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-sectretive 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: This compact 2-in-1 battery pack recharges your Apple Watch and iPhone [Review]

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Zens' iPhone/Apple Watch Powerbank has a 4,000 mAh capacity, which is good for two full charges of an iPhone 7.
Zens' iPhone/Apple Watch Powerbank has a 4,000 mAh capacity, which is good for two full charges of an iPhone 7.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Lust List: Apple Watch Power Bank by Zens

When traveling, if you forget your charger, you’re often hosed. Especially for the Apple Watch. That’s why I keep a Zens Powerbank battery pack in my bag. The Powerbank features a built-in charger for the Apple Watch, plus a USB port for plugging an iPhone or iPad.

It’s light and easy to carry around, yet has enough juice for recharging an Apple Watch almost 12 times.

Lust List: Shure MV51 is a tough, versatile microphone for iPhone field recordings [Review]

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Shure MV51 microphone
Shure's MV51 microphone is MFi-certified and great for recording with an iPhone or iPad.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Lust List: MV51 microphone by Shure

Looking like something Elvis Presley would rock, the Shure MV51 is a handsome, retro-styled microphone well-suited to podcasting with an iPad or iPhone. Sturdy and portable, I find it great for recording on the go. It’s small enough to throw into a jacket pocket and, because it’s made of all metal, it’s nigh indestructible.

Paired with an iPhone and Shure’s well-designed recording app, it’s a lot more compact than most podcasting rigs, and versatile enough for most recording situations. Best of all, the audio it captures sounds great.

How this money man helped Steve Jobs turn Pixar into a powerhouse [Kahney’s Korner podcast]

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Lawrence Levy former Pixar CFO
Lawrence Levy, Pixar's former CFO and author of To Pixar and Beyond.
Photo: Lawrence Levy

In the early ’90s, Pixar was in the middle of creating its first movie, Toy Story, but the company was in disarray. It was bleeding cash and floundering around looking for a business model.

To help turn it around, Steve Jobs hired Lawrence Levy, a former corporate lawyer, to help figure out how to make Pixar a real business.

In this week’s episode of Kahney’s Korner, I talk to Levy about how exactly he and Jobs made Pixar into one of the most successful movie studios in history.

New book paints intimate portrait of Steve Jobs at work [Review]

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To Pixar and Beyond by Lawrence Levy
In To Pixar and Beyond, Lawrence Levy offers an insider look at Steve Jobs' early struggles at the animation studio.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

After his death, Steve Jobs became mythic. He’s remembered as an asshole and a technology seer: a Tony Stark-like figure who could uniquely divine the sci-fi future, conjuring magical products from whole cloth almost single-handedly.

He’s also seen as infallible: a business and technology genius with powers of divination beyond those of us mere mortals.

But To Pixar and Beyond, a new book by Lawrence Levy, the former CFO of Pixar, paints a very different picture.