The CultCast (general)
This week: 
  • HomePod is already stumbling in sales—is it doomed?  
  • Apple Is the richest company on earth, so where are all its billionaires?
  • Face ID could replace passwords on your favorite websites
  • The death of Touch ID scheduled for this fall
  • And stay tuned for Under Review, where we go hands on with an $80 tech-packed coffee cup, a beautiful new HomeKit smart lock, and the all-new Mavic Air drone.

 

This week: 
  • HomePod is already stumbling in sales—is it doomed?  
  • Apple Is the richest company on earth, so where are all its billionaires?
  • Face ID could replace passwords on your favorite websites
  • The death of Touch ID scheduled for this fall
  • And stay tuned for Under Review, where we go hands on with an $80 tech-packed coffee cup, a beautiful new HomeKit smart lock, and the all-new Mavic Air drone.
 
This episode supported by
 
Easily create a website by yourself, at Squarespace.com/cultcast. Use offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.
 
The single-router wifi model just doesn’t work for our increasingly high-bandwidth world. The EEROdistributed system will blanket your home in hyper-fast, reliable WiFi, and you can score free overnight shipping with code "CultCast" at checkout.
 
On the show this week
 
New RED iPhone 8
So beautiful. So red.
 
Join us for a live hangout on Friday the 13th, 12PM Pacific!
 
Erfon’s YouTube review of the tech-packed Ember Ceramic mug
 
Apple's Stumbling HomePod Isn't the Hot Seller Company Wanted
  • Is the HomePod toast?
  • According to some Apple store workers, inventories are piling up and Apple has cut orders with their manufacturer.
  • "At first, it looked like the HomePod might be a hit. Pre-orders were strong, and in the last week of January the device grabbed about a third of the U.S. smart speaker market in unit sales, according to data provided to Bloomberg by Slice Intelligence. But by the time HomePods arrived in stores, sales were tanking, says Slice principal analyst Ken Cassar. “Even when people had the ability to hear these things,” he says, “it still didn’t give Apple another spike.””
  • According to Slice Intelligence: During the HomePod’s first 10 weeks of sales, it eked out 10 percent of the smart speaker market, compared with 73 percent for Amazon’s Echo devices and 14 percent for the Google Home
  • Why aren’t people buying HomePods?
 
 
Apple Is the Richest Company, So Where Are the Billionaires?
  • Did you know it wasn’t Apple that made Steve Jobs a billionaire? It was Pixar selling to Disney.  
  • Well it seems, as the world’s richest company, Apple would have many billionaires in its ranks.  Turns out it doesn’t, and two astute reporters at Bloomberg wondering why.
  • Apple Chairman Art Levinson is the only insider billionaire at Apple, and his Apple stock only accounts for $200 of his fortune.
  • It’s estimated that Tim Cook is only worth 600 million dollars.
  • Steve Jobs sold all but one of his shares when he was ousted from the company.
  • One theory is that large stockholders sold off their shares in 1997 when Apple was on the brink of bankruptcy.
  • Apple is smart with their executive pay, tying significant parts of compensation to company performance.
  • Only corporate insiders or shareholders with stakes exceeding 5 percent are required to report their interests, so it’s possible there are billionaires around.
 
Face ID could replace passwords on your favorite websites
  • Face ID could become even more useful thanks to a newly launched Web Authentication standard, which could replace regular web passcodes with biometric identification. This is via an API created by the FIDO Alliance and W3C. It allows users to access any online service in a browser through password-free FIDO Authentication.
  • While Apple already allows Face ID to autofill usernames and passcodes on iOS, this could go one step further by replacing the passcode altogether. This would make it a more secure option.
  • The biometric services covered by the API include fingerprint readers, cameras and USB keys.
  • At present, the feature can be used in Mozilla’s Firefox browser, with Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge integration set to follow in the coming months. Opera integration is in the works, too, although sadly there’s no mention of Apple adopting this for Safari.
 
Death of Touch ID scheduled for this fall
  • All of the 2018 iPhone models will have Face ID, according to an industry analyst.
  • The analyst also indicated that two of the three models coming this fall will have OLED displays. There will be one medium-size and two bigger iPhones, both larger than any before.
  • He’s also expecting a price drop on the iPhone X to $899, with the X Plus costing $999.
  • Could that mean a move to FaceID on the Mac?
 
