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This is why the iPhone 6 didn’t get a sapphire screen

Photo: WSJ

Photo: WSJ

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.

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Apple to preload Beats Music on iOS early next year

First U2, and now this? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

First U2, and now this? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

You’ll soon have Beats Music on your iOS device whether you want it or not.

Apple is planning to bake the streaming music service into iOS in early 2015, according to The Financial Times. The integration could happen “as early as March,” which would line up with the possibility of a media event to announce the rumored iPad Pro.

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Geeky Apple Watch details buried in WatchKit


With the Apple Watch release still months away, plenty of details — like the timepiece’s price and battery life — remain unknown. But the release of WatchKit this morning sheds new light on Apple’s most personal product ever.

We dug through the new WatchKit programming guide and Apple Watch human interface guidelines this afternoon and found a few details that weren’t mentioned in the keynote, such as a special new font designed to look good at any size on the Apple Watch’s tiny face.

Here are five new Apple Watch details buried in the WatchKit SDK:

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Tick tock, devs: WatchKit brings tools for making Apple Watch apps

Tim Cook says won't be in a hurry to reveal Apple Watch sales numbers. Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

For developers itching to make Apple Watch apps, the time is now. Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

As promised, Apple has given third-party developers tools to start making apps for the upcoming Apple Watch. Today the company announced the availability of WatchKit, its new SDK for creating app experiences on the wrist.

With WatchKit, developers will be able to make actionable notifications, Glances “for timely information accessible by an easy, quick look,” and eventually full-fledged apps. Early WatchKit partners like ESPN, Instagram, and American Airlines have already tested the new APIs for future versions of their apps.

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World’s first Mac Pro data center comes online


A rack of Mac Pro servers in MacStadium’s Georgia data center. Photo: MacStadium

The Mac Pro is one of the most beautiful and powerful computers ever created, but it remains beyond the reach of many small developers due to a price tag that’s bigger than a car down payment.

That could change this week when MacStadium brings the world’s first Mac Pro data center online, giving anyone the ability to rent server time on the high-performance Apple computers for just a few bucks a month.

MacStadium CEO Greg McGraw said the company originally set out to address the needs of small developers with Mac mini hosting. “We had great success with the Mac mini and we’ll continue to use it,” McGraw told Cult of Mac. “But the Mac Pro is an enterprise-class data center appliance. It’s going to open up a whole new market.”

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Glorious gifts for the gamer in your life

Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Gamers need gifts! Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Shopping for the gamer in your life can be more difficult than beating your way to the end of Battletoads or collecting all 121 stars in Super Mario Galaxy.

To make the holiday shopping season a little simpler, Cult of Mac searched far and wide for the best gaming gear, trying out all the major platforms and accessories.

What follows is our roundup of the finest gamer gifts, from consoles and handhelds to peripherals. And we’ve even tossed in a few must-play game recommendations.

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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.”

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Destroy your foes in Vainglory, the epic game Apple used to showcase iPhone 6

Vainglory take

Vainglory takes iPhone 6 graphics to a new level. Photo: Super Evil Megacorp

Super Evil Megacorp stole the show during Apple’s iPhone 6 keynote in September thanks to ‘Scarf Guy’ and the kick-ass MOBA he was demoing called Vainglory. Now they’re ready to steal your afternoon by making their highly anticipated game available in the U.S.

We’ve been dying to enter the battle of Vainglory ever since we got our first look behind the scenes of the game, and now after months of waiting, the online battle that’s designed to push your iPhone 6 to its graphical limit is finally ready for all the destruction you and your foes can handle.

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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.”

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Hot gaming deals will get you itching for Black Friday

Hopefully, your trip to the store next Friday won't look like this. Photo: Bungie

Hopefully, your trip to the store on Black Friday won’t look like this. Photo: Bungie

blackfriday logoRetailers and consumers alike love Black Friday for all it represents: pure, unadulterated consumerism. Gamers love sitting on their couches all day, playing video games. Lucky for both groups, you can have it all next weekend.

If you’re looking to save big bucks on hotly anticipated holiday gifts, you’re going to have to get out into the feeding frenzy the day after Thanksgiving and elbow your way to the front to grab some of these amazing gamer-centric deals.

Best Buy,  Toys R Us, Walmart and Target have some great upcoming deals for Black Friday, including some fine Sony PlayStation 4, Nintendo Wii U, and Nintendo 3DS hotness.

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