceptual designer Martin Hajek is no stranger to turning rumors of upcoming Apple products into blisteringly sexy 3-D renders, and now he’s done it again with a series of renders showing the iPad Pro and 12-inch MacBook Air going head to head. Call it the battle of the 12-inchers, if you will!
Khan Academy’s new iPad app offers over 150,000 interactive lessons along with special features like handwriting recognition.
If you’re unfamiliar with Khan Academy, it’s a nonprofit that creates really good educational content for completely free.
"Launching our iPad app is an important step toward meeting learners where they're at on the platforms they're using most,” said Khan Academy Product Manager Matt Wahl. “We took lots of time to consider crafting the best possible experience on the iPad, including highly interactive content, expansive handwriting recognition, and a design that puts our best content at finger's reach. After working with many learners to understand and hone the experience, we're excited about the role this can play in learning for students around the world."
This entry is brought to you by WonderApps, maker of ATracker.
If you've ever wanted to make better use of your time, you should try ATracker, a simple and minimalist time-tracking app from WonderApps. ATracker lets you start and stop tracking your work and leisure activities with a single tap. It produces eye-catching bar charts or pie charts showing how your time is spent, and your complete data log can be exported in CSV format.
It takes only seconds to define your activities, since a name and/or an icon is all you need, and the app also provides many rich features like color coding, UI customization, timer, etc. The latest release of ATracker also supports a Notification Center widget in iOS 8.
Available on: iPhone/iPad
Price: Free — offers in-app purchase to upgrade to PRO version
If you want a much cheaper solution than 1Password for managing your logins and private info on the Mac, LastPass is worth checking out.
You get password syncing across devices, account autofill, profiles for autofilling more complex web forms, secure notes, folder organization for free. A LastPass Premium subscription removes ads, unlocks support for corporate verification tools like Yubikey, adds shared family folders, and unlimited access to the mobile app.
This week Spotify introduced some cool new features for previewing and saving music.
Touch Preview allows you to tap and hold on any track to immediately start a 30-second preview. From there, just swipe to save it to your collection or queue it up. Lifting your finger stops the playback, and you can scroll through a playlist to preview multiple tracks with one tap.
Pretty slick, and Spotify is somehow managing to add it without pushing an official App Store update. Stay on the look for it showing up; it’s rolling out now.
How about the weather with some sass? Thanks to Funny Or Die, there’s an app for that.
The app can show you 5-day forecasts, barometric pressure, wind speed, humidity, UV Index, moon phases, and tides, but let’s be honest: you could use any old weather app for that stuff. You want the jokes, and this app delivers.
(Powered by Weather Underground, in case you were wondering.)
After four months, Apple has yet to fix a bad calendar bug in iOS 8.
A weird bug in iOS 8’s Calendar app has been making people pull their hair out for months. When adding events using either a Google or Microsoft Exchange server, the time zone is randomly synced to GMT.
Complaints started surfacing around iOS 8’s initial release last September, and the issue is still persisting.
The iPhone 6 dominated 2014. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Apple enjoyed historic sales this holiday season, and while the company won’t reveal its official earnings until January 27th, based on the latest smartphone activation report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, Apple dominated the holiday shopping season and accounted for 50% of all smartphone activations in Q4 2014.
Tim Cook is likely to announce another record breaking quarter as Apple nearly doubled the number of activations of its closest competitor Samsung, which accounted for a modest 26% of the market.
Sonos’ new logo is trippy (Pro Tip: scroll up and down while looking at it).
We love Sonos speakers here at Cult of Mac. In fact, we can barely make it through our Faves and Raves segment on the CultCast without Leander waxing poetic for the sleek wireless speakers.
The company just teamed up with Bruce Mau Design to create a new psychedelic logo that’s nearly as entertaining their HiFi systems that let you beam sound to any room in your house. If you scroll up and down the page you’ll notice a pulsing effect on the logo, similar to a bass thumping speaker.
There’s no mention on Bruce Mau Design’s website as to whether the optical illusion is intentional. If not it’s an awesome accident. Go ahead and wiggle the page up and down to experience the the visual effect yourself.
We get slammed 24/7 with new Apple rumors. Some are accurate, most are not. To give you a clue about what’s really coming out of Cupertino in the future, we’re busting out our rumor debunker each week to blow up the nonsense.
The iPad Pro has seemed like a myth the last two years, but the rumor mill is heating up with new gossip that Apple might add a stylus to its giant tablet. We’ve also got a new report on the Apple Watch’s dismal battery life, plus pictures that appear to be our first look at the 12-inch MacBook Air.
Which rumors are the real deal and who’s just pretending? Step up to the crystal ball and find out.
The Verdict: This doesn’t seem like the type of elegant solution Jony Ive would use, so don’t count on it. The iPad already has a display that can put a button in any spot you need. Adding dedicated buttons to the back is the opposite direction Apple’s design is moving.
The Rumor: Apple Watch will only get 19 hours of battery life.
The Verdict: This sounds about right to us. Some people are already complaining about Mark Gurman’s report that Apple Watch’s battery won’t last all-day. With as many features as Apple’s cramming into its first timepiece, we’re not shocked the battery is puny. Tim Cook already said you’ll have to charge it every day. It’s only a first generation device. If it lasts a full 19 hours we’ll be pleased.
The Rumor: Samsung plans to fix its glitchy fingerprint sensors by copying TouchID.
The Verdict: Definitely happening. The Samsung Galaxy S6 is supposed to be Samsung’s most innovative device in years because this time they’re not going to just copy Apple. It sounds like they still can’t make fingerprint readers easy to use though, so they’re copying Touch ID’s tap to scan feature.
The Verdict: This rumor is coming straight from the world’s most accurate Apple analyst, Ming Chi-Kuo. We have some serious doubts about it’s accuracy though. First, we don't even know if the 12-inch iPad is a real product, so adding a stylus onto it seems premature. Every analyst and blogger is busting out the “Steve Jobs said ‘if you see a stylus, they blew it,'” quote, but it wouldn’t be the first time el Jobso was proven to be fallible.
I still don’t think this is going to come true though, unless Apple has some really magical new features embedded in the stylus. Also, has anyone considered the 12-inch iPad Pro and 12-inch MacBook Air might be the same product?
The Verdict: We’ll give 2/1 odds that these pictures are of the real deal. We already know Apple’s supply partner Quanta has specifications for the MacBook Air STEALTH in its inventory, so we’re probably just a few months away from the launch. Notice that the keyboard didn't leak though?
Lose yourself in a city of your own making. Photo: Electronic Arts
I launched SimCity: Complete Edition last night at around 8 p.m. I played around with my new city, getting a feel for the controls, zoning for residences, commercial ventures and industrial centers.
I zoomed in and out to get up-close and bird’s-eye views of my own private Idaho (well, Squifton, if we’re being literal). I checked out the various data views, gave my city police buildings and power, water and fire departments. I added parks, more residential areas, roads and even created a neighboring city — a sleepy little hamlet that purchases power and water from the main city. Just a quick little foray into a game that I’ve been itching to play.
When I glanced up at the clock, it was three hours later.