The CultCast
This week: Apple has powered up the new iPad so much, it’s hard to resist!  Plus: what you need to know about iOS 11.3; everything Apple revealed at its “field trip” event; report says  Watch Plus is incoming; and you asked, we answer—from the best Home apps, to our Mac Mini predictions, to Commando Vs. Predator—we answer your most burning questions.
 
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Thanks to Kevin MacLeod at incompetech.com for the great music you hear on today's show.
 
On the show this week
 
Apple is finally selling a space gray keyboard and mouse
  • Mac fans that love the look of the new space gray iMac Pro — but don’t want to plop down four grand — can finally buy the computer’s coveted accessories separately. 
  • The space srey keyboard costs $149. That’s $20 more than the normal silver keyboard Buying a space gray 
  • Magic Mouse will set you back $99, while the normal version costs just $79. The black Lightning cable that comes with the iMac Pro is still exclusively available to iMac Pro owners, though.
 
New in iOS 11.3
  • New Animoji
  • Battery tools
  • Privacy popups
  • HomePod update 
 
 
Everything Apple revealed at its ‘field trip’ event
  • New 9.7inch iPad
  • Updates to iWork
  • Updated Classroom and new Schoolwork Cloud Apps
  • ClassKitAPI
  • More iCloud storage for students and teachers
 
iPad vs. iPad Pro: Which is right for you?
  • According to early benchmarks, the new iPad is the fastest Apple device behind the iPad Pro and the latest iPhone lineup. It also outperforms both the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus.
  • $329 for 32GB, $429 for $429
  • Three times faster than iPad Air, and almost twice as fast a as the Air 2.  Almost 80% faster than the 2017 iPad.
 
 
Direct download: CultCast_329_-_The_new_iPad_EXCITES_us_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:49pm PDT

This week: 
  • Apple’s surprise education event could showcase new, cheaper hardware 🔥
  • A huge upgrade is may be coming to the screens of Apple products
  • Why 2018’s iPhone X refresh could cost less than last year’s model
  • Fortnite streamers are striking it rich, and the iOS version will totally blow your mind
 
This episode supported by
 
Easily create a website by yourself, at Squarespace.com.  Use offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.
 
Print postage from your office and take advantage of special shipping discounts at pb.com/cultcast, and beat the postage rate increase with exclusive discounts on letters.  Plans start at just $5 a month!
 
CultCloth will keep your iPhone X, Apple Watch, Mac and iPad sparkling clean, and for a limited time use code CULTCAST at checkout to score a free CleanCloth with any order at CultCloth.co.
 
On the show this week
 
 
Apple’s surprise education event could showcase new, cheaper hardware
  • Apple issued invites last Friday for an education-themed event in Chicago on March 27.
  • The invite promises “creative new ideas for teachers and students.” That could indicate the arrival of more-affordable Apple devices — like the new MacBook Air and iPad we’ve been hearing about.
  • Apple is hosting the event in a high school, rather than on its Cupertino campus or at a convention center in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously claimed Apple has a more-affordable MacBook Air in the pipeline. The lightweight laptop, which has been looking a little long in the tooth for a while now, might get a Retina display and updated internals.
  • Reports indicate the new MacBook Air could cost as little as $799. The 9.7-inch iPad could drop to $259. If so, the devices’ lower price tags would make them ideal for students and schools on a budget.
  • Caligragphy on invitation--I’m guessing the new cheaper iPad will support the Apple Pencil, currently only supported on the iPad Pro models.
 
 
Apple developing its own ‘MicroLED’ displays for future devices (A huge upgrade coming to the screens of Apple products)
  • What is microLED?  Before we get to that, we need to talk about current screen technology.
    • Most of the screens you see today are LCD, Liquid Crystal Display illuminated with  backlight (usually LEDs).
      • LCDs are easy to manufacture, cheap, and perform well over a long period of time.  
      • But because they have a back light, colors can look washed out, especially blacks
    • The iPhone X has an OLED display. Each OLED pixel can self illuminate when exposed to electrical current, so there’s no need for back light.  This results is much better contrast ratios, more saturated colors, and the best black levels you can get.
    • But OLED suffers from burn in, aka image retention, and they’re not very bright.  Plus their brightness degrades over time.
  • microLED is kind of the best of both worlds. It has a longer life span.  Absolute blacks, and it’s about 30x brighter than OLED. it can also illuminate at the pixel level without a backlight.
 
