The App Store makes more money than Hollywood

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App Store is now the world's top entertainer. Photo: Buster Hein
App Store is now the world's top entertainer. Photo: Buster Hein

Hollywood has long been the sparkling gem of entertainment in the U.S., but when it comes to making money, Apple is schooling the entertainment industry on how to bring in the cash with the App Store.

In 2014, iOS app developers earned more than Hollywood did from U.S. box office revenues, reports top Apple analyst Horace Dediu. According to Asymco’s number crunching, apps are now a bigger digital content business than music, TV programs, movie purchases and rentals combined.

Apple paid out approximately $25 billion total to developers, which means that not only is the App industry healthier than Hollywood, but also on an individual level, some developers are out earning Hollywood stars. The median income for developers is also likely higher than the median income for actors. If you’re looking to strike it rich, forget becoming the next Brad Pitt. Be the next Dong Nguyen.

Check out the chart below:

Lego Bill Gates’ fave reads of 2014 will surprise you

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Can Bill Gates get any cuter?
Can Bill Gates get any cuter? Photo: Bill Gates
Photo: Bill Gates

In a delightful little video from Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the tech billionaire and philanthropist talks about the favorite books he’s read this year. It’s an eclectic collection: Thomas Piketty’s volume on income inequality, Capital in the Twenty-First Century shares equal space with fiction novel The Rosie Effect as well as a book from the late 1970s, Business Adventures, by John Brooks. It’s a rare insight into the mind of one of our biggest business and cultural leaders of the last several decades.

Check out the video below for the whole list, and a charmingly presented stop-motion Lego film starring Bill Gates himself.

8 great new tech books to make the winter months fly by

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Read these tech books now. Thanks us later.

The evenings are getting darker and colder. It can only mean one thing: It's time to get some good books and settle in for the winter. But what to read?

Your humble bibliophiles at Cult of Mac can help. Combing through our bookshelves, we've assembled a list of the books you should make sure you pick up before 2014's out. Now get reading!

Photo: Christian Bucad/Flickr CC

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

Walter Isaacson’s new book might not be quite the monster hit that his 2011 Steve Jobs biography was, but The Innovators is definitely the 2014 tech book you’re most likely to spot someone reading on the bus. Having focused on one of tech's most singular visionaries, The Innovators turns its attention to teams of inventors and computer scientists, offering a look at just how far technology have come over the past century.

If The Innovators has a downside, it’s that it can be cursory in its discussions of specific people. Jobs got 500 pages of his own, but Vannevar Bush, Alan Turing, Doug Engelbart, Robert Noyce, Bill Gates, Tim Berners-Lee, Larry Page and others have to share less than that between them.

Still, if you’re looking for a tech book people will have read this winter, The Innovators should be high on your list.

Photo: Simon & Schuster

The Second Machine Age

To give it its full name, this is The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies. It’s written by MIT academics Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, and despite its title it’s not a book that focuses only on the positives of technology.

Taking in everything from Google’s self-driving cars to the possibility that we might one day be put out of a job by the right algorithm, The Second Machine Age looks forward while Isaacson’s The Innovators looks back. Between them, this as close to a crash-course overview of computing as you could hope for.

Photo: W.W. Norton & Company

To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism

Evgeny Morozov isn’t a critic to everyone’s liking. The guy’s got a shtick, and that shtick involves hating on technology in all its forms. His previous book, The Net Delusion, looked at how the Internet has progressed from a tool capable of freeing oppressed peoples to one used for controlling them. In his follow-up, To Save Everything, Click Here, he examines the subject of “solutionism” — or the idea that, in Apple’s words, whatever the problem, “there’s an app for that.”

Morozov is grouchy, offers few of his own solutions, and is able to take the most well-intentioned tech idea and twist it until it resembles a dystopian nightmare scenario. That doesn’t make To Save Everything, Click Here any less valuable, however. If you want your technology optimism grounded with a bit of critical theory, Morozov will give you plenty to think about.

