Every now and then an Internet craze will spread around the world with everyone trying their hands at it. From the cinnamon challenge to the fire challenge, each one brings its own risks and sometimes even pain.
The latest challenge meme — the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge — has been a force unlike any other, sucking in celebrities like Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Oprah and even a couple of top Apple employees.
In today’s video, we take a look this icy charity dare that’s taking over the world. See Apple executives, actors, athletes and more take part in this chilling experience and find out the reason behind it all.
We can’t wait for iOS 8 to supercharge our trusty iPhones with Extensions. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
iOS 8 will bring Extensions to your iPhone and iPad. Extensions are essentially miniature versions of apps that can be run inside other apps. For instance, if you have Evernote installed on your iPhone, you could pop up the Evernote Extension when you’re running the Mail app, and save a snippet of that email to your Evernote account.
Clearly this is huge. It’s something that Android and Windows Phone users have enjoyed for a while, but Apple has – typically – taken its time to get it right. In fact, you have probably used Apple’s own “test” Extensions already: Whenever you see the Mail sheet roll down inside another app, or you access the built-in Twitter sharing box, you’re using an Extension.
But what kind of things can Extensions do for us? I’ve been thinking about that, and here’s a wish list of Extensions I’d love to see.
The only thing uber-designer Yves Behar hasn't turned his hand to yet is Apple computers.
The Swiss-born 47-year-old has crafted popular products like the Jambox, the Ouya gaming micro-console, and the XO Laptop, just to name a few. He's been lauded by Time, CNN, and FastCompany and his work, like Jony Ive's, has been featured in many museums, including those in San Francisco and Behar's hometown of Lausanne, Switzerland.
When I brought home a fizzy-water-making SodaStream Source a couple of weeks ago, I was surprised to see, emblazoned on the front of the box I picked up at the local Target (not fancy-pants Habitat), "Designed by Yves Behar."
This weird insertion of industrial design into the most basic of retail spaces got me thinking: what else has Behar designed, and how do they fit into our everyday lives? Click through the images above for the 10 best answers to that very question.
As Apple gets into the smart home market, they'll need to take a look at August Smart Lock, which Behar designed to be safe, secure, and social. You can program it on the flay and remotely from your iOS device, letting people in with a one-time pass or on a timed basis. It may not have shipped yet, but boy is it gorgeous and functional.
Yet another market category definitively cornered by Behar and his team - the portable Bluetooth speaker. The Jambox was the first device in this segment with a decent sound and rugged yet stylish design, making all other newcomers to the space take heed. It came out in 2010, but only took a year to become the top-selling digital speaker in the US.
If you've ever seen anyone use a Bluetooth headset (the original Glasshole), you're seeing a product category that Jawbone helped define. Behar is the chief creative officer of the company that brought beautiful design and fashion cache to an essentially commodity product, likes Beats has done for music headphones.
Ok, let's be adults here: most folks masturbate. Behar's team came up with a simple, waterproof, rechargeable and ingeniously designed set of vibrators that -- my women friends assure me -- are the best in class. The series is called "Pleasure to the People," and it's a collaboration between JimmyJane's Ethan Imboden and Yves Behar, leading to the Form 2, 3, and 4, as well as numerous design awards. Design matters, people.
The Roomba took the world by storm, offering a vacuuming robot that would clean your entire house without any input from you. Behar's team at Fuseproject created the Mint, a square lozenge of a hard floor cleaning robot that uses your own wet cloths (like the ones from Swiffer) to do the same thing for your hardwood, tile, or linoleum. iRobot liked it so much, the acquired the company Behar created the Mint for, Evolution Robotics, in 2012.
The Slingbox was a breakthrough device: a box that could capture and then "sling" any media it could connect with to your computer, long before the Apple TV or Roku presence in the media landscape. The current version can stream to any laptop, smartphone or tablet via the internet. The overall design looks like it's made for a Braille-reader, but the logo (which still remains today) perfectly captures the idea of media streaming in one small bit of type.
The little micro console that could is based on an Android operating system, and costs all of $99. The Ouya took the gaming world by storm when it first arrived on Kickstarter, offering a mobile gaming ecosystem that you could play on your big-screen TV. While indie gamers' ardor may have cooled in the last year or so as the Ouya company struggles to remain relevant, all the hip kids have one of these stylish devices in their homes.
