(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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Kahney’s Korner: Apple could learn from the Amazon Echo

Leander Kaheny likes his Amazon Echo and wonders what if Apple created such a device.

Leander Kaheny likes his Amazon Echo and wonders what if Apple created such a device.

I’ve had the Amazon Echo sitting on my desk for the last couple of months and it’s an odd device – and I actually think it’s pretty great.

It’s a voice-controlled, speaker com, shopping tube that can go in your kitchen or your living room or bedroom and you use it for simple queries like how’s the weather, how is my commute or what is Barack Obama’s middle name.

Listen to me interact with this device on this week’s edition of Kahney’s Korner.

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Why Apple’s Beats 1 radio station is great, and you should tune in

Things are looking good for Beats One and leading DJ Zane Lowe, one of the world's top radio personalities.

Things are looking good for Beats 1 and top DJ Zane Lowe, one of the world’s top radio personalities.

So far, Beats 1 has been absolutely great. I’m a fan, and it’s been less than 24 hours!

Apple’s new global, 24/7 radio station is everything I hoped for — a discovery-oriented platform showcasing what’s new and what’s good. Of all the features of Apple’s big update to its Music services, Beats 1 is what I most looked forward to.

“Our genre is ‘great,'” explained DJ Zane Lowe on his opening show Tuesday. “That’s all we’re looking for.”

And that’s all I’m looking for too. In fact, I’m already obsessed with A$AP Rocky, who was played on Lowe’s show and I’d never heard before (yeah, I know I’m sad). A$AP Rocky is just one of half-a-dozen new artists I’ve tagged in iTunes for further exploration, including Beck, who I thought I hated.

I’m actually worried how I’m going to keep up. But isn’t this what radio is for?

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Kahney’s Korner: Lessons from having my MacBook stolen

Leander Kahney had a scare when a backpack full of computing power was stolen.

Leander Kahney had a scare when a backpack full of computing power was stolen.

I want to spare you some of the pain that recently greeted me after a night out with friends. I returned to my car to find the rear window smashed out and my backpack gone. It contained my brand new MacBook and iPad.

The worry, of course, was whether my backpack was in the hands of tech-savvy crooks, so I prepared for the worst.

What I learned over a long weekend about my own approach to security is the subject of this week’s Kahney’s Korner.

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Why you should buy Amazon’s Echo home hub

The Amazon Echo.

The Amazon Echo.

Amazon’s Echo — an odd voice-activated domestic hub — just went on sale to the general public. If you’ve got $200 to burn, I recommend it. It’s oddly great — and it gives you a glimpse of the future.

If Apple’s Siri-controlled HomeKit comes close, controlling your home by voice is going to be a lot of fun.

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Why WWDC is totally terrifying for indie developers

Apple's product events always make Josh Michaels nervous. He's never sure if he'll still be in business at the end.

Apple’s product events always make Josh Michaels nervous. He’s never sure if he’ll still be in business at the end.

SAN FRANCISCO — If you watched the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote earlier this week, you’d think it was a big love fest. But there’s a section of the audience sitting there in a cold, cold sweat.

Attendees are mostly software developers, and some of them are very nervous that Apple will announce something that will ruin their business overnight.

“The WWDC keynote is terrifying for developers,” said Josh Michaels, an independent software developer from Portland, Oregon, who runs Jetson Creative. “The uncertainty is the worst part.”

Take ReplayKit in iOS 9, a new feature that records games and app videos without the need for any external cameras or hardware.

Sounds great, unless you are Everyplay or Kamkord, a pair of young companies that raised millions of dollars to record games and app videos in iOS.

“They’re f**ked!” said a game developer at WWDC who asked not to be named.

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#ProTip: The best book on marketing for app developers

AltConf profile

Matt Ronge and Giovanni Donelli, the indie devs behind Astropad, a hit app that turns an iPad into a graphics tablet.