Under Review!
 
 
 
Direct download: CultCast_331_-_Is_HomePod_already_doomed_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:39pm PDT

This week: 
  • Whoa!  Apple just stole Google’s head of A.I. to make Siri smarter
  • Apple plans to ditch Intel processors on the Mac 
  • You won’t believe the massive cash being pay to silicon valley’s A.I. talent
  • Future iPhones could boast curved displays and touch-free controls
  • iOS 11.4 public beta arrives with AirPlay 2, but it won’t work with your HomePod
  • And a Leander gives us the scoop on his new Tim Cook book!
 
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.
 
The air you were meant to breathe is finally here. For $75 off your first order, visit molekule.com and enter the code CULTCAST at checkout. 
 
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 McLeod for the music you hear on today’s episode.
 
On the show this week
 
CultCast live hangout on Friday the 13th at 12PM PST!
 
Apple steals Google’s A.I. wiz to make Siri smarter
  • John Giannandrea used to be in charge of Google’s search and artificial intelligence, but now he works for Apple.  He’s leading the drive to make the company’s Siri voice assistant smarter, a goal many would agree is overdue.
  • NYT: Apple said on Tuesday that Mr. Giannandrea will run Apple’s “machine learning and A.I. strategy,” and become one of 16 executives who report directly to Apple’s chief executive, Timothy D. Cook.
  • This is the most high-profile move yet in a ongoing drive to hire more talent for the Siri team.
  • Mr. Giannandrea came to Google in 2010, where he helped make AI and machine learning part of all the company’s products, from search to Gmail. And now he’s doing that for Apple.
  • Apple is also looking to hire  to hire 142 more people for Siri-related jobs, almost twice as many as this time last year.
 
Tech Giants Are Paying Huge Salaries for Scarce A.I. Talent
  • Fun fact: Engineers with A.I. expertise are some of the most sought-after people in Silicon Valley, with salaries sometimes exceeding eight figures.
  • Tech’s biggest companies are placing huge bets on artificial intelligence, banking on things ranging from face-scanning smartphones and conversational coffee-table gadgets to computerized health care and autonomous vehicles.
  • Typical A.I. specialists, including both Ph.D.s fresh out of school and people with less education and just a few years of experience, can be paid from $300,000 to $500,000 a year or more in salary and company stock
  • In a court filing this year, Google revealed that one of the leaders of its self-driving-car division, Anthony Levandowski, a longtime employee who started with Google in 2007, took home over $120 million in incentives before joining Uber last year
  • In the entire world, fewer than 10,000 people have the skills necessary to tackle serious artificial intelligence research, according to Element AI, an independent lab in Montreal.
  • Not enough teachers because they all get lured into making their fortunes
  • Over the last several years, four of the best-known A.I. researchers in academia have left or taken leave from their professorships at Stanford University. At the University of Washington, six of 20 artificial intelligence professors are now on leave or partial leave and working for outside companies.
  • Nonprofits like Fast.ai and companies like Deeplearning.ai, founded by a former Stanford professor who helped create the Google Brain lab, offer online courses.
 
 
Future iPhones could boast curved displays and touch-free controls
  • According to Bloomberg, Apple is working on touchless gesture controls and curved screens for future iPhones
  • The touchless control feature would be a bit like the Air Gestures feature Samsung introduced several years back. This allows users to accept calls and navigate through web pages by waving their hands across the screen.
  • The other new technology is for a curved display more noticeable than the slight curve seen on the iPhone X’s OLED screen. Unlike Samsung’s curved handsets, which curve down at the edges, Apple’s approach reportedly curves “inward gradually from top to bottom.”
 
iOS 11.4 public beta arrives with AirPlay 2, but it won’t work with your HomePod just yet
 
