The retro backstory behind Apple’s holiday TV ad

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Apple went back to basics to make their touching ad. Photo: Apple
Apple went back to basics to make their touching ad. Photo: Apple

Apple just posted a video on its YouTube channel to explain how they made the most recent TV ad for the holidays, “The Song.”

In the ad, a young woman uses GarageBand to sing a duet with her grandmother’s recording from the past. It’s a touching video that strikes a sentimental chord for many of us with grandparents who came of age back in the 1940s, as well as audio geeks who might remember the technology back then to create records: the audio booth.

Check out the video below for the full story from Apple, including the cool fact that they made an actual record using one of these old audio booths, The Voice-o-graph, for the young woman to sing along with.

8-bit Miyazaki tribute film will fill you with nostalgia

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It's rainy out there for neighbors. Screengrab: Pablo Fernandez Eyre
It's rainy out there for neighbors. Screengrab: Pablo Fernandez Eyre

My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle. Ponyo, Kiki’s Delivery Service. Chances are you’re thinking of these lovely, peaceful, wonderful animated films right now.

And these are just a few of the fantastic and bewitching animated films that Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli have made together over the past couple of decades. Now, however, Miyazaki has retired after making one final, autobiographical film, The Wind Rises. Studio Ghibli has put its film-making on hold, as well, citing restructuring.

Independent filmmaker Pablo Fernandez Eyre was a little sad when he heard the news.

“I decided to make a tribute to show my love for movies like Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away,” he told Cult of Mac in an email. Check out his moving 8-bit piece below.

Experience the proto-internet running on an Apple IIgs in your web browser

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Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 8.19.27 AM

Back when the Apple IIgs was released in 1986, the Internet as we know it didn’t really exist. Instead, we had electronic bulletin boards, or BBSes: simple ASCII portals for email, games, file downloads, chatting, and — yes — even porn, that we all dialed into over phone lines.

Weren’t around to experience this for yourself? Don’t worry about it. You can now experience all the analog splendor of an old-school BBS for yourself, thanks to Level 29. And even better, it all runs in a web browser.

Retrotastic Pippin portable takes its place in mythical Apple pantheon

This portable Pippin design is just one of the faux Apple products in Mike Donovan's portfolio of vintage reveries. Images: Mike Donovan
This portable Pippin design is just one of the faux Apple products in Mike Donovan's portfolio of retro reveries. Images: Mike Donovan

Imagine a world in which an Apple portable called Pippin rules the video game industry. Nintendo and Sony are nothing more than petrified corpses after a surprise attack from Cupertino vaporizes their platforms with a portable device so simple, so magical, that Michael Spindler would have let John Sculley waterboard him with Pepsi to make it a reality.

That’s the world imagined by Mike Donovan, a New York City designer who draws faux prototypes of everything from retro iPads to iPhones based on the iMac G3. His retrotastic mockup of the gaming gadget that never was, which he shared exclusively with Cult of Mac, takes the concept of Apple’s failed Pippin video game platform to its logical, period-appropriate extension.

“We’re inundated with new tech choices at almost every turn but there is something so alluring about the fun and simplicity of those early ’80s and ’90s gadgets,” Donovan told Cult of Mac. “Plus, who doesn’t love a good throwback?”

Grace Encore, The Wi-Fi Speaker From the 80s

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Black-ash finish? Check. Big four-inch woofer? Check. Plenty of knobs and dials and even a built-in screen? Check, check, check! If you were to glance sideways at the Grace Encore (GDI-IRC7500) Stereo System whilst simultaneously taking some experimental military drug that altered your perception of time, you’d think that the Encore was from the 1980s.