Nicole Martinelli, author at Cult of Mac

Remembering Macworld, a young Steve Jobs and the birth of the Macintosh


For 30 years, Macworld has chronicled all things Apple-related. Photo: Macworld cover, December 2011
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.

Read on for the full series.

Combating Apple’s data domination with … a wiki?


CC-licensed, via  Thomas Hawk on Flickr.
The Free Software Foundation's war on DRM continues. Photo: Thomas Hawk/Flickr CC

Like clockwork, along with Apple’s new product announcements came a protest against them. The Free Software Foundation’s anti-DRM campaign took a timely if predictable potshot against the Apple Watch and Apple Pay after the products were unveiled Tuesday.

“It is astonishing to see so much of the technology press acting as Apple’s marketing arm,” said FSF executive director John Sullivan in a statement Tuesday after Cupertino’s big Apple Watch reveal. “What’s on display today is widespread complicity in hiding the most newsworthy aspect of the announcement — Apple’s continuing war on individual computer user freedom, and by extension, free speech, free commerce, free association, privacy, and technological innovation.”

Apple Pay just killed your wallet


Apple's partners went to extremes to keep news of Cupertino's mobile payments entry quiet.
Apple's partners went to extremes to keep news of Cupertino's mobile payments entry quiet.

The new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have bigger screens, badder cameras and you can use them in place of your wallet.

Apple just took the wraps off Apple Pay, its much-rumored mobile payments service. CEO Tim Cook is so excited about it that he looped the demo over and over during the keynote. It’s being touted as an “easy, secure and private” way to get your caffe latte on the run.

One thing’s for sure: this is a massive shift in the payments industry.

Meet the new iPhones: bigger screens but thinner, faster, smarter and cheaper


Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web
Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web

As expected, the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus offer more screen space, with 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens respectively.

The exciting thing?

Apple has pulled off a major engineering miracle: they’re also thinner, faster and smarter than their older cousins — and you don’t have to be richer to get your hands on one. You’ll also be able to use these phones as wallets and health trackers, marking a huge advance in how smart our phones really are.

When Tim Cook started off the keynote by saying “Today, we are pleased to announce the biggest advancement in iPhone,” we were slightly wary of the hyperbole as journalists should be. But after getting a good look at the two new iPhones, we couldn’t agree with him more.

Meet the designer behind the world’s most drool-worthy Apple mockups


A more colorful version of the iWatch, mimicking Apple's art for the iPhone 5c.
Hajek made this in honor of Angela Ahrendts signing on to Apple.
The version that "Mr. T" would approve, Hajek says.
A makeover is long overdue for Apple TV.
The iPhone 6 and the iWatch, in Hajek's final imaginings.
Apple is rumored to be making its way into the home market. Here's what Hajek thinks an Apple-designed control unit would look like.
When Apple made its largest acquisition ever, Hajek thought up a logo pair of Beats headphones to commemorate the occassion.
A look at the slimmer, larger iPhone 6.

Martin Hajek has developed a recipe of sorts for crafting stunning 3-D renderings of future Apple products that get shared around the Web and even used in advertisements while the world awaits the Cupertino company’s big reveal.

“My inspiration comes from real-life Apple products, combined with a good dose of internet rumors, a dash of common sense and imagination sprinkled on top,” the 39-year-old told Cult of Mac. “What I do is quite simply ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ — with the giants in question being Jony Ive and his design team.”

Apple’s secrecy surrounding its upcoming products is legendary (notwithstanding one memorable breach by the Pentagon). Everyone wants to know what insanely great products Apple has up its sleeve, so the company goes to great lengths to protect its secrets. Workers prepping for today’s big event have had their phone cameras plugged with tamperproof tape so they can’t leak anything spied before Tim Cook takes the stage.

Get your Apple keynote bingo cards!


Apple bingo card, courtesy
Apple bingo card, courtesy

We’re in a frenzy of anticipation about Apple’s September 9 event. Just like you, we’re expecting big and bigger iPhones, the iWatch and something to take the stage of that immense box Apple has constructed outside the Flint Center auditorium.

As we tweet, liveblog and take you hands-on with new products from what may be the most important Apple event in years, you can play along with this awesome set of free bingo cards, courtesy mobile PR firm Appency.

