The CultCast
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 PST

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. 
 
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
 
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 PST

This week: Apple delays big new iOS features to focus on stability, and what it means for iOS 12.  Plus: New details tell us more about 2018’s iPhone X Plus Nintendo announces one of its most legendary games is coming to iOS; Apple works to bring iPad apps to Mac; and we’ll tell you what we like and don’t about the gadge we’re reviewing in an all-new Under Review ☝🏼✋🏼
 
This episode supported by
 
Create a beautiful website all by yourself at Squarespace.com.  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 EERO distributed 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
 
Mario Kart is officially coming to iOS
  • Nintendo just announced that a mobile version of Mario Kart is under development. The company says the game will be released sometime in the next 13 months, but left it at that.
  • "The checkered flag has been raised and the finish line is near. A new mobile application is now in development: Mario Kart Tour! #MarioKartTour Releasing in the fiscal year ending in March 2019.”
 
Apple delays big new iOS features to focus on stability in 2018
  • Apple is changing up its plans for this year’s mobile software
  • According to Ina Fried in a report for Axios, “Apple has shaken up its iOS software plans for 2018, delaying some features to next year in an effort to put more focus on addressing performance and quality issues"
 
Apple works to bring iPad apps to Mac in 2018
  • Apple’s primary focus for its software updates this year is on improving performance and stability. But there’s a big new feature that the company is still working to bring to macOS, according to a new report. That’s the ability to run iPad apps.
  • Apple has delayed big new features for iOS to focus on ironing out the kinks this year, according to a report from Axios’ Ina Fried. Software chief Craig Federighi is said to have announced the plans to Apple employees at a meeting earlier this month.
  • But one key feature remains on the roadmap for 2018: The ability for Macs to run iPad apps,” reads the latest report.
 
Apple’s value drops $46 billion amid falling iPhone X demand
  • A growing number of analysts and news outlets have claimed that Apple is cutting production due to weaker-than-expected demand for its flagship device. The Wall Street Journal is the latest to corroborate the claims.
  • The Wall Street Journal is the latest to pipe up. It claimed on Monday that Apple has significantly reduced component orders for iPhone X — by as much as 60 percent in some cases. “They always do this when things aren’t selling well,” one source said.
 
New details tell us more about 2018’s iPhone X Plus
  • In a weekend report to investors, reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities reiterates that Apple is planning two OLED iPhones and one LCD model for this year. The two OLED models, he says, be 5.8- and 6.5-inches in size, while the LCD model will be 6.1-inches.
 
 
Under Review
 
Elgato Stream Deck
 
Azio Retro Classic Luxury Bluetooth Keyboards
 
Juuk Velo Apple Watch Band
Direct download: CultCast_321_-_Apple_s_big_plans_for_iOS_12.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:07pm PST

This week: HomePod pre-sale has begun!  But... we’ll tell you why Apple’s new smart speaker may be a huge flop.  Plus: audiophiles are comparing HomePod’s tech to speakers that cost $85,000; Apple adds some long-awaited features to iOS 11; how to backup your iCloud photo library to your PC (and why you should); and wrap with another episode of Drone Chat!  This time, we’ll tell you why DJI's Mavic Air is the perfect drone for almost everyone.
 
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
 
HomePod pre-orders begin Friday ahead of Feb. 9 launch
  • Apple today Wednesday that it will release its $349 HomePod on February 9.
  • Pre-orders start this Friday!
  • That technology includes a seven-tweeter array and a 4-inch woofer — plus spatial awareness capabilities. These allow HomePod to “read” its environment and tailor audio output for the best results, though this functionality won’t be available until later this year.
  • In large rooms, you can even pair multiple HomePods for bigger sound.
 
Why Apple’s HomePod is poised to bomb
  • HomePod, the first new Apple product of 2018, is about to arrive. And as a huge Apple fanboy, I couldn’t care less.
  • Thanks to Siri, HomePod is great at the things you want to know, and do, in your home. Set timers. Convert measurements. Get translations. And get live news, sports, weather, and traffic. You can also create lists that anyone can add to.
  • Will it replace an iPad or AppleTV as as HomeKit hub?
  • It’s too damn expensive
  • Siri sucks
  • You’re stuck with Apple Music
    • Will Spotify work at all?
  • HomePod is not even finished yet!
    • No stereo or multi-room support till alter this year
 
Audiophiles on Reddit are comparing HomePod’s tech to speakers costing 85,000
 
iOS 11.3 beta 1 is out with iCloud Messages, new Animoji and more
  • Apple gave the public a preview of the new features coming in iOS 11.3 Wednesday.
  • iOS 11.3 beta 1 contains a number of notable improvements, including iCloud Messages. Apple also added the ability to view your battery’s health and choose between increased performance or better battery life. The new feature is in response to criticism Apple received from customers after it was discovered that Apple throttles CPU speeds on iPhones with older batteries.
 
