Stevie Wonder and Andra Daye sing ‘Someday at Christmas’ in Apple holiday ad

Apple has released its first major Christmas ad for the holidays that doesn’t show many Apple products, but instead features soul pioneer’s Stevie Wonder and Andre Daye singing Wonder’s 1967 holiday classic ‘Someday at Christmas’. Along with Wonder and Daye, the ad includes shots of a family getting ready for Christmas, exchanging gifts, and decorating […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Stevie Wonder and Andra Daye sing ‘Someday at Christmas’ in Apple holiday ad

Our Editor’s Picks For 2012’s Best Jailbreak Tweaks [Best Of 2012]

There have been a ton of great tweaks released for jailbroken iOS devices in 2012. Innovation in the jailbreak community is far from dead, and ideas are continuing to evolve alongside iOS itself. What makes jailbreaking great is the sheer amount of customizability it unlocks. Sometimes a simple idea gives way to a crazy amount of potential.

That’s what this top 10 list of 2012 jailbreak tweaks is about: pushing the limits of what your iOS device can do. Here are the very best quality jailbreak tweaks from the past year:

Springtomize 2 – $2.99

Springtomize is like the swiss army knife of jailbreak apps, and teenage developer Filippo Bigarella updated it to version 2.0 this year.

Springtomize isn’t really an app; it’s more like a giant package of jailbreak tweaks. You can control everything from how many app icons are on your Home screen to change the look and feel of Notification Center. It works on any jailbroken iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.

If you have a jailbroken iOS device, you need Springtomize 2. It allows you to tailor and tinker with how you interact with your device at the OS level. It’s an essential tool.

Stride – $3

Android users have always flaunted the ability to unlock their handsets with a gesture. Stock iOS will only let you slide to unlock your iPhone, but Stride brings customizable gestures to the lock screen in an elegant package.

Once you draw your own unique password, your jailbroken iPhone can’t be unlocked without the specific gesture you create. Stride is really solid and actually feels better than Android’s implementation of the feature. Make sure to get Stride in Cydia and show it off to all your Android friends.

Dashboard X – $1.99

Another Android feature that the stock version of iOS lacks: live widgets. It’s something that many have clamored for Apple to implement, but jailbreakers can already use Home screen widgets with a handy jailbreak tweak called Dashboard X.

Once installed, you can install custom widgets that float next to app icons on your iPhone or iPad’s Home screen. There’s a whole catalog of compatible widgets available in Cydia. A widget like NCSettings gives you quick access to Settings toggles. Dashboard X widgets let you check on stocks, control your music, and more right from the Home screen. As you can imagine, the concept of live widgets works much better on the iPad’s larger display.

BattSaver – $3

iPhone battery not up to snuff? A really, really smart jailbreak tweak called BattSaver regulates the way you use your iPhone to maximize battery life.

It’s a genius concept, but I noted in my review earlier this year that it could use a little more polish. But that’s not to say that BattSaver isn’t a genius tweak that deserves a lot of credit.

The idea is that there are all kinds of radios in the iPhone that can unnecessarily suck battery life at times. Who needs a WiFi radio on when there isn’t a network within range? BattSaver uses several different strategies to conserve battery life by intelligently switching parts of your iPhone on and off when you don’t need them. You can also create your own custom setup, which can be very powerful if customized correctly.

BattSaver makes you the master over your jailbroken iPhone’s battery.

Protecti – $3

Protecti is that jailbreak tweak you always wish you would have had in a sticky situation. Say that someone grabs your iPhone before you had a chance to delete some embarrassing messages or pictures. Using pre-determined commands, Protecti will lock down certain parts of your iPhone and keep whatever you want hidden from prying eyes.

So, for instance, you could perform a quick gesture on your iPhone to lock the Messages app, block incoming notifications, and hide certain results from Spotlight. Protecti can really be customized to suit anyone’s needs, and that makes it a very powerful jailbreak tweak.

Turn to Hangup – Free

This jailbreak tweak isn’t super innovative, but it’s pretty fun. Turn to Hangup lets you dismiss incoming calls by placing your iPhone on its face. You can also shake your iPhone to silence an incoming call and keep your device from vibrating.

There’s also the chance that you could accidentally dismiss a call, but the idea is still pretty cool.

Merge – $1.50

Merge solves a really annoying issue with iMessage that Apple will hopefully address in the near future. iMessages allows users to respond to the same message from multiple accounts, like a phone number and email address. Sometimes this can cause multiple threads to be created in the Messages app. It can get hairy with multiple contacts all messaging from different addresses.

