All items in the category "Featured stories"

Full category list for displayed posts: Featured stories, iPad, News, Newsstand, Top stories

Easy hardware hack turns iPad into piano

Photo: Adam Kumpf

This simple hardware hack adds a piano-style keyboard made of clothespins to your iPad. Photo: Adam Kumpf

The iPad is great for making music, but the lack of physical keys can be a drag for keyboardists. That shortcoming prompted Adam Kumpf to hack together a miniature piano attachment for the tablet using nothing more than wooden clothespins, aluminum foil, a few pieces of stiff cardboard and some rubber bands

Total cost? Less than $5.

Despite his creation’s humble DIY origins, Kumpf thinks the idea of iPad add-ons has the potential to take touchscreens to the next level.

“There’s an innate desire that users have to go beyond what the screen can usually do,” the 31-year-old MIT graduate tells Cult of Mac. “I strongly believe that there’s a world of accessories relating to capacitive touchscreens that’s just waiting to be explored.”

Read the rest of this post »

How a group of Pixar employees created gaming’s hottest startup

The Steel Wool Games team. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The Steel Wool Games team is studded with Pixar talent. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

With a cutesy, one-eyed protagonist named Zak and colorful graphics aplenty, upcoming game Flyhunter Origins looks like it could be a big-screen animated movie.

That’s not too shocking, since the game was developed by Steel Wool Games, a San Francisco Bay Area-based startup composed of Pixar employees past and present. But while the story of a space janitor who becomes wrapped up in an intergalactic insect-catching adventure sounds like it could come from the next Brad Bird movie, what the team has crafted is a compelling 2-D platformer that owes as much to Super Mario Bros. as it does to Toy Story.

“What we admired about those early games is what they did with very limited technology,” says Andrew Dayton, a 20-year veteran of computer visual effects, whose day job sees him working as senior technical director at Pixar. “Back then you couldn’t hide bad gameplay with pretty pictures. Playability was everything for us.”

Read the rest of this post »

Innovative mobile game will get you stabbing buddies in the back

Both scheming and strategy will help you win in this game. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Both scheming and strategy will help you win in this game. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Remember when you’d hang out with your pals all night long, scheming and swearing and stabbing each other in the back as you played board games like Monopoly, Axis & Allies or Risk for hours on end?

The developers of upcoming mobile strategy game Subterfuge want to recapture that competitive and fun gaming magic on the iOS era’s platform of choice.

“We started with the idea of making a game that would give you a shared, epic experience with your friends,” designer Noel Llopis told Cult of Mac. “We’re hoping Subterfuge provides something like that,” Llopis says, “but in a way that meshes with people’s real lives.”

Read the rest of this post »

Cult of Mac’s guide to the best Black Friday deals

Apple Pay. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The biggest shopping day of the year is almost here, and you know what that means: deals, deals, deals and more deals. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

blackfriday logoBlack Friday is a shopper’s dream and worst nightmare. The blitz of fliers advertising post-Thanksgiving sales has already begun, with retailers large and small offering deals on just about everything imaginable.

How do you know what’s actually a bargain and what’s a cheap marketing ploy? Never fear! We’re keeping our eyes peeled for the very best Black Friday deals, and we’ll be adding them to this roundup. This isn’t a roundup for all of the millions of discounted TVs and kitchen appliances out there, just the stuff we think is really worth your attention. Keep this page locked for sweet savings on tech, entertainment and other cool gear.

Read the rest of this post »

Sexy, slim cases to complement your iPhone 6

 I tried and tested dozens of different cases for the iPhone 5s, and the one I kept returning to was Apple's official leather case. It had everything I look for in a case, and it looked fantastic. When I pre-ordered my iPhone 6 Plus, I didn't hesitate to pick up the new leather case to go with it. And I'm glad I did. Just like everything you'll buy from Apple, it's incredibly well-made. It fits the iPhone 6 Plus like a glove, and because it's so thin and lightweight, it adds hardly any bulk, so your shiny new phablet will still fit comfortably in your pocket (just be careful you don't bend it!). The $49 case protects the back and sides of your device, and there's a slight lip that wraps around the front edge to provide some protection for its display. You still get easy access to your headphone jack, Lightning connector and mute switch, and the protruding iSight camera is no longer an issue. I picked up the iPhone 6 Plus Leather Case in olive brown and, while it looks great, I've since seen the red model in my local Apple store and it looks even more dazzling, especially when combined with a white device. — Killian Bell Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

If you’re going to use a case, it should look good. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

You’ve got a brand-spanking new iPhone 6, and boy is it beautiful. You love looking at it and holding its tender, curved edges, but you’re terrified that you’ll drop it and scratch it up. Or worse: shatter the screen into a million tiny pieces.