 
Apple plans to ditch Intel processors on the Mac 
  • Apple is pushing forward with plans to ditch Intel’s processors in favor of its own chips, according to a new report that claims the transition away from Intel CPUs will likely take multiple steps.
  • Bloomberg says that Apple executives have already approved the project to make the Mac run on ARM-based processors by 2020.
  • Moving to its own chips inside Macs would let Apple release new models on its own timelines, instead of relying on Intel’s processor roadmap.
  • Making the move to ARM chips won’t be easy though. All software would basically have to be rewritten for the new processors, which certainly won’t make developers happy.
  • Pluses
    •  Intel chips have stalled in major progress, leaving little reason for many to update from older computers.
    • The A11 bionic chip inside the iPhone X beats meets or beats Geekbench scores of the fastest 2017 13” MacBook Pro
    • No more waiting on Intel!  More regular releases of Macs with updated hardware.
    • Even tighter integration of your Mac, iPhone, iPad, and other  devices
  • Concerns
    • Machines not capable with doing pro work.  Sure the X beats a 13” MBP, but what about a desktop  4-core or 6-core chip with hyper threading?
    • is this going to mean Macs that are more like phones and iPads? (efficient but not very powerful)
    • Even more of a walled-garden as Apple fine-tunes it’s machines to work best with it’s own software, but 3rd party apps may not follow
Direct download: CultCast_330_-__Apple_ditches_Intel_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:27am PDT

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.
 
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.
 
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

What a show this week!  We talk: a new gaming console from Apple?  Some new evidence says yes. Plus: some of HomePods best features get delayed; why Leander switched from 1Password to Dashlane; how to get a heckuva great deal on a new iPad; and we wrap up with the smart bike helmet you haven’t heard of, a rugged charge-it-all solar-powered battery back, and an updated version of one of our favorite products on an all-new Under Review.
 
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.
 
On the show this week
 
 
Is AppleTV about to become a gaming console?
  • Apple has updated their Apple TV logo trademark by adding all things related to gaming.
  • Apple's Trademark filing 87801324 filed last Friday and published today by USPTO was filed solely under international class 028 which specifically covers the following:
  • "video game consoles; controllers for game consoles; video output games, namely, video output game machines for use with televisions; apparatus for electronic games adapted for use with an external display screen or monitor.”
  • This is a significant update that has to be taken seriously. Bringing a whole new level of gaming to Apple TV could be another twist coming to Apple TV in addition to a video content service driven by Apple Worldwide Video.
 
Looks like multi-room AirPlay just got further away
  • One of the best features for Apple’s new HomePod appears to be facing some big delays.
  • AirPlay 2.0 promises to give HomePod users the ability to stream the same song to different devices in different rooms from a single iPhone. But with the release of iOS 11.3 beta 3 this morning, Apple has decided to pull the feature from testing.
  • The functionality of AirPlay 2.0 was pretty buggy in the first two beta builds of iOS 11.3. Apple removed it in the latest betas of iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3 that just came out.
  • Until AirPlay 2.0 comes out, you also won’t be able to pair two of Apple’s new smart speakers together so they play stereo sound or multi-room audio.
 
Why I switched from 1Password to Dashlane [Review]
  • Our thoughts on apps with subscription fees
 
 
Apple gets go-ahead for two new iPads
  • Apple has been given the go-ahead for two new iPads, hinting at an imminent refresh.
  • The company filed for approval with the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), and both devices were granted permission this week. Apple has also been given approval to bring several iPhone and iPad “samples” into the region.
  • The filings don’t tell us much about these devices. But it does suggest that an Apple announcement is imminent.
  • Apple is dumping 9.7” models.  128GB versions are selling for $280-$350 (regular price $430)
  • Apple Files Major Apple TV Logo Trademark Update Focused on All-Things related to Gaming, Including a Video Game Console
 
Under Review!
 
Lumos Smart Bike Helmet with wireless turn signal remote
 
Arlo Pro 2 wireless security cameras
 
Goal Zero Sherpa 100 Power Pack
 
Kwikset Premis
Direct download: CultCast_324_-_A_new_Apple_gaming_console_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:38pm PDT

This week: friends, HomePod is even better than the hype, it’s one of the best products Apple's ever made. Plus: HomePod vs. the rivals; the big HomePod flaw you need to know about (and the one Apple is trying to downplay); how Apple plans to revamp their future software; and is another new Apple product on the horizon?  We think so, and we’ll tell you what it is.
 
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.
 