Merge does just what the name implies. Instead of multiple iMessage threads for different IDs from the same contact, each contact in your address book is sorted into a single, easy-to-follow thread. Another neat feature is the ability to choose which iMessage address to send to for a given contact. No more trying to figure out which thread to respond to when you’re messaging with someone.

Emblem – $1.99

Notification Center on the iPad just doesn’t work. Apple merely ported the iPhone layout to the iPad’s larger display, and the system just doesn’t translate well. A jailbreak tweak called Emblem makes receiving and interacting with notifications more intuitive and less obtrusive on the iPad.

Instead of iPhone-like banners, Emblem brings OS X-like notification bubbles with gestures and message handling. Incoming notifications appear as banners on the right side of the screen. A group of notifications can be stacked and scrolled through with ease in one banner cell, and you can select to close a notification before it queues in Apple’s Notification Center.

Switchy – $1

At the beginning of the year, an iOS concept become reality in the form of Switchy, a jailbreak tweak that reinvents the iPhone’s app switcher.

Switchy is designed to maximize the dead space on the iPhone’s screen whenever the multitasking tray is enabled. Instead of one row of icons, Switchy displays two rows. Swipe to the left and there are music controls with album artwork. Settings toggles are also implemented right into the app switcher for quick access. It’s not perfect, but Switchy is an admirable attempt at improving the iOS multitasking experience.

Auxo – $1.99

Last by not least is Auxo. Released this month, Auxo is also the product of a well received iOS concept. It is definitely the best jailbreak tweak of 2012.

If Switchy is a good effort at improving iOS multitasking, then Auxo knocks it out of the park. This is the way Apple should do the app switcher in iOS.

Instead of app icons, Auxo displays live app preview cards that can be closed with simple gestures. There’s enhanced music controls and minimal toggles for settings like WiFi, Bluetooth, cellular data, and even screen brightness. The whole tweak is incredibly polished and good looking. It’s hard to imagine Apple doing a better job.

As Switchy and Auxo demonstrate, people are really thinking about how to reinvent the iOS multitasking experience. It clearly needs work on Apple’s end. Here’s to hoping we see some of the jailbreak community’s ideas show up in iOS 7.

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Our Editor’s Picks For 2012’s Best Jailbreak Tweaks [Best Of 2012]

Microsoft Is Trying To Woo Apple Developers Over To Windows 8

For the last few decades, developers have always flocked to Microsoft’s operating system while Apple’s Mac OS X has been an afterthought. In the post-PC world though the tables have turned.

Apple’s App Store has the highest quality apps for iPhones and iPads while Microsoft has been struggling to get developers to come over and make apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. In an effort to sway the tide of the battle, Microsoft is now trying to woo popular iOS developers over to Microsoft.

The Technology Review reports that Microsoft has invited many developers over to the Microsoft campus in Mountain View, California in an attempt to lure them to make apps for Windows 8 tablets and desktop computers. While Apple’s App Store boast 700,000 apps, the Microsoft Windows Store only has 100,000 apps.

Microsoft held multiple development sessions over two days at their campus to give developers a better grasp on how to make apps for the Windows Store. Onstage, a developer answered questions, such as whether a button can be placed on a title for users to press (nope) and what colors are the best for an app’s tile (bright colors; unlike iOS, gradients aren’t allowed).

“For iOS developers that attended the event, Microsoft’s overtures seemed to be working, partly because of Microsoft’s traditional focus on supporting developers. Tim Burks, founder of iOS app development company Radtastical, says writing apps for another platform can be hard because you need to change your mind-set. Microsoft’s instructional overtures make considering its platform “a high priority,”

Many of the developers who attended the meetings said that developing for Windows 8 is alluring because the market isn’t as saturated as the App Store. Most of the developers who were invited to attend the meeting already have popular apps on iOS that would likely be popular on Windows 8 once they’re ported over.

One developer claimed, “it’s a lot easier to get lost in iOS world because there are a million apps out there.” If Microsoft can win over developers to Windows 8 and keep them there, Windows 8 might have a chance to compete in the mobile platform wars.

