Tim Cook is big fan of iPhone battery case’s lovely little hump

Tim Cook saw all the complaints fanboys levied against the ugly new Smart Battery Case his company unveiled this week, but the Apple CEO is defending the controversial new product, claiming Apple’s designers ;used ‘great insight’ to solve a crutial flaw facing most battery cases. “The guys had this great insight to put the bend […]

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


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Phil Schiller Discusses Retina MacBook, Apple’s ‘Intense Collaboration’

Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller recently met with Mashable editor-at-large Lance Ulanoff for a rare interview, discussing topics ranging from the new 12-inch MacBook to Apple’s „intense collaboration“ that makes such products possible.

Schiller emphasized how Apple’s process from product conception to production has greatly changed over the past few decades, as a result of „intense collaboration“ between industrial design and engineering teams within the company.

„From the beginning, the Mac has been about Apple taking responsibility for the whole thing: hardware, software, how applications can work and, increasingly, Internet services. But that means something different today than it did 20 years ago,“ Schiller said.

„Today, those teams are not only integrated and designing something together, they’re actually thinking of features that could only exist because of that integration and solving problems that could only be solved because of that unique advantage.“

The interview provides a closer look at the new 12-inch MacBook, ranging from its ultra-small logic board to „speaktenna“ combined speaker and antenna design, as an example of what’s possible because of Apple’s collaboration.

Some like to call it the „Speaktenna.“ The black strip along the back edge of the MacBook speakers is a never-before-tried combination of speakers and antennas for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It’s a fairly ingenious bit of space-saving technology that teardown artists ignored. […]

In the case of the speaktenna, Apple engineers did everything in their power to fit the maximum amount of technology possible into the tiny anodized aluminum chassis. This included creating new battery chemistry and forms to support a terraced battery design that marries perfectly with matching cutouts in the chassis. There’s even a deeper level of terracing cutouts in the body that aren’t for more battery power, but to cut down on the overall system weight.

Mashable‘s in-depth profile of Schiller goes into more detail about the 12-inch MacBook’s design process, how collaboration will continue at Apple’s upcoming Campus 2, the continued growth of Mac in a declining PC market and more.

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Twitter Launches ‘Moments’ to Discover Trending Stories

Twitter for iOS has been updated today with a new tab called Moments that will help users discover stories unfolding on the microblogging service, such as conversations between world leaders and celebrities, citizens reporting on world events, cultural memes, sports commentary and more.

Tapping on the new lightning bolt tab on your phone opens a list of Moments that matter now. As new stories emerge throughout the day, we continue to update this list. Looking for more? You can also swipe through to topics including “Entertainment” and “Sports” to find more stories from the past few days.

Moments can be found in a new lightning bolt tab at the bottom of the Twitter app on iPhone and iPad in the U.S. only at launch. Moments contain an introduction with a title and description, and users can swipe to scroll through the in-depth story with full-width images and autoplaying videos, Vines and GIFs.

Moments will often be updated as more information becomes available and will mainly be curated by Twitter employees, with some contributed by partners such as Bleacher Report, Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, Fox News, Getty Images, Mashable, MLB, NASA, New York Times, Vogue and the Washington Post.

Twitter for iOS [Direct Link] is free on the App Store and is now at version 6.38.1.



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Designer Rebecca Minkoff Debuts iPhone-Charging Wallet and New Apple Watch Bands

As New York Fashion Week gets underway, designer Rebecca Minkoff has debuted a new set of fashion-focused tech accessories for Apple’s iPhones and Apple Watch. The fashion brand teamed up with accessory maker Case-Mate to create the new line of products (via Mashable).

Minkoff debuted a trio of new Apple Watch bands retailing from $80 to $100. The first band is a snakeskin leather band, the second is a leather double wrap and the third is a traditional leather band with designs etched into it.

The fashion brand also debuted a set of phone-charging wallets and wristlets, which Minkoff says will provide two and half full charges for iPhone. The first is a charging wristlet folio that retails for $120 that’ll come in black, cobalt and almond. The second is a fringe cross body that retails for $100 and works with both iPhone 6 / 6s and 6 / 6s Plus.

All of the new accessories will launch tomorrow, September 12 on Case-Mate.com and RebeccaMinkoff.com.



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Ask Siri to play loud farts and you’ll get Rihanna (seriously)

Siri can be used to quickly access a huge library of sound effects. Ask it to play fireworks, a babbling brook, or even a machine gun and Apple’s digital assistance will pull out the perfect sound effect. But if you…Read more ›

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Apple Music First Impressions: Convenient All-in-One Experience With Overwhelming Design

As Apple Music gears up to launch in the next few hours this morning – 9 AM Pacific to be exact, following iOS 8.4 at around 8 AM Pacific – a few publications have posted some detailed first impressions of the the music streaming service. Getting to mess around with the app for the first time, Mashable, Re/code, The Loop and Rolling Stone came away with largely positive reactions to Apple’s first foray into the music streaming game, although the large consensus hanging over it all was a tentative negativity regarding the app’s overwhelming amount of content and the somewhat confusing UI that is used to navigate it all.

