The CultCast
This week:  Apple makes a major play to become the next HBO, meanwhile, intriguing new images surface showing what looks to be what we all thought had died—the long lost Apple Television.  Plus: a trusted source says Apple’s next Watch will be more boring that we hoped; and finally… eating bugs… Thai Tinder… yes, Buster Heine is back to share strange stories from his travels deep into the heart of Thailand.
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On the show this week
Blurry photos purport to show mythical Apple TV set
  • Blurry images that popped up online supposedly show the testing of an Apple OLED television set of around 60 inches in size. The photos were shared on Chinese social media before being circulated by mobile leaker Benjamin Geskin on Twitter.
  • images depict what looks like an Apple-branded standalone display in some kind of lab testing environment. They show a metal frame design, while accompanying notes on Weibo suggest that the set also includes a camera.
  • And, just like that, longstanding rumors of an Apple TV set reignite!
  • The rumors gained momentum with the publishing of Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography in 2011. “I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,” Jobs was quoted as saying. “It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine.”
Apple will throw $1 billion at original programming over next year
  • According to the WSJ, Apple is reportedly preparing a $1 billion “war chest” which it will spend on acquiring or producing original content over the next year.
  • That sum is around half of what HBO spent on production last year.
  • Apple SVP Eddy Cue is reportedly aiming for Apple to offer up to ten new shows, which could rival Game of Thrones in scope.
  • Apple has been ramping up its hirings to try and establish itself as a force to be reckoned with. The company’s recent hirings include a pair of former Sony execs, who previously helped bring to the screen shows including AMC’s Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, and Netflix’s The Crown
  • WSJ: "Mr. Van Amburg and Mr. Erlicht have begun meeting with Hollywood agents and holding discussions about shows Apple could acquire, the people familiar said. Mr. Matt Cherniss has movie experience, having worked as a production executive at Warner Bros."
Apple Watch Series 3 will bring LTE but no design changes
  • According to trusted KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. There will be no “obvious change” to the design of the device, which will leave LTE connectivity as its main selling point.
  • Apple will offer non-LTE versions at more affordable prices, however. It’s unclear whether those models will be Series 3 devices, or whether Apple will continue to offer Series 2 alongside its successor for those who do not require LTE.
  • Watch will also likely be waterproof, like series 2, and faster.
Direct download: CultCast_297_-_Why_Apple_may_make_your_next_TV_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:24am PDT

This week:  what does Apple have in store for the next version of  Watch?  We’ll roundup the current rumors and reveal our Gen 3 wish list.  Then: could Face ID actually replace Touch ID on iPhone 8?  We have concerns.  Plus: proof that a 4K Apple TV is right around the corner; more incredible demos of AR Kit; and we share our favorite new shows, movies, and board games in an all-new What We’re Into!
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Thanks to Kevin MacLeod at for the great music you hear on today's show.
On the show this week
Apple Plans to Release a Cellular-Capable Watch to Break iPhone Ties
"Apple Inc. is planning to release a version of its smartwatch later this year that can connect directly to cellular networks, a move designed to reduce the device’s reliance on the iPhone, people familiar with the matter said.”
  • What would we like to see in the next Apple Watch
    • Round version or a new shape/style
    • Way better battery life
    • always on screen
    • Thinner
    • No LTE fees!
Blurry photo might confirm iPhone 8 Touch ID fears
  • An apparent iPhone 8 photo straight out of Foxconn has confirmed one of our biggest fears for Touch ID: It will be relocated to the back of the device.
  • Apple has been working to embed its fingerprint scanner into the iPhone’s display, but according to numerous reports, the technology won’t be ready in time for this year’s big refresh.
  • Mark Gurman at Bloomberg: Apple’s pitch come September will be that Face ID is quicker, more secure, and more accurate than Touch ID. People inside Apple say it is.
  • Security implications
iPhone 8 facial recognition will unlock your phone even when it’s lying down
  • The new iPhone 8 will be capable of unlocking with its face recognition even when it’s lying flat on your desk, a new report from The Information suggests.
  • This information appears to back up a report published in Bloomberg earlier this year. That report noted that:
    • [The facial recognition sensor’s] speed and accuracy are focal points of the feature. It can scan a user’s face and unlock the iPhone within a few hundred milliseconds, the person said. It is designed to work even if the device is laying flat on a table, rather than just close up to the face.”
4K Apple TV seemingly confirmed by HomePod leak
  • Over the last few weeks the HomePod’s software has revealed a number of upcoming features on unannounced products. Sleuthing developers unearthed info on the iPhone 8’s facial scanning and SmartCamera features. Now there appears to be some details of the new Apple TV inside too.
  • iOS developer Guilherme Rambo discovered references to both Dolby Vision and HDR10 color formats for 4K video in the HomePod’s software.