Here's a redesign that only seems obvious after the fact. The frustration of opening a medicine bottle is a common theme, especially for those who suffer from arthritis and other joint and muscle issues. This new Tylenol bottle can be opened with a palm, but still meets child safety requirements in this country. You can even see through the back to know how many you have left without having to shake the bottle when you pick it up.
If you're gonna wear a fitness tracker on your wrist, you want it to look and feel good to wear. Behar's Jawbone created the Up and Up24 to do just that back before "wearables" was even a thing. The Up is designed to track your sleep habits along with your food and calorie usage, and is made to be worn all the time. It's got a rechargable battery that lasts for ten days, so you've always got it with you. It connects with your iPhone and various fitness and productivity apps, making it one of the most robust fitness band ecosystems out there.
Here's the world's first charity laptop, running on Linux and able to be charged with a crank. This makes the XO Laptop perfect for children in developing countries where electricity and computing devices are unheard of and exhorbitantly expensive. During the Give One, Get One campaign in 2006 and 2007, you could buy a laptop for yourself and donate a second one to a developing country for $199. The XO has gone through four iterations as well as a tablet version, and is a triumph of industrial design.
San Francisco designer Anand Sharma shares endless private details about his life on his April Zero website. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Anand Sharma has eaten 17 burritos in the last 141 days. An avid runner and rock climber, the San Francisco-based designer has visited parks seven times this month. He weighed 153.9 pounds and was at 18.4% bodyfat after his 5.5-mile run yesterday. He burned 688 calories during that run.
He gets around a lot, too: On July 15, he flew from Hong Kong to Changi, Singapore. Then he grabbed a bite at the Kampong Glam Cafe. He also spent 94 minutes in a car and 70 minutes on the Lomprayah high-speed ferry that day. During his long day of travel, his heart rate hit a high of 94 and a low of 66 (averaging a slightly higher than usual 79). He didn’t share any photos on Instagram, but he pushed 25 commits to code-sharing site Github.
Sharma, who was 24.382007813 years old as of this writing, is already the most transparent human being on Earth, and he’s just getting started. Fully embracing the data-hungry demands of the quantified-self movement as well as the constant spotlight of social media, he routinely shares every little detail about his life, from his travels and meals to his vital signs and work, on the slickly designed April Zero website he launched last month. Now he wants to invite you to his way of life. He’s working on a new app that will make it easy for anyone to have their own version of April Zero.
Cult of Mac talked with Sharma about April Zero, the benefits of living in public, and the possibilities of Apple’s long-rumored health-centric wearable.
Statue selfies are striking a pose all over the world. The trend appears to hark back to Laura Hartle's snap of the Statue of Liberty late last year and the pics are multiplying on Twitter and Reddit faster than you can say, "Cheese!" One thing's for sure: The old masters have never looked so modern.Photo: thevintagent
Inside the Sweetch home office, where five French entrepreneurs did an about-face after their parking app drew the ire of San Francisco officials. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
SAN FRANCISCO — It’s every entrepreneur’s worst nightmare: The app you’ve spent hours developing gets shut down before it even really launches.
It’s been a rocky road for four young French entrepreneurs who hoped to make their mark with a parking app called Sweetch. Their idea was to alert prospective parkers that spots on the street were freeing up, exchanging a nominal fee between drivers that could be donated to local charities. But instead of paving the road to fame by clearing the city’s congested streets, they ended up pulling their app from the Apple store under threat of litigation from San Francisco’s City Attorney.
“We helped five or 10 people a day, we brought value to them, but the city didn’t even try to understand that,” co-founder Hamza Ouazzani Chahdi says, speaking to Cult of Mac in the sunny, immaculate and modern apartment the guys call both home and office in the city’s Mission District. “We were lumped in with the other apps that definitely had a predatory model and it was toxic for us.”
He says that despite a meeting with San Francisco officials, the entrepreneurs weren’t really give a chance: “It was just, ‘Here’s your deadline.’”
Although the environmental group she heads up is “pleased” about the improvements Apple announced to protect workers from toxic chemicals, activist Elizabeth O’Connell still won’t buy the Cupertino company’s products.
Even if it means making those phone calls to rally support against Apple on an iPhone with a cracked screen.
