Xiaomi has switched from copying iPhones to copying drones

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Xiaomi is now in the drone business.
Xiaomi is now in the drone business.
Photo: Xiaomi

Xiaomi, aka the biggest copy-cat in tech, has decided to stop ripping off Apple for a bit and instead set its sights on drone maker DJI by unveiling its first cheap knockoff drone, the Mi Drone. And it doesn’t look that bad.

The Mi Drone takes some obvious inspiration from DJI’s Phantom lineup, only its way more affordable. For about $460 you can grab the 4K flier, or if you’re cool with just 1080p video you can buy the cheaper model, priced around $380.

It’s not as portable as other drones we’ve seen like the AirDog, but it comes with 27-minutes of battery life and some killer features that could rival the Phantom 4.

Watch it fly below:

Why the departure of Apple designer Daniel Coster matters

Daniel Coster, fourth from left, is leaving Apple's vaunted industrial design team.
Daniel Coster, fourth from left, is leaving Apple's vaunted industrial design team.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

The departure of veteran Apple industrial designer Daniel Coster is significant because, like the Mafia, no one ever leaves Jony Ive’s design studio.

Coster, a core member of Apple’s design team for more than 20 years, is perhaps only the third member of Ive’s tight-knit industrial design group to leave in almost two decades. And one of the others died.

Tiny ActionCam is perfect for cheap thrillseekers

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A capable, budget-friendly action camera.
A capable, budget-friendly action camera.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

I waited for a GoPro-type video camera that won’t the break the bank, and happily discovered Vivitar’s DVR 786HD ActionCam fits the bill.

It’s tiny, capable and totally scratches my itch for an easy-to-use video camera to wean me off using up my iPhone’s battery to capture longer videos.

I found one of these ActionCams for around $75 or so on Amazon, and while it doesn’t offer all the extreme insanity of a GoPro, it’s a pretty nifty little camera on its own.

Skier swings iPhone 6 on a string to create crazy slo-mo video

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The Centriphone.
The Centriphone.
Photo: Nicolas Vuignier

Swiss freeskier Nicolas Vuignier has created a crazy new photography rig that can create matrix-like slo-mo video, only you don’t need a drone or a bunch of GoPros to pull it off. You just need some string and your iPhone.

Vuignier posted an incredible video of his contraption in action, which he calls the Centriphone. The project has been two years in the making and it looks totally worth it. The device works like a sling that twirls around you to capture 360 views that look absolutely gorgeous in slo-mo. Toss in some powder and half-pipes and it’s an adrenaline junkie’s dream toy.

Watch the Centriphone in action:

Gadget helps GoPro users create jaw-dropping panoramas

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Panoramic pictures are a snap with the Pano5+1.
Panoramic pictures are a snap with the Pano5+1.
Photo: Rogeti

Sometimes a good idea can advance technology without an app or motherboard. Photographer Ruoguo Zhou proved that last year with a hunk of plastic called SLOPES, an indispensable accessory for GoPro users that cradles the camera and provides 20 different angles for shooting.

Zhou again applies simple geometry to plastic with his new device, the Pano5+1, a tripod (or water bottle) head that allows the GoPro shooter to create seamless spherical or cylindrical panorama photographs.