This ARKit app teleports you into an ’80s music video
  • Ever wonder what it would be like to live inside an ’80s music video? Thanks to Apple’s new ARKit software, you can live that dream with a new app that draws inspiration from the popular music video for A-ha’s “Take On Me.”
Measure the square footage of your room with ARKit
Virtual directions and tags of AR POS
Mint Works game
Dominion game
Halt and Catch Fire
Alien Covenant
Direct download: CultCast_296_-_Whats_next_for__Watch_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:49pm PDT

This week: Apple just accidentally leaked major details about the iPhone 8 and HomePod.  Whoopsie!  We’ll tell you everything we’ve learned. 
Plus: leaked audio files show off the HomePods cool UI sounds; we reveal exclusive new audio of the HomePod's boot-up noise;  Buster’s shares a very special announcement; and we wrap with our reviews of the best internet-connected security cameras and the hawt new flagship Olympus OM-D EM-1 mirrorless camera in an all-new Under Review 🔥🔥🔥
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Thanks to Kevin MacLeod at for the great music you hear on today's show.
On the show this week
More juicy details about iPhone 8 discovered in Apple code
  • Apple clearly didn’t realize that the firmware it made available on Friday was a goldmine of secret information. Not only did it reveal the final design of the iPhone 8 and its new facial recognition technology, but it tells us stuff we didn’t know about HomePod, too.
  • First of all, buried in the firmware are GLYPHS of the actual phone itself. WHOOPSIE!
  • We now know the device will have a split status bar designed to fit its edge-to-edge display
  • Things like cellular signal and time might be displayed on one side of the bar, while indicators for Bluetooth, location, and battery level could appear on the other. “The new status bar seems a lot more complex and powerful in design, maybe even interactive,” Troughton-Smith says.
  • The software has also revealed that iPhone 8 will boast tap to wake functionality. This is a feature found on many Android and Windows Phone devices, which lets you wake the device simply by tapping its screen. It’s handy when there is no physical Home button.
  • It appears, however, that iPhone 8 will have a “Home Indicator.” It’s believed to be similar to the virtual Home button that appears at the bottom of the display on Android devices, and it looks like Apple will allow developers to hide it in certain contexts.
  • Interestingly, Troughton-Smith tweeted “I’ve seen nothing to suggest an ultrasound under-the-display Touch ID here,” meaning either no touchID or one on the back
  • Rumors have said that facial recognition is even more accurate than touch id and will even work with Apple Pay.
Apple code confirms that facial unlocking tech is on the way
  • "I can confirm reports that HomePod’s firmware reveals the existence of upcoming iPhone’s infra-red face unlock in BiometricKit and elsewhere” Steve Stoughton Smith
  • Unlocking will be call FaceID
  • Will use an inferred camera to should work in dark situations
  • Will reportedly not support Apple pay to start, indicating we’re getting a touchID sensor somewhere on the phone
iPhone 8’s radical redesign could bring awesome UI change
  • we can look forward to a display with a 2436×1125 resolution
  • This resolution is 812x 375 points rendered @ 3x – exactly the same logical width as the iPhone 7, but 22% taller,” explains Allen Pike, a developer who previously worked at Apple
HomePod software leaks new ‘SmartCamera’ feature for iPhone
  • Apple’s HomePod might have revealed another huge new iPhone feature
  • HomePod software appears to reference an unannounced “SmartCamera” feature built into iOS 11 or the yet-to-be-released 2017 iPhone
  • iOS developer Guilherme Rambo unearthed references to the new feature. He posted a screenshot of a section of the code to Twitter
  • It looks like the SmartCamera feature will be able to tune your camera settings based on the scene it detects. DSLRs possess similar features
  • The HomePod code contains references to Fireworks, Foliage, Pet, BrightStage, Sport, Sky, Snow and Sunset/Sunrise scenarios.
HomePod software reveals new details of Apple’s smart speaker
  • Notorious iOS sleuth Steve Troughton Smith has done some serious research into HomePod and discovered that it’s basically like another iOS device only it doesn’t have a big screen. That could open HomePod up to some exciting capabilities in the future.
  • will come with a number of accessibility features.
  • Third-party apps aren’t likely to arrive on HomePod anytime soon. Smith says there aren’t any provisions in the HomePod OS shell there doesn’t seem to be any kind of provision in the HomePod OS shell for installing apps or extensions.
  • The top LED area of the HomePod could have more advanced functionality than previously thought. Rather than just using big LEDs, it appears that the top surface is an LED Matrix. Temperature and weather icons could be displayed on the 32×32 pixel matrix.
Leaked audio files reveal HomePod’s cool UI sounds
  • Apple’s early software for the HomePod continues to reveal new features of the smart speaker, as developers dive deeper into files. After details on the speaker’s screen got discovered, another developer unearthed the UI sounds that will be used on HomePod.
Under Review
Direct download: CultCast_295_-_Big_HomePod_and_iPhone_8_leaks_directly_from_Apple.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:54am PDT