Can’t wait? eBay’s got your Apple ‘health kit’ now


We’ve got high hopes for Apple’s healthkit and integration with the long-awaited iWatch. But why wait to slough off the computer tan and desk serf paunch? Here are some fantastic Apple products -- some originals from Cupertino and fanciful knockoffs -- that you can buy right now on eBay to help you get in shape. Once you're there, you can show off your trim physique with this latex shirt with Apple logo, $64.
It came from the 90s: this sporty stopwatch with logo lanyard is sure to make you stand out on the track and field and is quite a steal at $89.99.
Any huffing and puffing you do will be drowned out by the "oohs" and "ahs" as the exertions from your glistening brow are mopped up with this "Magic of Apple" terrycloth headband with velcro closure. $9.99.
Because on your new calorie-restricted Paleo diet, the only sweet things you're going to be laying eyes on are these delicious old Macs. $79.90.
While we're pretty sure this didn't come straight outta Cupertino, you've got to love the idea of carrying your own sleek utensils in an Apple-logo container. If you've always got it with you, there's no excuse for shoving every repast into your gaping maw. Slow down, use a fork and knife and savor every bite with Zen-like grace. $59.99
This beauty could double as a yoga mat or landing pad for the burpees you intend to bust out. This rare item is listed for $240.
Another fabbo Apple artifact from the 90s, this pin has a message we can all get behind while we get healthy. $10.99
This is another example of just how much people the world over love Apple - they'll put the beloved logo on just about anything. Every time you want to light up the idea of sullying the symbol of your favorite company will give you pause and possibly the strength to kick the habit. Or use a vape instead. $19.99

9 designs that show how insanely great Marc Newson will be at Apple



We know he pals around with Apple design chief Jony Ive and that he's created some pretty amazing watches (and hourglasses) for Ikepod. And that the design world is buzzing about what he might do with the iWatch and other futuristic Apple devices.

Born in Sydney, Australia, in 1963, Newson spent much of his time abroad in Europe and Asia. As a child, he said he was "entranced by the space-age utopia of The Jetsons, the early 1960s television cartoon about a family who zipped around in personal aerocars."

Want to know more? Of course you do. Here's a telling look at some of the most impressive designs in Newson's stunning portfolio.

While studying sculpture and jewelry at the Sydney College of the Arts, Newson used a grant from the Australian Crafts Council to fashion the Lockheed Lounge, which rocketed him to worldwide attention in 1986.

This "fluid metallic form, like a giant blob of mercury" was based "loosely, very loosely" on the 18th-century chaise longues he had seen in French paintings. To build it, he spent "several miserable months" hammering hundreds of aluminum panels onto a handmade fiberglass mold. The riveted recliner has set three consecutive world records at auction, last changing hands for $1.6 million.

After Newson moved to London, he dug into a proto-steampunk aesthetic with Pod of Drawers, allegedly fashioning this iconic piece from materials pilfered from his day job at an industrial workshop. It features hand-beaten and cut aluminum panels riveted to a fiberglass structure that's fitted with five drawers and sports painted wood feet.

This scrappy work fetched more than $1 million the last time it went on the auction block.

Photo: Wikipedia.

Further exploring the idea of the chair, Newson went all soft with this groundbreaking Embryo design for Italian design house Cappellini in 1988. He has said this was the first piece where he felt he had developed a discernible style. The fluid lines and innovative take (the original was covered in wetsuit material) would become signatures of his work.

A lot of things from the '80s have fallen out of fashion (leg warmers, anyone?) but you can still snap up one of these in five colors for $5,462.

Photo: Sheila Thompson/Flickr

The peripatetic designer departed for Paris next, where he scrambled for commissions until he almost starved. The $20,000 he got for designing this Shiseido perfume bottle went to indulge a passion he shares with Jony Ive: He bought an Aston Martin DB4 and roared around town to drown out the hunger pangs.

The elegant perfume bottle was Newson's first foray into mass consumer products, but he went on to craft eyeglasses, bicycles, cars, watches, doorstops, private and commercial aircraft and even yachts.

"The thing that has always driven me as a designer," Newson once said, "is feeling pissed off by the shitty stuff around me and wanting to make it better." He turned his hand to designing watches with these sleek "pod watches" in the late '80s and later co-founded watchmaker Ikepod in 1994 with Swiss entrepreneur Oliver Ike.

Photo: Marc

Newson spent almost a year in Italy's car capital, Turin, designing the 021C concept car for Ford Ghia. When it launched, he said he "wanted it to possess the simplicity and directness and freshness of a child’s drawing of a car." The original was a dark, rusty orange and the seats swivel — much like his chairs.

Photo: London Design Museum

Newson launched his career in the airline biz with Qantas in 2002, designing the revolutionary SkyBed and winning praise in the form of the Australian Design Award and The Chicago Athenaeum Good Design Award.

His collaboration with Qantas helped him snag both those awards again in 2009, along with the Conde Nast Traveller Innovation & Design Award for the interiors of the Airbus 380.

Photo: MN Aerospace

The friendly skies were the backdrop for Newson's work once again with the concept jet Kelvin40, commissioned by Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain in 2004. "If I hadn't quit college, I would have become an aeronautics engineer," Newson said.

That same year, he was the subject of a survey exhibit at London's Design Museum. His work has been featured in design museums around the world, from the Vitra to the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Photo: Marc

In 2012, Newson was awarded the CBE for services to design in the United Kingdom and worldwide. When asked what objects bugged him the most, he replied: “Ninety-nine percent of all cars. Ninety-nine percent of all sneakers. Ninety-nine percent of all cellphones. Ninety-nine percent of all door handles."