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Source: Technology Review

Via: iDB

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Microsoft Is Trying To Woo Apple Developers Over To Windows 8

New iPads In March And Our iOS 7 Hopes And Dreams On Our All-New CultCast

On our brand new CultCast, we talk rumors of a new iPad 5 and mini in March and the features we think Apple needs to build into iOS 7, but we couldn’t help wrap the show with our favorite movies of 2012. Why? Cause it’s just that slow of a news week! What better time to have an episode where anything goes?

So we get crazy on this week’s CultCast, even talking about burlesque dancing and whether Xbox or Playstation is the right system for you.

It’s an all-new Mad-Maxian new episode of CultCast! Subscribe to on iTunes or easily stream new and previous episodes via Apple’s free Podcasts App.

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New iPads In March And Our iOS 7 Hopes And Dreams On Our All-New CultCast

Our Editor’s Picks For 2012’s Best iOS And Mac Games [Best Of 2012]

Games! They’re awesome. There are a ton of them released every year, making best of lists like this one fairly difficult. In the interest of our space and your time, we’ve narrowed the field down to ten, with what we feel are the best of the best games out there for Mac as well as for iOS. All of these games were released this year, and while all of them may not be blockbusters you’ve seen on other end of year roundups (this is on purpose), they’re all of them worth your time and money.

So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the following top ten games for iOS and Mac.

Fieldrunners 2 (iOS) – $0.99


Fieldrunners 2 takes all the gameplay goodness from its award-winning predecessor and polishes it to a finely-iterated sheen. Yes, there are more units, more towers, and more bombs, but more doesn’t always make a game better. With Fieldrunners 2, Subatomic Studios has built a tightly-focused, well-balanced tower defense game that just begs to be played, continuously. You must stop the invading soldiers from making it thorough fixed-path levels as well as player-created mazes of towers of varying ability. Some levels just ask you to survive for a certain period of time, or blast a certain number of creep soldiers before the timer runs out. Play on easy, medium, or scary hardcore mode for extra rewards and challenges along the way.

Super Hexagon (iOS) – $0.99

Now here’s a brutally hard yet exceptionally brilliant game of quick reflexes, zen-like concentration, blindingly retro graphics, and a killer chiptune score, by an uber indie developer, Terry Cavanagh (VVVVVV). Called a “minimalist action game by its developer, Super Hexagon, available on iOS or Mac via Steam, hits all the right note for a gamer wanting a retro-inspired experience that channels games like Tempest or Asteroids. Tap on the left or right side of the screen to rotate your triangle avatar around, avoiding the ever-rotating and collapsing walls. Game time is measured in seconds, and while it always feels like your own fault for crashing into one, there’s always another coming at you from another direction. Oh, and everything blinks and pulsates to the music. Whew.

Letterpress (iOS) – Free


I know, I know, you’re wondering what a word game is doing on this list. Well, friend, this is the word game that essentially ended my search for any other word game. I’m easily bored with Scrabble clones where the only way to win is to know the shortest words with the highest score potential. Letterpress rewards a varied and prolific vocabulary, but the killer feature is how cutthroat the game play can become. As each player taps letters to create words from a visually delightful grid, Boggle-style, the letters turn colors: blue for you, red for them. Strategy demands making words out of the subset of letters that your opponent chooses to steal points from their score and turn the red letters to blue. Now that’s a fun word game.

Bastion (iOS, OS X) – $0.99

If you haven’t played Bastion, yet, stop reading this now and grab it on Steam, on the Mac App Store, on iPad or iPhone, or on XBox Live. It’s that good. The game play mechanics are fun enough, with a hack n’ slash sensibility that doesn’t let up. The colors and art design is a visual treat, and the soundtrack, man, is one of the best video game soundtracks, ever. What takes this game to the next level, however, is the narration by “the old man.” This old dude, sounding like he’s right out of an episode of Firefly, tells the story of “The Kid” and the dying world of Ceylandia, full of pathos and humor.

Magic 2013 (iOS) – Free


Deck building games are all the rage lately, but Magic: The Gathering is the one most think of when we hear the term. Whether you come to this iPad version of the game from the world of competitive play on tables with rectangles of laminated card stock or from the console video game version, you’ll still admit that Wizards of the Coast have created a faithful representation of their card game while still adapting it well to the touch interface of the iPad. The game play is familiar to anyone who has tried their hand at the game in any iteration, with gorgeous artwork, glowing animations, and both single and multiplayer modes available.

