Jony Ive talks earbuds inspired by stormtroopers, Apple Park

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AirPods EarPods
Ive had the dark side in mind while designing Apple earbuds.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Jony Ive has revealed that the company’s iconic white earbuds were inspired by Star Wars stormtroopers.

In a new interview, in which he also talks at length about Apple Park, the Apple design chief describes how he had the dark side in mind while creating them for the iPod.

Best wireless Bluetooth headphones for iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus

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AirPods
Maybe the best thing Apple has invented in years.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Updated: May 11, 2017

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are Apple’s first iPhones to drop the headphone jack. And while you can keep using your old headphones by plugging them into the adapter that comes in the box, that gets old as soon as you discover you left the little dongle at home connected to a speaker, and you can’t listen to any music.

You’ve got two options. One, stick with a cable and buy some Lightning headphones. That’s fine, but then you can only use them with recent-vintage iOS devices, and you can’t charge your device while you use them. Or two, go wireless. That means Bluetooth, either the vanilla kind, or Apple’s augmented Bluetooth headphones, with the special W1 chip added to make pairing easier.

Will Apple’s Siri smart speaker suck? Catch the discussion on The CultCast

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Would you want a Siri-powered smart speaker?
Would you want a Siri-powered smart speaker?
Image: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

This week on The CultCast: Apple’s secret Siri speaker is just around the corner — we’ll tell you everything (we think) we know about it. Plus: Why AirPods are the best product Apple’s made in years; and why Microsoft’s MacBook clone is actually great for Apple fans.

Finally, we’ll deconstruct and decode Tim Cook’s mysterious and quickly deleted accidental tweet, and you’ll be shocked at the truth!

Our thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode. It’s simple to accept Apple Pay and sell your wares with your very own Squarespace.com website. Enter offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10 percent off any hosting plan.

The Apple Watch business is way bigger than you think

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apple watch bands
Quanta Computer will see its revenues rise in late 2017,
Photo: Apple

Apple Watch gets a lot of stick for being a “me-too” product, and people who don’t see the need for a smartwatch assume the business is a bust. There’s this crazy perception that Apple Watch is just not selling — but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The Apple Watch, alongside other Apple wearables, is now raking in billions of dollars every year. The business is huge. So huge, in fact, that it would be a Fortune 500 company all by itself, outselling supposed smash hits like Microsoft’s Surface tablets and the Amazon Echo.

Here’s why Apple Watch isn’t the flop you think it is.

Trouble in China, iPhone slump and other Apple earnings surprises

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How will investors respond to Apple's relatively flat earnings?
How will investors respond to Apple's relatively flat earnings?
Photo: Ste Smith

Apple’s Q2 earnings report for 2017 just barely beat Wall Street’s expectations when the numbers were revealed this afternoon, but there are plenty of reasons to still be optimistic about AAPL.

During the company’s call with investors today, Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri discussed some of the struggles the company experienced last quarter, from slumping iPhone sales to economic headwinds in China.

Here are the biggest takeaways:

Liveblog: Just how good (or bad) was Apple’s Q2?

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apple earnings
Apple's money-making machine is on a new level.
Photo: Steve Smith

Apple beats expectations in Q2 2017 earnings report

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money
Apple is raking in the cash.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple just posted its earnings for Q2 2017 and while the numbers aren’t as monstrous as last quarter’s, there’s a lot to love in the new report.

With revenues hitting $52.9 billion, Apple returned to growth for the second straight quarter with $11 billion in profit. iPhone sales were down year-over-year, but Apple CEO Tim Cook says demand for the iPhone 7 Plus is still high.