First off, Mashable noted the big positive of the Apple Music service: for those baked into the Apple ecosystem it offers one library, combining purchases from iTunes with the songs users will listen to in Apple Music for one uniform experience. The site was also one of the few to enjoy Apple Music’s UI, calling it, „more polished and finished than the old music app.“ Its biggest takeaway, however, was the „For You“ section.

It’s hard for me to over-stress how much I like For You. From the very beginning, the recommendations in playlists and albums that the app showed me were dead-on accurate, reflecting my various musical interests.

The idea behind „For You“ is to help make it easy to find good music to listen to. Tapping on an album or playlist will play it instantly. You can then either add it to your library, keep it playing in the background, add a track to another playlist or just cycle through. The DNA of this experience really is what we saw with Beats Music last year, but now it’s more refined and feels more fully realized.

Re/code mentioned three big positives for the new streaming service: the slick combination of old iTunes songs with new Apple Music songs, surprisingly accurate and enjoyable song curation, and the $15 per month family plan. The biggest issue however tied into one of the app’s positives, with the wealth of content and exploration somewhat kneecapped by an overly „confusing“ user interface experience, especially within the „New“ tab, which „could be a streaming app all by itself.“

I set out to gather some initial impressions of how it feels to use the product. And to answer the question: Would I pay $10 a month — $120 a year — to use it? My answer is a tentative yes, with some caveats. Apple has built a handsome, robust app and service that goes well beyond just offering a huge catalog of music by providing many ways to discover and group music for a very wide range of tastes and moods.

But it’s also uncharacteristically complicated by Apple standards, with everything from a global terrestrial radio station to numerous suggested playlists for different purposes in different places. And the company offers very little guidance on how to navigate its many features. It will take time to learn it. And that’s not something you’re going to want to do if all you’re looking for is to lean back and listen.

Similar to Re/code and Mashable, Rolling Stone was impressed by the „Netflix-style hyper customization“ of the „For You“ tab that will great every user when first entering Apple Music for the first time. Although Beats 1 Radio had not yet launched when the site had hands-on with the service, they got to preview a few artist-focused shows, including St. Vincent’s „Mixtape Delivery Service,“ which saw the alternative musician reading notes from fans and spending the hour dedicating personalized songs to each one.

Rolling Stone also detailed Apple Music’s „Connect“ platform a bit more than the others, noting that even though a few artists had Connect available to them in the pre-launch demo phase, the Twitter-like service „looked pretty quiet.“ The biggest issue, however, was the possibility of fan interaction amongst one another within Connect, and the fact that the only designated place for it to occur was within the comments of each individual post.

Moreover, the only place where fans can interact is the comments section of each post, cutting out a major part of what Apple hopes will be a new music ecosystem: fandom. While it’s possible fans would share music individually – with Apple Music’s many options to post to text, email, Twitter and Facebook – the absence of fans’ voices on „Connect“ makes it more like a supplement to a social network than an exciting music-discovery platform. But only time will tell if it catches on. This is one place where Spotify, with its ability to follow and make playlists your friends, has a leg up.

With its vast selection of music and smartly curated playlists and radio, Apple Music is robust enough to compete with, and possibly supplant, Spotify and Pandora as the go-to service for music fans. At the same time, users will need to play around with it a bit and dig to move past some of the less immediately intuitive facets (i.e., just how deep the „New“ tab goes) for it to hook them.

The Loop went into detail regarding the „My Music“ section of Apple Music, noting that between the tab’s two sections – Library and Playlists – all of a user’s old iTunes music downloaded or in the cloud can be found there. Users will be able to add certain playlists to My Music so it can appear front-and-center in the tab without having to go through multiple pages, and entire playlists will be able to be made to listen to offline. Besides a finicky rating system for Beats 1, The Loop largely enjoyed Apple Music in the end.

I’m damned impressed. Apple Music is a quality service, with the right mix of human curation and algorithms to help users figure out exactly what they want to hear. I can only imagine that the service will only get better from here. The more I use it, like/dislike songs, the better it will know me.

I was interacting with Apple Music the entire time I was writing this and the radio station I started listening to improved quite a bit in those hours. I’m not skipping songs, instead I have a steady diet of Slash, Godsmack, Led Zeppelin, and Metallica. It’s hard to beat that.

Everyone will be able to test out Apple Music for themselves soon enough, with the official launch of the updated music app in just a few hours at 9 AM Pacific. Those interested should remember to first download the new iOS 8.4 update an hour before in preparation for the streaming music service’s debut.



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