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Who would be the perfect 'thought leader' for Apple?
Here's a short list of contenders who could get the company thinking different again. Photo: Fovea Centralis/Flickr CC
The pop star has been Apple-happy ever since he swapped his BlackBerry for a solid gold iPhone. His smash Academy Award-nominated Happy also showed he has global reach - check out the YouTube versions from Iran to Britain. Photo courtesy Back Lot Music, under license to Columbia Records.
We had a brainwave after seeing the soccer star featured in the latest Beats by Dre ad. The Brazilian forward who plays in Barcelona has already acted as ambassador for his home country's pop music; why not for Apple? Photo courtesy Beats Electronics
“It's not the consumers' job to know what they want,” Steve Jobs once famously said. An entire generation of teens didn’t know they gave an OMG about American history until John Green came along with his fast-moving, pithy Crash Course videos. Green could further stack the deck on Apple’s education efforts, ensuring the company stays relevant for generations to come. Photo courtesy Crash Course
Her standup routines frequently put technology under the microscope. Whether it’s an emergency stylist for selfies or sexting Amy Schumer's got a real feel for how Apple changes our lives. Also, she’s all about sex. Apple should grow up and stop pretending to be Disney. Photo courtesy Comedy Central
Because he is a futurist without having to call himself one, the author of The Better Angels of Our Nature and The Stuff of Thought would be an excellent counterweight to Google’s guru Ray Kurzweil. Photo: Rebecca Goldstein/Wikipedia CC
Another smart Brit could be just the ticket for Apple. Think of what Apple could do with John Oliver’s wit, which fuels things like his hilarious campaign for net neutrality. Photo courtesy HBO
In the driver’s seat of Tesla, the tech veteran of PayPal and SpaceX has shown he can think different. Plus, Elon Musk's recent move to allow Tesla patents to be used by anyone in good faith is a world away from the senseless bickering over rectangles in the Apple-Samsung patent war. Photo: Zobacz Zasady/Wikipedia CC
For staff morale, we nominate the wisecracking star of Groundhog Day and Ghostbusters. Plus, Bill Murray's seeming ability to pop up everywhere — from a couple’s engagement photo to The New Yorker — could only be good publicity for Apple. Photo courtesy Columbia Pictures
As former secretary of state and one-time first lady, Hill fits the bill for Apple thought leader in many ways, since the job requires “experience indirectly managing and influencing a global, diverse team” and “a proven track record of working well with all levels of leadership.” Plus, working for Apple has gotta be more fun than running for president. Photo: U.S. Department of State
Apple is looking to hire a thought leader. While the actual job listing — blah blah blah “execution of critical sale reporting projects” blah blah blah — sounds about as exciting as a new ink cartridge, the idea of a thought leader role at a company like Apple is worth pondering.
Ever since the death of co-founder Steve Jobs, there’s been much speculation and hand-wringing over who could assume his role as Apple’s foremost visionary. Although no one can ever fill his New Balances, we’ve rounded up a short list of leaders who might kick the Cupertino company in a new direction.
Who do you think should drive Apple’s big ideas? Check out our picks in the gallery above, then nominate yours in the comments below.
All Cult of Mac’s news to peruse on your iPad or iPhone. This week we’ve got a tune up to keep your Mac running in top shape, plus news of the Macs that will be in stores soon and a love letter to Apple’s first commercial hit, the Apple II.
Lust List: June 2014
From the fantastic to the mundane, life's essential experiences go better if you've got the proper gear. We test a lot of stuff here at Cult of Mac, but the items featured in our monthly Lust List roundups are the things that have made the grade over the long haul.
These are the things we can't live without.
Meridian Prime headphone amplifier
When the box from Meridian arrived, my officemate wanted to know what was inside. When I told him it was a $2,000 headphone amplifier, I got the face – you know, the one where your dad is about to tell you there is no Santa Claus, or Easter Bunny, or even a tooth fairy. Despite what my curmudgeonly colleague would have you believe, the Meridian Prime’s digital audio converter has changed my workplace listening experience exponentially.
I found myself re-experiencing everything from Pavement’s reissue of Wowee Zowee to Ry Cooder’s Paris. I listened to the usual benchmarks, but what really struck me was how the Meridian Prime and a pair of Bowers & Wilkins P7 headphones allowed me to forget about the how and enjoy the what. Setup was a no-brainer, the Analogue Spatial Processing technology is interesting and fun to mess around with, and the build quality is excellent.
And, as the audiophiles would say, I did not suffer from sound fatigue. I am sure there is something to ponder about the psychology of listening to music in a way where you are listening to see if there is a difference, but even with this factored in, I am sold on the idea of an awesome pair of headphones and a digital-to-analog conversion. – Jim Merithew
Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer by Zojirushi
I love eating rice. I hate making rice. You can see my dilemma. The solution to my lazy-guy problem is the Micom Rice Cooker & Warmer by Zojirushi (specifically model NS-LAC05, which cooks up to 3 cups of rice and retails for $182). Thanks to its fuzzy-logic technology, which adjusts cooking time and temperature based on input from built-in sensors, I can eat perfectly fluffy rice as often as I like without ever having to scrub scorched grains out of a filthy pan.
