Jet black iPhone 7 Plus is a hot item on eBay

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eBay icon
Sold out everywhere, the iPhone 7 Plus is hot on eBay.
Photo: Leander Kahney

With the new iPhone 7 Plus sold out worldwide, some owners are turning a pretty profit on Craigslist and eBay.

There’s a brisk trade in brand new iPhone 7 devices, especially the Plus models in jet black, with many selling for almost twice their retail value.

This premium jet black 256GB iPhone 7 Plus, for example, just sold for $1,775 on eBay, with 29 bids. That’s $806 above retail.

Why Apple is the new NASA

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Apple Watch swimming app
Apple analyzed the performance of 700 swimmers to develop new Workout app routines.
Photo: Apple

Thirty minutes into Apple’s special event last week, one tidbit of information blew my mind.

Onstage, Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams was talking about the Workout app on the new “swim-proof” Apple Watch Series 2 and the effort the company put into advancing the software that makes the fitness device tick. The amount of research deployed, all in the pursuit of updating a segment of an app many Apple Watch wearers will never use, offers a peek into the enormous resources that Apple R&D commands.

It paints Apple, with its enduring emphasis on developing new materials, manufacturing processes and sophisticated software, as a scientific force to be reckoned with — a new NASA for the 21st century.

The future of Siri [Kahney’s Korner]

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Kahney’s Korner podcast with ArcTouch
ArcTouch devs Adam Fingerman and Paulo Michels give us a peek into the future of Siri.
Image: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple has opened up Siri to third-party developers, which means we’ll soon be able to do a bunch of things — like ordering pizza or sending money — simply by speaking to Apple’s intelligent assistant.

It’s a big change, and another step toward a friction-free future in which we will talk to our devices instead of poking at them with our fingers.

In this week’s episode of Kahney’s Korner, I talk with Adam Fingerman and Paulo Michels of ArcTouch, a mobile development company that works with big media companies like ABC, NBC and CBS. As they’ve explored the Siri API, they’ve gained insight into what we can expect when iOS 10 and macOS Sierra get released to the public this fall.

How the Apple Car will make you money, and more fun about robot vehicles [Kahney’s Korner]

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Kahney's Korner podcast with robocar expert Paul Godsmark
Autonomous cars are going to change the world like nothing we've seen before. A fascinating interview with robocar expert Paul Godsmark.
Photo: Paul Godsmark/Stephen Smith

The old adage is that new cars depreciate the minute you buy them. However, the rumored Apple car might be the first vehicle to actually make you money after you drive it off the lot.

If Apple’s car is autonomous, it’ll earn its keep delivering people or goods when you’re not using it. So says Paul Godsmark, a robocar consultant and one of the leading experts on the upcoming autonomous vehicle revolution.

In this fascinating interview, Godsmark talks about the enormous changes that are coming up fast with self-driving vehicles, including Project Titan, the rumored Apple Car.

Buckle up! Everything is about to change dramatically — from the way we travel to the way we work.

Mystery vans likely making 3-D road maps for Apple’s self-driving car

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Mysterious unmarked vans roaming the Bay Area have been linked to Apple, and are likely generating detailed 3D maps for robot cars.
Mysterious unmarked vans roaming the Bay Area have been linked to Apple, and are likely generating detailed 3D maps for robot cars.
Photo: Business Insider/Stephen Smith

Some new data-gathering vehicles are roaming the streets of San Francisco. They’re unmarked, but are suspected to be Apple’s. They are laden with sensors, but what kind of data are they gathering, and what for?

Experts contacted by Cult of Mac say the mystery vans are next-generation mapping vehicles capable of capturing VR-style, 360-degree street photos. Plus, the vans use Lidar to create extraordinarily precise “point clouds,” a prerequisite for self-driving cars. Mesh those two databases together and you’ve laid the groundwork for an autonomous vehicle’s navigation system.

Case maker talks secret iPhone CAD files, Chinese intrigue [Podcast interview]

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Veteran case maker Tim Hickman talks about iPhone 7 leaks out of China.
Veteran case maker Tim Hickman talks about iPhone 7 leaks out of China.
Photo illustration: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The market for iPhone cases is worth billions of dollars. The first manufacturer with a case that fits a new device — say, the iPhone 7 — can make a killing in the days following an Apple launch.

For this week’s episode of Kahney’s Korner, I talked with industry veteran Tim Hickman, CEO of Gumdrop Cases. Over the years, he’s tried all kinds of tricks and strategies in the race to be first to market with new iPhone cases — including making thousands of cases that turned out to be wrong.

This time around, Hickman has received several CAD files from mysterious sources in China that supposedly show the exact dimensions of the upcoming iPhone 7. Will he bet his company’s fortunes on these files of dubious origin? Let’s find out.

Check out these great sketchnotes from Apple’s WWDC

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Apple's 2016 WWDC Keynote. Sketchnote 1 of 2
Apple's 2016 WWDC Keynote. Sketchnote 1 of 2
Photo: Andy McNally/@andymcnally

There’s nothing more cryptic than someone else’s notes. Not so Scott McNally’s.

McNally, a senior UI design consultant from Memphis, Tenn., created several great “sketchnotes” of the talks at Apple’s WWDC.

Sketchnotes are a form of visual thinking that combine notes and sketches. They’re increasingly popular, inspiring an army of aficionados and books by noted practitioners. The Core77 design site has a whole Sketchnotes section that’s worth exploring.

McNally and kindly allowed us to reprint his WWDC sketchnotes. Check them out:

Everything from WWDC 2016 worth getting excited about

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There's some exciting stuff at WWDC.
There's some exciting stuff at WWDC.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Although WWDC is a developer event, Apple’s keynote today was chockablock with features for end-users. It came thick and fast, with updates for watches, TVs, phones and computers.

There’s lots to unpack. Some of it was ho-hum. Siri on the Mac? Meh. A new app called Breathe? To do what exactly — remind you to inhale?

But there was tons of great stuff. Here are the features big and small that we’re most excited about.

Siri comes to Mac and opens up to developers

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Siri is coming to the Mac, and will be opened to third-party developers on iOS.
Siri is coming to the Mac, and will be opened to third-party developers on iOS.
Photo: Apple

Big changes are coming to Siri, Apple’s intelligent voice-activated assistant. For the first time, Siri will be available on the Mac and will be opened to third-party developers on iOS.

While Siri was one of the first voice-controlled AI assistants on the market, it’s fallen behind competitors like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Now, largely because it was a closed system that worked only in Apple’s apps. Opening it to developers makes it much more functional, and presents a more serious challenge to upstarts like Viv that promise to help with a wide range of services and tasks.

Ex-Apple ad man Ken Segall talks Apple and simplicity [Podcast interview]

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Author Ken Segall worked in advertising with Steve Jobs for more than a dozen years. His new book is called Think Simple.
Author Ken Segall worked in advertising with Steve Jobs for more than a dozen years. His new book is called Think Simple.
Photo: Doug Schneider Photography

Ken Segall is a former Apple ad man who worked closely with Steve Jobs for more than a dozen years. Segall is the guy who put the “i” in iMac and worked on the famous “Think Different” campaign.

The big lesson he learned from Steve Jobs was keeping things simple. But easier said than done. How exactly do you keep things simple?

Segall went out and found 40 business folks who keep things straightforward. His new book based on those interviews is called Think Simple:How Smart Leaders Defeat Complexity.

In a new podcast, Kahney’s Korner, Segall talks about some of those lessons, how Steve Jobs kept things uncomplicated and about how Apple is doing these days without him.

This episode of Kahney’s Korner is supported by TunnelBear, an award-winning service that gives you fast and private access to the internet.