You need a case that’s protective, functional, and most importantly, good looking. Something minimal and preferably made of quality material. OtterBoxes are great if you’re worried about your iPhone getting run over by a tractor, but most of us want something sleeker for everyday use.

The good news is that there’s already a handful of sexy iPhone 6 and 6 Plus cases worth checking out. We’ve collected the very best:

Read the rest of this post »

5 basic OS X Yosemite tricks everyone needs to know

5 basic OS X Yosemite tricks everyone needs to know

OS X Yosemite is packed with new features. Unfortunately, not everybody knows every single trick to squeeze the latest, greatest functionality out of Apple’s new system software.

In today’s instructional Cult of Mac video, we share five basic OS X Yosemite tricks that everyone needs to know. We’ll show you how to make phone calls from your Mac, switch to Yosemite’s “dark mode,” use Spotlight like a pro, easily record video from your iOS device screen, and let other people control your Mac (and vice versa).

Subscribe to Cult of Mac TV for all our latest videos.

How to create killer GIFs on your Mac in 60 seconds

retinaiMAc2

I love animated GIFs. As far as I’m concerned, they’re the greatest gift God ever bestowed upon the Internet.

While most Mac users probably think making them requires Photoshop and some superior skills, creating GIFs can be dead-easy for your Mom to do, as long as you know which tools to use. 

In fact, iOS 8 has made communicating solely through GIFs easier than ever thanks to third-party keyboards. With just a couple apps and some browser extensions, you can become a GIFmaster in no time and blow your friends away with your arsenal of GIFs.

Here’s how to create your own GIFs in minutes on your Mac.

Read the rest of this post »

11 awesome reasons not to throw out that old Mac

NSFW: First porn shot with aerial drone

Porn typically leads the way in the tech world. Photo: Ghost+Cow films

Porn typically leads the way in the tech world. Photo: Ghost+Cow films

Shot on location in San Francisco, this film shows the more human side of drone technology: taking to the skies and filming beautiful people having sex.

Porn has always driven the adoption of new technologies, including VHS, Blue-Ray, and the internet itself. Online payment systems, streaming technologies, and even broadband technology has been driven by our endless need to see other people doing the nasty.

When there’s a new technology on offer, the adult entertainment business is the first to adopt and exploit it. Drones are no different: what better way to engage our inner voyeur than with footage of the sexual act.

The below video has an atmospheric soundtrack and — yes — people engaging in the oldest human activity on earth. While it’s tastefully done (there are no close ups of the action), the nakedness is clearly visible and is, as such, not safe for any environment like work or the subway. With that warning firmly in hand, head on through to see the video.

Read the rest of this post »

Review: The iPad Air 2 is so good, it almost disappears

iPad Air 2 Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple’s iPad Air 2 is so good, it almost disappears. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Pity Jony Ive. The poor bastard just can’t catch a break.

Ive and his design team at Apple have just released a pair of exquisite iPads — the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 — and yet are getting grief because the iPads offer nothing “new.”

“New” being things like face-tracking cameras, heart-rate monitors or — god forbid — a stylus. These are the kinds of things that get called “innovation.”

Instead, the new iPads look a lot like last year’s models, and those from every year before. This makes many tech reviewers yawn.

Largely unnecessary,” says The New York Times’ lukewarm review. “More of the same,” writes Business Insider. “You might think I’d be pretty excited about them — but I’m not,” says Walt Mossberg at Re/Code.

Indeed, instead of adding new hardware features, Ive’s team has even removed them. The mute/lock button is gone on the iPad Air 2. Who removes features?

Well, Jony Ive does.

Read the rest of this post »