(You're reading all posts by Leander Kahney)

About Leander Kahney

Leander KahneyLeander Kahney is the editor and publisher of Cult of Mac. He is the NYT bestselling author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products; Inside Steve’s Brain; Cult of Mac; and Cult of iPod. Leander has written for Wired, MacWeek, Scientific American, and The Guardian in London. Follow Leander on Twitter @lkahney.

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Smart sport glasses want to be Apple Watch for your head

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The Recon Jet is Google Glass for sports like running and cycling. It’s highly functional and works well, but still suffers from the Glasshole effect. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

You rarely see Google Glass anymore, but if Recon Instruments has its way, you’ll be seeing plenty more head-mounted displays in the future.

The Recon Jet, launched Thursday, is a pair of smart eyeglasses for sporty activities like running and biking. Bristling with sensors, the device shows all kinds of biometric data and social stats on its tiny heads-up display. Paired with a smartphone, it can take pictures and video, send and receive status updates, find friends and family on the piste and much more.

But sports is just a start. If Recon is successful — and that’s a big if — we may be seeing smart glasses in a lot more places. Recon is betting hard that the face is the place for smart wearables.

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How to watch Coachella Live on your Apple TV

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The Coachella music festival is being streamed live on YouTube all weekend. Best place to catch it is on your Apple TV.

If you didn’t make it down to the SoCal desert this weekend for the massive Coachella music festival, fear not — most of the action is being streamed live on Youtube.

Fire it up on your Apple TV, and you can enjoy Jack White, The War on Drugs, Interpol, Clean Bandit, Tyler the Creator, Run the Jewels, alt-J, The Weeknd and tons more.

However, the YouTube streams are a bit tricky to find; as is a simple guide to what’s being broadcast.

Here’s how to find it, and the full webcast schedule by time:

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How an in-store Apple Watch demo will make you a believer

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Apple is offering in-store Watch fittings to help customers figure out what watch to buy. We highly recommend it. There’s a few surprises. Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — Like a lot of people, I took the midnight plunge and bought an Apple Watch before I’d even tried it on.

But today, I got to see the device I bought last night. I went down to the flagship Apple Store in San Francisco and tried on a range of watches.

I wish I’d done this before, because I might have ordered differently.

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The problem with Becoming Steve Jobs? Too much Steve Jobs

The world needs more insight into how Apple works, but you won't find that in Becoming Steve Jobs. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The world needs fresh insight into how Apple works, but you won’t find much of that in Becoming Steve Jobs. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

One of Steve Jobs’ favorite recordings was The Beatles working on version after version of “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

The new Jobs biography, Becoming Steve Jobs, is like that recording: It serves up fresh takes on oft-told stories from Apple’s history, this time with more sugarcoating.

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Why did Steve Jobs make Tim Cook watch Remember the Titans?

Remember the Titans is a movie starring Denzel Washington as a shouty coach who turns a disorganized football into a crack, disciplined outfit. Credit: Disney

Remember the Titans stars Denzel Washington as a shouty coach who turns a disorganized football team into a disciplined outfit. Photo: Disney

A few days before he died, Steve Jobs asked Tim Cook over to his house to watch a movie together.

The movie he selected was Remember the Titans, a football drama starring Denzel Washington. It’s set in the South, and concerns the struggles of integrating a racially mixed team during the civil rights’ era. Cook was surprised by Jobs’ choice of movie — Jobs had little interest in sports — but he said they talked about it afterward.

Why would Jobs, who had recently stepped down as Apple CEO and appointed Cook in his place, want to watch this movie with his successor just a few days before he died? Was he trying to pass on some crucial knowledge?

I re-watched the movie last night and have a pretty good idea.

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How an Android user created a hit Apple viral video

The "Apple Engineer Talks" viral video by Armando Ferreira clocked 2.6 million views in a few days. Photo: YouTube

The “Apple Engineer Talks” viral video by Armando Ferreira clocked more than 3 million views in a few days. Photo: YouTube

The viral video hit “Apple Engineer Talks,” which mocks the new MacBook, is a scream. I nearly died laughing — along with millions of other people.

