(You're reading all posts by Luke Dormehl) Luke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.
About Luke Dormehl
In the wake of the crashing and burning of Apple’s former sapphire supplier GT Advanced Technologies, some of Cupertino’s other contractors have pitched in with their take; filling the Wall Street Journal in on a few of the lessons they’ve learned along their roller coaster rides with Apple.
The two biggest take-homes? Don’t make promises you can’t keep, and don’t rely too much on Cupertino.
Whether you’re shopping for your sweetie or trying to find something for your mum, picking presents for the important women in your life can prove daunting. Cult of Mac is here to help with this list of the top 10 gifts we’ll be buying for the fairer sex this year.
From clothes to quirky tech, we’ve got you covered.
George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is one of my favorite dystopian sci-fi novels, and according to Hollywood magazine Deadline, it’s about to be brought to the screen courtesy of the Jason Bourne movies’ director Paul Greengrass.
For those who are unfamiliar with it, Nineteen Eighty-Four tells the story of a surveillance heavy future (well, technically the past at this point) in which an everyman named Winston Smith rebels against an all-knowing government in an age of omnipresent surveillance and perpetual war.
The patent-holding consortium Rockstar — which includes Apple among its members, alongside Microsoft, BlackBerry and others — has reached a settlement with Google.
In a lawsuit filed last October, Rockstar alleged that Google was infringing on 7 different search-related patents, which had been acquired by Rockstar in 2011 following the bankruptcy of networking products supplier Nortel.
Rockstar outbid Google to acquire the patents, for which it paid $4.5 billion. Some reports put Apple’s contribution as high as $2.6 billion.
According to a new report from Bloomberg, Foxconn is set to spend $2.6 billion building a new factory in Taiwan exclusively to create displays for Apple.
Equipment installation for the factory is likely to begin next month, with the aim of starting mass production of panels by the end of 2015. The factory will require hiring an addition workforce of 2,300 people, and is going to be built at Innolux’s Kaohsiung Science Park campus in Southern Taiwan.
Foxconn currently has factories in China dedicated to assembling iPhones and iPads, but this will be the company’s first designed entirely with the goal of producing Apple components to go inside the devices.
Many happy returns!
Everyone’s rightfully celebrating the tenth anniversary of World of Warcraft at the moment, but WoW isn’t the only game blowing out the candles for a significant birthday this year. Turning back the hands of time (or, well, reverse-circling the D-pads of our mind), Cult of Mac pays homage to some of the other classic video games that changed everything.
What made the cut? Scroll through our gallery to find out.
Photo: Blizzard Entertainment
5 Years Ago: Batman Arkham Asylum (2009)
The most recent game on our list, Batman Arkham Asylum seemed to come out of nowhere to become not only the best Batman game ever created (which, let’s be honest, wasn’t all that difficult) but also a veritable titan of the DC publishing empire.
Telling the Grant Morrison-inspired story of everyone’s favorite Dark Knight Detective being locked in Arkham by arch nemesis The Joker, the game not only gave us a stunningly beautiful open world environment for Batfans to explore, but also nailed the fight dynamics, detective work and stealth that makes Batman so compelling. Given everything it’s influenced in the years since, if anything it’s tough to accept this game is only five years old.
Photo: Rocksteady Studios
10 Years Ago: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004)
I shared my thoughts on GTA: San Andreas when it was miraculously ported over to iOS late last year. The pinnacle of PS2-era Grand Theft Auto games, San Andreas took everything that made Vice City such a joy to play, and ramped it up a notch. Giant map, four times the size of its predecessor? Check. 240 vehicles instead of Vice City’s 60? Check. Immersive storytelling? Check. Pitch-perfect satire? Check. Blistering soundtrack? Mic check one.
In short, the game is perfect -- although how old does it make you feel to consider that it’s now as old as the mid-90s culture it was lampooning at the time?
Photo: Rockstar North
15 Years Ago: Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings (1999)
I don’t know if this makes me a traitor to everything Apple stands for, but for me Age of Empires II pretty much nullifies every dull, uninspired, monopolistic move Microsoft has ever made. Set in the Middle Ages and putting you in charge of your choice of 13 different civilizations, Age of Empires II is the strategy game that made me fall in love with strategy games.
Despite not being the first such title (hell, it wasn’t even the first in its series), this game influenced many, many other games in the same genre. Is there a more rewarding video game experience than demolishing a castle with a fireball-hurling trebuchet? I don’t know if my heart could take it if there is.