Messages on iCloud is almost ready — and you’re going to love it
  • Messages on iCloud were first previewed at WWDC 2017. Apple pulled it from later beta builds though as it wasn’t ready for wider use
  • Well it’s finally entering the beta testing phase among developers.
  • Once iMessage on iCloud rolls out to the public you’ll be able to delete iMessage conversations to save space on your device. Conversations will still be accessible on your other Apple devices though and on 
 
DJI unveils impossibly tiny new Mavic Air drone
  • The most popular consumer drone on the market just got a huge upgrade that gives it even more mass appeal for budding droners and video creators.
  • DJI unveiled its new folding drone, the Mavic Air, today. A blend of the company’s two most popular drones, the Mavic Pro and the Spark, it also packs new features you won’t find on DJI’s other drones.
 
 
Direct download: CultCast_320_-_Why_Apple_s_new_HomePod_is_poised_to_bomb_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:44pm PST

This week: Tim Cook is THRILLED with the US’ new tax overhaul, and has some exciting plans to spend Apple’s massive fortune.  Plus: forget other smart speakers—we’re tell you why we’re now even more excited for HomePod.  And stick around for our favorite movies, shows, and sausages in an all-new very weird What We’re Into!  
 
This episode supported by
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.
 
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.
 
CultCloth will keep your iPhone 7, Apple Watch, Mac and iPad sparkling clean, and for a limited time you can use code CULTCAST to score a free CleanCloth with any order at CultCloth.co.
 
On the show this week
 
You’ll soon be able to disable Apple’s iPhone throttling feature
  • Tim Cook has revealed that a future iOS 11 update will let users disable the feature that was causing their iPhone to throttle performance.
  • He says that this forthcoming update will give users the option to disable performance throttling if they would rather be at risk of unexpected shutdowns but maintain full CPU and GPU performance.
 
Apple says it will add $350 billion to U.S. economy
  • Apple’s big tax break is about to unleash an big beautiful avalanche of spending from the iPhone-maker.
  • In its last earnings report, Apple said it held $252 billion in cash overseas. It appears, given the new corporate tax rate of 15.5  percent, that it is returning a majority of this to the United States.  This low rate is a one-time deal for corporations to repatriate their overseas cash hordes
  • Apple revealed its plans to contribute $350 billion to the U.S. economy over the next five years now that the fee for repatriating its mountain of overseas cash has been significantly lowered.
  • Even though construction on Apple’s new spaceship campus just finished, the company says its already looking to build a new one. Plans (including the location) for the third Apple HQ will be revealed later this year. The building will initially house new team specializing in technical support for customers.
  • The company also says it plans to increase the size of its advanced manufacturing fund from $1 billion to $5 billion. The fund is used to invest in U.S. manufacturing companies and suppliers.
  • Apple says it will add over 20,000 new jobs in the next five years by hiring for new jobs at its existing campuses and the new one. $30 billion will be spent on capital expenditures in the US over next 5 years with $10 billion of that going to data centers.
  • With the new tax law in effect, Apple expects it will only pay $38 billion to bring its money home. That would still be the largest ever payment to the IRS.
 
Apple employees get big bonus thanks to Trump
  • Apple told employees Wednesday that it plans to give all of them $2,500 worth of restricted stock, thanks to the revised tax law that goes into effect this year.
  • Trump applauded Apple’s moves on Twitter, saying “Great to see Apple follow through as a result of TAX CUTS. Huge win for American workers and the USA!”
  • Tim also announced a very generous new charity match:
    • I’m happy to announce that starting immediately and running through the end of 2018, Apple will match all employee charitable donations, up to $10,000 annually, at a rate of two to one.
 
First HomePod shipments are on the way to Apple ahead of launch
  • Apple suppliers have begun shipping the first HomePod units ahead of the smart speaker’s much-anticipated launch. Just 1 million devices are on the way initially. However, Apple is expected to receive as many as 12 million by the end of this year.
  • HomePod was supposed to launch ahead of the holidays but Apple delayed it because it wasn’t ready. When it finally goes on sale this year, HomePod will give Apple fans an alternative to Amazon Echo and Google Home.
  • Meanwhile, smart speakers were ubiquitous at CES, and Amazon’s Alexa is now being built into everything from thermostats to toilets.
  • Apple still hasn’t provided us with a proper HomePod release date yet
 
What we’re into!
 
