(You're reading all posts by John Brownlee)

About John Brownlee

John Brownlee John Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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

How Siri became a 10-year-old autistic boy’s best friend

A boy and his best friend out to play. Photo: Louie Chin for the New York Times.

A boy and his best friend out to play. Photo: Louie Chin for the New York Times.

In Spike Jonze’s film Her, Joaquin Phoenix plays a man who falls in love with a Siri-like “digital assistant,” played by Scarlett Johansson. But falling in love with Siri doesn’t just happen in the movies. In The New York Times, there is a beautiful piece about a 10-year-old autistic boy named Gus whose best friend is Siri.

Read the rest of this post »

This store will enlarge your pockets to fit your new iPhone 6

Is your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus just too big for your skinny jeans? You’re not alone: a store in China is actually keeping a tailor on hand to enlarge pants for customers who can’t fit their new smartphones in their pockets.

Read the rest of this post »

Rdio for iOS gets updated with iOS 8 and CarPlay support, along with better sound quality

The Rdio app just got better than ever. Photo: Rdio.

The Rdio app just got better than ever. Photo: Rdio.

If you’re an Rdio user, great news. The official iOS app has just been updated to optimize the music-streaming service for iOS 8. And it gets even better if you happen to have an automobile with CarPlay installed.

Read the rest of this post »

Why Apple’s heading toward a ‘zombie iPad’ apocalypse

This is the source of the iPad's zombie problem. Photo: Apple

This is the source of the iPad’s zombie problem. Photo: Apple

Yesterday, Apple unveiled the iPad mini 3, a slightly updated version of the second-gen iPad mini with Retina display. But even though it’s two generations old at this point, Apple still sells the original iPad mini for $249. That makes it the cheapest iPad yet, albeit for good reason: It packs the same A5 chip and other silicon guts that the iPad 2 did way back in March 2011.

That might actually seem like a good deal for consumers, but it’s turning out to be a nightmare for developers who will likely have to support the iPad mini until 2017.

Read the rest of this post »

The Mac App Store is broken, and developers are sick of it

The Mac App Store is broken. Photo: Apple

The Mac App Store is broken. Photo: Apple

First launched in January 2011, the Mac App Store promised to give developers the same sort of centralized marketplace to sell their apps that had made the iOS App Store such a success. Instead of making developers rich or giving them a better place to market their apps, though, an increasing number of developers are actually leaving the Mac App Store in what Milen Dzhumerov, one of the devopers behind Monodraw, has called a “subtle exodus.”

Why? It all has to do with Apple’s Mac App Store policies.

Read the rest of this post »

What if Bendgate comes to the next iPad?

15295247447_5e2be1810b_b

Current rumor suggests that the next iPad Air will be even thinner than the last one.

And as we know from the release of the last iPhone, when something’s thinner… well, it’s likely to get bent.

So what will happen if Bendgate comes to the iPad? Our favorite concept designer Martin Hajek imagines the next iPad Air if it proves as pliable as the iPhone 6.

There are more images after the jump. What do you think?

Read the rest of this post »

Apple TV + Philips? The first HDTV with built-in iTunes and AirPlay has been announced

Photo: Apple

Photo: Apple

Update: False alarm. As we suggested was a possibility, Philips was misunderstood by a reporter. They are actually just bundling Apple TV’s with new televisions, not building in the hardware.

We don’t know exactly what Apple plans on announcing next Thursday, but one thing’s for sure: It’s not just new iPads.

The tagline for the event — “It’s been far too long” — implies that we’re about to see a new version of a product that hasn’t been updated for a while.

One strong candidate is the Apple TV. But if a (possibly premature) announcement by consumer electronics company Philips is anything to go by, Apple might not just be giving the Apple TV a spec bump. Cupertino might announce instead that it will be integrating Apple TV hardware into third-party television sets!

Read the rest of this post »

The latest iOS 8.1 beta hints the next iPad could come with a Super Retina display

Bzd0Z_rIQAEAZ0j

Before the iPhone 6 was officially announced, developers confirmed the higher resolution of the iPhone 6 by examining the beta for iOS 8, specifically in the way apps would prefer to load a 3x image over the 2x image on existing Retina Devices.

Now the iOS 8.1 beta is out, and developers are discovering that it will similarly call up 3x versions of many iPad UI assets, implying that the iPad could be seeing a resolution bump sometime soon.

Read the rest of this post »

A colorful theory about what Apple will announce on October 16th

Could this image be the key to what Apple will announce on October 16th?

Could this image be the key to what Apple will announce on October 16th?

In Apple’s invitation to the company’s October 16th Town Hall event at its Cupertino headquarters, the company’s tagline is: “It’s been way too long.”

This has prompted a lot of speculation. It hasn’t been too long since Apple’s last event, which was just a month ago. And there aren’t that many other Apple products that we haven’t seen updated in the last year, with the exception of Thunderbolt displays, which frankly aren’t important enough to reference in an Apple tagline that the whole world will scrutinize.

But here’s a good theory. What if the tagline doesn’t reference a single product, but a variation of product? What if we’re about to see the return of colored Macs?

Read the rest of this post »

Toshiba’s racist new ads star squinty-eyed Japanese tablets

Not cool, Toshiba.

Not cool, Toshiba.

We all know that Apple’s advertising is a cut above the competition, but sometimes Cupertino’s competitors stoop so low that all you can do is just shake your head in embarrassment.

That’s certainly the way I feel about Toshiba’s racist new ads. Released in Croatia, they feature a couple of slanted tablets that have been placed to look like squinty eyes, just like the way Asians have been stereotypically portrayed in Western media for centuries. Face palm!

Read the rest of this post »