Photo: PublicAffairs

Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal

Nick Bilton’s Twitter biography, Hatching Twitter, came out late last year, but it’s well worth a read if you haven’t got to it yet. It’s less heavyweight and more narrative than, say, Evgeny Morozov’s To Save Everything, Click Here, but that’s not to suggest in any way that it’s not worth your time. If you’re looking for a story in the vein of The Social Network (although infinitely better than the Ben Mezrich source material), this is certainly it.

Photo: Portfolio Penguin

How Google Works

Writing a book about Google is rapidly becoming a more oversubscribed area than writing about Apple. We’ve had histories from The New Yorker's Ken Auletta and Wired’s Steven Levy. We’ve had employee memoirs such as I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59. And we’ve had academic takedowns of googling, such as The Googlization of Everything (and Why We Should Worry) by Siva Vaidhyanathan.

What more could you possibly want to know about everyone’s favorite (or least favorite) Mountain View company? Answering that question is the thesis behind Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg’s How Google Works. Instead of looking at what Google does, it looks at Google’s management as a company. The results can be problematic — when is Google not? — but the book is the best inside glimpse we’ve had yet.

Photo: Grand Central Publishing

The Quantum Moment: How Planck, Bohr, Einstein, and Heisenberg Taught Us to Love Uncertainty

The Quantum Moment isn’t strictly a tech book, but it’s one I very much enjoyed. It’s an informative and reassuringly accessible book that describes the nigh-unapproachable world of quantum physics.

Authors Robert P. Crease and Alfred Scharff Goldhaber take readers through the work of pioneering physicists such as Planck, Einstein and Bohr, and offer fresh and entertaining takes on concepts such as entanglement and the uncertainty principle without ever talking down to readers. If you’re interested in the science behind time travel and parallel worlds, this is highly recommended.

Photo: W.W. Norton & Company

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It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens

Author danah boyd (yes, it’s still styled like that) returns with It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, a fascinating new book about how teenagers communicate via social media. boyd looks at privacy, safety, danger and bullying in the age of Facebook and, while some of it is depressing stuff about trolls and misogyny, she also looks at the ways the online world can help alienated teens find new ways to engage and establish an identity. If you’re interested in the sociology of technology, this is definitely worth picking up.

Photo: Yale University Press

The Everything Store

Brad Stone's book The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon got Bezos' wife to post an angry review online. Intrigued? Yes, you are.

Photo: Back Bay Books

The Formula: How Algorithms Solve all our Problems ... and Create More

Disclosure: Since this book is mine, I’m including it as a bonus book here, rather than one of the main eight. The Formula: How Algorithms Solve all our Problems ... and Create More is a book about algorithms and the increasing role they play in all our lives, from the way Google and Facebook shape our identities, to neural networks used by Hollywood to create hit movies, to the predictive policing increasingly used around the world. Take a look if you’re interested in the secret formulae that govern our lives.

Photo: Perigee

Evernote Business Notebook will thrill rich kindergartners

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It's worth buying this book just for the pattern embossed on the cover. Photos Charlie Sorrel -- Cult of Mac
It's worth buying this book just for the pattern embossed on the cover. Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

What’s the difference between a businessperson and a regular person? According to Evernote, a businessperson has secrets, whereas a regular person is happy to share everything. This somewhat cynical take is a pretty good model of the world, and it is embodied in the Evernote Business Notebook, a “collabo” with Moleskine that lets you snap/scan a photo of your pages into Evernote, and selectively share the result.

Let’s take a look.

Gadget Watch: Tar, totes, tarmac and notes

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Gadget Watch: July 5, 2014

Load up your manly new leather tote with dreamy camera filters, stick a handmade lens on your Leica, slip into a hideous, advertising-overloaded shirt from Rapha and jump on an outrageously expensive bike that’s unique selling proposition is its paint job. What could be more fun this July 4th weekend?