Guild Wars 2 (OS X) – $59.99


Guild Wars 2 mixes a high fantasy setting, a massive world with several distinct races, and an over arching story of cooperation and tolerance for difference with a familiar, yet not entirely traditional, take on the massively multiplayer online game. While the genre has been dominated by the likes of World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2 brings enough polish to the table to make this a must play. The fact that you can buy the game once, and not have to pay a monthly fee surely helps the case, as well, but it’s the well-written story lines, engaging dialogue, whimsical environments, and interesting combat and exploration mechanics that keep players coming back for more, month after month.

Walking Dead: The Game (iOS, OS X) – $4.99

No one knew that a point and click adventure game could traffic in such emotional themes until Walking Dead: The Game came on the scene. Every bit as gut wrenching and horrifying as the award-winning television show and comic book by Robert Kirkman it’s based on, the game stars an entirely different crew of survivors who move from place to place, never truly safe. Each of the major choices in the game play must be made in a split second, and carry through the rest of the episodes. Did you save the geeky kid or the pretty reporter in episode one? Your choice will matter, and you will feel every choice. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one wiping my eyes after several of these episodes.

FTL: Faster Than Light (OS X) – $4.99

If you’ve ever dreamed of piloting a starship through space, fighting off alien aggressors, carrying cargo and knowledge from system to system, FTL might just be your kind of game. It gives you a ship, star-system jump capability, and a couple of starship officers, and lets you micro manage the heck out of all of them, jump after jump, encounter after encounter. It’s visually pixel-artistic, with a spacey-retro chiptune soundtrack and enough little things to manage to carry out your tasks than you can comfortably do without an intense amount of concentration and planning. It’s a brain workout, for sure, but also a delightful way to pass the time on your Mac.

Triple Town (iOS) – Free


There’s a reason match-three games are so ridiculously popular. There’s something compelling about organizing and consolidating, and Triple Town does it exceptionally well. You start by placing tufts of grass down in groups of three in a cute, imaginary town. When there are three bits of grass next to each other, they combine to become a bush. PLace three more tufts of grass down, making sure the last bit is placed near the second bush. Do it again, only the third bush this time combines with the first two to make a tree. Three trees makes a hut. Your little people need huts to live in. You can see how fast this starts to snowball, leaving you panting and wondering where the time went at the end of a quick session on your iPad or Mac.

Thomas Was Alone (OS X) – $4.99

Thomas Was Alone, by Mike Bithell, is a joy of jumping, platforming, puzzling goodness, includes a delightful retro soundtrack by David Housden, cute little rectangular characters, and a fantastic narrative voiceover provided by Danny Wallace (Yes Man, Assassin’s Creed). Thomas Was Alone asks you to guide Thomas, the initial rectangle protagonist of the story, through monochromatic puzzle levels, increasing in difficulty slowly but steadily, while giving you a few more characters with varying abilities. If you enjoy whimsical storytelling, independent art games, or solving eventually fiendish puzzle environments, this one’s for you.

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Our Editor’s Picks For 2012’s Best iOS And Mac Games [Best Of 2012]

The Beautifully Designed Vintage Macs That Never Were [Gallery]

Over at DesignBoom, they’ve put up an incredible gallery of early Apple II and Macintosh product designs that never saw the light of day by Hartmut Esslinger, a designer who founded Frog Design, the company that Apple partnered with through the 1980s and 1990s. There are even some products that Apple never made, like a stylus-controlled smartphone from the early 80s called the “MacPhone,” a precursor to the MacMini called the Baby Mac, and what appears to be a Mac with dual flatscreens.

We’ve picked some of our favorite designs and put them after the jump, but by all means, head to Designboom for more.

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Via: The Verge

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The Beautifully Designed Vintage Macs That Never Were [Gallery]

New MacBook Pros, Airs In June 2013 Doesn’t Even Count As A Rumor

Want to know an easy way to predict a new Apple product release? Follow Digitimes‘s winning formula!

1) Pick a product that is unlikely to get a major new design soon, like the recently refreshed MacBook Pro or the MacBook Air.

2) Check when that product is most likely to get a refresh according to Cult of Mac’s handy, dandy, easy-to-use shopping guide.

3) See what chips Intel is set to release next year in that time frame.

And there you go! The result is something very similar to today’s Digitimes “exclusive,” which says that Apple will update the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air in June 2013, with the MacBook Air getting a new processor, most likely Intel’s new Haswell architecture, which is perfect for ultrabooks.

These reports really write themselves, don’t they?

Source: Digitimes

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New MacBook Pros, Airs In June 2013 Doesn’t Even Count As A Rumor