This stainless steel kitchen miracle couldn’t be easier to use: Just dump your rice and the appropriate amount of water into its nonstick tub, select the correct type of rice, and press the Cooking button. A charming little melody plays when cooking starts; a similar tune lets you know when the rice is finished. Then the Zojirushi will keep your dish warm for hours. Works with all kinds of rice (except sweet rice), steel-cut oats and even porridge (whatever the hell that is). – Lewis Wallace
Cadence Collection bicycle jersey
I’m not afraid to say it: I have a massive man crush on almost all things Cadence. I love their raw denim jeans, I desperately want one of their Ritchey Airflow stems and I dig their whole aesthetic. I picked up this Grid collection jersey on super sale. Made for the Cadence Collection by the good folks at Capo Cycling, the fit and finish are superb. I was a little worried about the pink grid motif and my giant, middle-aged paunch, but my wife assures me I look fit and fast. Which is why I love her and why I now love my new piece of Cadence kit. – Jim Merithew
Grain Audio IEHP
The curse of the audiophile is getting equipment that's good enough to make a difference. When I was a kid, I listened to The Clash on a crummy old transistor radio. It sounded awful, but it didn't matter. The energy and the excitement of the music shined through. Then I got a pretty good stereo, and the old radio went in the trash.
These days I'm plugged into a pair of Grain Audio IEHPs (In Ear Headphones). These earbuds made of wood are amazing, and I hate them. Now I can't listen to anything else, because it all sounds horrible. I was happy with Apple's earbuds and my old headphones, but not anymore.
Grain's $99 IEHPs are made from solid wood – not coincidentally, the same material used to make violins, pianos and guitars. They sound rich and sonorous, with a crazy-clear soundstage and robust bass. They are audio heaven.
The rubbery silicon wires have an inline mic and remote for taking calls and controlling playback. There are no extra bells and whistles, but there shouldn't be. They are simple and focused on their most important task – playing music. – Leander Kahney
Roomba 536 robotic vacuum
I've been in love with this little robot from Day 1, when a friend of mine brought the used iRobot Roomba 536 model over for me to try. While it's not going to deep-clean anything, it's my favorite daily environmental noise as the Roomba runs around on my carpeted and hardwood floors, briskly picking up dust and pet hair so I don't have to drag out the big guns as often. With up to six pets in the house at any given time (don't ask), this little robotic buddy is a must-have. – Rob LeFebvre
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
Click and Grow Smart Herb Garden
Cult of Mac staffers have notoriously brown thumbs: Our offices are a wasteland of perennially droopy plants. That’s why the Click and Grow Smart Herb Garden was perfect for us. You fill the tank with water to nourish the nano-tech soil for three herbs (the starter kit features basil, lemon balm and thyme) for up to six weeks. The LED lights up for an optimum time every day, too, so no fussing around with the blinds and shielding seedlings from the afternoon glare. (Or forgetting to do either, which happens very often around here.)
The $100 electric herb patch comes in absolutely delicious packaging and the clean design makes the planter a treat to leave out and around. At this rate, we’re on track for a bumper crop of basil for Caprese salads by the summer solstice. – Nicole Martinelli
TYLT Energi 3K+ battery pack
In the Kahney household, the biggest tech headache is not an unreliable Internet connection or forgotten passwords, but simply finding a damn cable to charge my iPhone. Certain members of the family who will remain nameless (hint: wife and kids) keep disappearing them. It. drives. me. nuts.
Enter Tylt's Energi 3K+ battery pack, which has a simple feature that sets it apart from most other battery packs – a built-in Lightning Cable. The cable tucks away neatly into a groove at the side. It's simple and efficient.
The battery pack is small and slim and is easily tucked into my jeans pocket. It has enough juice to fully charge my iPhone 5s (it's rated at 3,000mAh, hence the name) and outputs at 2 Amps, which is good for an iPad. There's also a universal USB port, allowing you to plug in another cable and charge two devices at once. Thanks to the lack of cables around the house, I've gotten into the habit of recharging my iPhone from the Tylt battery pack, not a wall outlet. Now the problem is stopping my wife and kids from stealing it. – Leander Kahney
Lost and Found in Johannesburg by Mark Gevisser
As a kid, Mark Gevisser used to play a game he called “Dispatcher,” sitting in the parked family Mercedes plotting how to get around with the map of record, Holmden's Register of Johannesburg. He didn’t realize until he grew up that the map completely omitted the black townships, making the city he was born and raised in foreign to him.
