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Future iPads could have PS Vita-style touch controls on the back

Your next iPad? Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Your next iPad? Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

As we use our iOS devices for more and more tasks in daily life, a big question facing Apple is exactly how to squeeze more functionality out of limited screen real estate. The iPhone 6 Plus and the rumored 12-inch iPad Pro offer the simplest answer to this conundrum: make the devices bigger.

But a new patent application published today offers another potential way around the problem, without compromising the gorgeous one-button simplicity of Apple’s mobile devices.

Filed in August 2014, the “Configurable Input Device” patent application describes how Apple may consider incorporating sensor regions for user input on the back of iPads, thereby opening up a whole new way of using your favorite apps.

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5 short films that will blow your mind during your daily subway ride

Ever wanted to see the world through Superman's eyes? Photo:

Ever wanted to see the world through Superman’s eyes? Photo: Corridor Digital

Okay, so we live in something of a great time for epic movie storytelling — where a combination of the home video market, multiplex theaters, and multi-part franchises mean that filmmakers are no longer pressured to squeeze giant stories into single 90-minute movies.

But while that’s all well and great in some ways, there are definitely occasions upon which we wish movies were a bit more manageable in length: the kind of thing you can comfortably watch over, say, a lunch break.

With that in mind, here are five superb short films you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t watch. They may be short on running-time, but you’ll be surprised at just how many insane stunts, great plot setups and, err, creepy Russian robots they can manage to whip out during 5 or 10 minutes.

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Realmac tells us how it built the best Markdown editor for Mac

If you write, you need Typed. Photo: Realmac Software

If you write, you need Typed. Photo: Realmac Software

Realmac Software has been schooling developers on how to make great apps since 2002. So when they brought Typed to OS X back in December, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Two months on, I’m convinced it’s the best Markdown editor you can get on the Mac, so I spoke with Realmac founder Dan Counsell to find out how he and his team built it.

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Check out this sea of MacBooks at Microsoft’s Windows 10 event


And the take-home message is… Buy Microsoft? Photo: Austen Allred

Microsoft showed off a few neat concepts at yesterday’s Windows 10 conference. But while looking at the stage showed a company secure about its place in the tech world, turning around and facing the audience revealed a very different picture: a room full to bursting with MacBook-wielding journos.

Grasswire co-founder Austen Allred tweeted the above image taken at the event, adding the pithy understatement “A couple MacBooks at the Windows 10 Unveiling…”

If one were needed, it’s yet another reminder for longtime tech followers about just who won the PC war in the long run, despite Microsoft’s dominance during the 1990s. We can’t say we’re brokenhearted about it, either.

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6 ways Microsoft copied Apple with Windows 10 (plus some truly new ideas)


Microsoft just unveiled the future of Windows 10 today in Redmond. Along with some crazy holographic goggles that take on Google Glass and Oculus, company executives revealed the ambitious plan to make the next generation of Windows the first truly universal platform for desktop PCs, laptops, smartphones and more.

The 2.5 hour keynote was packed with new features coming to Windows 10 devices and the Xbox, but eagle-eyed Apple fanboys have already noticed a few ways Microsoft was influenced by some of Apple’s best features.

Here are 5 plays Microsoft stole from Apple’s playbook:

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Microsoft has seen the future, and the future is holograms

With HoloLens, Microsoft enters the age of holographic computing. Photo: Microsoft

With HoloLens, Microsoft enters the age of holographic computing. Photo: Microsoft

Forget about spreadsheets and Word docs — Microsoft thinks the world is ready for holograms.

“We’re dreaming about holograms,” said Microsoft’s Alex Kipman as he introduced Windows Holographic and HoloLens, the company’s new wearable holographic computer. He showed off the device, which is strapped to the head and includes see-through lenses and an array of built-in sensors designed to bring high-def holograms into the real world.

It looks like much more than a dream.

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iPhone 6 is doing better than ever on Samsung’s home turf

Samsung vs. Apple is looking more and more like a horrible mismatch. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Samsung vs. Apple is looking more and more like a horrible mismatch. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Thanks to Apple’s continued success in Japan, and Tim Cook’s big push to expand into China, everyone forgets about one of the most revealing markets the iPhone 6 has scored big in: South Korea. Why is South Korea so revealing? Because it’s none other than the stomping ground of longtime Apple rival, Samsung.

According to a report published Wednesday by Counterpoint Research, Apple is now firmly challenging Samsung in its home ground — with market share in the country rising to 33 percent, from less than 15 percent, based on the success of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Samsung’s market share meanwhile plummeted from 60 percent to 46 percent.

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Apple snaps up music analytics startup as part of possible Beats revamp

The new analytics dashboard for Beats Music? Photo: Musicmetric

The new analytics dashboard for Beats Music? Photo: Musicmetric

Although we’ve heard vague reports about it, all’s been quiet on the Cupertino front about Apple’s plans to relaunch its Beats Music streaming service later this year — possibly as early as February.

Today another piece of the puzzle may have fallen into place, however, with the news that Apple has acquired U.K. startup Semetric, which runs the Musicmetric analytics tool, designed to allow music labels to track sales, BitTorrent, YouTube, Spotify and social-networking data for their artists.

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How Apple would have made Google Glass a success

Photo: Google

Could Apple have done any better? We think so. Photo: Google

Now that Google has pulled Glass off the market, for the time being at least, we’re left with a handful of questions that can’t be easily answered — even by a face-mounted computer.

Questions like, “What went wrong?” And, “What didn’t go wrong?” And, perhaps most enlightening of all, “How would Apple have gotten Glass right?”

While Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior VP of worldwide marketing, was not a fan of Glass, we’re certain Cupertino could have found success with a head-mounted wearable. Here’s how.

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Shoebox inventor’s kit lets your kids build their own iPad gadgets

All you need to build your own iPad inventor's kit.

This is everything you need to build your own iPad inventor’s kit. Photo: Adam Kumpf

Steve Jobs famously didn’t let his kids use an iPad, because he wanted them to avoid getting sucked into a netherworld of endless screens, without real-world engagement. It’s a feeling even the most tech-loving of parents likely knows — and it’s the inspiration behind a new project from MIT graduate Adam Kumpf.

I wrote about Kumpf’s clothespin iPad piano a few months back, and I’m fascinated by his concept for what he calls an iPad inventor’s kit. Essentially it’s a shoebox of easy-to-find household objects that, when paired with the right app, can help kids invent futuristic iPad gadgets — while also teaching them about the fundamental concepts of mechanical systems, physics, basic electronics, interface design and engineering.

Best of all, you can put it together yourself free of charge, thanks to Instructables.

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