Lust List: Zens Power Bank is a great little Apple Watch battery [Review]

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Zens Apple Watch Power Bank
The Apple Watch Power Bank by Zens is a handy little battery pack for your timepiece.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Update: The Apple Watch Powerbank by Zens is now available at the Watch Store with free shipping!

Lust List: Apple Watch Powerbank by Zens

Most external batteries for the Apple Watch are BYOC — Bring Your Own Cable — and have bulky winding systems for tucking the cable away.

Not the compact Apple Watch Powerbank from Zens, perhaps the most portable external battery pack on the market.

Apple stock surges on record-breaking Q1 2017 earnings

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AAPL stock chart
Apple's stock surged in after-hours trading after the company announced record-breaking Q1 2017 results.
Photo: Google Finance

Apple’s stock saw a big surge after the company announced record-breaking earnings for Q1 2017.

AAPL was up almost 3 percent in after-hours trading to $124.50. Apple stock has been climbing recently but was depressed in anticipation of today’s results.

Lust List: Moshi wireless earbuds sound like a bargain [Reviews]

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Moshi's Mythro Air Bluetooth earphones
Moshi's Mythro Air are quality Bluetooth earphones at an affordable price.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Lust List: Mythro Air wireless earbuds by Moshi

Moshi’s Mythro Air wireless earbuds look good and sound good. They offer all-day battery life, a clever magnetic clip to keep them in place, and a unique feature that allows you to share music from a single source to two sets of Mythro Air earbuds.

Best of all, they cost $69.99, and sound better than premium earbuds costing two or three times more.

What they said: Best Apple quotes of 2016

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Best Apple quotes 2016
If you can't say something nice ...
Image: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

2016 Year in Review Cult of Mac The world of quotes is a poorer place without Steve Jobs, who was a quote machine. Nonetheless, plenty of people talked about Apple this year, whether lauding the company’s successes or damning its strategies.

Here are the most memorable Apple quotes of 2016.

Breaking down Apple’s latest design studio video

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Apple Infinite Loop II
Apple's secretive Industrial Design Studio is on the ground floor of Infinite Loop II, one of the main buildings of Apple's Cupertino campus.

To promote his new design book, Jony Ive has made a video giving a very rare peek inside Apple’s ultra-secretive design studio.

The video is only the second one that I know of that shows the inside of the “studio behind the Iron Curtain” — so called because it’s so sealed off from the outside world. (The other was last year’s 60 Minutes episode).

While watching it, I recognized a lot of details that I mention in my book about Jony Ive but I don’t think are generally well-known. So I screenshot the video and made a few notes. Warning: This one’s for the design nerds.

Lust List: Moshi’s AirPlay Spatia speaker looks old-fashioned but is anything but [Review]

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Moshi's Spatia Wireless AirPlay Speaker speaker has retro looks, but is thoroughly modern under the hood.
Moshi's Spatia Wireless AirPlay Speaker speaker has retro looks, but is thoroughly modern under the hood.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Lust List: Spatia wireless speaker by Moshi

Wireless speakers tend to be cheap and nasty — or fantastic and expensive.

There are exceptions, though, and Moshi’s Spatia wireless AirPlay speaker is one of them.

At $399, the Spatia isn’t cheap by any means, but its sound and features rival systems costing much more.

And does it sound sweet. With five drivers, including a subwoofer, the Spatia serves up a rich, wide soundstage. Lots of speakers claim “room-filling sound,” but the Spatia truly fills the bill.

The job of a designer is to be a psychologist [Podcast interview]

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Belkin's design director Oliver Seil says designers are basically psychologists.
Belkin's design director Oliver Seil says designers are basically psychologists.
Photo: Oliver Seil/Belkin

In the last decade or so, lots of companies have gotten design religion. Design has been brought in-house, where it can shape products from the very get-go. There’s an obvious source for this idea — Apple.

This week on the Kahney’s Korner podcast, I talked to Oliver Seil, senior design director of Belkin International’s Innovation Design Group. We discussed Belkin’s products and design process; the surprising complexity of USB cables (and why they cost so much); and why Apple has had such an enormous influence on design and manufacturing.

You can listen to the podcast or read a full transcript of the interview below. (Or dive into the show notes.)

How the tech industry outsources pollution to China [Kahney’s Korner podcast]

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Death by Design documentary
The hard-hitting Death by Design documentary is a sobering look at the environmental legacy of the tech industry.
Photo: Death by Design

The tech industry appears to be nice and clean, but it has a long and toxic history of environmental damage. Silicon Valley is home to the most Superfund cleanup sites in the country.

A new film, Death by Design, takes a sobering look at the electronics industry and its toxic environmental legacy — both in the United States and in China. The film offers a behind-the-scenes look at the cost of the devices we consume in some measure of ignorance.

Apple features heavily in the film, though it’s not the only tech company implicated.

This week on Kahney’s Korner, I talk to the documentary’s director, Sue Wiliams, about Apple, pollution and Silicon Valley.

How industrial design is changing the tech industry [Kahney’s Korner Podcast]

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Belkin's design director Oliver Seil says designers are basically psychologists.
Belkin's design director Oliver Seil says designers are basically psychologists.
Photo: Oliver Seil/Belkin

For many ugly years, manufacturers considered industrial design an afterthought. They would outsource the task to a contractor or neglect it altogether, in an effort to get products out quickly and cheaply.

The result: hideous-looking products that didn’t work well or proved difficult to use.

Nowadays, companies like Apple are changing the game when it comes to incorporating industrial design and user experience into product engineering.

On this episode of Kahney’s Korner, I talk with Oliver Seil, senior design director with Belkin International’s Innovation and Design Group. Seil is Belkin’s Jony Ive, the top designer who overseas the company’s diverse array of products.

Belkin specializes in mobile accessories, from power packs and iPhone cases to WeMo home automation products

Jony Ive’s design book is much more than an ego trip

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Designed by Apple in California book
Apple's Industrial Design team has published a book of its work over two decades: Designed by Apple in California.

Increasingly, some Apple fans think Jony Ive has lost it.

He’s killing ports and headphone jacks left and right. The latest MacBooks value form over function. He’s designing gold watches for the 1 percent.

And now his glossy new photo book, Designed by Apple in California, looks like a $300, linen-bound ego trip.