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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.

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How one Apple engineer fixed the Mac’s awful startup sound for good

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One of the things that makes a Mac a Mac is the beautiful startup sound it makes when you turn it on: a soothing, sonorous noise that sounds like electronic harp strings being plucked as you enter the gardens of Zen.

But it wasn’t always this way. When the original Macintosh was released, the startup sound was horrible. Yet it wasn’t Steve Jobs who fixed it. It was an unknown sound engineer who hated it with such a passion that he defied his bosses and literally snuck it onto the Mac.

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If Jony Ive designed furniture, it would look like this

Photo: Klaus Geiger

Photo: Klaus Geiger

For the last decade or so, Apple has made some of the most beautifully designed devices on the planet. But because those devices are technology, not furniture or art, they have an incredibly short half-life in our home. Yet these are still classic designs that, in any other context, we might keep around for decades.

That’s why I like this bench built by Klaus Geiger.

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iFixit teardown discovers the iPad Air 2 skimps on battery life

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Photo: iFixit

As they so often do when new Apple products land, the gadget vivisectionists at iFixIt have used one of their trademark spudgers to crack open a brand iPad Air 2, and there’s at least one interesting finding.

All the iPad Air’s specs have improved this generation except for one critical thing: battery.

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Tim Cook tweets a picture of himself building an iPhone 6 at Foxconn

Photo: Apple

Photo: Apple

Apple CEO Tim Cook dropped by an iPhone factory in Zhengzhou yesterday during a trip in China, and not only did he spend a few minutes having a laugh with an assembly line worker, he even tweeted a picture about it.

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Here’s how to stream every Simpsons ever on your iPhone, iPad or Apple TV

Don't watch the Simpsons on your iPhone while driving. Photo: 20th Century Fox

Don’t watch The Simpsons on your iPhone while driving. Photo: 20th Century Fox

If you’ve been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to have every episode of The Simpsons ever streamable on your iPhone or iPad, there is no longer any reason to, as a certain yellow-skinned tyke might say, “have a cow.”

You can now stream the complete Simpsons archive over an iOS app, no matter where you are. But there’s a catch.

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Secret hardware upgrades make the iPad Air 2 the fastest frickin’ tablet on the planet

Photo: Apple

Photo: Apple

The iPad Air 2 is starting to hit doorsteps for preorders today, and already, the benchmarks are blowing us away, with an early Geekmark score showing that the iPad Air 2 is the fastest, most powerful tablet out there. Period.

But that’s not the surprising thing about the iPad Air 2.

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Apple launches a portal for businesses to get better exposure in Apple Maps

Screenshot: Cult of Mac

Screenshot: Cult of Mac

If you’ve got a business that Apple Maps just keeps on getting wrong, great news. Apple has just launched a new portal for U.S. businesses to add or edit their listings within Apple Maps.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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