(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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MakerBot Releases Badass Replicator 2X 3D-Printer; Expect iPad Software Soon

MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis just announced the Replicator X2 at CES, a more advanced 3D printer that can make 2-color models from ABS plastic.

CES 2013 bug LAS VEGAS, CES 2013 – MakerBot just announced the Replicator 2X, an advanced 3D printer that’s can print complex 2-color models and is optimized for ABS plastic.

In addition, MakerBot released a printer API and expects third-party software makers to create software for the iPhone and iPad to run its printers.

“I expect we’ll be building the moon base with them,” said Bre Pettis, MakerBot CEO after introducing the Replicator 2X to a scrum of press. “That’s where it’s going.”

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Marware’s MicroShell Folio Has a Hard Body, Soft Face [CES 2013]

Marware's director of marketing, Ronnie Khadaran shows off the MicroShell Folio for iPad mini.

Marware’s director of marketing, Ronnie Khadaran shows off the MicroShell Folio for iPad mini.

CES 2013 bug LAS VEGAS, CES 2013 – Poor Ronnie Khadaran.

It’s the first day of CES, and already visitors are destroying his booth. They keep ripping the display items from their stands. Instead of talking up his company’s new products, Marware’s director of marketing is busy trying to stop CES showgoers from destroying his booth.

One of the new items on display is Marware’s MicroShell Folio, a $35 hard plastic shell with a magnetic cover that doubles as a stand.

It shares the same name as an earlier product, but is a better design. I got a chance to play around with one on the show floor, and thought it was a nice, relatively inexpensive case for the iPad mini.

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This Rubbery Case Boosts Your iPhone’s Volume 2x, Acoustically [CES 2013]

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CES 2013 bug LAS VEGAS, CES 2013 – The biggest problem I have with my iPad is the speaker volume. Every time I try to watch a movie or TV show, I have to cup my hand around the bottom by the speaker. I feel like an old codger in reverse: cupping my hand around my iPad instead of my ear.

Here at the Consumer Electronics Show, Kubxlab is showing off an iPhone case that works really well at boosting volume acoustically.

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Could Tim Cook’s New Made-In-USA Mac Actually Be An Apple TV? [Rumor]

Could Tim Cook’s New Made-In-USA Mac Actually Be An Apple TV? [Rumor]

On Tuesday I went to a party at San Francisco’s Cafe Du Nord to celebrate the launch of Fuze For Mac, a nifty cloud-based videoconferencing tool from FuzeBox.

I heard several interesting things about Steve Jobs and some intriguing Apple TV rumors. One of the rumors made me think that Tim Cook’s new Mac — the one that is going to be made in the U.S.A. — might actually be a big-screen Apple TV.

Here’s what I heard:

  • The software was developed at the behest of Steve Jobs himself, who persuaded FuzeBox to make the software not just for the Mac, but for an upcoming Apple TV.
  • Steve Jobs gave the company a special dev lab on Apple’s campus.
  • According to FuzeBox’s CEO, the upcoming Apple TV has a 60-inch screen. It has no inputs whatsoever, except an AC power cord. No wires. You can’t plug in a cable box or a game console. Nothing.
  • It does have Gigabit wireless Wi-Fi and gesture controls, equivalent to Microsoft’s Kinect accessory for the Xbox.
  • And finally, the story of how FuzeBox got an ultra rare meeting with Steve Jobs is worth telling — details below.

Now, I’m the first to admit that not all of this adds up. I got it from Jeff Cavins, FuzeBox’s CEO, who told a good tale, especially after I’d had a couple of pints. While I was fascinated and entertained, it didn’t get to pin him down on details. The party was loud and crowded, and we were constantly interrupted. So mostly for entertainment purposes, this is what he said:

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Just Like Apple, Tesla Goes To The Mall

Just Like Apple, Tesla Goes To The Mall

The future neighbor to your local mall’s Apple Store.

GIGAOM ROADMAP, SAN FRANCISCO — Back in 2000, no one wanted to buy Apple’s products. Steve Jobs realized that potential customers needed to see and play with Apple’s offerings before they could be persuaded to buy them. So he launched a chain of retail stores in malls across the country. It was risky, but it paid off handsomely.

Now Tesla, the electric car maker run by Elon Musk, is trying to do the same thing. Instead of a traditional dealership, Tesla is building a chain of car showrooms right inside shopping malls.

To build out the chain, Tesla tapped George Blankenship, Apple’s former Vice President of Real Estate, who helped to roll out Steve Jobs’ mega-successful chain.

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How Tony Fadell’s Nest Is Becoming The iPhone of Thermostats

How Tony Fadell’s Nest Is Becoming The iPhone of Thermostats

Tony Fadell, one of the fathers of the iPod and founder of Nest, at GigaOm Roadmap in San Francisco.

GIGAOM ROADMAP, SAN FRANCISCO — Nest Lab’s smart and sexy thermostat is becoming the iPhone of home heating, says its designer, Tony “the Podfather” Fadell.

Speaking at the GigaOM Roadmap conference, Fadell described how a Texas utility called Reliant is using the Nest Learning Thermostat to attract customers.

“Nest is to Reliant what the iPhone was to AT&T,” said Fadell. It’s a killer piece of hardware that’s attracting customers to the utility in droves.

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Instagram CEO: Hurricane Sandy Was Biggest Cell-Phone Documented Event Ever [GigaOM RoadMap]

Instagram CEO: Hurricane Sandy Was Biggest Cell-Phone Documented Event Ever [GigaOM RoadMap]

Kevin Systrom, Instagram CEO, talking to Om Malik at GigaOM RoadMap in San Francisco today.

SAN FRANCISCO, GIGAOM ROADMAP CONFERENCE — Hurricane Sandy was the largest event ever documented by cell phones, said Kevin Systrom, co-founder and CEO of the photosharing app Instagram.

Speaking at the GigaOM Roadmap conference, Systrom said there were nearly one million photos on Instagram with the #Sandy hastag, making it the largest event documented by ordinary people using their cellphones.

“Sandy was a really interesting event for us,” said Systrom, who grew up on the east coast. “Sandy was the single largest event captured on Instagram — and the largest event captured on cell phones ever.”

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The iPad Mini Is The Little Big iPad [Leander's First Impressions]

The iPad Mini Is The Little Big iPad [Leander's First Impressions]

The little big iPad: small enough for a pocket; big enough to work on.

I just got an iPad mini a couple of hours ago from the UPS guy. I took it to lunch and we’ve been playing around with it here in the office.

Couple of observations:

The screen is not great: John is absolutely right about the quality of the screen. It is manifestly lower resolution than newer Retina Displays.

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Scott Forstall: Why Is Apple Keeping Him As An Advisor?

Scott Forstall: Why Is Apple Keeping Him As An Advisor?

Even though it’s obvious that Scott Forstall was canned by Tim Cook, he’s being kept on for a year as an advisor to the CEO.

This seems to make no sense, but here’s why:

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Jonathan Ive: iPad Mini Is a “Concentration Not a Reduction” [Video]

Why is the iPad mini $329 instead of $200? In the promo video above, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design, the venerable Sir Jonathan Ive, gives an implicit explanation. The iPad Mini is not a reduced iPad, he says, but a concentrated one.

Here’s his rationale:

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