iPhone X spells doom for pricey smartphones
  • iPhone X enjoyed a positive start as hardcore Apple fans busted open their savings and skipped rent to be the first to get their hands on the company’s best smartphone yet. But now that the early adopters have been served, iPhone X just isn’t selling.
  • Analysts have been reporting for several months that iPhone X demand is significantly weaker than expected — and falling further by the day. They say holiday sales were poor, and they don’t expect the situation to improve before Apple introduces new models this fall.
  • Analysts are warning that the market “may not tolerate” rising smartphone prices.
 
 
2018’s iPhone X refresh could cost less than last year’s model
  • The iPhone X’s $1,000 price point has been hard to swallow for a lot of customers, which may help explain why sales have supposedly been a bit disappointing.
  • According to a new report, Apple has managed to reduce its manufacturing bill of materials (MBOM) for this year’s iPhone X-sized handset to a level much lower than that of its present flagship.
  • The report suggests that Apple’s manufacturing cost for the new iPhone could be more than 10 percent lower than the $400+ dollars it pays for each iPhone X model.
  • Apple will allegedly launch two new OLED iPhones this year, including a 5.85-inch (the same size as the iPhone X) and 6.45-inch OLED model, as well as a 6.1-inch LCD model. A plan to produce a 5.85-inch LCD iPhone has reportedly been suspended since mid-February, and could be cancelled altogether.
  • Theory: Plus-sized phone price will probably be that of iPhone X with 5.85-inch phone being price of today’s 8 Plus.  LCD version of the phone will take on iPhone 8 pricing.
 
Fortnite on iOS will totally blow your mind 
  • Fortnite is a free-to-play battle royale game that has become hugely popular, thanks to its unique gameplay, colorful graphics, and weekly content updates. It throws you into a massive map against 99 others with just one mission: Be the last one to survive.
  • On iPhone and iPad, you get exactly the same 100-player game you’re used to playing on consoles. You battle it out on the same map with all of the same content.
 
This 26-year-old makes $500,000 a month streaming Fortnite on Twitch
Direct download: CultCast_328_-_New_Hardware_at_Apples_Education_Event_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:56pm PDT

This week: 
  • Leander goes to the Spaceship campus and he’s back to tell us all about it.
  • Siri sucks, Apple knows it, and they’re not sure how to fix it.
  • Our 2018 WWDC hardware expectations!
  • And you asked, we answer:  Has Tesla become more innovative than Apple? Plus our very honest opinions about the price, features, and value of the MacBook Pro with Touch bar.
 
This episode supported by
 
Easily create a website by yourself, at Squarespace.com.  Use offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.
 
Print postage from your office and take advantage of special shipping discounts at pb.com/cultcast, and beat the postage rate increase with exclusive discounts on letters.  Plans start at just $5 a month!
 
CultCloth will keep your iPhone X, Apple Watch, Mac and iPad sparkling clean, and for a limited time use code CULTCAST at checkout to score a free CleanCloth with any order at CultCloth.co.
 
On the show this week
 
WWDC 2018 returns to San Jose, runs June 4 to 8
  • Apple will kick off its 29th annual Worldwide Developers Conference on MondayJune 4. keynote at 10am?
  • The week-long event, which will offer the first previews of Apple’s next big software updates, will again be held in the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose.
 
Alt-conf!
 
New improved MacBook Air and 9.7-inch iPad could debut at WWDC
  • According to a new Digitimes report and also Apple Analyst Ming Chi Kuo, Apple is prepping a new entry-level 13-inch MacBook that will debut in the second quarter of 2018.  The price?  A mere $999.
  • One other interesting tidbit in today’s report is that Apple’s upstream supply chain has supposedly started shipping components for a new iPad Pro upgrade and cheaper 9.7-inch iPad. The 9.7-inch iPad is reportedly set to be released in the second quarter of this year (making WWDC a likely candidate for its debut), while the refreshed iPad Pro will come some time in the second half of 2018.
  • I’ve seen a ton of sales on the 9.7", and also the iPad Pro more recently.
  • June is the 6th month in the year, so technically all these products could be unveiled at WWDC.
  • If you remember the 10.5” iPad was announced at the last WWDC.
 
