When the best iPad magazine around closes up shop, you know something’s wrong. Photo: The Magazine
When The Magazine ceases publication this December, owner Glenn Fleishman will be closing shop on an ambitious two-year experiment in digital publishing.
It’s not a total surprise — subscriptions were already on a downward trend when Fleishman transitioned from editor to owner of The Magazine after purchasing the publication from Marco Arment last year — and it’s not a total bummer, either.
In fact, Fleishman says he’s feeling pretty good about stopping here: he’s met his obligation to provide Kickstarter backers with their one-year subscriptions, and he’s ending this fascinating experiment while it’s still profitable.
“I’m even able to pay myself an ever-declining hourly rate for my time,” said Fleishman, who spoke with Cult of Mac about what went right, what went wrong, and his feelings about pulling the plug on a project that was his full-time job for the last year and a half.
Andy Rooney once quipped that anytime you have a 50-50 chance of getting something right, there’s a 90% probability you’ll get it wrong.
With that sentiment in mind, a new Kickstarter campaign is in the process of raising funds for a fantastic project: a fully reversible, nigh-unbreakable USB Lightning charging cord for your iPhone. Check out the video after the jump.
Deciding to buy a new iPhone is always easier than figuring out what to do with the old smartphone its replacing. 280 million used smartphones are expected to be shoved back into closest and drawers by the end of 2014 rather than being recycled, but the folks at MindHelix have come up with a novel solution: turn it into a smart-home security robot named Rico.
Rico – a smarthome security device that tracks changes in your home – gives your old iClunker a second life by putting it’s processing power and sensors back to work, so that you can track all the data from various sources in your home, and make changes remotely.
The Rico Kickstarter project just launched this week, and while the little security bot can do a number of things on its own, like monitoring temperature, carbon monoxide, smoke, humidity and motion detection, the device becomes more powerful when you feed it your old smartphone eWaste.
With that in mind, a London-based designer recently launched an intriguing Kickstarter campaign, to create a clothing label aimed at raising awareness about high-tech security.
The clothes are all cleverly constructed around a removable waterproof stealth pocket, made from police-grade shielding fabrics, designed to securely block all Cell, WiFi, GPS and RFID signals to ~100 dB.
These days, most of us have no shortage of extra batteries that can juice up our iPhones and iPads in a pinch. The problem is that none of them are there when you actually need them: you’ve forgotten them at home, or they’re in that other bag.
The bKey is a new Kickstarter project that aims to make that problem a thing of the past by shrinking down an external battery to the size of a key. And if you’ve got a battery on your keychain, you’ll never be without a charge.
"I met a lady and her children who travel to heavily populated areas of St. Louis to play music for tips to buy food each night. The children's broken bikes and few cherished possesions carefully tucked in the run down van they call "home," Tullis says.
Nic Tullis has a summer project that doesn’t involve surfing or working at a frozen-yogurt shop.
The 18-year-old is at the tail end of a Kickstarter campaign to to raise $2,500 that will keep him out photographing with his iPhone 4s. His “Homeless But Not Hopeless” project aims to bring awareness about the homeless population of St. Louis, Missouri, which spiked 12 percent after the economic tsunami hit.
Tullis takes photos of homeless people that show how they live along with normal shots that show off St. Louis. The funding for the project would rent a gallery space to auction off prints as a fundraiser; proceeds would go to two local organizations that help people get back on their feet.
There are various smart light bulbs on the market, with the most famous probably being the Philips Hue connected bulb. But new Kickstarter project Emberlight has come up with a unique (and certainly more wallet-friendly) spin on the concept of how best to light your smart home.
Emberlight has produced a device with the ability to turn any dimmable bulb into a smart light, which users can then operate using their smartphone. The project’s developers boast of multiple uses for the Emberlight: ranging from having the lights in your bedroom mimic a sunrise by slowly lighting up in the morning, to creating custom presets for different lighting effects, to having your lights intelligently turn on and off as you move through your home.
Particularly with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite set to make all your Apple devices work together better than ever, it’s important to have a neat way of keeping your iPhone, iPad and Mac in close proximity.
Looking to solve the problem of messy desktops, a new Kickstarter project aims to create the first all-in-one stand for Apple devices — featuring integrated dock and charging system for your mobile and tablet devices.
Crowdfunding has been one of the best things to happen to entrepreneurs since the invention of the IPO. It's been pretty great for technophiles, too, giving us the chance to get involved with exciting projects at the earliest stage possible. Scouring through the pages of Kickstarter and Indiegogo, we've put together a list of the eight most tantalizing projects we've seen so far. What are they? Peruse our gallery to find out.
