(You're reading all posts by Alex Heath)

About Alex Heath

Alex Heath Alex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for three years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by places like the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too. All DMs excepted.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)

The new TaskRabbit wants to be like Uber for everything

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 3.56.42 PM

With Uber or Lyft, you can summon a car to pick you up with a tap on your iPhone. TaskRabbit makes it that easy to find someone to do your grocery shopping or even stand in line all day for the new iPhone.

Until today, TaskRabbit has operated on an auction-like bidding system for handling tasks. Not only is TaskRabbit killing that model, but it’s releasing a redesigned app with automatic Client and Tasker pairing, one-click hiring, and its own messaging platform.

After today’s changes, TaskRabbit has become a blend of two things. It’s a more evolved, mobile-friendly version of the jobs section of Craigslist, and it’s applying the on-demand aspect of Uber to just about any kind of errand or odd-job you could hire someone to do.

Read the rest of this post »

Former retail chief on why Apple stores have always had free Wi-Fi

Steve Jobs and Johnson at Apple's Fifth Avenue Apple Store grand opening. (Photo by Richard Agullar)

Steve Jobs and Ron Johnson at Apple’s grand Fifth Avenue store opening in NYC. Photo: Richard Agullar

Ron Johnson was Apple’s first head of retail, and he is widely credited with the early success of what is now the most profitable retail brand on Earth.

In a recent interview at Stanford University, his alma mater, Johnson reflected on his career in retail at brands like Target, Apple and J.C. Penney. He gave some insight into the decisions behind what makes the Apple Store “experience,” including why every store has always had free Wi-Fi.

Johnson also talked about the “intimate” relationship he had with Steve Jobs and shared a pretty surprising opinion about the late CEO.

Read the rest of this post »

Why usage of OS X Yosemite beta is nearly 4x that of Mavericks last year


The developer preview of OS X Yosemite is already seeing rapid adoption numbers, and it isn’t even officially available yet.

According to new research, Yosemite accounted for 0.2% of OS X ad impressions in North America between the dates of June 2nd and July 2nd. That’s nearly four times the number of Macs running the developer preview of OS X Mavericks this time last year.

Why the big spike in usage? The answer is actually simple.

Read the rest of this post »

Vimeo for Apple TV gets redesign with sleek navigation

(Photo by Buster Hein/ Cult of Mac)

Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

Vimeo launched a redesigned version of its Apple TV channel today that gives the popular video service a streamlined new interface.

Heavy Vimeo users should find it easier to get to their own collections and likes, while more causal users will benefit from a monthly “Staff Favorites” collection and additional content curation.

“We took our old menu, cut it down to the essentials, and put it at the top of the screen for easy access,” said Vimeo’s Brad Dougherty. “Discover awesome videos, keep up with your feed, tackle your Watch Later queue, and quickly get to your own videos, likes, and collections.”

Read the rest of this post »

Tim Cook spotted in Sun Valley, tells reporter to ditch Samsung phone

Cook and Cue looking casual in Sun Valley. (Photo by @kajawhitehouse on Twitter)

Cook and Cue looking casual in Sun Valley. (Photo by @kajawhitehouse on Twitter)

Apple’s Tim Cook and Eddy Cue were invited yet again this year to the illustrious business conference put on by Allen & Company in Sun Valley, Idaho. Today they were spotted walking around and talking to reporters.

The tech and media world’s elites gather in the resort town of Sun Valley annually to discuss potential partnerships and deals behind closed doors. Think of it like a social mixer on steroids for the world’s most powerful business moguls. Everyone from Rupert Murdoch to the CEOs of Comcast and AT&T attend.

While casually strolling through the mountain resort today, both Cook and Cue fielded questions from eager journalists looking to get a juicy quote or scoop.

Read the rest of this post »

Dr. Dre is getting respect from Compton after Beats deal

(Photo by USA Today)

(Photo by USA Today)

It’s hard to imagine the inventor of gangsta rap having an office in the spotless halls of Apple’s Cupertino headquarters. Dr. Dre managed to rise above the streets of Compton to become the self-proclaimed “first hip-hop billionaire” thanks to Apple’s $3 billion acquisition of Beats.

While Dre is actually valued between $700-$800 million following the Beats sale, he is still an amazing success story. Not only did his hometown of Compton celebrate “Dre Day” for the first time this summer, but his incredible career is inspiring inner-city kids to dream big.

Read the rest of this post »

Apple begins purging Google Maps from iCloud.com

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 1.03.00 PM

Two years after Apple replaced Google with its own Maps app in iOS 6, the last remnant of Google Maps in Apple’s ecosystem is getting the boot. Apple has begun switching to its own mapping service for the Find My iPhone web app on iCloud.com.

The change isn’t visible for everyone yet, but it can be seen from the beta version of iCloud.com where Apple tests upcoming features.

Read the rest of this post »

Apple is finally selling products through retailers in the Middle East

(Photo by Abdullah Nouman)

(Photo by Abdullah Nouman)

Apple has never had an official retail presence of any kind in the Middle East, until now. Thanks to a deal struck with Jarir Bookstore, Apple is directly providing its products in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Arabian government cleared Apple to operate in the country a couple of months ago. The agreement with Jarir will have Apple working with Saudi Arabia’s largest books and electronics retailer.

Read the rest of this post »

Steve Jobs told Google it was ‘doing too much stuff’

Google CEO Larry Page

Google CEO Larry Page

Steve Jobs was notorious for channeling all of Apple’s efforts into one product at time. In 2007, Apple had to issue a press release explaining that it was delaying the release of OS X Leopard to finish making the iPhone.

Google is on the opposite end of the spectrum. It’s always releasing new products, and many never see commercial success. In a recent interview, Google CEO Larry Page shared how Jobs used to tell him that Google was “doing too much” stuff at once, and why he didn’t listen.

Read the rest of this post »

OS X Yosemite gets Dark Mode and other interface tweaks in third developer preview


(Photo by AppleWeblog.com)

Alongside the third beta of iOS 8, today Apple released a new developer preview of OS X Yosemite. The upcoming OS is still very much in the beta process, as Apple is continuing to make interface tweaks and add features.

Read the rest of this post »