Apple code reveals iPhone 8’s virtual Home button secrets

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iPhone 8 concept
Don't expect this kind of functionality.
Photo: iDropNews

Bidding goodbye to the iPhone’s physical Home button won’t be easy, but there are some advantages to going virtual for iPhone 8.

Not only will it allow for a larger edge-to-edge display, but it also means you’ll be able customize the virtual button. Apple code suggests we’ll have the option to resize it and hide it away if we don’t want it to be displayed on screen at all times.

HomePod software leaks new ‘SmartCamera’ feature for iPhone

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iPhone 8 facial recognition
We could be waiting a long time for iPhone 8.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s HomePod might have revealed another huge new iPhone feature after developers did some more digging into the beta software for the upcoming smart speaker.

The software appears to reference an unannounced “SmartCamera” feature built into iOS 11 or the yet-to-be-released 2017 iPhone. And it could totally change the way we snap photos.

Podcasting 101: What you need to get started on Mac

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Chris Ward's podcasting setup
My Podcasting setup
Photo: Chris Ward

Podcasting is undergoing a renaissance with listeners consuming on-demand shows at unprecedented levels, and creators enjoying surprising levels of success with their work. One thing that sets apart the amateurs from the professionals is good content, but the other is production values.

I have been running my own small podcast for about a year, trying different ideas and formats to see what works. While I’m an amateur podcaster, I create tutorial videos for a living and I used to be a professional musician, so I know a thing or two about sound, music, and music production. I have also been using a Mac since 1997, and have recorded audio with just about every port that Apple has released. For me, the podcast is a great outlet to cover topics I don’t get to cover in my paid writing work. And of course, like many other podcasters, I like the sound of my own voice.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned, along with recommendations on the hardware, software and techniques to get you started podcasting using your Mac.

Think you need pro gear for great iPhone photos? That’s fake news.

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iPhone rig
You don't necessarily need expensive gear to make a great iPhone video.
Photo: Marques Brownlee/YouTube

You can make great photos and videos with just an iPhone. There is nothing fake about that statement. Thousands of great iPhone photos appear on our camera rolls and Instagram feeds every day to prove it.

Nevertheless, a recent YouTube video suggested Apple uses more than just iPhones to create its “Shot on iPhone” commercials. The video quickly went viral. Headlines it generated sowed seeds of doubt about the authenticity of Apple’s claims.

So, are we really getting the great camera Apple says it puts in its iPhones?

The inside story of the iconic ‘rubber band’ effect that launched the iPhone

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Bas Ording Apple interface designer
Former Apple designer Bas Ording created the rubber band effect, which convinced Steve Jobs to build the iPhone.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

iPhone turns 10 One day in early 2005, interface designer Bas Ording was sitting in a secret, windowless lab at Apple HQ when the phone rang. It was Steve Jobs.

The first thing Jobs says is that the conversation is super-secret, and must not be repeated to anyone. Ording promises not to.

“He’s like, ‘Yeah, Bas, we’re going to do a phone,'” Ording told Cult of Mac, recalling that momentous call from long ago. “‘It’s not going to have any buttons and things on it, it’s just a screen. Can you build a demo that you can scroll through a list of names, so you could choose someone to call?’ That was the assignment I got, like pretty much directly from Steve.”

Everything you need to know about the JPEG-killing HEIF format Apple is adopting

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HEIF
HEIF may finally end JPEG's 25-year reign.
Images: Cult of Mac/Apple

HEIF is the new photo format that Apple is using to replace JPEG. And it probably will replace JPEGs, because the iPhone is the most popular, most-used camera in the world, and as of iOS 11, most iPhones will be switching from JPEG to HEIF.

But what is HEIF? What makes it better than JPEG? And what difference will it make to you, really?

10.5-inch iPad Pro feels like the future [Review]

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The new 10.5-inch iPad Pro puts monstrous power at your fingertips.
The new 10.5-inch iPad Pro puts monstrous power at your fingertips.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

I could be the poster boy for Apple’s “iPad problem.”

That problem, in a nutshell, is this: Even long-in-the-tooth iPads several generations old continue to work just fine for many everyday tasks. That, in turn, slows the upgrade cycle. iPad sales drop, and pundits pile on to declare that Apple is doomed. Again.

I’m one of those cheapskates who couldn’t be bothered to shell out for a new iPad over the past few years but a freak accident — and the surprisingly convincing unveiling of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro at last week’s Worldwide Developers Conference — finally coaxed me out of iPad complacency.

I’m thrilled I finally wised up. The new 10.5-inch iPad Pro is a beast of a machine that’s so fast, smooth and responsive that it makes me feel like I’m in a sci-fi movie interacting with a killer device that hasn’t been invented yet. It feels like the future!

WWDC keynote is proof of Apple’s awesome power and poise

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Tim Cook opening remarks WWDC 2017
Tim Cook presided over one of Apple's busiest presentations in years.
Photo: Apple

Over the last year or so, you could be forgiven for thinking Apple has been dickering about. The company seemed sluggish and slow.

Yeah, there have been a few hardware upgrades, but nothing special, and certainly nothing breakthrough.

And then today! Bam! A jam-packed WWDC keynote with a slew of amazing-looking new hardware and software.

Apple is back, in a big way!