From how to become more productive and professional to how to read body language, network, and negotiate, the Art of Charm podcast covers anything that will help you become a high-performer at home and at work.  Check it out at theartofcharm.com/podcast.
 
On the show this week
 
Consumer Reports says HomePod doesn’t sound as good as its rivals
  • One of the most reputable tech review sites isn’t that impressed with the HomePod’s superb sound.
  • While most reviewers have noted the HomePod as the best sounding speaker they’ve ever listened too, Consumer Reports claims Google Home Max and Sonos One sound better.
  • “The HomePod will serve many music fans well, but CR testers did hear some flaws. The HomePod’s bass was a bit boomy and overemphasized,” wrote Consumer Reports. “And the midrange tones were somewhat hazy, meaning that some of the nuance in vocals, guitars, and horns was lost
 
Audiophile Review: HomePod 'Sounds Better' Than $999 KEF X300A Digital Hi-Fi Speakers
  • Reddit user WinterCharm posted exhaustive audio performance testing results for HomePod to the Reddit audiophile community.
  • Using specialized equipment and a controlled testing environment, the review features in-depth analysis of the smart speaker's output when compared to a pair of $999 KEF X300Adigital hi-fi monitors, representing a "meticulously set up audiophile grade speaker versus a tiny little HomePod that claims to do room correction on its own”.
    • "I am speechless. The HomePod actually sounds better than the KEF X300A. If you're new to the Audiophile world, KEF is a very well respected and much loved speaker company. I actually deleted my very first measurements and re-checked everything because they were so good, I thought I'd made an error. Apple has managed to extract peak performance from a pint sized speaker, a feat that deserves a standing ovation. The HomePod is 100% an Audiophile grade Speaker."
 
Siri on HomePod Correctly Answered 52.3% of Queries in New AI Test
  • Our ol’ pal Genie Munster, in a new test shared today by Loup Ventures, HomePod was put through a bunch of Siri AI tests
  • When asked a series of questions, here’s how it performed vs. other smart speakers
  • Google Home answered 81 percent correctly, Amazon's Alexa answered 64 percent correctly, and Microsoft's Cortana answered 57 percent correctly.
 
HomePod leaves ugly white rings on wood tables
  • HomePods are already making their mark in new homes across the country — but not in a good way.
  • Apple customers started noticing that HomePod can damage wood furniture by leaving a white ring after resting on a table for just a few minutes or days.
  • Apple confirmed the problem today, saying “the marks can improve over several days after the speaker is removed from the wood surface.” Apple also suggested owners “try cleaning the surface with the [table] manufacturer’s suggested oiling method.”If the white rings don’t disappear, Apple says you can just refinish the furniture.
  • Apple also recommends putting the HomePod on a coaster if you’re worried about the speaker damaging your table.

 

Erfon listens to HomePod for the first time... 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Lz7dxfNXL8

 
How Apple Plans to Root Out Bugs, Revamp iPhone Software - leander
  • Apple will start focusing on the next two years of updates for its iPhone and iPad operating system, according to people familiar with the change. The company will continue to update its software annually, but internally engineers will have more discretion to push back features that aren't as polished to the following year.
  • Software chief Craig Federighi laid out the new strategy to his army of engineers last month, according to a person familiar with the discussion. His team will have more time to work on new features and focus on under-the-hood refinements without being tied to a list of new features annually simply so the company can tout a massive year-over-year leap, people familiar with the situation say. The renewed focus on quality is designed to make sure the company can fulfill promises made each the summer at the annual developers conference and that new features work reliably and as advertised.
  • The decision to give engineers more time to perfect software is a major cultural shift.
  • At Google, teams update apps on their own schedule and aren’t tied to the annual Android release. At Apple, all new features are tied to a big release in the fall, when Apple rolls out its splashiest new software, and a more modest update in the spring
 
Apple hiring spree means something big is on the way - leander
  • Apple has been busy hiring a record number of engineers over the last few months. The move comes after the company also went on a designer hiring spree, indicating a major new product or two could be in the works.
  • Job openings for engineering jobs at Apple rose 80% from the period starting in September until just last week. The company’s listings went from 665 open hardware engineering positions to 1,198 last week.
    • What exactly Apple is working on is anyone’s best guess right now, but check out these job listings:Analog Layout Designer, Advanced Material Scientist (Electrolyte Development), 3D Perception/Computer Vision Algorithm Engineer, Sensor Design Engineer, Motion Sensing Hardware Engineer: Magnetics, and even a Flexible Display Technologist.
  • Leander had an epiphany last show of what all these jobs have in common
Direct download: CultCast_323_HomePod__one_of_Apple_s_greatest_products.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:42am PDT

