Apple dethroned as Fast Company’s most innovative company

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Apple adds 5 new vice presidents to its executive lineup
Apple tumbled all the way down to seventeenth place.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Fast Company has released its 2019 list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies — and, unlike last year, Apple’s no longer number one.

This year, Apple falls substantially to 17th place. “They didn’t really break new ground with their devices, and hardware sales were sluggish,” Fast Company senior editor Amy Farley told CNBC. But the business publication does give Apple props for its dazzling A12 Bionic chip.

Pro-grade acoustic tests find HomePod delivers on its promises

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Siri display
HomePod lives up to its sound quality promises.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Professional grade acoustic tests appear to confirm that the HomePod is indeed the real deal as far as speakers go.

Apple has been talking up its smart adaptive speaker and high-end audio processing algorithms since the HomePod was first shown off at last year’s WWDC event. According to Apple, the HomePod can adapt its sound to fill any room it’s put in. It seems it wasn’t kidding!

Former Apple Watch architect reveals heart-rate sensor design process

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Apple Watch sensors
Getting accurate heart rate sensors here wasn't easy.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The Apple Watch is known for having one of the best heart-rate sensors among smart watches, but according to former Apple platform architect Bob Messerschmidt, getting a super accurate reading wasn’t an easy task.

Messerschmidt joined Apple in 2010 after Steve Jobs acquired his company and set him to work on the Apple Watch team. In a new interview that reveals some of the design process that went into Apple Watch, Messerschmidt says he originally wanted to put the heart rate sensor in the Apple Watch bands.

Angela Ahrendts talks transforming the Apple Store

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Angela Ahrendts has plenty of ideas for Apple Stores.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s retail guru Angela Ahrendts took to the stage at Fast Company‘s ongoing Innovation Festival to talk her role as senior vice president for retail and online stores.

With the highest sales-per-square-foot of any U.S. retailer, the Apple Stores were hardly in need of a total overhaul, but Ahrendts nonetheless discussed the ways she’s trying to tweak the physical shopping experience for the better — with some fascinating insights.

8 things we learned from Tim Cook’s interview with Fast Company

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As if Tim Cook doesn't already have enough on his plate!
No one is more of a believer in Apple culture than Tim Cook. Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple

Tim Cook tells how Apple avoids Microsoft-style screw-ups, how many Apple Watches the company plans to sell, and why he keeps Steve Jobs’ office exactly as he left it in a new interview filled with fascinating tidbits.

The interview in Fast Company comes in the run-up to the March 24 launch of Becoming Steve Jobs, a biography by veteran journalists Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli. The book is viewed by some Apple execs as a corrective following Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs bio, and this is Cook’s well-timed salvo in the campaign to set the record straight.

Here are the parts we found most interesting.

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Design firm Ammunition takes top honors for innovation

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A $3,000 Octovo surfboard is just one creation of design firm Ammunition. Photo: Fast Company
A $3,000 Octovo surfboard is just one creation of design firm Ammunition. Photo: Fast Company

San Francisco design firm Ammunition beat out Apple and others to be named Fast Company’s top “Innovative Company in Design.”

Co-founded by Robert Brunner, the former head of Apple’s industrial design studio who hired Jony Ive, Ammunition is most famous for designing the Beats Electronics headphones. Ammunition was named most innovative not just for the string of hit products it’s helped bring to market but for taking an equity stake in the companies with which it works.

Cameo Is Vine, But All Grown Up With Muscles, A Flashy Wardrobe And A Hip Music Collection [Daily Freebie]

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I remember a few tech bloggers going nuts over Vine when it hit the street back in January. I wasn’t convinced; it seemed too limiting, felt too gimmicky. Vine turned out to be a more creative tool than I’d imagined — at least for others. But the concept never really hooked me enough to want to use it.

Cameo, on the other hand, had my juices flowing almost immediately. Like Vine, Cameo shoots short, six-second HD (720p) clips that can be uploaded to Cameo’s website or shared via social media and email. Unlike Vine, multiple six second shots can be combined into a two-minute (maxiumum) clip, with light editing tools, effects and music added to the mix. And Cameo even lets you collaborate with friends.

See Conan O’Brien Dressed As Steve Jobs

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Business mag Fast Company had funnyman Conan O’Brien pose as eight of history’s greatest innovators for its latest issue on the 100 most creative people in business.

For the cover, Conan dressed as Ben Franklin, Albert Einstein, Frida Kahlo, Steve Jobs, Madonna, Moses, Socrates and Teddy Roosevelt. Weirdly, Jobs doesn’t make Fast Company‘s 2011 list, but his software lieutenant Scott Forstall does.

Here’s a bigger version of the cover: