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Preview Apple’s New Covent Garden Store (Video)




Electric Pig editor and lucky duck James Holland gives us a walk through Apple’s store in Covent Garden before it opens on Saturday, August 7.

Some of us at Cult of Mac weren’t too convinced of the store’s aesthetic appeal from the pics we posted yesterday — but on further inspection this new retail outlet is, well, stunning.

The store has two, count ’em two, of Apple’s signature glass staircases, one spiral and one square,  nicely offset by the exposed brick.

We also especially like London’s “largest pigeon magnet!”

Via Electric Pig

In Apple’s TV Ads, People Holding iPhones The “Wrong” Way



This is awesome: A Tublr blog with a boatload of screencaps from Apple’s TV ads showing people holding their iPhones the wrong way.

Earlier today, Steve Jobs said the iPhone 4 ‘Death Grip’ was a “non-issue” and people should “Just avoid holding it in that way.”

Which of course is total bullshit, as Apple’s own ads show.

Here’s some more, including shots of Jobs himself clutching his iPhone in his left hand:

Surprise: iPad Productivity Apps Top Downloads


CC-licensed, thanks to mcmorgan08 on Flickr.
CC-licensed, thanks to mcmorgan08 on Flickr.

If you believe iPads are not just for keeping the offspring entertained during car trips, there are numbers to back that up.

Half of the top ten paid iPad apps are “productivity tools,” in other words, apps that grown-ups use for work.

According to Distimo, a start-up that analyzes app stats, the top two paid iPad apps in April are word processor Pages and Goodreader, a large-file PDF enabler.

Pinball HD is the only game in the top five paid apps at spot no. 3, followed by note taker app Penultimate and presentation app Keynote.  (You can download the full report here.)

Daily Deals: $928 MacBook Pro, App Store Price Drops, $39 1GB iPod Shuffle




I hope our U.S. audience had a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend. For everyone else, let’s get straight to today’s deals. First up is an Apple Store deal on unibody MacBook Pros, starting at $929 for a Core 2 Duo 2.26GHz machine. Also: the latest batch of App Store price drops, including “Robin Hood – the Return of Richard.” Pretty soon, we’ll be finding iPod Shuffles in our boxes of Cracker Jacks. Until then, the next best thing: a 2nd generation 1GB Shuffle for $39.

Along the way we’ll take a look at other Apple software, such as NAVIGON’s MobileNavigator software for the iPhone and MacCleanse 2 to erase sensitive data. As always, details on these and many other items are available on CoM’s “Daily Deals” page right after the jump.

Foxconn: There’s A “Fine Line” Between Work And Slavery


Workers install suicide netting at a Foxconn plant. Image: NYT.
Workers install suicide netting at a Foxconn plant. Image: NYT.

The Asian electronics giant Foxconn is in full damage control mode after yet another suicide at one its giant Chinese factories, which cheaply pump out electronics for Apple and others. But one of the company’s representatives made an unfortunate statement when talking about the conditions at its factories:

“There is a fine line between productivity and regimentation and inhumane treatment,” said Louis Woo, an aide to Mr. Gou at Hon Hai. “I hope we treat our workers with dignity and respect.”

But of course, that’s not true at all. There’s a huge difference between productivity and inhumane treatment, not a “fine line.” And it’s that gap that makes all the difference.

Foxconn has a reputation for a stressful and oppressive work atmosphere. Employees are paid relatively well, but are pushed hard to produce and are not allowed to talk to each other during work, according to reports. The work is repetitive, mind-numbing and robotic. Stress, isolation and hopelessness: it’s a recipe for trouble.

Apple and the other tech companies that are Foxconn’s customers must bear some responsibility here. It’s time Apple stepped up its annual audit of contractors and lived up to its promise of “ensuring the highest standards of social responsibility.”

Dollar-App Mountain-Bike Simulator Rides Onto The iPhone


extreme sports biker

Two of my favorite gadgets to hit up when rec time rolls around are my iPhone and my mountain bike. Combining the two together might result in a sort of Shangri-la-like experience, but until now the only option available to me would have been something like the almost surely life-threatening activity of negotiating twisty singletrack while attempting to score the next mining license in Space Miner.

But the new Xtreme Sports: Biker iPhone app seems a saner alternative that’ll have much less impact on my health insurance. The first-person freeride mountain-bike simulator rolls out 25 levels across forest, mountain, urban, winter and park environments — all for a buck. Pretty sick, dude.

I haven’t tried it yet, but if I actually get to the point where my time is free, it seems a good bet I’ll be trading a dollar for a ride.

Bloomberg: Apple Competing With Google For Mobile Acquisitions



Reversing their long-embraced policy of buying other companies rarely, Apple’s been on a shopping spree the past six months with the acquisition of Quattro Wireless, Lala, Intrinsity and Siri. What’s behind it?

Bloomberg has an interesting overview of Apple’s evolving acquisition strategy. What it comes down to, at the end of the day? Staying ahead of Google in the mobile space.

According to analyst Brian Marshall, Apple “learned a good lesson with AdMob.” Apple let the acquisition process linger too long, allowing Google to outbid them. Instead, they had to settle for “second-fiddle Quattro.”

The Mophie Juice Pack Air, Bold Booster Pack With A Short Attention Span [Review]


mophie cover  76

Most (if not all) of the cases we’ve reviewed here at the Cult during the past three weeks of iPhone Case Week just lay around lazily like some muscle-bound Miami Beach sunbather, looking good and maybe keeping the pretty iPhone from getting beat up. But the Mophie Juice Pack Air is different; It doesn’t just sit around, man. It’s charging up and down the beach — and it wants to take the iPhone with it.

iBreviary Prayer App Now Gratis in iTunes



The Italian priest who launched prayer app iBreviary has now slashed the price from $0.99 to gratis.

Given the popularity of the app, Don Paolo Padrini decided to give the current version away for free. (Profits from the app previously went to refurbishing a parish shelter.)

Available in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Latin and an  Ambrosian Rite version (for mobile Milanese), this virtual breviary, or book of hours, gives the morning prayer, evening prayer and night prayer or complines for the day. It is the first app of its kind to obtain approval from the Vatican.

As a paid app, it was in the top 100 of its category (reference) beating out similar mobile prayer helpers like iPieta and iMissal.

What’s next? Don Padrini tells us his developers are hard at work on an iPad version they hope will be ready to launch when the new device hits stores in March.

The High-Octane TruePower iV Pro Backpack Battery Is Like Carrying Around A Gas Station In Your Pocket [Review]


iV pro cover 75

The iPhone 3GS is like a Formula One car: fast, sleek and a thrill to drive. And then, every hour or so, it has to hit the pits to refuel (only, unlike refueling an F1 car, it takes hours, not seconds). Now, imagine if every F1 car had button on the steering wheel that the driver could punch, and a fuel cell would drop from some kind of team drone-copter and refuel the car while it was rocketing around the track. Pretty cool, right? Well, that’s what using the TruePower iV Pro is like.