Why even audiophiles are hyped for HomePod, this week on The CultCast

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Even audiophiles are surprised by HomePod.
Even audiophiles are surprised by HomePod.
Photo: Digital Trends

This week on The CultCast: The magic of HomePod! We’ll tell you about the built-in audio tech that’s getting even the most ardent audiophiles hyped about Apple’s upcoming smart speaker.

Plus: Why iPhone 8’s biggest features may be disabled at launch; how you can grab Apple’s new back-to-school promo without being in college; the fascinating story behind Steve Jobs’ iconic turtleneck; more of iOS 11’s best unknown features; and we wrap with the heartwarming story of why Jobs insisted on always buying his friends’ lunches.

Our thanks to Casper for supporting this episode. Learn why Casper makes the internet’s favorite mattress, and save $50 off your order at casper.com/cultcast.

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CultCast #291 – How the iPhone was made magical
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This week’s links

iPhone 8’s biggest features could be disabled at launch

  • Some of the iPhone 8’s biggest new features could be disabled when the handset makes its debut this September.
  • According to Fast Company, there is “a sense of panic in the air” at Apple as engineers scramble to iron out software bugs that are affecting wireless charging and 3D facial recognition.
  • For both features, the hardware is ready — but the software that controls the features is “not ready for prime time.”
  • If Apple cannot fix the issues, wireless charging could be disabled when the iPhone 8 goes on sale this September. Users would then have to wait for a future iOS update for it to be enabled — just like Portrait Mode on iPhone 7 Plus, which wasn’t ready for launch last fall.
  • Same goes for facial recognition, but this report says Apple will indeed include a touch ID sensor under the screen, so at least you’ll have that.

Apple offers free Beats in latest Back to School promo

  • Apple is giving away free Beats headphones for its latest Back to School promotion.
  • Those who purchase a new iPad Pro — either the 10.5- or 12.9-inch models — will receive a free set of BeatsX wireless earphones worth $149.95. If you don’t want those, you can upgrade to the Powerbeats3 earphones for $50, or to the Solo3 headphones for $150.
  • Those ballers purchasing a qualifying Mac will receive a free pair of Solo3 wireless headphones worth $299.95. Eligible machines include the MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac Pro — but not the more affordable Mac mini, which hasn’t been updated in 1001 days.

Designer preps new version of Steve Jobs’ iconic mock turtleneck

  • As was revealed in Walter Isaacson’s 2011 biography of Jobs, the Apple CEO was first inspired to wear his mock turtleneck uniform following an early 1980s trip to Japan. While there, he asked Sony chairman Akio Morita why everyone in the company’s factories wore uniforms. Jobs learned that this was a way of creating camaraderie between co-workers.
  • Miyake created Sony’s uniforms, which Jobs loved. However, the Jobs could not persuade his colleagues that an Apple uniform was a good idea.
  • As Jobs recalled, “I came back with some samples and told everyone it would be great if we would all wear these vests. Oh man, did I get booed off the stage. Everybody hated the idea.”
  • However, the process led to Jobs becoming good friends with Miyake. When the Apple chief asked the designer to create a one-off uniform he could wear, Miyake created 100 black mock turtlenecks for him. Jobs adopted the unofficial uniform when he returned to Apple in the late 1990s, and was rarely spotted without it from that point on.
  • Fashion designer Issey Miyake, creator of Steve Jobs’ iconic mock turtleneck, is launching a very similar shirt that will go on sale next month for $270.
  • Although not exactly the same, the new creation — referred to as the Semi-Dull T — looks close enough to the now-discontinued original design

The magic behind HomePod gets revealed in new patent

  • According to Apple, its upcoming HomePod smart speaker will “reinvent the way we enjoy music” thanks to its seven-tweeter array, 4-inch woofer, and smart “spatial awareness” technology that lets it “read” its environment.
  • HomePod sets out to solve the problem of sound variability caused by a speaker’s physical location in a room. For instance, placing a speaker in the corner can cause a significant increase in radiated acoustic power at low frequencies. That results in muddy, bass-heavy sound.
  • It utilizes a variety of microphones both inside and outside a sealed speaker enclosure. Onboard processing establishes the correct equalization filter, based on internal pressure levels, speaker displacement, external pressure and other data gathered by the microphone array.
  • Comparing readings from its internal and external microphones allows the speaker Apple describes to dynamically alter its own calibration according to match the environment.
  • Apple says its smart speaker will boast an impressive A8 processor and six external microphones

iOS 11 makes it far easier to organize Home screen app icons

  • Rather than painstakingly dragging individual app icons across the pages of your Home screen, iOS 11 lets you move multiple icons simultaneously
  • You can also touch an app icon, then use your other hand to swipe to a different page to move the app

Built-in Screen recording

  • If you wanted to capture iOS gameplay, or make a funny or informative GIF of on-screen action, you needed to download a third-party app or connect your device to a computer.
  • With iOS 11, Apple baked in sweet functionality that lets you record your iPhone screen effortlessly.

Developer Access to iPhone’s NFC Chip Coming in iOS 11

  • Developers coding for iOS 11 will be able to create apps that can read NFC tags!
  • The NFC chip in the iPhone is currently only used to handle contactless Apple Pay transactions and Passbook check-ins, but a new framework called Core NFC allows developers to build apps that can read and write NFC tags (in iPhone 7 and 7 Plus).

Why Steve Jobs buys lunch

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