(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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Crazy motorized skates cut walking time in half

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

These motorized skates cut walking time in half. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — For eight years, Paul Chavand been working hard to bring the world a pair of motorized skates. Why? To revolutionize the simple act of walking. Chavand’s dream is turn a simple stroll into an effortless glide on motorized wheels.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015

But don’t call them skates. Chavand, a mathematics teacher from France’s Burgundy region, gets rather upset at that. Skates imply imbalance, falling over and wildly flailing arms. Chavand’s Rollkers require no “skating.” You just stand still and the motorized wheels zip you along. Balancing is as simple as standing up, the inventor says.

So instead of “skates,” he calls his invention, rather comically, “under shoes.”

The big question is why you’d want them.

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Self-adjusting belt loosens after you stuff your face

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Belty is the world’s first self-adjusting belt. How did we live without this for so long? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — The small but humbling act of loosening your belt after a big meal is finally over!

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 Inventor Bertrand Duplat has developed a motorized belt that automatically loosens its grip when your gut bulges.

“The experience of the belt hasn’t changed in centuries,” Duplat told Cult of Mac at CES International. He calls his invention, which certainly will change your belt experience, Belty.

“When you sit down and eat a long dinner, it loosens automatically. It tightens up when you stand up,” he said.

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This headset could bring an end to loud, obnoxious public phone calls

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Onvocal’s Mix360 bluetooth headset helps you hear what’s going on around you while wearing it. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — Everyone hates loudmouth jerks who talk too loudly on their cellphones in public. If this is you know or someone you love, a new startup may have the answer.

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Onvocal’s Mix360 is a Bluetooth headset with a microphone that detects ambient sound. So if you’re talking on your cell, you can hear exactly how loud you are and modulate your voice accordingly.

“It’ll end those annoying calls where people can’t hear how loud they are and are shouting into their phones,” said Ashley Waters, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts-based startup.

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Wi-Fi kettle is so British, it’ll make you sound like Madonna

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Who wants a Wi-Fi kettle? I do. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — As soon as I saw this Wi-Fi-connected kettle, I wondered to myself: “Why on earth would anyone want a Wi-Fi-connected kettle?”

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015This is crazy. Connectivity gone mad. It’s got Wi-Fi for the sake of it. It’s a gimmick. Tech trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.

But I talked to the CEO, and his answer surprised me. Now I totally want one.

The Smarter Wi-Fi-connected kettle, called the iKettle in the U.K., is so British it’s not funny. Every household in the U.K. has an electric kettle. It’s on all day, every day, making cuppa after cuppa, all day long.

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Apple will dominate 2015’s biggest tech show without showing up

CES Walkup. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

CES Walkup. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple won’t be at the mammoth International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week, but once again, it’s setting the agenda from afar.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015While Korean electronics giants like Samsung will dominate the show floor, Apple is laying the future path for the entire tech industry.

In the coming year, the tech industry’s big battlegrounds will be your body, your home and your car. At CES, thousands of companies will showing off new and prototype products to do battle in these arenas. But Apple is the company to beat. With the upcoming Apple Watch, in addition to HealthKit, HomeKit and CarPlay, Apple is setting the agenda for the entire tech industry, and it’s not even there.

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Happy holidays from Cult of Mac!

Santa_Steve_HD

Happy holidays everyone, however you celebrate it: Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, kickin’ Kwanzaa and a tipsy New Year!

We trust you’re in the company of family and friends, stuffing your faces and giving and receiving in the best spirit of the holidays.

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Why I love Microsoft’s fitness band, and what it means for the Apple Watch

The Microsoft Band. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The Microsoft Band is an awesome gadget. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

I’m really digging the Microsoft Band. I’ve worn various fitness trackers for a couple of years now, starting with the original Jawbone UP and most recently the new Fitbit Charge.

I’ve had mixed results with them, and none have became indispensable. The Microsoft Band, on the other hand, is rapidly becoming a fixture on my wrist. It’s a great omen for the Apple Watch, which is due in early 2015. The Apple Watch will be like the Microsoft Band on steroids, and if it works as well, it’s going to be awesome.

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Unique gifts for the Apple fanatic in your life

A Lego Mac might be the perfect gift for the Apple fan in your life. Photo: Chris McVeigh.

A Lego Mac might be the perfect gift for the Apple fan in your life. Photo: Chris McVeigh

What do you get for the Apple nut in your life? You know the type. They live and breathe Apple — but they already have every Apple product under the sun. Plus all the accessories.

iPod? Got it. iPhone wallet case? Got it. Steve Jobs bobblehead? Got it.

Well, I’ll bet a testicle they don’t have some of this stuff.

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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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