#ProTip: The best book on marketing for app developers We’re down here at WWDC, fishing for ProTips. It’s rich hunting ground. WWDC is the world’s biggest gathering of Apple developers, the alpha geeks, experts par excellence. What’s a ProTip? A ProTip is a nugget of knowledge, a little bit of expertise from someone in the know — a pro.

Astro HQ is a two-person indie software company that launched its first app in February.

Run by two ex-Apple engineers — Matt Ronge and Giovanni Donelli — their app was successful. They’re now making their livelihoods from their software. They’re living the dream! Independent app developers!

They’re as rare as unicorns.

Only 0.01 percent of app developers are financially successful, according to a depressing survey by Gartner.

Ronge and Donelli did a lot of things right, including their own app marketing, which they say was key to their successful launch.

They did the app marketing themselves, with no prior experience, and a lot of what they learned was thanks to one book.

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At WWDC, clues that Apple is adding a stylus to the iPad abound

Apple's WWDC 2015 is revving up in San Francisco.

Apple’s WWDC 2015 dropped a couple of big clues about Apple’s iPad Pro plans.

UPDATE: I added a short statement from stylus-maker Adonit below.

SAN FRANCISCO — Tim Ritchey is an expert in iPad styluses — the pressure-sensitive digital pens that draw with pinpoint accuracy on an iPad.

Ritchey works for Adonit, a company that makes a line of Bluetooth styli for the iPad. His job title is “OS architect.” He knows his stuff.

In the middle of a session at this week’s Worldwide Developers Conference, he heard something that prompted him to send a panicky note to his colleagues in Slack, the popular messaging system.

“Oh shit!” he said.

Steve Jobs famously pledged that Apple would never ship an iOS device with a stylus, but there’s mounting evidence that the company is working on a new and bigger work-oriented iPad that will come with a stylus.

A couple of big clues dropped this week at WWDC.

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#ProTip: How to get users in the habit of using your app

Susan Shepard was speaking at AltConf about how to get users to actually use your app.

Sally Shepard was speaking at AltConf about how to get users to actually use your app.

#ProTip: How to get users in the habit of using your app Cult of Mac is at WWDC and AltConf fishing for ProTips. It’s a rich hunting ground — it’s the world’s biggest gathering of Apple developers, the alpha geeks, experts par excellence. What’s a ProTip? A ProTip is a nugget of knowledge, a little bit of expertise from someone in the know — a pro.

It sounds counterintuitive, but for many iOS developers, the easy part is getting people to download their app from the App Store. The hard part is getting people to use the app. Ideally, developers want them to use the app regularly. They want them to get into the habit of using it.

How do you do that? Sally Shepard, an app consultant who spent many years working with big publishers, has a great little tip.

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My awful life inspired Law & Order, Gamergate dev says

Game developer Brianna Wu

Brianna Wu, a female game developer whose life was turned upside down by Gamergate.

SAN FRANCISCO — Game developer Brianna Wu’s life became the inspiration for an episode of the hit cop show, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

While she was kinda flattered, she wasn’t entirely pleased. To get Law & Order: SVU‘s attention, your life has to be messed up one way or the other.

“There’s no good way to be on Law and Order,” she joked.

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This year’s WWDC keynote was a mere ‘S’ upgrade, but that’s OK

Apple maps out its future each year during WWDC at San Francisco's Moscone Center.

Apple maps out its future each year during WWDC at San Francisco’s Moscone Center.

Every other year Apple releases an “S” version of the iPhone. Later this year, we’ll see the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. The “S” models generally deliver modest improvements — better cameras, better networking, faster chips. But the basic design remains the same. The “S” suffix means the same, but better.

And so it goes with this Monday’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote. In terms of announcements of import, WWDC 2015’s kickoff was an “S” upgrade. It built on the spectacular announcements of last year, but didn’t break huge new ground.

And that’s OK. “S” upgrades are often underrated.

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