(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)

Bye bye, iCrime! California moves to make iOS-style ‘kill switches’ required by law

iOS-7-Activation-Lock-Gets-Thumbs-Up-from-US-Government-370426-2-640x495

Introduced in iOS 7, Activation Lock is a feature that prevents users who recover a lost or stolen iPhone from activating the device without signing in with the Apple ID used to erase the device remotely.

By all accounts, Activation Lock has made a difference in stopping smartphone theft, especially in New York. But in California, law may very well mandate smartphone features like Activation Lock shortly.

Read the rest of this post »

T-Mobile’s latest prepaid plan makes pay-as-you-go sexy and flexible

t-mobilejohn-legere

Slowly but surely, T-Mobile has been trying to not only become the leader of the prepaid cell phone market, but to totally corner it. It’s latest ultra-simple plan takes that mission even further, making pay-as-you-go as simple as $0.10 per minute or text, flat.

Read the rest of this post »

Beautiful renders of new iPhone 6 packaging make us drool

14697469919_b17e757985_o

Martin Hajek usually puts his considerable 3-D rendering skills to the task of creating conceptual models of Apple’s upcoming hardware. But after producing his highly-accurate rendering of the iPhone 6 last week, the Dutch artist has tried his hand at something a bit different: imagining a new kind of retail packaging for Apple’s next smartphone, as well as what the iPhone 6 will look like when it’s on display at your local Apple Store.

Read the rest of this post »

Microsoft’s newest app lets you stalk your favorite celebrities with your iPhone

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 8.03.34 AM

Can’t get enough of celebrity gossip? You’re not alone. Up in Redmond, Microsoft is so obsessed with keeping up with the Kardashians that they have just released a custom-built an attractive new celebrity news app called Snipp3t. And while the use to which Snipp3t is meant to be put may look a little tawdry, the app design itself is actually really nice.

Read the rest of this post »

New version of Vesper now lets you see more info about your notes

vesper

Vesper, the note-taking app developed in part by John Gruber of Daring Fireball, has been updated with a cool new feature that allows you to easily see the timestamp, character, or word count for a Vesper note… without adding a lot of on-screen clutter.

Read the rest of this post »

Ex-Apple executive says the App Store should be more like Reddit

app-store-640

Since it first opened up in Julu of 2008, the App Store has paid developers over $13 billion at last count, and the marketplace hosts are over 1 million third-party programs. That makes the App Store a success by almost any measure… except discoverability.

Even today, the App Store can be extremely hard to navigate. Dominated by clones of popular apps and freemium crapware, good apps often get buried at the bottom of the App Store thanks to the App Store’s notoriously bad search engine and almost non-existent curation.

But former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée has a suggestion. Make the App Store more like Reddit. Let anonymous humans curate it.

Read the rest of this post »

UK tabloid publishes fake looking pics of the iPhone 6 in retail box

iphone6-900-80

Over the weekend, UK newspaper The Mirror published a series of photos which they claim is a working unit of Apple’s 4.7-inch iPhone 6, complete with retail box.

“There’s no 100% proof that the photos are authentic, but the details on show line up with the dozens of details already seeping onto the web about the next generation Apple handset,” the paper said.

Saying that the photos may not be 100% authentic is quite the overstatement. In fact, considering the fact that iOS 8’s biggest new app — Healthbook — is entirely missing from the screen, we’re going to say we’re about 100% sure that The Mirror got had.

More photos after the jump. What do you think?

Read the rest of this post »

Get ready for password utopia by buying 1Password for iOS 8 at a cheap, cheap price

Screenshot-640x544

We already know that once iOS 8 comes around, AgileBit’s password manager 1Password is going to be great. Not only will it use Touch ID to make remembering your password a thing of the past, but it will integrate with third party apps.

Pretty cool. The only problem, though, is that 1Password for iOS generally retails at $17.99. Pretty expensive. But for a limited time only, 1Password is going on sale for just $9.99… and in case you’re wondering, yes, the Touch ID compatible iOS 8 version will be a free update if you buy it at this price. And that’s not all: 1Password’s sister app for Mac is also currenly on sale for just $34.99, down from a cool $50.

If you have any dreams of being able to surplant all your internet passwords with your fingerprint come iOS 8, I suggest you get a move on.

While activists protest animal abuse, tortoises get free iPads

3034122-poster-p-2-artist-sticks-ipads-on-tortoises-protesters-freak-out

An exhibit full of tortoises with iPads glued to their shells. Is this the next evolutionary stage of the family testudinidae? Hardly. It’s an art exhibit in Colorado’s Aspen Art Museum that has animal activists hopping mad.

Read the rest of this post »

A table that could wirelessly charge your iPhone and iPad

YOUMINKIM_SOAK_TABLE_1_1100

Let’s face it. None of us are all that jazzed about having to plug our iPhones into the wall to charge them. We’re all yearning for the days in which wireless charging comes to the iPhone, iPad, and even Mac.

And when it does, furniture like this simple side table are going to become our de facto chargers.

Read the rest of this post »