Ex-Android chief declares iPhone 6 ‘the most beautiful smartphone ever built’

Hugo Barra, former Android chief, now works at Xiaomi. Photo: Xiaomi

Hugo Barra, former Android chief, now works at Xiaomi. Photo: Xiaomi

Hugo Barra, the man who once ran Google’s Android division, seems to have more of an interest in the smartphones its rivals are making these days. Speaking at WSJD Live, Barra called Apple’s new iPhone 6 “the most beautiful smartphone ever built” — but he doesn’t think its design language is totally unique.

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Record multi-track songs with your friends no matter where they are

Make beautiful music with your buddies, even if they're not in the same room. Photo: Nick den Engelsman

Make beautiful music with your buddies, even if they’re not in the same room. Photo: Nick den Engelsman

Two years ago, Nick den Engelsman started a band with a couple of friends. As they worked on recording songs, life got in the way, what with getting jobs, getting married, having babies, and the like.

The group decided it would be really nice to have an app that let them record parts of their songs individually, and then combine all the tracks into one song. They couldn’t find one.

Most multi-track recording apps like GarageBand will let you share files across services like Dropbox, but a simple “record and share” app wasn’t available.

This is how Composr was born. Here’s how it works.

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YO! Taco Bell’s new iPhone app is the future of fast food

Photo: Taco Bell

Photo: Taco Bell

What if you could skip the late-night line at Taco Bell by ordering from your phone? It would be Doritos Locos heaven.

Taco Bell is trying to reinvent the drive-through with a new mobile app released today for iOS and Android. The entire Taco Bell menu is available inside the app, with all the customization options you can get in-person (and some app-exclusive food items coming in the future). Most importantly, you can place orders from anywhere and have them ready when you arrive.

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Apple TV adds FYI and Feeln to channel lineup

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Feeln and FYI are Apple TV’s newest additions. Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

Apple added two new channels to the Apple TV today with FYI from the A&E network and Feeln being both being added to the line up.

The FYI channel (formerly known as The Biography Channel) brings a mix of lifestyle programming that features DYI, cooking, home improvement, and fashion shows, while Hallmark’s Feeln channel adds a new family friendly movie streaming service to the Apple set-top box.

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Windows 10 is going to steal OS X’s trackpad gestures

Photo: Apple

Photo: Apple

One of the many, many things that Apple does right is trackpads. Not only is the trackpad hardware that Apple uses in the MacBook lineup the best in the world (seriously, I’ve never used a non-Apple trackpad that even came close), but the software backing it up is world-class.

A lot of that has to do with the library of consistent trackpad gestures Apple has built into OS X over the years. Compared to OS X, Windows feels downright schizophrenic when you’re using gestures. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. But it now appears that Microsoft is putting an end to the trackpad schizophrenia by borrowing Apple’s approach to gestures.

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Logitech unveils sleek new keyboard cases for the iPad Air 2

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If you’re looking for a good keyboard for your iPad Air 2, Logitech has just announced three new beauties, including a pair of sleek keyboard cases.

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5 horror book adaptations you should see, and 5 you should skip

This picture of a wet monkey using an iPhone won a prestigious award

This picture won a Wildlife Photographer Of The Year award. Photo: Marsel Van Oosten

This picture won its photographer a Wildlife Photographer Of The Year award. Photo: Marsel Van Oosten

The top awards for the 50th Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards have been announced at London’s Natural History Museum. More than 42,000 entries from 96 countries were submitted this year, making it the biggest event in the history of the awards.

There were many incredible entries, but the one that really grabbed us was the beautiful photo you see above, taken by Marsel Van Oosten, an extraordinarily talented photographer from the Netherlands. It shows a Japanese monkey submerged in water, using an iPhone.

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Apple invents eco-friendly, flame resistant material for future devices

Do you like your iMac crispy? Photo: The Partners/Kevin Lan

Do you like your iMac crispy? Photo: The Partners/Kevin Lan

A patent published today shows that Apple is investigating new halogen free, flame-retardant materials for use in its devices.

According to Apple, only about 12% of plastics currently contain flame retardants. An increased use of such materials would improve the safety of electrical wiring and electronic devices, and help reduce the number of fires caused by electronic devices as a result.

Halogenated flame retardants have been found to be effective in many plastics, but these are increasingly regulated as a result of environmental concerns. Since sustainability is a big topic for Apple, the company therefore wanted to discover a material that would possess similar fire-retardant qualities, while also not being damaging to the environment.

Tuesday’s patent describes a material with these qualities, that also produces only negligible amounts of toxic substances while burning. As per Apple, the material could be used in devices including the iMac, MacBook Pro, iPhone, and iPad.

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Meet the origami kayak that makes adventure easy

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Taking the Oru Kayak for a ride. Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

I consider myself to be “the adventurous type” but I’ve never once kayaked, thanks to two big hurdles: I live in the desert, and I drive a tiny Fiat that barely fits four grown humans in its cramped interior.

Water activities in these parts of Arizona require a gas-guzzling truck and a garage big enough to store your boats, putting kayaking out of reach for most urban dwellers. Oru Kayak destroys both those necessities with a foldable boat that’s strong enough to take on a lake or river, while also compacting into a box small enough to fit in your closet.

Before the Oru Kayak glided into my life, my go-to outdoor activity was hiking. Point me to a waterfall 15 miles away in the desert and even if that AZ ‘dry heat’ was boiling the tar on the highway, I was totally there. Now that there’s a boat that fits in my car, everything’s changed.

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