This week: Gobble gobble y’aall! Ever wonder what a Thanksgiving meal with Tim Cook might be like? Ok, probably not, but come imagine it with us anyway. Then: why Apple quietly included 4K support in iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2; Amazon is building an ad-supported Netflix streaming competitor; plus stay tuned for our favorite products of the year in the CultCast gifts-we’d-love-to-get gift guide.
Heartily guffaw your way through each week’s best Apple stories! Stream or download new and past episodes of The CultCast now on your Mac or iDevice by subscribing on iTunes, or hit play below and let the chuckles begin.
Our thanks to Fracture for supporting this episode. Fracture prints your photos directly onto glass so they really pop. And they come ready to hang on a wall or sit on your desk and make great gifts. Check them out at Fracture.me and save 15% off any order with code CultCast.
Is it too early to start thinking about the iPhone 7? Not for Apple’s suppliers it’s not. Fabrizio Sciami/Flickr CC
Samsung will snap up the majority of the next generation iPhone A9 chip orders, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will manufacture the chips for the next iPad devices, according to a new report coming out of China.
Although it was previously reported that the two companies were locked in a tussle to pick up the Apple orders, Samsung apparently beat out TSMC by quoting Apple lower prices for the 14nm FinFET process production. Samsung has upped its game to secure Apple orders following its posted dismal Q3 earnings, which were down a whopping 60 percent in operating profit from the same period in 2013.
All the gifts you need for those special someones. Cover design: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
We’re a bit early this week, but wanted to make sure you got all the Cult of Mac goodness in one fine compilation in time for your four-day weekend. Dig in and enjoy a whole slew of gift guides, including those for the women in your life, that special college student, and outdoor adventurers. Plus? Pro tips on surviving that modern ordeal of American culture: Thanksgiving. All that and some of the week’s biggest Apple-related news are ready for you right now. Just download and enjoy!
The Great In-App Purchase Swindle. Photo: Denaflows/Flickr CC
Is there anything more punk rock than spending loads of money on in-app purchases for iPad games? If your answer is a resounding “yes, of course there is,” prepare to argue with former Sex Pistols screecher John “Johnny Rotten” Lydon.
Speaking with the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper, Lydon claims he spent “10,000 f*cking pounds” (around $15,600) during a two-year app-buying bender on his iPad.
“I got into Game of Thrones, Game of War, Real Racing, and I just wanted to up the ante,” he said, making downloading apps sound like the new version of throwing TVs out of hotel windows. “[L]ike an idiot I didn’t check myself. I’ve been checked now. But there’s a kid in me, see? A bit of my childhood was taken from me and I’m determined to bring it back.”
This simple hardware hack adds a piano-style keyboard made of clothespins to your iPad. Photo: Adam Kumpf
The iPad is great for making music, but the lack of physical keys can be a drag for keyboardists. That shortcoming prompted Adam Kumpf to hack together a miniature piano attachment for the tablet using nothing more than wooden clothespins, aluminum foil, a few pieces of stiff cardboard and some rubber bands
Total cost? Less than $5.
Despite his creation’s humble DIY origins, Kumpf thinks the idea of iPad add-ons has the potential to take touchscreens to the next level.
“There’s an innate desire that users have to go beyond what the screen can usually do,” the 31-year-old MIT graduate tells Cult of Mac. “I strongly believe that there’s a world of accessories relating to capacitive touchscreens that’s just waiting to be explored.”
Playstation Vue is bringing cable TV to the iPad. Photo: Sony
Sony announced its plans to replace your cable box today with its new Playstation Vue cloud-based TV service, that offers live access to 75 of cable’s best channels, without a monthly contract. And it’s coming to iPad too.
The invite-only TV service that’s designed to replace cable will begin to roll out in November to beta testers on the Playstation 4 and PS3, but Sony says it plans to bring Vue to ‘non-Sony devices’ like the iPad, at some point in 2015.