SITU is an attractive Bluetooth food scale that talks to your iPad. Created by former Apple employee Michael Grothaus — who came up with the idea while sitting in Apple’s Caffè Macs cafeteria — the device lets you see the exact nutritional content of any food you place on it, based on the food’s weight and broken down into calories, sugar, salt, protein, vitamins and minerals. The device itself is beautiful, too, with a simple but pleasing design that could have come straight out of Jony Ive’s workshop.
“This one weird trick” is usually a cue you’re in a part of the Internet where somebody is trying to convince you a British woman figured out a way to nab a new iPhone for just $10, or a guy worked out a totally safe steroid substitute doctors don’t want you know about. Not so in the case of Lunecase.
This iPhone case's one weird trick isn’t massively useful, but it is pretty cool nonetheless: Lunecase uses your device’s electromagnetic radiation to tell you of alerts you receive, then lights up the appropriate symbol on back to show if you’re getting a phone call or text message. Currently available for pre-order.
Milled from solid aluminum, the Elevation is the iPhone dock we wish Apple would make. What does it have over other docks? Attractive design, physical weight and an easy docking/undocking function, to name a few positives. There have been several versions since the first iteration of the Elevation Dock, but this is one crowdfunding project that definitely connected with the crowd needed to support it. Currently available for sale through its official website.
Apple is looking to out-feature this smartwatch with its long-awaited iWatch, but the Pebble is still a great device that works perfectly with your iPhone. Originally asking for just $100,000 on Kickstarter, the Pebble project ended up raking in a massive $10,266,845 in backer support. From its seamless integration with iOS — for notifications and easy control of iTunes and the like — to its own dedicated watch apps, Pebble is one of the best smartwatches to date.
How good is it? Even if the iWatch can do everything it’s rumored to do, I can still see why some users would stick with the Pebble.
Have you heard the one about Neil Young’s high-definition iPod? I’ll admit I chuckled when I heard about the PonoPlayer, as did a lot of people, but few were laughing when the project racked up $6,225,354 in backer support against a stated goal of $800,000. With "Pono" being a Hawaiian word for “righteous” or “pureness,” the PonoPlayer hopes to deliver the same kind of leap from today’s MP3s that we saw when cassette tapes made way for CDs.
Young’s goal is that our "cultural history should be preserved for enjoyment of the people in its highest possible form forever.” And despite the PonoPlayer's slightly wacky design, he’s convinced it's the tool to accomplish it. Pono will soon begin shipping more than 15,000 PonoPlayers to its Kickstarter backers.
Is there any more obvious sign of the increasing role computers are playing in our lives than the fact that we now use them in the kitchen? Even 20 years ago, the idea that we would want to expose our laptops or desktops to the same surface we were chopping meat and onions on would have seemed preposterous. If you’re anything like me, that changed the moment the iPad came along, and you got used to being able to watch TV or check out a recipe while you were cooking. The MagBak, a super-thin iPad case that lets you magnetically stick your tablet to your fridge door, is particularly great for this application. It’s a neat design and works excellently.
One of the biggest — and arguably most controversial — crowdfunding campaigns was for the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset. One of the biggest because it saw backers pledge $2,437,429 against a $250,000 goal; one of the most controversial because after that influx of capital from the well-meaning public, the Oculus' creators promptly sold pit to Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook empire for the grand sum of $2 billion.
Everyone, with the conspicuous absence of Apple (for now!), is announcing VR projects today. With possible applications in everything from video games to movies, it’s looking like one of the most exciting paradigm shifts to hit tech in years.
As for Oculus’ current status? We’re waiting for the second big iteration, but Oculus VR is currently cracking down on people looking to turn a profit by selling their preordered devices before they even ship.
Compared to the world of virtual reality promised by Oculus, a device that makes your phone beep when you lose it sounds pretty minor. But just because a device solves a relatively run-of-the-mill, commonplace problem doesn’t mean there’s no demand for it. The Duet's Indiegogo campaign proved that perfectly, when it surged past its $5,000 goal by 2,137 percent to raise $106,830.
The Duet is a smart Bluetooth tag that watches out for your iPhone. Working with the PROTAG app, the tag attaches to your key chain, bag or wallet and then searches for your smartphone (or vice versa), allowing you to quickly and easily find whichever of your precious personal belongings have been misplaced. At time of writing, backers have started receiving their devices.
Lightning ports haven’t even been around for two years now, but I think it might be time for Apple to consider replacing it with the MacBook’s most underrated feature: Magsafe power connectors.
Cabin is a new a Kickstarter projected aimed at bringing the MacBook’s awesome MagSafe power connector to the iPhone 5 and 5s, with a battery case that’s so sleek and unapologetically aluminum, you’d think it came straight from Jony Ive’s prototype design lab.