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About Luke Dormehl

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.

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Proposed FCC rule change could deliver the Apple TV you’ve been dreaming of

Photo: Robert S. Donovan

Photo: Robert S. Donovan / Flickr CC

A proposed change in U.S. regulations could have massive implications when it comes to bringing about the kind of integrated Apple television set Steve Jobs talked about producing.

Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler has proposed a revision of rules that would afford Internet streaming services the same treatment as traditional cable and satellite television companies when it comes to negotiating with channel operators like HBO.

If the change is made, online providers would gain “access to programming owned by cable operators” and be able to negotiate licensing deals with content providers like HBO or local TV stations. Wheeler says the move would “encourage new video alternatives by opening up access to content previously locked on cable channels,” similar to the way regulatory changes in the ’90s enabled satellite TV to compete with cable operators.

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How a ’90s TV movie became the Steve Jobs film to beat

The Two Steves team up to create the Apple-1. Photo: Turner Network Television

The Two Steves team up to create the Apple-1. Photo: Turner Network Television

Christian Bale might seem like the perfect actor to play Steve Jobs. Like the Apple founder, Bale is a perfectionist who cares so deeply about his craft that he can come across like a raging lunatic.

Bale, who will star in Danny Boyle’s upcoming biopic about Jobs, might be the best hope yet for a riveting onscreen representation of Apple’s late leader. But for many Apple fans, a 1999 TV movie remains the definitive depiction of Jobs.

That movie is Pirates of Silicon Valley, which tells the story of Apple versus Microsoft during a 20-year stretch starting in the late-1970s. With Pirates of Silicon Valley turning 15 this year, Cult of Mac spoke with its director, Martyn Burke, about Noah Wyle (who plays Jobs in the film), threatened lawsuits, and the miraculous way Jobs spun a potentially disastrous bit of PR into good press.

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Cheaper iPhones? Don’t bet on it, says Apple exec

Photo: Re/Code

Apple exec Greg Joswiak at the Code/Mobile conference. Photo: TechCrunch

Particularly as Apple extends its tentacles overseas into new markets like China and India, many pundits have suggested that Cupertino needs to make low-cost iPhones to compete with lower-end Android devices.

So will it? According to Apple’s product marketing executive Greg Joswiak the answer is a resounding, emphatic “hell no!”

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Glitchy MacBook Pros were doomed from the start, lawyer claims

Photo: Raj Dsouza

Photo: Raj Dsouza

A number of users have experienced graphics issues with their 2011 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pro models, and following a Facebook group and change.org petition which have gathered a collected 25,000 names, law firm Whitfield Bryson & Mason LLP has filed a class action lawsuit against Apple on behalf of affected consumers.

“I’ve been involved with a number of lawsuits with Apple, going back decades, and I’m not aware of one that affected so many people, that Apple refused to do anything about,” says Gary E. Mason, the Managing Partner of Whitfield Bryson & Mason, speaking with Cult of Mac. “At the very least these consumers are entitled to a discount on a new laptop to help them transition to a serviceable device.”

Mason says that while only tens of thousands of customers have come forward so far, the affected number of consumers could be in the hundreds of thousands.

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Apple invents eco-friendly, flame resistant material for future devices

Do you like your iMac crispy? Photo: The Partners/Kevin Lan

Do you like your iMac crispy? Photo: The Partners/Kevin Lan

A patent published today shows that Apple is investigating new halogen free, flame-retardant materials for use in its devices.

According to Apple, only about 12% of plastics currently contain flame retardants. An increased use of such materials would improve the safety of electrical wiring and electronic devices, and help reduce the number of fires caused by electronic devices as a result.

Halogenated flame retardants have been found to be effective in many plastics, but these are increasingly regulated as a result of environmental concerns. Since sustainability is a big topic for Apple, the company therefore wanted to discover a material that would possess similar fire-retardant qualities, while also not being damaging to the environment.

Tuesday’s patent describes a material with these qualities, that also produces only negligible amounts of toxic substances while burning. As per Apple, the material could be used in devices including the iMac, MacBook Pro, iPhone, and iPad.

