(You're reading all posts by 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.
About Leander Kahney
Every year at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, a million and one business cards get handed out. Most end up in a desk drawer or, worse, the circular file. But last year one card stood out.
This glass business card is made from an actual iPhone screen, sourced from Foxconn’s factories in China. The lettering is laser-etched into the hardened Gorilla Glass — a very complex process.
The card belongs to an Apple engineer, who hung it on a lanyard around his neck. Everywhere he went, people pawed at it.
“Everyone was grabbing it asking him, ‘How the heck did you do that?’” said the card’s creator, who made a batch of 10 for the engineer.
The first question we had when we got our hands on one was, where do we put in our order? Unfortunately, that ain’t gonna happen.
Although it looks like a vanilla PC in a boxy case, the machine pictured above is a high-performance, custom-built Hackintosh.
Roughly comparable to a Mac Pro costing $3,500, the P280 was assembled from off-the-shelf PC parts costing just over $2,000, including a water-cooling system to chill its chips. The Hackintosh runs Apple’s OS X Mavericks and, according to its builder, bests a similarly configured Pro on many benchmarks.
It has none of Jony Ive’s industrial design magic, of course, but that’s not the point. This is a DIY rig that’s as badass as it gets.
Sell the house. Sell the car. Sell the kids. Take every penny you own and invest it in Apple stock, because the company is about to go gangbusters.
The big news from yesterday’s earth-shattering earnings call is that this is a company that is extremely confident about its financial future.
Apple has come under fire recently for not innovating. You’ve heard the whining: Apple’s lost its mojo. There have been some nice updates to existing products, but Apple’s done nothing lately to realign the universe. It’s been four long years since it’s last biggie — the original iPad. Where’s the latest product that reshapes the modern world?
To many observers, it looks like the company has been treading water in the two-and-a-half years since Steve Jobs’ death. Android is seating Apple’s lunch, and Apple’s got nowhere to go but down. Apple’s over.
But that narrative is nonsense. Wednesday’s earnings call — and the gobsmacking 7-to-1 stock split — clearly telegraphs that Apple’s executives have something huge up their sleeves. Maybe a couple of things. Maybe a lot of things.
If you’ve been paying close attention to the news and rumors, 2014 looks like it’s shaping up to be Apple’s biggest year in decades.
The newly discovered Heartbleed bug is being called the Web’s worst security bug ever.
It allows hackers to steal passwords and login details when users visit vulnerable sites — undetected. That’s the bad part: affected sites probably have no idea they’re vulnerable. The bug is subject to an emergency security advisory. Some experts are estimating that up to 66% of the Internet’s servers could be affected. Each server has to be fixed manually. So it could take a while.
In the meantime:
- Don’t log into any sites until you’ve officially been given the all clear.
- Change all your passwords for websites and email. Especially for sensitive sites like banks, credit cards and webmail. However: wait until you know a site has been patched before changing passwords. Sites like Tumblr and Yahoo sent out warning emails earlier today telling users to change their passwords.
- Apple.com and iCloud appear to be unaffected, according to this (unofficial) list on Github.
- Install the Chromebleed Checker for Google’s Chrome browser — it pops a warning if a site is vulnerable (Cult of Mac is not. See screenshot below).
We’ve reached out to Apple’s PR department for comment. No reply yet. We’ll update if Apple makes any statement or issues an advisory.
The UK’s Sunday Times has a long interview with Apple’s head designer Jony Ive in its Sunday Magazine (warning: paywall).
It claims to be the first in-depth interview Ive has given in twenty years at Apple, but breaks absolutely no ground whatsoever. Irritatingly, I can see the fingerprints of my Jony Ive biography all over the piece, but there’s no mention of the book.
The strangest thing is that Ive recycles the same quotes he’s used in the past. Believe me, I’ve read them all. He says that Steve Jobs’ ideas sometimes sucked the air from the room (previously uttered in his tribute to Jobs) and that he wanted to be a car designer, but other students made weird “vroom vroom” noises while they worked (from an Observer interview). There’s absolutely nothing new in the entire piece including the obligatory hint of an amazing new product, which of course, he can’t talk about.
The best part is 10 random-ish questions lobbed at him, which are:
In the quiet foothills of Kentucky, a massive supercomputer is churning through data. It is hunting for new drugs to fight cancer.
Every week, the DataseamGrid processes 300 man-years worth of calculations. Yeah, that’s 300 years of calculations every week. Drug discovery usually takes 10 to 15 years, but the DataseamGrid blazes through that work in a fraction of the usual time. It is one of the largest pipelines of potential new cancer drugs in the country. Researchers here are about to start human trials this year of a new drug discovered by the supercomputer, which, if successful, may lead to an entirely new class of cancer drugs.