This week: the HomePod reviews are coming out hot and heavy, and they’re surprising.  We’ll tell you what people like, love, and hate about Apple’s new speaker. Plus: something strange is happening at Apple HQ… we’ll tell you more. 
 
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On the show this week
 
HomePod meta review: Superb sound, stupid Siri
Apple seeded a few review units to major outlets ahead of this Friday’s HomePod launch. The embargo lifted Tuesday morning, and the early reviews reveal a few surprising tidbits about the HomePod.
 
HomePod sound quality is amazing
  • TechCrunch: “Apple’s HomePod is easily the best sounding mainstream smart speaker ever. It’s got better separation and bass response than anything else in its size and boasts a nuance and subtlety of sound that pays off the 7 years Apple has been working on it.”
 
HomePod sounds better than expensive speakers
  • WSJ: “The HomePod sounds noticeably richer and fuller than almost every other speaker we’ve testedApple’s audio engineering team did something really clever and new with the HomePod, and it really works. I’m not sure there’s anything out there that sounds better for the price, or even several times the price.
 
HomePod sucks at music recommendations
  • Apple frames the ability to tell Siri to play your favorite music, and immediately hear soothing tones blasted out of the speaker, as one of the HomePod’s main draws. Cupertino promises that Siri will learn your musical tastes over time, but based on The New York Times’ review, that’s not what actually happens.
 
HomePod only syncs with one iCloud account
  • That sucks if you don’t live alone.
 
Not a very good assistant
  • Siri is limited and doesn’t compete with Alexa or Google intelligence.
    • TechCrunch: Siri doesn’t do a lot of “other” stuff that isn’t about audio content. Apple says this is because the vast majority of people use these speakers for basic commands like playing music and setting timers. But it does offer best-in-class voice recognition, vastly outstripping the ability of other smart speakers to hear you trying to trigger a command at a distance or while music is playing, but its overall flexibility is stymied by the limited command sets that the Siri protocol offers.
  • Siri can’t even set more than one timer
  • Siri can’t recognize multiple voices (someone could ask it to read your texts, or even send an iMessage)
 
You can use Spotify via AirPlay, but you can’t control it with your voice
 
The smarts are in the music tech
  • When plugged in, HomePod goes through a series of aural exercises you first plug it in to determine how best to structure its sound.
  • It also includes an accelerometer, so if you move the speaker, it will retune itself.
  • Eddie Cue revealed recently that HomePod will adjust how it sounds to each song you play based on Apple’s analytics.
 
Redheads and superheroes included in 150+ new emojis for 2018
  • The Unicode Consortium has approved more than 150 new emoji characters that will likely be headed to iOS and macOS later this year.
  • The Unicode Consortium has approved more than 150 new emoji characters that will likely be headed to iOS and macOS later this year.
 
Apple hiring spree means something big is on the way
  • Apple has been busy hiring a record number of engineers over the last few months. The move comes after the company also went on a designer hiring spree, indicating a major new product or two could be in the works.
  • Job openings for engineering jobs at Apple rose 80% from the period starting in September until just last week. The company’s listings went from 665 open hardware engineering positions to 1,198 last week.
  • What exactly Apple is working on is anyone’s best guess right now, but check out these job listings:
    • Analog Layout Designer, Advanced Material Scientist (Electrolyte Development), 3D Perception/Computer Vision Algorithm Engineer, Sensor Design Engineer, Motion Sensing Hardware Engineer: Magnetics, and even a Flexible Display Technologist.
  • There are hundreds of other titles up for grabs though so probably only a few people at Apple really know the full picture
 
What we’re INTO
 
Poke-Bowls
 
The Shape of Water
 
iPhone X and its incredible camera
Direct download: CultCast_322_-_Does_HomePod_live_up_to_the_hype_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:08pm PDT