“I am very happy that Apple has taken these steps and that the company is listening to its customers,” the campaign director for Green America told Cult of Mac via email. “That said, I’m going to hold on to my cracked 5c for now. I’d like for Apple to deepen its commitment to worker health and safety throughout its supply chain before I consider purchasing any new Apple products.”
"I met a lady and her children who travel to heavily populated areas of St. Louis to play music for tips to buy food each night. The children's broken bikes and few cherished possesions carefully tucked in the run down van they call "home," Tullis says.
Nic Tullis has a summer project that doesn’t involve surfing or working at a frozen-yogurt shop.
The 18-year-old is at the tail end of a Kickstarter campaign to to raise $2,500 that will keep him out photographing with his iPhone 4s. His “Homeless But Not Hopeless” project aims to bring awareness about the homeless population of St. Louis, Missouri, which spiked 12 percent after the economic tsunami hit.
Tullis takes photos of homeless people that show how they live along with normal shots that show off St. Louis. The funding for the project would rent a gallery space to auction off prints as a fundraiser; proceeds would go to two local organizations that help people get back on their feet.
It’s almost back-to-school time, again. Rats. Whether you’re heading to the hallowed halls of college, shoving your kids out the door or just gearing up for the cubicle after a long lazy summer, you deserve a little something to make the transition easier. Here are our picks to keep your inner child happy, including a May-December romance vehicle and a killer kit for desk warfare.
Many an architect built the foundation of his or her career with Legos, now the Danish toymaker tops its architecture series with a new kit especially for the grown-ups. The Lego Architecture Studio comes with 1,200 components plus a manual penned by architecture luminaries including Sou Fujimoto, Ma Yansong and Moshe Safdie. Lego suggests making your own masterpiece, from the Eiffel Tower to the Trevi Fountain. When you do, send us the pics.
This handmade porcelain “art toy” hails from a studio in Sydney called Egg Picnic. The simple, elegant design of the Dream Toy harks back to the Aboriginal myths and legends tracing the origins of native animals and the evolution of their appearance and behavior. We just think it looks cool.
Roll out the hijinks with this tank that you can control with your iPhone, iPad, iPod via Wi-Fi. The iSpy Tank comes equipped with a built-in mic and live video camera function. It just might jumpstart your YouTube career, depending on how telegenic your grumpy cat is.
Yeah, desk warfare. I can attest from the number of pens and other stuff lobbed between the Macs here in the Cult offices that it is an actual thing. That’s why I can’t wait to put together a tiny replica of this Roman artillery weapon. It’s got interlocking parts, a simple, reliable trigger, high-strength cordage and lightweight projectiles. So, you know, watch it, guys.
This cardboard Foosball table gives you all the wrist-wrenching drama of the game minus the heft of having to transport it for your next picnic. It comes with two full teams and one ball and, low-fi as it is, still sports a built-in iPhone speaker for your winning jams. Best part? You can personalize the faces of the players from the Kartoni website.
Get yourself together with this sturdy catchall for all of the things that inevitably end up flying around your apartment or studio: books, CDs, iPad, magazines. The Giffo comes to you in a whimsical giraffe design in 17 pieces of double-reinforced cardboard, so once you’ve assembled it, you can actually tell people you *made* something.
This is the official ride for your December - May romance. Piaggio’s Vespa 946 costs a hefty $9,946, so you have to be of a certain age to afford it. I’m told by the patient mechanic of my aging LX150 that driving it offers an immediate boost to one’s spirit. Only 3,600 of these red-leather seated, 4-stroke air-cooled engine beauties are going to roll out worldwide. One thing’s for sure: Audrey Hepburn never had it this good.
The iPhone 6 seems to get nearer and nearer each week as Apple fanboys and other tech enthusiasts await an official reveal date with mounting anxiety, but the age of the iPhone 6 might finally be close at hand. A year’s worth of leaks, rumors, and theories regarding the iPhone 6 are finally about to be put to rest, thanks to sources who revealed this week exactly when we can expect Apple to reveal their next generation iPhone.
Watch today’s Cult of Mac news roundup for all the details on the rumored iPhone 6 keynote date, as well as iOS 8 beta 5 details, and even why one piece of technology has Kanye West filing lawsuits like his name’s Johnnie Cochran.