Apple TV review: The good, the bad and the ugly

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The next big app might be yours.
The new Apple TV brings powerful new features.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The new Apple TV looks like the old one, but it’s a complete overhaul of the little black puck. It now comes with a full-blown App Store, a touch-sensitive remote and voice controls via Siri.

You can preorder it now, and it’ll ship Friday.

We got our hands on a developer model and have been playing around with it. We like it a lot. Setup is fun, the interface looks stunning, and the touch remote works beautifully. If the Music app is any indication, apps on this thing are going to be great. There’s just one little thing wrong. And it’s not little, actually. It’s big.

Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly about the 4th-generation Apple TV.

Remembering Gary Allen, Apple stores’ most devoted overnight camper

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Gary Allen at Apple's store in Tysons Corner, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C.
Gary Allen at Apple's store in Tysons Corner, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C.
Photo: Gary Allen

It’s with great sadness that I heard about the passing of Gary Allen this morning. I met Gary several times over the years and called and corresponded with him many times. He ran IFOAppleStore.com, by far the best website about Apple’s incredible chain of retail stores, a topic that proved a rich hunting ground, given its size, influence and global reach. Gary had an encyclopedic knowledge of Apple’s stores and his site — now sadly offline — was an incredible resource.

Gary was also known for traveling all over the word to attend store openings, often camping out the night before. He visited London, Paris, Tokyo, Istanbul, Beijing and many, many other cities. Some saw this as eccentric, but the point was not the store opening itself, but the chance to socialize with a bunch of like-minded people. To get some idea of his devotion to his hobby, check out his Twitter and Flickr feeds, still online and full of pictures from his travels.

I wrote a profile of Gary a few years ago that is now also offline, so I’m resurrecting it below.

Controversial Steve Jobs movie gets love from Apple PR vet

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Michael Fassbender received a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of Jobs.
Michael Fassbender received a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of Jobs.
Photo: François Duhamel/©2015 Universal Studios

The new Steve Jobs movie gets just about everything wrong, says the PR veteran who worked with the Apple CEO during the first Macintosh’s launch. From the situations to the dialogue, almost nothing’s accurate.

“How many things are not true in the movie?” laughed Silicon Valley PR vet Andrea “Andy” Cunningham during a phone interview with Cult of Mac. “Several hundred!”

But Cunningham said she loves the new Steve Jobs biopic anyway, because it captures the truth — a truthier truth.

Cult of Mac will pay top dollar for your used iPhone 

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Every year, millions of older smartphones are dumped. We hope to help change that. Cult of Mac is launching a trade-in service that pays more than almost all the other gadget buy-back programs out there. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Every year, millions of older smartphones get dumped. Cult of Mac hopes to change that with a new buyback service that pays more than similar programs.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

I’m super-excited to announce that Cult of Mac is launching a gadget buyback program that promises to pay more for used and broken Apple devices than Gazelle, Walmart and even Apple itself.

As we enter the annual upgrade season, we’ve teamed up with a U.S. recycling company to offer what we believe is the highest-paying buyback program right here at buyback.cultofmac.com.

We pay cash for old iPhones, iPads, iPods and MacBooks. We accept both used and broken devices — even dead iPhones that have fallen in the toilet.

Tim Cook calls on rivals to copy Apple (on renewable energy)

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Tim Cook discusses Apple's enterprise ambitions at BoxWorks in San Francisco, September 2015.
Tim Cook discusses Apple's enterprise ambitions at BoxWorks in San Francisco, September 2015.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple CEO Tim Cook is urging competitors to copy Apple in the fight against climate change.

Speaking today at the BoxWorks 2015 conference at Moscone Center here, Cook said Apple’s rivals should copy its efforts to run their operations entirely on renewable energy.

“We are very focused on the environment,” he said. “Climate change is real, and we should stop denying it.”