(You're reading all posts by Leander Kahney)

About Leander Kahney

Leander Kahney Leander 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 and Facebook.

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Tim Cook’s ‘proud to be gay’ essay is important, historic and brave

Photo: Andy Ihnatko/Flickr

When Tim Cook talks, people listen. And that’s a good thing. Photo: Andy Ihnatko/Flickr

Gay rights are the civil rights issue of our time, whether in the marriage chapel, the emergency room or the workplace.

That’s why Apple CEO Tim Cook’s decision to proclaim he is “proud to be gay” in a powerful personal essay is an important and truly historic act.

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Review: The iPad Air 2 is so good, it almost disappears

iPad Air 2 Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple’s iPad Air 2 is so good, it almost disappears. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Pity Jony Ive. The poor bastard just can’t catch a break.

Ive and his design team at Apple have just released a pair of exquisite iPads — the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 — and yet are getting grief because the iPads offer nothing “new.”

“New” being things like face-tracking cameras, heart-rate monitors or — god forbid — a stylus. These are the kinds of things that get called “innovation.”

Instead, the new iPads look a lot like last year’s models, and those from every year before. This makes many tech reviewers yawn.

Largely unnecessary,” says The New York Times’ lukewarm review. “More of the same,” writes Business Insider. “You might think I’d be pretty excited about them — but I’m not,” says Walt Mossberg at Re/Code.

Indeed, instead of adding new hardware features, Ive’s team has even removed them. The mute/lock button is gone on the iPad Air 2. Who removes features?

Well, Jony Ive does.

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Why Apple Pay is the future

Apple Pay. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

About to test Apple Pay at the local Walgreens. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Critics are fond of saying Apple doesn’t innovate any more. But Apple’s new electronic payment system, Apple Pay, is innovation of the highest order. After a relatively smooth rollout this week, I honestly believe Apple Pay is the future of payments.

Even so, Apple Pay must clear some big hurdles if it’s to become the universal standard. For now, it’s limited to Apple’s latest iPhones and a relatively small number of retail partners, but the basic system — using your fingerprint to validate a purchase on your mobile phone — is the way we will pay for goods and services in the future.

Once again, Apple has shown the world how things should be done.

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Everything you need to know about the new Mac mini

macmini-price

After two long years sitting on the bench, Apple finally updated the humble Mac mini with faster processors, faster Wi-Fi and much better graphics. It also gets a modest price drop, now starting at a reasonable $499 — although you could probably buy two low-end Windows PCs for the same price.

However, the mini is a Macintosh, running OS X Yosemite, and not stinky Windows. It makes for a great media center PC or a starter machine. In fact, everyone here at the Cult of Mac offices is talking about buying one to put under their TV.

“People love Mac mini,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s head of marketing said in a statement. “It’s a great first Mac or addition to your home network, and the new Mac mini is a nice upgrade packed into an incredibly compact design.”

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iPhone prototype seller can’t wait for Apple to squash $100K eBay auction

Photo: kimberlyk1018

The auction for this prototype iPhone 6 is going crazy on eBay. Photo: kimberlyk1018/eBay

As a prototype iPhone 6 on eBay shoots above $100,000, the seller is just dying to hear from Apple.

Although the company might cancel the auction, as it has done with several secret prototypes in the past, the seller is such an Apple fan that he’s more excited about hearing from Cupertino than collecting $100,000.

“I don’t think the bids are real at this point,” the seller told Cult of Mac. “I’m excited about Apple getting in touch because I have loved their company for so long and this is just such an amazing opportunity.”

The seller’s name is Alex. He’s 24, lives in Los Angeles, and works in sales and marketing. He unintentionally purchased the prototype iPhone for his mother.

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Visiting the cemetery where Steve Jobs was laid to rest

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On the third anniversary of his death, someone laid bouquets and messages at Alta Mesa Memorial Park, Steve Jobs’ last resting place. Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac.

PALO ALTO, Calif. — Sunday was the third anniversary of Steve Jobs’ death. I drove my family down from San Francisco to Palo Alto to see if anyone had left tributes at his house or the local Apple store, which were scenes of remarkable memorials following his death in 2011.

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iFixit’s CEO on iPhone 6 and ‘Bendgate’ — bend it back yourself

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iFixit’s CEO Kyle Wiens is ready to bend your iPhone back into shape. Photo courtesy iFixit

Kyle Wiens has seen the insides of just about every gadget under the sun, and he’s not surprised that the iPhone 6 Plus is susceptible to bending.

Wiens is CEO of iFixit, which is famous for its insightful teardowns of Apple products, and he says there’s nothing wrong with the design of the iPhone 6 Plus.

It’s long and thin. Duh — it’ll bend.

“I’m not surprised that it’s happening,” he told Cult of Mac in an email. “It’s thinner than other phones and metal bends.”

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Review: Smaller iPhone 6 proves bigger isn’t always better

iPhone 6 Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The iPhone 6 is as good as gold. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

My first impression? My goodness, this is the small one?

The iPhone 6 is a big step up. It makes older iPhones look small. Ridiculously small. Even after a few days, my old iPhone 5s feels positively Lilliputian. The 6 dwarfs the 5s, which felt big and expansive at the time. Now it looks like a little dolls’ phone.

I’ve been really digging the 6. It’s a big bright slab of glass and metal. It feels impossibly thin, almost like an oversize credit card in your hand. But it’s solid and stiff — it’s not going to snap in my back pocket if I sit on it.

The 6 is not a gob-smacker like the 6 Plus, which stops people in the street. But it’s more manageable, especially with one hand.

I’m a big fan. I like it a lot, except for one design flaw that’s been driving me crazy.

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The clever way this guy got the first iPhone 6 in the world

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Dave Rahimi scored the first two iPhone 6s in the world. Photo: ARN

UPDATED: We got some comments from Dave Rahimi in Sydney. Blogger Dave Rahimi figured out a clever way to be the first person in the world to buy an iPhone 6.

Rahimi and his girlfriend, Jasmine Juan, flew thousands of miles from California to Sydney, Australia, to purchase the first two iPhone 6s to go on sale worldwide.

The couple just emerged from the Apple Store in Sydney, which was mobbed by a monster crowd of about 2,500 people. Some had camped outside the store for more than a week.

But Rahimi and Juan avoided the crowds and more or less walked right into the store.

Here’s how they did it.

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An illustrated history of the iPod and its massive impact

An illustrated history of the iPod and its massive impact

Editor’s note: The iPod has enjoyed a good long run as one of the world’s most revolutionary music machines, but the time has come to bid adieu to the click-wheeled wonder.

Apple quietly removed the iPod Classic from its website this week, so now is the perfect time to wax nostalgic. Cult of Mac is republishing this illustrated history of the iPod — put together to celebrate the device’s 10th anniversary, and originally published on Oct. 22, 2011 — to mark this solemn occasion.

An Illustrated History of the iPod

An illustrated history of the iPod and its massive impactThe iPod grew out of Steve Jobs’ digital hub strategy. Life was going digital. People were plugging all kinds of devices into their computers: digital cameras, camcorders, MP3 players. The computer was the central device, the “digital hub,” that could be used to edit photos and movies or manage a large music library. Jobs tasked Apple’s programmers with making software for editing photos, movies and managing digital music. While they were doing this, they discovered that all the early MP3 players were horrible. Jobs asked his top hardware guy, Jon Rubinstein, to see if Apple could do better.

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