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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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Are You An Old Git? And Other Questions For Apple’s Jony Ive

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The UK’s Sunday Times has a long interview with Apple’s head designer Jony Ive in its Sunday Magazine (warning: paywall).

It claims to be the first in-depth interview Ive has given in twenty years at Apple, but breaks absolutely no ground whatsoever. Irritatingly, I can see the fingerprints of my Jony Ive biography all over the piece, but there’s no mention of the book.

The strangest thing is that Ive recycles the same quotes he’s used in the past. Believe me, I’ve read them all. He says that Steve Jobs’ ideas sometimes sucked the air from the room (previously uttered in his tribute to Jobs) and that he wanted to be a car designer, but other students made weird “vroom vroom” noises while they worked (from an Observer interview). There’s absolutely nothing new in the entire piece including the obligatory hint of an amazing new product, which of course, he can’t talk about.

The best part is 10 random-ish questions lobbed at him, which are:

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Can These iMacs Cure Cancer? [Exclusive]

Can These iMacs Cure Cancer? [Exclusive]

In the quiet foothills of Kentucky, a massive supercomputer is churning through data. It is hunting for new drugs to fight cancer.

Every week, the DataseamGrid processes 300 man-years worth of calculations. Yeah, that’s 300 years of calculations every week. Drug discovery usually takes 10 to 15 years, but the DataseamGrid blazes through that work in a fraction of the usual time. It is one of the largest pipelines of potential new cancer drugs in the country. Researchers here are about to start human trials this year of a new drug discovered by the supercomputer, which, if successful, may lead to an entirely new class of cancer drugs.

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The Macintosh 30th Anniversary Celebration Event [Liveblog]

Some of the original Mac dev team, who are gathering to celebrate the Mac's 30th birthday.

Some of the original Mac dev team, who are gathering to celebrate the Mac’s 30th birthday.

CUPERTINO, Calif. — The Cult of Mac team is heading down to Cupertino to cover the special 30th anniversary celebration of the Mac, which promises to feature many of the original members of the Mac dev team.

Hit the jump for our liveblog of the evening’s events. We’ll start posting at about 5.30PM PST, about 30 minutes before the event is scheduled to start.

The Mac 30th Anniversary Celebration is being held at Cupertino’s Flint Center; the same 2,400-seat venue where Steve Jobs first introduced the Mac on January 24, 1984.

It was organized by Steve Jobs’ old friend Daniel Kottke, and filmmaker Gabreal Franklin, an early Mac software developer who is making a video documentary about the era.

There will be music, unreleased photos and video, and a big group photo. The event will feature three panel discussions:

  • Conception — Daniel Kottke, Larry Tesler, Rod Holt, Jerry Manock, Marc LeBrun, and Bill Fernandez will talk about the origins of the Mac.
  • The Birth of the Mac — Bill Atkinson, Randy Wigginton, Andy Hertzfeld, Bruce Horn, George Crow and Caroline Rose will tell their first-hand stories about creating the Macintosh.
  • Coming of Age of Mac — 3rd party software developers including Charlie Jackson, Jim Rea, Heidi Roizen, Ty Roberts, David Bunnell, Marc Canter, Maryline Delbourg Delphis, Adam Hertz and Steve Jasik will talk about the software that gave the Mac critical mass.

During the evening, Apple’s original angel investor and 2nd CEO, Mike Markkula, will gather 100 members of the dev team on stage for a group photo.

If you’re in the area, tickets start at $109.75 each and are available via Ticketmaster. Yeah, it’s pricey, but after expenses, all proceeds will be donated to charity, organizers say.

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It’s Party Time at Apple HQ! Check Out These Photos From Cupertino

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Apple is getting ready for a 30th Mac Anniversary party at the company HQ, according to pictures that have just started showing up on Instagram.

Several pictures from Apple’s Cupertino HQ taken in the last hour or so show giant birthday banners that have been hung off buildings. “Happy Birthday, Mac,” they say.

The photos are accompanied by hashtags mentioning #party and #concert. One picture shows technicians unpacking equipment, possibly for a live music act. In 2011, the British supergroup Coldplay played a set during the tribute to Steve Jobs.

Here are some more pictures of the party preparations. There’s also pictures of the big posters around the campus quad with thousands of employee’s names.

UPDATE: The U.S. pop band One Republic played the gig that was attended by hundreds of employees. Here’s a short clip of the performance.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook even tweeted about it. “Celebrating Mac’s 30th with some of my closest friends in Cupertino with OneRepublic,” he wrote. “Awesome.”

Tim_Cook_party_tweets

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Did Feud With Jony Ive Keep Tony Fadell From Returning To Apple?

Google's acquisition of Nest will allow the company to monitor you in your home, some say.

Google’s acquisition of Nest will allow the company to monitor you in your home, some say.

The big intrigue in the tech world today is why Google bought Nest Labs for $3.2 billion and Apple didn’t.

A lot of the speculation is paranoid: Google wants to track everyone offline as well as online, and Nest’s thermostat and smoke alarms give the Googleplex motion sensors right in peoples’ homes.