Manage your troops, destroy all aliens, save the world. Again. Photo: 2K Games
The excellent strategy game, XCOM: Enemy Within, is out now for mobile devices as an entirely new standalone game for $12.99. If you haven’t played an XCOM game yet, this is a fantastic place to jump in – the graphics are stunning and the gameplay is addictive; like Civilization, you’ll battle it out with alien invaders in turn-based, tactical maps that offer some thrilling alien-busting fun.
In the new game from developer Firaxis and publisher 2K Games you’ll manage the XCOM global headquarters and send your troops out to fight, dealing with both battle mechanics as well as resource allocation and research into new weapons and gear for your soldiers. The new game adds a “rogue” human faction, EXALT, that will offer even more battles and maps.
“XCOM: Enemy Unknown for Mobile proved that turn-based strategy games are a natural fit for touch interfaces,” said lead designer, Firaxis Games’ Ananda Gupta in a statement. “In XCOM: Enemy Within, players can return to the XCOM universe, where they’ll encounter an assortment of new content including powerful new weapons, abilities and strategies, and confront a host of dangerous new alien threats.”
United Airlines is going all-in on the iPad. Photo: United Airlines
Newark International Airport is renounced for its habitually tardy flights, but in an effort to woo (and distract) flyers, United Airlines announced today that it’s planning to give its main terminal an iPad makeover.
The airline is investing $120 million into a upgrade of its main terminal at Newark, which consistently ranks as one of the worst airports in the country, despite being the 14th most busy. To spruce up the terminal, United plans to rollout iPads and other tech flourishes that have become an expectation among fliers now.
We get slammed 24/7 with new Apple rumors. Some are accurate, most are not. To give you a clue about what’s really coming out of Cupertino in the future, we’re busting out our rumor debunker each week to blow up the nonsense.
After staying quiet the past few weeks, the Apple rumor mill is erupting like Mt Kilauea with hot rumors about the Apple Watch’s possible launch date, gossip of the iPad mini getting discontinued, and our first iPhone 7 rumors of the year. Step up to the crystal ball and see which of these rumors are the real deal, and which are just pretenders.
The Verdict: Unbelievable. A tablet that's just 7mm thin and has the battery life and horsepower to be an all-day work machine for professionals? That would be an impressive bit of engineering if Apple pulls it off.
The Verdict: Definitely. Apple's goal to replace all the plastic and paper in your wallet is already starting off better than expected, but Apple Pay and Passbook will need to add some new tricks (like Transit Passes and a Loyalty Program) if it wants to be the undisputed king of mobile wallets.
The Verdict: Probably. Angela Ahrendts told employees that Apple Watch won't hit stores until after Chinese New Year (February 19th). We weren't expecting a January or February launch, but hopefully our wrists will be rocking the Apple Watch before April.
The Verdict: Sounds likely. $500 for a gorgeous stainless steel smartwatch is a pretty decent bargain, especially if you can't swap the bands on the Apple Watch Sport. But $4000 for the gold unit? I hope Apple lets these rich Apple Watch buyers swap out the guts every year, otherwise that $4,000 Apple Watch EDITION will just be a symbol of much you love to blow money.
The Verdict: Too early to tell. Apple invented a new eco-friendly material that could protect Macs from fire damage, but even though Apple's had a few exploding iPhone and iPad incidents, we doubt we'll see this stuff in the Mac within the next 12-18 months. We're still waiting for Apple to make use of its Liquid Metal tech its owned for years.
The Verdict: No way. iPad sales have been struggling lately, but the iPad mini is still the best small tablet on the market, even if it is a gigantic ripoff. Getting rid of the iPad mini so Apple can focus on the 12-inch iPad Pro makes no sense. Apple needs to keep its 7-inch tablet around to cover all sizes.
The Verdict: Say it ain't so Jony. The world doesn't want a 3D display on a smartphone, just ask Amazon. If anyone could pull 3D off, it's Apple, but the only way I see them adding 3D to the iPhone is if it absolutely revolutionizes the iPhone experience, and that just doesn't sound likely.