Tar Field Notes

This is basically three of Blackbird's Pitch Black Field Notes notebooks, stuck together at the spines with real tar and wrapped with a cord that has had its tip dipped in yet more of the special Field Notes tar formula. If it sounds like some kind of Clive Barker-esque nightmare, that’s because it is. Don’t write the names of any loved ones in this book. Just in case, you know… $24

Franklin Tote

I tote-ally want this bag for the summer. It’s a carry-all version of WaterField's Rough Rider messenger bag, fashioned from the same tough leather with colored panels and pockets. Nonslip shoulder grips and interior pockets organize your gear, and a big central chamber will swallow all your other crap. $289

Lee filters for GoPro

Got a GoPro? Want to add some sweet filters in front to pep up your pics? Then you need Lee’s new Bug Action Kits. There are two kits: one for underwater and one for everywhere else. The underwater kit slips green or blue color-correction filters in front of the lens in a special mount, and the dry-land (and air) kit features a polarizer and neutral-density filters, for amping up saturation or cutting out excess light. They’re reasonably priced, too, starting at around £45.

Perar 24mm ƒ4 for Leica M

Still got money left over after wasting ten grand on a Leica M? Then you might want this handmade Perar 24mm ƒ4 pancake lens to go with it. The millimeters-thick sliver features a 10-blade aperture, full manual focus and rangefinder coupling, and can even be converted to fit other cameras. Around $660

Rapha Team Sky jersey

Rapha makes lovely clothes for cyclists that don’t make you look like a dork when you’re off the bike. Usually anyway – the Team Sky jersey is not only as dorky as can be, it is also plastered with logos, so you are effectively paying the $225 asking price to become a human billboard. But you’ll be a very comfortable human billboard, with mesh fabric, angled rear pockets and a full-length zipper. I’ll stick with my merino wool.

S-Works McLaren Tarmac

Not long ago, anyone could buy the best bike in the world. Whichever bike that might have been, it would have been affordable to Average Charlie with maybe just a bit of saving up. But then things got ugly. Take the S-Works McLaren Tarmac, a bike as useless to the non-team rider as an F1 car is useless on the road. This carbon-fiber princess costs $20,000, and its prime feature is that it is painted in the “same location where the $1.2 million McLaren P1 supercar is painted.” If you like, you can read the specs with a calculator close at hand and tot up the weight savings – 30 grams here, 10 grams there. Then you can chuckle to yourself that the dentist who buys this bike will add all that weight back with a single hamburger.

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Cargo Works MacBook Module Sleeve

Strictly utilitarian, the Cargo Works MacBook Module Sleeve will carry your notebook plus anything else you need to take along with it. Carved from a block of 900-denier polyester canvas, closed with YKK zippers and trimmed with “military grade” webbing, the pouch and pockets keeps your MacBook, power supply, trackpad and other essentials all together. Not that you ever actually need a power supply with today’s MacBooks, but you could always stow a delicious sandwich in there instead. $60

Nissin i40 Micro Four Thirds flash

The Nissin i40 is billed as a flash for Micro Four Thirds cameras, but it’ll work just fine with anything that has a hotshoe up top. The MFT part really refers to the size – it’s small enough not to look ridiculous mounted on a tiny camera body.It also has two sweet clicky dials on the back so you can easily set the output power (for manual use) and select the auto-modes if you hate having control of your own photos. $269

Photojojo Dream Scope

It’s Instagram IRL, for your iPhone or other cellphone camera. The Dream Scope clips onto the iPhone and an adjustable filter mount can be finagled into place over the lens. The filters themselves are graduated circles of color, clear at one side and red, blue or yellow at the other. Use alone to hop up the hue of a dull scene, or combine to get totally psychedelic. Best of all, the whole shebang costs just $30, and nobody will be able to snoop your metadata and call you out as a #nofilter faker.