One of the things that makes a Mac a Mac is the beautiful startup sound it makes when you turn it on: a soothing, sonorous noise that sounds like electronic harp strings being plucked as you enter the gardens of Zen.
But it wasn’t always this way. When the original Macintosh was released, the startup sound was horrible. Yet it wasn’t Steve Jobs who fixed it. It was an unknown sound engineer who hated it with such a passion that he defied his bosses and literally snuck it onto the Mac.
This week on The CultCast: Just when you thought it was safe to close your wallet, Apple goes and announces yet another hardware event. Yessir, Oct. 16 is just days away, and if you’re eyeballin’ a new Mac or iPad, don’t miss our event-day predictions. Plus—-ever wonder what it’s like to have a brand new iPhone 6 Plus stolen right out of your hands? Well we can tell you firsthand, and we want your help to catch the crooks.
Chuckle 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 lynda.com for sponsoring this episode! Learn virtually any application at your own pace from expert-taught video tutorials at lynda.com.
Watch Apple unveil its new iPads live. Screenshot: Apple.com
With Apple’s last keynote live stream being an utter disaster, we weren’t holding out much hope for another one in the foreseeable future. But the company has today posted a note on its website that confirms you will be able to tune into next Thursday’s iPad event via the Apple website.
To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports about the death of PCs have been greatly exaggerated. Or they have for Apple, at least.
According to new numbers from market analysts IDC, Apple sold an impressive 4.9 million Macs in the third quarter of 2014, representing an overall increase of 8.9% year-over-year. What does that mean? In short, that Apple is now in the top five PC vendors worldwide based on number of units shipped.
Today Twitter updated its painfully neglected Mac app with more features for sharing photos. The app’s first update in months brings the ability to share photos over DM and add/view up to four photos in a single tweet. Bug and performance fixes have also been included.
Who makes the best computers around? We think you know the answer to that. Photo: ACSI
Apple has cemented its place atop the American Customer Satisfaction Index, a sort of Michelin guide for customer service, for the eleventh straight year.
In a new report released by ACSI, Apple continued its lead over big name rivals such as Dell, Acer, Hewlett-Packard and the catch-all “All Others” when it comes to satisfaction with computing devices — including desktops, laptops and tablets. Scores are based on everything from pre-sale customer expectations, to perceived value and quality, customer complaint incidents and overall consumer loyalty.
For 30 years, Macworld has chronicled all things Apple-related. Photo: Macworld cover, December 2011
The closing of Macworld is the end of an era. Thirty years ago, the publication was the midwife to the launch of the Macintosh.
Cult of Mac has a series of exclusive recollections by the magazine’s founder Dave Bunnell, which chronicle the journalist’s close encounters with a young and volatile Steve Jobs, the Mac’s difficult gestation and the birth of modern desktop computing. It’s a great trip down memory lane — with plenty of outbursts, last-minute changes and even a cameo by Ella Fitzgerald.
Widget, widgets, widgets. Boy, have we got some widgets for you. And text. Plain text. Plain old text, turned into a calculator. And widgets. Did I mention those? Weather widgets. Battery widgets. And yes, text widgets.
Read all about these new widgets and other new apps in this week's App Watch.
WunderStation from Weather Underground hooks into thousands of privately owned weather stations and presents their data in an iPad app. The smoothly animated graphs are beautiful and can tell you way more than you’d ever want to know about rainfall, barometric pressure and even UV. If you have stations near you, it’s pretty rad. If not, no biggie – the app is $Free
Filthy name, great app. Droool is a “photo gallery for your social networks.” Browse pictures from Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook and more, and index pictures from iCloud and other local folders without moving or copying the files. It’s fast, simple and looks great, and it’s free with in-app purchases. $Free
Terrible name, great app. iBetterCharge monitors your iOS devices’ battery level over your Wi-Fi network, using the same connection that iTunes Wi-Fi sync would use, if you still synced your iPhone with your computer in the space year of 2014. It can pop up warnings when the battery drops to a preset level, and a click on the menu bar shows you the level of all the devices on the network. $Free
This is what the Internet is made for. Photogrammar puts 170,000 Depression-era photos in a searchable, browsable archive. Explore on an interactive map, search or get into the Labs section and browse by metadata sourced from the U.S. Farm Security Administration and Office of War Information archives. Warning: serious time-sink. $Free
PlainTextMenu takes the text on your Mac’s clipboard and transmogrifies it into something useful. It strips out formatting, so you never get big ugly Comic Sans when pasting from a colleague’s Word report, and it can turn the text to uppercase, lowercase or title case along the way. From the school of One Thing Well. $1
Web service re/spin takes Spotify playlists and transforms them into Rdio playlists. If someone’s going to share a playlist, it usually comes from Spotify, and re/spin works with published Spotify playlists. Or you can just paste in a track list copied right from the app. It also works with Last.fm. Remember when PCs couldn’t read Mac floppy disks? It’s like fixing that all over again. $Free
You know all those hard drives grafted onto your Mac? Keep a close eye on them with StorageStatus, an app that turns hard drives into traffic lights in your menu bar and changes their colors when they do something. It knows when they are sleeping, it knows when they’re awake, and it knows when they’ve been good or bad. $3
Not new, but awesome nonetheless. Calca is as close as you’ll get to a plain text calculator. Tap in complex formulas or simple sums and see the results right there in a plain text document. Set variables or just add numbers. And see all your pages synced over iCloud between Mac, iPhone and iPad versions, as well as Windows(!). I love Calca for its balance of simplicity and power. From $3
Finally, a version for the iPad. TVShow Time tracks your favorite TV shows and tells you when they’re on. Browse shows and show synopses, and get notifications when something is about to air. See the shows on a calendar, view news about your shows and read about new shows. It’s pretty comprehensive, and looks great on the big iPad screen. $3
Before and after photos show the Mac’s radical reinvention of our desktops. Image courtesy BestReviews
Remember your desk from the ’80s? If you were even alive back then it probably featured an old Macintosh surrounded by a disgusting mess of books, letters, a telephone, a fax machine and probably even a Rolodex. But thanks to the rapid pace of technology, you’d be hard-pressed to find any of those items on the modern college student’s desk.