The powerful iOS 11 features you haven’t heard of, this week on The CultCast

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iOS 11 WWDC Hero
This week we'll tell you about iOS 11's best lesser-known features.
Photo: Apple

This week on The CultCast: More of the powerful new iOS 11 features you’ve never heard of! Plus: The talented app that will harnesses the power of Apple’s new augmented reality features; Scott Forstall is back, and he’s sharing the bizarre story of how the original iPhone really came to be; and everything you need to know about HEIF, the JPEG-killing format Apple is adopting.

Our thanks to Blue Apron for supporting this episode. Blue Apron makes it easy to cook delicious meals at home. Get your first three meals free at BlueApron.com/CultCast.

Birth of the iPhone: How Apple turned clunky prototypes into a truly magical device

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iPhone 2G prototype
iPhone 2G prototype
Photo: Jim Abeles/Flickr CC

iPhone turns 10 The world had never seen anything like the iPhone when Apple launched the device on June 29, 2007. But the touchscreen device that blew everyone’s minds immediately didn’t come about so easily.

The iPhone was the result of years of arduous work by Apple’s industrial designers. They labored over a long string of prototypes and CAD designs in their quest to produce the ultimate smartphone.

This excerpt from my book Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products offers an inside account of the iPhone’s birth.

Scott Forstall will break his silence on iPhone next week

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Will Apple regret saying goodbye to Scott Forstall?
Guess who's back. Back again. Forstall's back. Tell a friend.
Photo: Apple

Former iOS chief Scott Forstall has been pretty much MIA since leaving Apple in 2012. However, he will be making a rare appearance to talk Apple next week.

In a public fireside chat with long-time tech journalist John Markoff (for my money, one of the best tech writers working today), Forstall will discuss working with Steve Jobs on the project which became the iPhone.

New video shows iPhone prototypes going head-to-head

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early-iPhone-prototype-UIs
Apple's earliest iOS prototypes.
Photo: Sonny Dickson

Apple calls iOS “the world’s most advanced mobile operating system,” but it was almost the world’s worst.

Before deciding on the icon-based user interface we know and love today, Apple designed an awful prototype UI that was based on the iPod’s software and controlled with a virtual click-wheel. Check it out in the video below.

Today in Apple history: Tim Cook becomes Apple’s chief operating officer

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Cook
Tim Cook was on his way to the top spot at Apple.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Oct14 October 14, 2005: Tim Cook takes the reins as Apple’s chief operating officer, continuing his upward climb through the company’s ranks that would make him CEO less than six years later.

“Tim and I have worked together for over seven years now, and I am looking forward to working even more closely with him to help Apple reach some exciting goals during the coming years,” Steve Jobs says in a statement.

Is Apple Maps still the laughing stock of maps apps? [Friday Night Fights]

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fnf
Is Apple Maps your first choice?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The release of Apple Maps with iOS 6 was so disastrous it led to the firing of Scott Forstall, former SVP of iOS, and to a rare public apology from CEO Tim Cook.

Friday Night Fights bug Almost four years on, Maps is in a very different place. Apple has worked hard to iron out the kinks and add new features that help the service compete with rivals like Google Maps. But is Apple Maps still the laughing stock of maps apps?

Join us in this week’s Friday Night Fights as we battle it out over the state of Apple Maps.

Internet questions Jony Ive’s sanity with new iPhone battery case

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My hump, my hump, my hump, my lovely little lumps.
My hump, my hump, my hump, my lovely little lumps.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s new Smart Battery Case is the ugliest product to come out of Cupertino since apps with leather stiching. 

The new case came as a surprise this morning, offering iPhone 6s owners some extra juice and protection, but its weird hump has drawn the attention and ire of fans, leading many to wonder, ‘did Jony Ive really approve this thing?’

Not only is the case so ugly it looks like Quasimodo had sex with a camel. It’s not even that functional. It can’t recharge the iPhone 6s from 0 to 100 percent. The only LED indicator is on the inside of the case. And you can’t decide when to have the case charge your iPhone.

It’s so awful I’d almost swear Scott Forstall snuck into the design lab and is pranking us. It’s ironic Apple’s obsession with sacrificing battery life to make the iPhone thinner has put the company in a corner, causing it to innovate its way into making a big bulky battery case.

We’re not the only ones that hate the new case. Apple fans went crazy on Twitter in disbelief over the Smart Battery Case. Check out some of the best reactions:

Ex-Apple VP Scott Forstall is now a Tony award-winning Broadway producer

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Forstall presenting at an Apple event back in the day.
Forstall presenting at an Apple event back in the day.
Photo: paz.ca/ Flickr CC

Before Craig Federighi and Apple’s other software gurus unveil the future of iOS and OS X, let’s take a minute to appreciate Scott Forstall. If Scott hadn’t been kicked out of the company three years ago we would probably still be stuck with leather and felt interfaces.

Getting removed from Apple has paid off for Scott too. He’s helping Snapchat suck less, and last night, he won an award Tim Cook and Jony Ive will never be nominated for: The Tony award for Best Musical.

Forstall has been serving as a producer on the Broadway musical “Fun Home” the past year and last night the effort paid off big time, with ‘Fun Home’ sweeping up and taking home a whopping five awards, including best new musical, best book, best original score, best direction, and best leading actor.

Check out Scott with the rest of the team on scooping up an award:

Ousted VP Scott Forstall is ‘delighted’ Apple still makes great products

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Scott Forstall. Photo: Apple
Scott Forstall. Photo: Apple

Scott Forstall, the Apple executive who lead the creation of iOS and was then kicked out the company in 2012, says he’s not staying mad at Apple.

In a recent interview about the Broadway play he’s producing, Forstall addressed his split with Apple for the first time since leaving the company after the disastrous launch of Apple Maps. Rather than cheering for Google and Apple’s other competitors though, Forstall told the Wall Street Journal he’s ‘delighted’ that Apple is still making beloved products.