 
Apple might give Siri a total makeover
  • Under the veil of anonymity, some current and former Apple employees are admitting Siri sucks, and Apple knows it.
  • Apple’s AI assistant is way behind the competition, and a new report indicates that Cupertino’s coders can’t agree on how to fix Siri — or even if it should be fixed.
  • Siri had so much promise… How did we get here?
    • Bugs and infighting
    • Multiple sources told The Information that Apple "rushed Siri into the iPhone 4s before the technology was fully baked,"
    • According to The Information, the problem is so severe that Apple can’t decide “whether to continue patching up a flawed build or to rip it up and start from scratch.”
    • Bugs and other problems reportedly began almost from the time Apple acquired the voice system back in 2010. Part of the problem was Siri’s instant popularity. The backend servers weren’t prepared for the demand coming from millions of iPhone users. The company has struggled ever since to make Siri’s code more efficient.
  • Lack of vision
    • Well, like so many things, it’s due to a total lack of vision for what Siri should be.
    • Steve Jobs spearheaded the acquisition of Siri and the integration of the technology into iOS.
    • Siri was unveiled as the signature feature of the iPhone 4s in 2011. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died the very next day
    • “When Steve died the day after Siri launched, they lost the vision,” one of The Information’s sources said. “They didn’t have a big picture.”
    • Since that time, multiple project managers have come and gone, none with Jobs’ vision. There’s allegedly an internal debate over whether Siri should be a system for answering short questions and following simple commands, or a more full-featured digital assistant capable of handling more complex queries.
Direct download: CultCast_327_-_Our_WWDC__18_hardware_predictions.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:58pm PDT

This week: 
  • A new cheaper HomePod is likely on the way
  • A leaked apple email harkens the end of iTunes
  • It looks like changing the battery in your older iOS devices can bring some surprising performance increases
  • MoviePass is tracking iOS users every move, and privacy experts are madder than a beehive
  • And we wrap up with a What We’re Into, with our reviews Black Panther, Annihilation, Daredevil, The Punisher, and the first security camera for your car!
 
This episode supported by
 
Casper’s American-made mattresses have just the right amount of memory foam and latex, and people everywhere love them.  Learn why and get $50 towards any mattress at Casper.com/cultcast.
 
Print postage from your office and take advantage of special shipping discounts at pb.com/cultcast, and beat the postage rate increase with exclusive discounts on letters.  Plans start at just $5 a month!
 
CultCloth will keep your iPhone X, Apple Watch, Mac and iPad sparkling clean, and for a limited time use code CULTCAST at checkout to score a free CleanCloth with any order at CultCloth.co.
 
On the show this week
 
Cheaper HomePod might lead Apple’s push for lower prices
  • A version between $150 and $200 will change that, if a report from Taiwan’s Economic Daily News is correct.
  • This unconfirmed report doesn’t say what features will change to lower the cost that significantly. However, a separate research note from Rosenblatt analyst Jun Zhang says the upcoming cheaper HomePod will be smaller.
  • This isn’t expected to be a replacement for the current HomePod. It would be a lower-priced alternative that’s within the grasp of a far wider potential audience, enabling Apple to better compete with the Amazon Echo and Dot smart speakers.
 
 
Leaked Apple email hints at the possible end of iTunes 
  • Apple could kill off iTunes in the near future, a new report suggests.
  • It cites an email that Apple reportedly wrote to people in the music industry recently, announcing the “end of iTunes LPs.” The iTunes LP format was first introduced in 2009 and let publishers add interactive artwork, along with assorted iTunes Extras, with their content.
  • The LP format never achieved great popularity. However, the fact that Apple plans to ditch iTunes LPs in 2018 potentially hints at the possibility that Apple may stop selling iTunes music downloads in the near future.
  • According to a previous report by The Wall Street Journal, Apple Music is currently growing at a rate of around 5 percent each month.
 
