(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
I’m pleased to formally introduce my new book on Apple’s head designer, Sir Jonathan Ive — Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products.
Published by Penguin Portfolio on November 14, it’s the first full-length biography of the worlds’ most-celebrated designer.
I’m super psyched about it. It turned out great. I managed to talk to a bunch of inside sources, who reveal some of Apple’s most guarded secrets about how the company really works.
I picked up one of Apple’s new iPad Airs on Friday. I didn’t think I’d be impressed — but I am. It’s light, fast, and beautifully constructed. Is it the perfect tablet? It’s pretty close. Here’s all you need to know:
- It’s amazingly light. It almost feels hollow. It’s much lighter than you expect. Which means that it’s effortless to hold for reading and carrying around. It’s a big and important difference. It’s super portable.
- It’s plenty fast. Annoying little lags on previous iPads — like slow rendering Web pages with multiple tabs — are gone. It’s much more useable than my iPad 3.
- Battery life is great — more than 10 hours of continuous use.
And there you have it. It’s almost as light as the iPad mini with the speed and big, beautiful screen of a full-size tablet. Go get one. It’s great.
The term “planned obsolescence” has achieved negative connotations, but it originally referred to a long-standing tradition of changing designs to sell more products.
It was coined by the car industry in the 1930s to refer to annual model updates. Over the years, however, the term has taken on a darker meaning. But planned obsolescence is a good thing. It’s the driving force behind much innovation.
This morning, New York Times reporter Catherine Rampell accused Apple of breaking her old iPhone 4 with the iOS7 update, which made it unbearably slow. “It seemed like Apple was sending me a not-so-subtle message to upgrade,” she wrote in a piece entitled, Why Apple Wants to Bust Your iPhone.
According to Rampell, Apple is feeling the heat from Samsung, HTC and others, and is resorting to sabotaging older iPhones with a software update and force users to upgrade their hardware.
This is bullshit from every angle. The iOS7 upgrade isn’t obligatory, it’s voluntary, and pissing off customers isn’t a good way to keep them as customers. There’s no mention that Apple sold a record-smashing 33.8 million iPhones last quarter.
Truth is, Apple’s products are so far ahead of the curve, it’s a constant criticism leveled at the company: that it is a willing practitioner of planned obsolescence.
Talk show host Conan O’Brien asked comedian Louis C.K. why his his kids won’t be getting “phones with the apps.” Louis C.K explains — pretty convincingly — why smartphones are “toxic” and bad for your soul. It’s pretty funny.
The gold iPhone 5s is in very short supply. Apple has already sold out, and is unlikely to get them in volume for weeks to come. They are hard to come by. Many of Apple’s flagship stores received only a few units while many stores had none.
The rarity is reflected on eBay. there are a handful of gold iPhones for sale, ranging from $1,6 One gold iPhone 5s on sale is priced at a whopping $1,800 on eBay. Another is a tad cheaper at $1,699.
How much would you pay for a gold iPhone?
With the launch of two new iPhones, Apple’s top designer Jonathan Ive granted very rare back-to-back interviews with USA Today and Bloomberg Businessweek.
Having read everything he’s ever said in preparation for my book about him (due mid-November), I recognized the usual Jony Ive talking points; the striving for simplicity, the importance of caring, and so on.
But there are a couple of paragraphs in the USA Today that especially gave me a strong sense of Deja vu.
Behind the scenes, it’s been a long time coming, but welcome to the first issue of Cult of Mac Magazine!
Cult of Mac Magazine is a weekly news magazine devoted to the world of Apple. Every Saturday, we’ll bring you the best of what the Cult of Mac blog does on the Web, in an iPad-friendly format.
Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner has been welcomed as a “major step forward” by Biometrics expert Philip Smith, whose company pioneered the technology a decade ago.
“It’s a huge milestone in bringing fingerprint-based biometrics to the mainstream,” he said. “I’m thrilled to see this.”
Of course a biometrics would welcome an advance like this. But Touch ID has already set off a firestorm of controversy among privacy advocates who say there could be lots of Big Brother implications, especially following revelations by Der Spiegel Online that the N.S.A. already has the ability to capture photos, GPS data, contacts and texts from iPhones.
Sir Jonathan Ive likes to recycle good ideas, as the Counternotions blog notes with the image above. The “Blue Dalmatian” iMac from 2001 is “separated at birth” from the brand new iPhone 5c.
Likewise, Jony Ive wanted the original iPhone to be a glass-and-metal sandwich with the antenna running around the middle. But his design and engineering teams couldn’t get the electronics to work. Everything was too new and untested. The design was shelved until things could be made to work, and it was reborn four years later as the iPhone 4.
A newly discovered Apple patent reveals how the iPhone’s redesigned Home button will work as a fingerprint scanner.
It’s widely rumored the iPhone 5S will include a fingerprint scanner built into the Home button. But putting a fingerprint scanner into the Home button presents Apple with a problem. The Home button is used as the primary navigation device. Pressing the Home button quits apps and returns the user to the Home screen. If the fingerprint Home button is used as an authentication device, to conduct a secure online purchase say, the user needs to avoid accidentally pressing it. The last thing they want is to quit the browser and be returned to the Home screen.
The solution is a capacitive ring built around the Home button that detects the user’s finger without a button press.