CUPERTINO, Calif. — The Cult of Mac team is heading down to Cupertino to cover the special 30th anniversary celebration of the Mac, which promises to feature many of the original members of the Mac dev team.
Hit the jump for our liveblog of the evening’s events. We’ll start posting at about 5.30PM PST, about 30 minutes before the event is scheduled to start.
The Mac 30th Anniversary Celebration is being held at Cupertino’s Flint Center; the same 2,400-seat venue where Steve Jobs first introduced the Mac on January 24, 1984.
It was organized by Steve Jobs’ old friend Daniel Kottke, and filmmaker Gabreal Franklin, an early Mac software developer who is making a video documentary about the era.
There will be music, unreleased photos and video, and a big group photo. The event will feature three panel discussions:
- Conception – Daniel Kottke, Larry Tesler, Rod Holt, Jerry Manock, Marc LeBrun, and Bill Fernandez will talk about the origins of the Mac.
- The Birth of the Mac — Bill Atkinson, Randy Wigginton, Andy Hertzfeld, Bruce Horn, George Crow and Caroline Rose will tell their first-hand stories about creating the Macintosh.
- Coming of Age of Mac – 3rd party software developers including Charlie Jackson, Jim Rea, Heidi Roizen, Ty Roberts, David Bunnell, Marc Canter, Maryline Delbourg Delphis, Adam Hertz and Steve Jasik will talk about the software that gave the Mac critical mass.
During the evening, Apple’s original angel investor and 2nd CEO, Mike Markkula, will gather 100 members of the dev team on stage for a group photo.
If you’re in the area, tickets start at $109.75 each and are available via Ticketmaster. Yeah, it’s pricey, but after expenses, all proceeds will be donated to charity, organizers say.
Apple is getting ready for a 30th Mac Anniversary party at the company HQ, according to pictures that have just started showing up on Instagram.
Several pictures from Apple’s Cupertino HQ taken in the last hour or so show giant birthday banners that have been hung off buildings. “Happy Birthday, Mac,” they say.
The photos are accompanied by hashtags mentioning #party and #concert. One picture shows technicians unpacking equipment, possibly for a live music act. In 2011, the British supergroup Coldplay played a set during the tribute to Steve Jobs.
Here are some more pictures of the party preparations. There’s also pictures of the big posters around the campus quad with thousands of employee’s names.
Apple CEO Tim Cook even tweeted about it. “Celebrating Mac’s 30th with some of my closest friends in Cupertino with OneRepublic,” he wrote. “Awesome.”
The big intrigue in the tech world today is why Google bought Nest Labs for $3.2 billion and Apple didn’t.
A lot of the speculation is paranoid: Google wants to track everyone offline as well as online, and Nest’s thermostat and smoke alarms give the Googleplex motion sensors right in peoples’ homes.
But wouldn’t Apple be a more natural fit for the home-automation startup? Nest was co-founded by two former Apple staffers, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers. Fadell was one the fathers of the iPod — a key hardware engineer who led the music player’s development over 17 generations. Rogers was one of Fadell’s top lieutenants.
With great design and easy interfaces, Nest’s combination of hardware and internet software services makes its products very Apple-like. And as home automation is poised to take off (thanks largely to the iPhone and iPad), Apple is surely interested in this potentially huge market.
So why didn’t Apple didn’t pick up the company? Maybe it’s because Jony Ive, Apple’s head designer, was responsible for getting Tony Fadell pushed out of Cupertino.
Thanks To iPhone, The Revolution In Home Automation Is Nigh! (No Really, This Time It is) [CES 2014]
LAS VEGAS — We’ve heard the same story for years: the revolution in home automation is just around the corner! And yet, despite the hype, it still hasn’t arrived. But talk to vendors at CES, and they say it finally is just around the corner — thanks to the iPhone.
The iPhone finally gives ordinary consumers a bunch of good reasons to automate their homes, beyond the geeky thrill of turning on the sprinklers from the couch. For example, it can alleviate the universal anxiety of worrying about the stove when away on vacation. Paired with a connected-range (there are several on show here at CES), your iPhone can you tell you if the oven is on, and then let you switch it off.
The best evidence that home automation has arrived is that the nation’s home builders are finally including home automation technology in many new homes as standard. Lennar Homes, the third biggest home builder in the US, is making home automation standard in more than 20,0000 new homes this year, said Matt McGroven, marketing leader of Nexia, a San Francisco-based home automation company.
Nexia makes an app that works in conjunction with a Home Bridge ($60 on Amazon) and service ($9 a month). With 70% of users on iOS, Nexia controls a wide range of automated products, from nannycams to lighting, locks, thermostats, and dozens of others.
“You can do a bunch of cool and genuinely useful things,” he said.