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T-Mobile CEO was told to grovel to get the iPhone on his network

T-Mobile CEO

T-Mobile CEO John Legere was told to grovel to get the iPhone on his network. It seems to have paid off. Photo: GeekWire Summit 2014

T-Mobile CEO John Legere is one of my favorite people in high tech right now. Not only is he doing a great job of turning T-Mobile business around, but in an industry that’s often dominated by buzzwords and corporate speak, he may just be the most publicly outspoken executive since Steve Jobs.

During Recode’s Code/Mobile event yesterday, Legere took the stage to talk about a few topics key to T-Mobile’s turnaround — and, wouldn’t you know it, the iPhone was mentioned pretty heavily.

Legere mentioned that his explicit instructions upon taking over as T-Mobile CEO was to “get down on your knees” and grovel to get the iPhone on his network, which he finally managed (the deal that is, presumably not the literal grovelling) in April 2013. The strategy apparently paid off, too, since the iPhone now accounts for 20% of the carrier’s smartphone base.

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Breaking down Apple’s 2014 earnings report

There's money in them Cupertino hills. Photo: Kevin Spencer/Flickr CC

There’s money in them Cupertino hills. Photo: Kevin Spencer/Flickr CC

Following on from last week’s expectations-defying earnings call, Apple has filed its annual 10-K report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, indicating just how rosy things are looking in Cupertino.

Net iPhone sales up up by 12%, with global earnings of $102 billion in 2014 versus $91 billion last year. iMac sales are up by the same 12%, too, with 24 million units sold this year compared to 21.5 million in 2013.

The iTunes Store is doing its bit as well, with a total of $10.2 billion in net sales, up from $9.3 billion in 2013. Apple says that app sales are up, but also acknowledges that this increase is partially offset by a decline in digital music sales.

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Tim Cook slams Alabama for slow evolution on LGBT rights

Tim Cook slams Alabama for slow evolution on LGBT rights

Tim Cook has spoken out about the need for his home state of Alabama to better address LGBT rights in a speech delivered today at the Alabama Academy of Honor induction, in front of Governor Robert Bentley.

Cook discussed his admiration for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and noted how, “I could never understand why some within our state and nation resisted basic principles of human dignity that were so opposite to the values I had learned growing up in Robertsdale, Alabama in a family that was rich in love and respect.”

He went on to say that, “We were too slow on equality on African-Americans. We were too slow on interracial marriage. And we are still too slow on equality for the LBGT community.”

Alabama remains one of the 18 states without marriage equality.

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India snaps up its iPhone 6 supplies in just 72 hours

iPhone 6 Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

iPhone 6 Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

After China, India represents Apple’s next big frontier, with 1.2 billion citizens and a rapidly growing smartphone market, that will have sold approximately 80 million handsets this year.

Which is why it’s great news that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is proving just as popular there as it is elsewhere in the world, with India’s first shipment of the iPhone 6 selling out in a lightning-fast 72 hours.

At 55,000 units, India’s first iPhone shipment may not have been the biggest one around, but it’s still impressive for a country that is still very much a developing market for high end smartphones. Last year, only 6,000 units of the flagship iPhone 5s were supplied by Apple, which also vanished from shelves very quickly.

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Apple rewrites history to remove ‘It’s road trip’ gaffe from iPad event

roadtrip

As was the case with “Scarfgate” following Apple’s September media event, the special guest appearances by developers can often often be the unintentionally comic highlights of Apple keynotes.

That’s exactly what happened at last Thursday’s otherwise fairly predictable iPad event, when two French developers accidentally titled their montage video app presentation “It’s road trip” instead of the intended “Utah road trip.”

Yes, it’s a minor glitch, that does at least show that all demos take place live, but it was amusing nonetheless — particularly the disgusted face exhibited by the typist, who appears to be inwardly kicking himself over screwing up the presentation.

Apple, however, seems to not have been quite so amused by the glitch, since someone at Cupertino has sprinkled some postproduction magic on the Replay demo, meaning that when you watch the keynote on Apple’s website or the Apple TV app, it now reads “Utah road trip” as was intended.

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