The clever parody was crafted by somebody who clearly has a deep knowledge of Apple, so I was surprised to discover its creator is actually an Android user.

Here’s how he did it, and why he didn’t make any money off his wildly successful Apple viral video.

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Apple’s special gold isn’t so special after all

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The gold in Apple’s 18-karat watch is a standard gold alloy, not a miraculous gold/ceramic mix. Credit: Apple

All week, it’s been reported that Apple is using a “new gold” in the gold Apple Watch Edition. According to Bloomberg, Slate, Gizmodo and many others, Apple has patented a new process to create a “metal matrix composite” by mixing gold with ceramic particles.

The composite supposedly allows Apple to save on the amount of gold it uses, while making the substance super-hard and adding other amazing properties.

But according to Atakan Peker, a materials scientist and one of the co-inventors of Liquidmetal, which Apple holds an exclusive license on, it’s extremely unlikely Apple is using any kind of “new gold” for its watches.

He knows this because Jony Ive says so.

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Why the $10,000 Watch is essential to Apple’s plan

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It’s taken all week, but I finally think I have a pretty good idea why Apple is selling a crazy-expensive, super-exclusive gold watch.

Initially, the very idea that Apple would make something for the one percent seemed abhorrent. What makes Apple great is that it sells affordable luxury to the masses.

Apple’s well-designed and well-made products should really only be for the rich, but they are generally affordable to the middle classes. Apple pulls off the miraculous, selling us BMWs at Kia prices.

This is what makes the gold Apple Watch Edition stand out. At first glance, it’s obviously not a product for us. But even though you and I will probably never own one, the $10,000 timepiece is actually kinda democratic, because it’s all about selling $350 watches to the masses.

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Everything I wanted to know about gold Apple Watches, I learned on reddit

Ladies and gentlemen, the 18-karat gold Appel Watch Edition, which is an aspiration, price-anchor, according to Reddit. Credit: Apple

Ladies and gentlemen, the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition, which is an aspirational price anchor, according to reddit’s users. Credit: Apple

We all know that professional industry analysts often say the darndest things, but the Apple Watch has unleashed some truly muddleheaded commentary, especially from people who get paid to know better.

There are the customary and entirely predictable predictions that the Watch will fail — just as the pundits predicted the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad would bomb. This kind of commentary is so knee-jerk and silly, it’s best to just ignore. But then there’s a higher tier of analysis that says the Watch’s success depends on apps (duh, yeah) or the device’s potential for upgrades (completely wrong).

I’m interested in smarter takes on Apple’s strategy, pricing and marketing. Surprisingly, some of the most insightful commentary I’ve seen is on reddit — known generally as a salty hangout for spotty teens and weirdos. Here are some key points outlined by reddit users.

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Why the $17,000 gold Apple Watch might actually be too cheap

Despite its hefty price tag, Apple Watch Edition might actually be too inexpensive. Photo: Apple

Despite its hefty price tag, the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition might actually be too cheap. Photo: Apple

The tech world is completely aghast at the price of the gold Apple Watch Edition, which starts at $10,000 but is more likely to set buyers back $17,000 (plus tax!).

The pricing is baking everyone’s noodles. We can’t wrap our heads around a super-expensive watch that will soon be obsolete and is functionally identical to a $350 model. This is not how tech works.

But that’s the point. I wrote how the high-end Apple Watch winds me up — I argued that its very existence is antithetical to Apple’s democratic values. But after further research, it’s obvious that Apple knows exactly what it’s doing, and it’s very smart — even if I still don’t like the gold watch’s enormous price tag.

The Apple Watch Edition is a classic Veblen product. The outrageous price is the whole point. And the higher it gets, the more of them Apple will sell. It might even be priced too low.

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