Photo: Ensemble Studios
20 Years Ago: Donkey Kong Country (1994)
Arriving on games consoles in November 1994, Donkey Kong Country took the villain from an old Mario and turned him and his pint-sized nephew Diddy him into the stars of a whole new franchise. Donkey Kong Country was a relative latecomer to the platformer era of games, but it helped convince many people at the time of its release that there was still juice left in the SNES’s tank, after the arrival of the first generation PlayStation. Mission accomplished! Its stunningly modelled characters still stand up today, too. Which brings us to…
Photo: Rare Ltd.
25 Years Ago: Prince of Persia (1989)
Coming out of an era of clunky 8-bit sprites, Prince of Persia practically looked like a classic Hollywood Errol Flynn movie unfolding in front of you. Using rotoscoped graphics (i.e. digitized scans of real life movement), the game has a realism to it that still stands up today. Boasting enhanced sound effects, the Macintosh version was the best incarnation available. Oh, and that sword fighting fight dynamics? Perfect.
30 Years Ago: Elite (1984)
If you were interested in high tech, 1984 was a helluva year to live through. Not only did you have the very first Macintosh in computer stores, The Terminator bursting into movie theaters, and William Gibson’s cyberpunk classic Neuromancer in book stores, there was also Elite.
Redefining the way that video games looked and played, Elite was an open world 3-D title that all but created the space trading game. It seemed an impossible achievement in its day, and its infinite universe spawning gameworld still impresses today, even in an age of Grand Theft Auto V.
35 Year Ago: Asteroids (1979)
Released 35 years ago this month, Asteroids is one classic game that everyone reading this has surely played at some time in their lives. Interestingly, while Asteroids’ simplistic graphics may appear today to be a triumph of substance over style, at the time the game’s high resolution vector graphics were considered an amazing achievement. Its superb gameplay and iconic sound effects remain legendary today.
Photo: Atari, Inc.
40 Years Ago: Gran Trak 10 (1974)
Before he co-founded a little company by the name of Apple, Steve Wozniak worked at Atari, where he played one innovative single-player racing game for hours to get the inspiration for his own arcade title, Breakout. That game? Gran Trak 10.
Although it doesn’t look like much in a circa-2014 world populated by Need for Speed and Gran Turismo, Gran Tran 10 was a game changer at the time of its release. It also happened to be the first game to feature a steering wheel, four-position gear shifter, and accelerator and brake foot pedals in its coin-op iteration. A classic!
Photo: Atari, Inc.
Apple may build smoke detectors into future Macs and iOS devices, according to a patent application published Thursday.
As users move toward the smart home, courtesy of services like Apple’s HomeKit, the idea is that Macs, iPhones and iPads could intelligently monitor for signs of a fire and trigger various mechanisms accordingly.
This could mean sending users a text or email alerting them of the danger, calling 911 for emergency assistance, or even activating fire suppression equipment.
No matter what the reason, or who was at fault, the collapse in Apple’s relationship with former sapphire supplier GT Advanced Technologies came down to one thing: the latter company wasn’t able to meet Apple’s terms.
Now photos published by the Wall Street Journal show some of GTAT’s sapphire errors, made just days before Apple signed a deal for the company to produce sapphire displays to be used in next generation iPhones. The 578 pound sapphire cylinders — known as boules — featured multiple flaws, which rendered the majority unusable.
While Apple certainly pushes its manufacturers hard to seemingly achieve the impossible on tighter and tighter profit margins, the picture that emerges from the WSJ article is of GT as a chaotic company, struggling from the very start to fulfil Apple’s expectations.
Just as Steve Jobs had to go through some frustrating years of failure before returning to Apple to turn in around, so too is the Aaron Sorkin Jobs biopic experiencing its fair share of setbacks.
Following the recent news that Christian Bale has, err, bailed on the project, now Hollywood magazine Deadline is reporting that the movie is being put into turnaround by its studio, Sony Pictures. Turnaround refers to a deal whereby the rights to a particular movie are sold from one studio to another in exchange for the cost of development, plus interest.
Exactly why the film is supposedly being dropped by Sony isn’t known, particularly since the Sony-owned Columbia Pictures did so well both critically and commercially from Sorkin’s previous true tech drama, in 2010’s The Social Network. It may, however, have something to do with schedules.
My Cult of Mac colleague Killian is obsessed with the actor Tom Hanks to an almost worrying degree.
I’ve never been to his home before (Killian’s, not Hanks’ — although I’ve not been there either), but I like to imagine that it’s full of Forrest Gump and Castaway posters, with the focal point being a single lock of the actor’s hair kept in an airtight jar. Surrounded by candles, with an iPod dock playing the soundtrack to The Da Vinci Code on repeat.
At any other time of year this would seem irrelevant, were today not the occasion upon which Hanx Writer, a typewriter app created by actor and typewriter fan Hanks, went universal on iOS.