Industrial design team shakeup, redesigned AirPods and more! This week, on The CultCast

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CultCast 385
Reports indicate two new AirPods models are on the way.

This week on The CultCast: Some major changes are in store for Apple’s legendary industrial design team … we discuss. Plus: Apple commits to fixing all MacBook keyboard issues in just one day. This is huge. And it looks like not one but two new versions of the AirPods are on the way, with one being released this year. We’ll fill you in. And the new Powerbeats Pro wireless earphones are almost here, and they look like the higher-quality AirPods we’ve always wanted.

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Episode

#385 – Industrial Design team shakeup!

On the show this week

@erfon / @lewiswallace / @lkahney

This week’s stories

Order Leander’s new book, signed!

Apple sets 24-hour turnaround time for MacBook keyboard repairs

  • Apple has ordered that sticky MacBook keys be repaired fast enough that, whenever possible, the owner can get their computer back the next day.
  • An internal Apple memo said this:
    • “Most keyboard-related repairs will be required to be completed in store until further notice. Additional service parts have been shipped to stores to support the increased volume. These repairs should be prioritized to provide next-day turnaround time.”
  • Keyboard issues were previously being sent out for repairs, which could take a full week.
  • Apple is now prioritizing repairs and they will be done in-store whenever possible. The goal is to get your laptop back to you in 24 hours.
  • My source says they see rarely see issues with the third-gen butterfly keyboard. He works at one of the busiest stores on the the West Coast.
  • However, he says they see 2017 and 2016 MBP keyboard problems all the time.
  • When they do see problems, it’s usually with someone who does a lot of typing.
  • For 2016 and 2017 models, he said most problems stem from debris under the keys.
  • They use a special tool to remove the key, blow it out with canned air, and wipe it out with alcohol. Then it’s “good as new.”

Renowned Apple analyst thinks 2 new AirPods models are on the way

  • Ming-Chi Kuo says Cupertino plans to release two new models of AirPods, either at the end of this year or the start of 2020.
  • The two models Kuo mentions will include a more expensive and a cheaper option. This would make the AirPods product lineup similar to how Apple has been dividing the iPhone since 2013’s iPhone 5c and 5s. Kuo says the pricier AirPods option will include a redesigned form factor. The cheaper models, meanwhile, will retain the same design and pricing as the current model.

Third-gen AirPods may be on the way before end of 2019

  • We may only just be getting used to our second-gen AirPods, but Apple is reportedly gearing up to release its third-generation AirPods.
  • According to a new Digitimes report, the AirPods 3 headphones will go on sale by the end of 2019. The main selling point of the new AirPods will be their smart noise-canceling tech.
  • AirPods are reportedly Apple’s second-best-selling new product of all time.

Powerbeats Pro will only be available in black at launch

  • Apple revealed the Powerbeats Pro wireless earbuds earlier this month with black, ivory, moss and navy color options. The ivory ones look especially sleek, but it appears that only the black ones will be available at launch.
  • Black launch mid-May, others available this summer.
  • The new Powerbeats Pro are the first truly wireless earbuds to come out of the Beats by Dre laboratory. They’re pretty much the same as the new AirPods, only they have better sweat- and water-resistance. Longer battery life is one of the other standout features. Plus, they have the same H1 wireless chip you’ll find in the updated AirPods that came out last month.

Samsung delays Galaxy Fold launch

  • Samsung is hitting the brakes on the launch of its folding smartphone, the Galaxy Fold, and have recalled all the review units.
  • Galaxy Fold units were supposed to start shipping to customers on April 26, costing $1,980 apiece.
  • Samsung says it will reinforce the folding phone’s screen, and set a new release date “in the coming weeks.”
  • If you don’t know, the screens were having all sorts of problems.
  • Several reviewers unknowingly removed a plastic screen protector, causing Galaxy Fold failures.
  • One reviewer found that something got behind the bend of the display and caused a bulge.