 
Here’s how much a new iPhone battery boosts performance
  • A new video posted online by Bennett Sorbo compares an iPhone 6s with depleted battery against one with a fresh battery.
  • The two iPhones are then put head to head as they run through a variety of CPU-intensive tasks, including opening apps, using the internet, playing games and videos, and more.
 
MoviePass says it’s ‘exploring’ gathering location data on users, but it won’t sell it
  • MoviePass responded late this evening to a number of reports calling into question the company’s privacy policy after CEO Mitch Lowe publicly claimed the theater subscription service tracks its users’ locations.
 
Apple’s new HomePod commercial is a work of art
 
Direct download: CultCast_326_-_The_End_of_iTunes_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:11am PDT

This week: 
  • Reliable sources say Apple is working on an“audiophile” grade set of headphones with built-in AirPods magic.  SIGN US UP. 
  • Wow Apple plans to revolutionize healthcare
  • The cool, weird, and whacky HealthKit gadgets you’ve never heard of
  • And we wrap up with Pro whistling, rock accordion, and arguments over which actors have the hands-down best filmography on an all-new Get to Know Ur Cultist.
 
This episode supported by
 
Easily create a website by yourself, at Squarespace.com.  Use offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.
 
CultCloth will keep your iPhone X, Apple Watch, Mac and iPad sparkling clean, and for a limited time use code CULTCAST at checkout to score a free CleanCloth with any order at CultCloth.co.
 
Thanks to Kevin McLeodfor the music you hear on today’s episode.
 
Apple audiophile headphones tipped with AirPods magic
  • Apple is aiming to pivot its AirPods success into a set of Apple-branded over-the-ear headphones, reports suggest, effectively competing with its own Beats range.
  • KGI analyst and accurate Apple psychic Ming-Chi Kuo is says a new pair of Apple-branded over-the-hear audiophile-grade headphones is coming our way.
  • Kuo’s prediction went on to say we shouldn’t expect to see the new Apple headphones until Q4 2018 at the very earliest
  • In the meantime expect a new version of the AirPods to hit the market, with always-on "Hey Siri" functionality so a simple, and a new case with wireless charging capability
 
Apple wellness clinics will offer ‘world’s best healthcare’
  • Apple plans to launch new wellness clinics that will offer employees and their families “the world’s best healthcare.”
  • AC Wellness will be independently operated, according to its official website — but job listings suggest it is a wholly Apple-owned subsidiary. One of its clinics will be situated inside Apple Park, the Cupertino company’s brand new headquarters.
  • Apple has started recruiting for two AC Wellness clinics in Santa Clara, California — one of which will be located at Apple Park. They will initially serve Apple employees and their families when they open this spring, but Apple has much bigger plans, according to CNBC.
  • “Aside from the typical roles involved with a primary care clinic, Apple is also looking to hire “designers” who will help implement a program focused on preventing disease and promoting healthy behavior,” reads the report, which cites people familiar with the plan.
  • “Sources said the company will leverage its medical clinics as a way to test out its growing range of health services and products, which it is starting to roll out to consumers at large.”
 
iPhone sweeps Consumer Reports’ best camera list
  • The camera is a major feature of any smartphone, and Consumer Reports says Apple makes the best. All three of top models in the magazine’s latest ranking of top phone cameras are iPhones, as are six of the top ten.
  • At the top of the list is the iPhone X, which boasts a 12 megapixel wide-angle camera with ƒ/1.8 aperture, and a separate 12MP telephoto camera with ƒ/2.4 and 2x optical zoom.
  • Consumer Reports ranked the iPhone 8 next. It sports a single 12MP camera with ƒ/1.8 aperture.
  • in third place is the iPhone 8 Plus, another dual camera device. One is a 12MP wide-angle with ƒ/1.8, and the second a telephoto with ƒ/2.8.
  • The sole non-Apple device in the top five is the Samsung Galaxy S8+. This has a single 12MP camera with ƒ/1.7 aperture.
  • No Google Pixel in the list.
  • This is the same org that said Google Max defeats HomePod in sound.
 
Cool new HealthKit gadgets can measure practically anything
 
 
Them Darn Accordions with Weird All Yankovic and Drew Carrieat the 1998 Music Awards! 
Direct download: CultCast_325_-_AirPods_Pro.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:21pm PDT

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