But wouldn’t Apple be a more natural fit for the home-automation startup? Nest was co-founded by two former Apple staffers, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers. Fadell was one the fathers of the iPod — a key hardware engineer who led the music player’s development over 17 generations. Rogers was one of Fadell’s top lieutenants.

With great design and easy interfaces, Nest’s combination of hardware and internet software services makes its products very Apple-like. And as home automation is poised to take off (thanks largely to the iPhone and iPad), Apple is surely interested in this potentially huge market.

So why didn’t Apple didn’t pick up the company? Maybe it’s because Jony Ive, Apple’s head designer, was responsible for getting Tony Fadell pushed out of Cupertino.

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Thanks To iPhone, The Revolution In Home Automation Is Nigh! (No Really, This Time It is) [CES 2014]

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Nexia’s Matt McGroven says his company’s app makes home automation appealing to consumers, not geeks, and soon we’ll all be controlling our homes from iPhone screens.

CES 2014 bug LAS VEGAS — We’ve heard the same story for years: the revolution in home automation is just around the corner! And yet, despite the hype, it still hasn’t arrived. But talk to vendors at CES, and they say it finally is just around the corner — thanks to the iPhone.

The iPhone finally gives ordinary consumers a bunch of good reasons to automate their homes, beyond the geeky thrill of turning on the sprinklers from the couch. For example, it can alleviate the universal anxiety of worrying about the stove when away on vacation. Paired with a connected-range (there are several on show here at CES), your iPhone can you tell you if the oven is on, and then let you switch it off.

The best evidence that home automation has arrived is that the nation’s home builders are finally including home automation technology in many new homes as standard. Lennar Homes, the third biggest home builder in the US, is making home automation standard in more than 20,0000 new homes this year, said Matt McGroven, marketing leader of Nexia, a San Francisco-based home automation company.

Nexia makes an app that works in conjunction with a Home Bridge ($60 on Amazon) and service ($9 a month). With 70% of users on iOS, Nexia controls a wide range of automated products, from nannycams to lighting, locks, thermostats, and dozens of others.

“You can do a bunch of cool and genuinely useful things,” he said.

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The Fastest-Charging iPhone Battery Packs In The West? [CES 2014]

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MyCharge president Jim Dara demonstrates the new Talk & Charge battery pack for the iPhone 5 line. Instead of attaching it to your iPhone, you just hold it next to it, which makes it easy to use with just about any iPhone case.

CES 2014 bug LAS VEGAS — The simplest solution is always the best. Take external battery packs for your iPhone, which are sometimes hard to use when you’re actually talking on the phone. Either you have to remove your case to snap in a battery case, or you have a long cord dangling to an external pack in your pocket.

MyCharge’s clever Talk & Charge ($100) is a slim external battery pack that works with any and every iPhone case on the market because it doesn’t physically attach to your iPhone; you just hold it against the back of your iPhone while talking, like an electronics sandwich. Simple.

It’s almost the same size and shape as an iPhone 5s or 5c. It boasts a 3000mAh battery (good for more than two full iPhone 5 charges) and a Lightning cable built right in, so you’ll never forget your charging cable again. It’s a nice touch.

In fact, I think all of MyCharge’s wares are thoughtfully designed. The tech is pretty good too. According to the company, they are the fastest chargers on the market. Check out their well-designed charging bricks:

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Is The TrewGrip Keyboard Really The Evolution Of Typing? [CES 2014]

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CES 2014 bug LAS VEGAS, CES 2014 – At the big “CES Unveiled” press event on Sunday night, one of the biggest draws was the TrewGrip keyboard; a funky Bluetooth keyboard for smartphones and tablets with the keys on the back of the device.

The company’s reps were mobbed by curious journalists, jockeying each other to get a better a look at the keyboard that claims to be “the evolution of typing.”

Designed for typists on the go, like healthcare professionals making hospital rounds, the TrewGrip is a unique reverse keyboard with a full set of QWERTY keys on the back.

Using it requires retraining and takes a week or more to master, but at the booth, company reps were tapping out 60-80 words a minute. Not as fast as many touch-typists on a regular keyboard, but a lot faster than pecking away on a glass screen.

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Walt Mossberg’s Goodbye WSJ Column Is Full of Apple Devices

Walt Mossberg’s Goodbye WSJ Column Is Full of Apple Devices

Walt Mossberg and Steve Jobs at the D conference.

After 22 years at the Wall Street Journal reviewing technology, columnist Walt Mossberg is moving on. In his final column, Mossberg picks the 12 devices that had the most impact over the years.

“I chose these 12 because each changed the course of digital history by influencing the products and services that followed, or by changing the way people lived and worked,” Mossberg writes.

One company completely dominates the list. Guess which one it is (and what devices he chose)?

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Woah! Check Out The Beautiful Curved Front At Apple’s Refurbished Stonestown Store

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Photo by Jeffrey Lam

UPDATE: There’s no glass on the front of the Stonestown store. Earlier reports indicated the store was fronted by glass, but it’s actually wide open. It has a big metal gate that is closed at night. “Comes right out of the walls. Pretty nifty,” says one shopper who visited the store.

Apple just reopened its retail store at San Francisco’s Stonestown mall, and just check it out. It’s one long piece of curved glass. spectacular!

Here’s another shot:

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