Above is his luxe bathtub, part of a 22-piece line for Caroma, which earned him the 2014 Good Design Award.

Apple’s redesign of iTunes Connect leaves devs angry, confused


It's a whole new world...sort of.
It's a whole new world...sort of.

Developers logging on to iTunes Connect to update their apps this morning got an eyeful of its new iOS 8-influenced design — and many didn’t like what they saw.

Instead of the past’s squat, flat look dominated by dark gray, the main view at the developer website now opens up with acres of white space and a cheery, sky-blue font we’ve all become accustomed to since iOS 7. Apple warned devs of the coming overhaul at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, but it wasn’t clear exactly when the new design would roll out.

The pretty new look was hard to appreciate, though, when trying to push out a new release or version of your app — as we discovered trying to publish the latest edition of Cult of Mac magazine.

7 weird and wonderful Apple awards — and one that got away



There aren't many consumer electronics companies that win kudos for their excellence in other realms. Apple did just that recently when it earned an Emmy in the Creative Arts category for its commercial "Misunderstood." Apple has been named the most admired, most innovative company and the best brand too many times to count. Its leaders, designers and products have been feted more than a prize calf at the state fair.

Here are some of the other high honors and quirky tributes Apple has racked up over the years — plus one title that no one at Apple seems to merit.

Photo: Wikipedia

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were crowned National Medal of Technology and Innovation laureates by Ronald Reagan in 1985 for "their development and introduction of the personal computer which has sparked the birth of a new industry extending the power of the computer to individual users."

It was the first year of the award; other winners included IBM and AT&T Bell Laboratories. Not bad for a pair of college dropouts.

Photo: Wikipedia

Apple first got its hands around the winged statuette in 2001 with a Primetime Engineering Award earned for FireWire.

"Transferring data at up to 400Mbps, FireWire delivers more than 30 times the bandwidth of the popular USB peripheral standard," Apple's press release boasted at the time. "With its high data-transfer speed and 'hot plug-and-play' capability, FireWire is the interface of choice for today’s digital audio and video devices, as well as external hard drives and other high-speed peripherals."

Photo: Manu/Flickr

While the fuzzy, wacky, colorful Muppets might seem aesthetically at odds with, well, everything Apple does, there's been a mutual appreciation dating back to the "Think Different" campaign, which featured Muppet maestro Jim Henson.

The Jim Henson Honors go to folks who make the world a better place by inspiring people to celebrate life.

"Steve Jobs has been a leader in the ongoing efforts to develop technologies that allow users to effortlessly express themselves," said Lisa Henson when the award was handed to Jobs in 2010.

Photo: Peter/Flickr

In 1987, Steve Jobs won the Jefferson Award, also known as the Samuel S. Beard Award, recognizing "individuals whose public service has had a broad national impact."

The awards were launched in 1972 by Beard, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and U.S. Senator Robert Taft Jr. It's an honor Jobs shares with astronaut Sally Ride and labor leader Joseph Yablonski.

Photo: Virtual Museum of Public Service

Sir Jonathan Ive has won armfuls of honors, including the knighthood, for his groundbreaking designs. But not everyone can get a Blue Peter badge from the beloved BBC children's program of the same name.

“Ive is an inspiration to children around the world and we were ecstatic to hear his comments and design advice to our viewers who will remember such feedback for a lifetime,” said Ewan Vinnicombe, acting editor of Blue Peter.

Photo: BBC

In 2002, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences gave Apple a technical Grammy, the first ever awarded to a computer maker.

“We love music and are thrilled to play a part in how music is created and enjoyed,” said Steve Jobs. “We are honored to be receiving our industry’s first Technical Grammy and we look forward to making many more contributions in the years ahead.”

Photo: Michael Tsai/Flickr

Steve Wozniak was awarded the Isaac Asimov Science Award in 2011.

"While most people would know Wozniak from his days at Apple, he continues to exhibit his ingenuity and generosity in other settings. A noted philanthropist, Wozniak is a committed advocate for science and computer education," organizers said, citing his funding of science schools in Los Gatos, California, and a summer camp for tech-minded kids.

He shares the title with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Robert Sapolsky and Eugenie Scott.

Photo: Wikipedia

The one that got away: Time's Man of the Year.

This is one of those honors you'd expect Apple to win. But alas, no. According to Walter Isaacson's biography, Steve Jobs thought he was up for consideration the year the magazine's editors decided to go with the personal computer instead of a person. Jobs gave access to the reporters for what he thought was a cover story and found the profile they wrote about him "so awful that I actually cried."

In 2012, Tim Cook was in the running, but had to settle for third runner-up status. "Like an Apple product, Cook runs smooth and fast," the magazine wrote. Just not enough to compete with Barack Obama, who edged him out for the title.