His memoir, Lost and Found in Johannesburg ($27 hardcover) fills in those gaps. If you love maps, this is for you. If you love books where the art is not buried in one big indigestible chunk but interwoven with the text, so it’s like the author is talking to you, read this. If you’re interested in faraway places with strange-sounding names, read this. If you’re interested in Apartheid, race relations, sexuality, immigration or family, read this. OK, just read it already. – Nicole Martinelli
Sigma 50mm f1.4 lens
I love big glass and I cannot lie. I loved the manual-focus Nikkor 180 f2.8 of my youth. A Canon f1.2 II mounted to any box is a true delight. And I have lusted after a Leica Noctulux for as long as I can remember. Now Sigma is doing some amazing things with fast glass, including the new 50mm f1.4 DG HSM, which is big on heft but comparatively light on the wallet ($949 list). Being able to mount this extraordinary picture-making machine to your digital camera for less than a grand is a real treat.
The Sigma and my black lab Cody get along better than just about any dog/lens combination I have ever used. Cody is notoriously difficult to photograph, but the whippy-fast f1.4 lens I was able to capture the little bugger in the best and worst lighting situations I could put him in, with the autofocus working near silently and grabbing about as well as can be expected, considering the subject matter.
The 50mm lens is sometimes referred to as a portrait lens, but I find using a 50mm like a “normal” lens for street photography, product photography and as a general all-arounder is much more satisfying. The Sigma lens is a delight to stalk subjects in near darkness, which is what you really should be doing with this lens. It is most satisfying when you find yourself on the edge, wondering if anything is going to work out at all. Sure, the percentage of useable frames decreases, but the frames you land are worth the risk. Long live the big glass. – Jim Merithew
Backlit Thermapen by ThermoWorks
Temperature can be a tricky thing when you're manning the grill. The old finger test is fine if you're flaming steaks and don't mind erring on the side of bloody delicious, but how do you know when your goose is cooked? If you're dealing with poultry or a low-and-slow pork shoulder, you want a little more accuracy in the temperature department.
For that kind of data, I turn to the splash-proof, backlit Thermapen by ThermoWorks ($112 retail). Just flip the steel probe out of the surprisingly large plastic body, stab your slab where it counts and get an reading you can believe in less than three seconds. The Thermapen is a little pricey, but let's be honest: How many cheapo thermometers do you have rattling around your kitchen? Finally, you can throw those worthless things away. – Lewis Wallace
Coming up with a slogan can be tricky business. Although Apple has a history of thinking different about its catchphrases, when the Cupertino company unfurled the banners for WWDC 2014 this week, we were unimpressed.
This year’s slogan — “Write the Code. Change the world.” — sounds like it came straight from Mike Judge’s hit comedy show Silicon Valley. In the HBO series, every half-baked startup either wants to “revolutionize” or “make the world a better place” through things like “software-defined data centers” or “scalable, fault-tolerant, distributed data bases with ACID transactions.” Code Flappy Bird, save the world!
Here are some of Apple’s WWDC hits and misses from over the years.
Think we’re off the mark? Let us know in the comments!
"A household robot. One that could drive. Please," says Michelle Lightwood-J on Twitter. Will there be an iRobot in our future?
Smart Home Computer
There are all sorts of Apple-integrated smart homes these days, but reader Golden Cindy goes one step further. She wants the "house" computer embedded in a countertop. This is from Swedish designer Ballingslov.
I've been known to strip labels from soap, shampoo etc., because the design annoys me - so I can really understand reader Christian Alvarez's chiming in on Facebook to suggest the Apple treatment for food packaging. Here's a nice take on the on the ho-hum olive oil bottle by Comeback Studio.
This is the MathPen, which has a 360° degree solar module to power all your crazy calcs. Reader Warren Galloway says,"How about a Solar Pen/Pencil that stores energy and uses low heat to write? Aka never running out of 'ink'?"
Solar Powered Remote
Reader Warren Galloway says, "how about a Solar Powered TV remote? I love what Logitech did with the K760 (solar keyboard)... Maybe they should do it."
We showed you ours. Now it’s your turn. Here are the items big and small that Cult of Mac readers most want to see designed and produced by the mothership. We’ve got Apple solar pens, food packaging and yes, puppies — because even pets could use the Sir Jony treatment.
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The first version of this app was reviewed on Cult of Mac in 2012.
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Lust List: May 2014
Life is a blur of cool gear here at the Cult of Mac offices. We put it all through rigorous trials, but it’s like living in a fast-spinning revolving door of flashy accessories, cool bags and high-end accoutrements. Some of it gets dropped like a lying girlfriend as soon as the next sexy thing comes along, but sometimes we develop long-term love affairs with certain bits of kit. The gear featured in our monthly Lust LIst roundups is the equipment that’s made the grade over the long haul: These are the items we couldn’t live without.
Ona’s The Chelsea
There’s something about all the smart compartments in camera bags that works even if you’re not actually toting around a camera. So Ona’s Chelsea ($370) is just the thing: This capacious bowler bag offers protected spaces for a DSLR, up to three lenses, your keys and stuff, plus an iPad or notebook. But I packed it with a 13-inch MacBook Pro, a pear (the lens dividers are perfect for keeping your snacks unbruised), The Economist and all the cords, headphones and chargers carried by a modern-day scribe. One thing: The size and saffiano leather (that’s the grainy type that Prada favors for long-wearing briefcases and the like) can be a little Insta-ma’am if you don’t dress it down. -- Nicole Martinelli