Apple’s bold plan to convert casual music fans into streaming subscribers

Apple needs no shelter, thank you.
Apple is hoping to move you from a music collector to a file-streamer.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Imagine clicking iTunes’ “Buy” button to purchase the latest record from Drake or Pharrell Williams, only to get a popup from Apple suggesting you’re behind the times.

That’s what might happen as Apple uses its massive consumer base to push streaming music on the masses, even going so far as prompting iTunes users to switch from buying songs to subscribing to a cloud service.

That sort of mid-purchase upsell is just one possible element of Cupertino’s strategy to shake up the music industry again, and the Apple streaming music plan just might be crazy enough to work.

From dad bod to six pack: Essential gear for bulking up

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Some of the best fitness gadgets don’t fit on your wrist.
Photo: Graham Bower / Cult of Mac Photo: Graham Bower / Cult of Mac

After a brush with cancer prompted me to take my health more seriously, I began using run trackers to start my journey from dad bod to six pack.

At first, running was the only exercise I did. It helped me lose my love handles, but I ended up looking too skinny. I decided it was time to put on some muscle. While Apple Watch and other wearables are great for running, they’re not much help when it comes to bulking up. As I soon discovered, some of the best fitness gadgets don’t fit on your wrist.

Kahney’s Korner: Addicted to ASMR

Leander's got a new addiction: ASMR videos.
Leander's got a new addiction that might be even stronger than the Apple Watch.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

You know something’s up at Cult of Mac headquarters when you see Leander sitting with his fingers steepled, exuding an air of complete calm.

It’s like a zen garden around here ever since I told him about ASMR videos, the strangely addictive YouTube phenomenon that turns quiet sounds into something like an aural orgasm.

Now he can’t get enough of the weirdly creepy clips — and I feel a little like a guy who inadvertently turned his friend on to crack.

Why Jony Ive’s promotion means more design, not less

Jony Ive and Steve Jobs talk during the first public FaceTime demo, which took place at WWDC 2010 in San Francisco.
Jony Ive and Steve Jobs talk during the first public FaceTime demo, which took place at WWDC 2010 in San Francisco.
Photo: Mathieu Thouvenin/Flickr CC

Apple is such a strange and secretive company, the news that Jony Ive has been promoted is instead widely interpreted that he’s on his way out.

The Telegraph revealed Monday that Ive has been promoted to Chief Design Officer and freed from the day-to-day running of Apple’s Industrial Design studio.

This was greeted with speculation that Ive is actually stepping back. He’s taking it easy, many theorized, easing into semi-retirement. He’s already halfway out the door, and will soon move back to the United Kingdom, seems to be the consensus among pundits.

I think this is Kremlinology in the extreme. And a little perverse. Apple is often obtuse, and sometimes disingenuous or even dishonest, but I think this news should be taken at face value.

Apple has characterized the move as a promotion, and it is. Ive has been moved up into a rare position that gives him a ton of freedom. He now has the breathing room to be what he really wants to be: a pure designer.

In fact, the promotion allows him to take on an even stronger and more Steve Jobs-like role. We will see more design work from him, not less.

How gadgets helped me go from dad bod to six pack

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Fitness gadgets saved my life. Sort of.
Fitness gadgets saved my life. Sort of.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

I used to live the classic geek lifestyle, forever hunched over a MacBook, munching on comfort food. Until one day cancer forced me to take my health more seriously.

Now I run marathons and lift weights for fun. But the geek is still strong in me. From GPS watches to bioelectrical impedance analyzers, I’ve used pretty much every kind of fitness gadget.

Here’s the story of how fitness gear helped me get in shape for the first time in my life and swap my middle-aged dad bod for a six pack.