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
 
Toast Made gadget wraps
 
Soyrizo spicy fake meat sauges
 
Black Mirror season 4
Direct download: CultCast_319_-_How_Apple_s_going_to_spend_its_MASSIVE_fortune_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:31am PST

This week: our list of the weirdest, whackiest, and wonderfullest gadgets of CES 2018!  Plus: Stevie Wonder, Stevie Nicks, and hanging with Andy Dick—we remember our favorite stories from CES's of years past.
 
This episode supported by
 
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.
 
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.
 
CultCloth will keep your iPhone 7, Apple Watch, Mac and iPad sparkling clean, and for a limited time you can use code CULTCAST to score a free CleanCloth with any order at CultCloth.co.
 
On the show this week
 
Major power outage hits CES
  • Power in the North and Central halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center, which hosts CES annually, was out for nearly two hours on Wednesday.
  • The outage impacted hundreds of companies, including giants like LG, Samsung, and Sony, as well as many small startups that paid thousands of dollars to have a presence on the massive show floor.
  • This year’s CES seems to be marked by more chaos than usual, including unprecedented rain that flooded streets and shut down Google’s giant funhouse booth for a day.
 
Hue lights’ new iOS and Mac app will customize lighting for any occasion
  • Outdoor products on the way
  • Updated Hue app with complete redesign
  • Partnership with Razer
  • Philips Hue Sync
  • Hue Sync will analyze anything displayed on your monitor in real-time and create light scripts to compliment your content
 
DJI’s new Osmo 2 gimbal makes smooth iPhone footage cheap
  • Capturing super-smooth video on your iPhone is about to get a lot easier (AND cheaper) thanks to the folks at DJI.
  • DJI unveiled its newest handheld smartphone gimbal today called the Osmo 2. The new gimbal packs simplified controls to allow anyone to record shake-free video from their iPhone, and it’s got some new tricks you won’t find on its predecessor.
 
How to reopen a recently closed tab in Safari on iOS
  • You’ve closed a tab in Safari and instantly realized that it was the wrong one.
  • This trick works on both the Mac and on iOS devices. All you need to do is long-press (or long-click on the Mac) the + icon, aka the New Tab icon. Do that, and up will pop a panel with a list of the tabs you closed since the last Safari relaunch. If you force-quit Safari for any reason, this list will be wiped
  • Even easier, just hit command-z on the Mac to instantly reopen the closed tab.
 
 
Smart toothbrush will use ResearchKit to give you a better clean
  • the Colgate Smart Electronic Toothbrush E1 with Artificial Intelligence uses AI to provide real-time feedback to users as they clean their pearly whites. It also uses Apple’s ResearchKit platform integration to crowdsource toothbrushing data from other users. The more people clean, the smarter the brush gets!
  • The brush contains real-time motion sensors, designed to capture brushing efficiency and effectiveness in 16 different zones of the mouth. It also uses Bluetooth connectivity and sonic vibrating technology,
 
Somnox’s robotic pillow is designed to snuggle
One group of researchers in the Netherlands believes thinks the reason you’re not sleeping well is because you’re not cuddling enough.
 
Vortx blows air at your face while you're gaming and it's great
  • Vortx is absolutely ridiculous, totally frivolous, and that’s exactly why you’ll love it.
  • It's a cube that sits on your desk, and it blows hot or cold air in your face, depending on what's happening on your screen.

 
This week on a very fun, educational, and addictive CultCast:
  • Everything you want to know about Apple’s $29 iPhone battery replacement program, and why you should absolutely use it.
  • We’ll tell you about Steve Job’s new fashion line soon to be sweeping the runways of a Costco near you
  • We break down just how much money Tim Cook earned each week and each day in 2017. Spoiler: He’a rich yaaa’aaall!.
  • A high-tech butt cleaner, a $400 cooler, and a powerhouse network attached storage — Faves N Raves is back baby. We’ll pitch you our favorite tech then vote on which is best.
 
This episode supported by
 
Build a beautiful, responsive website quick at Squarespace.com.  Enter offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10% off. Squarespace—Build it Beautiful.
 
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.
 
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 apologizes with $29 iPhone battery replacements
  • Apple confirmed last week that it lowers CPU performance. But they say they do it because as batteries age they can’t meet peak CPU draw demands, especially when the battery is low. When this happens it causes the device to restart, so Apple added an algorithm that curves CPU demands as batteries age.
  • STATEMENT: 
    • “First and foremost, we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades,” the company says on its website. “Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.”
  • Apple also says it will come out with an iOS update in early 2018 that will give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone’s battery. Third-party apps like coconutBattery can also be used to check an iPhone’s battery status.
  • Devices affected by the throttling include the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE. Apple notified customers today that it will reduce the price on out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacements by $50, putting the cost at just $29.
  • There was a rumor going around that Apple would only replace batteries for phones that didn’t pass a battery diagnostic test, but an internal Apple memo apprehend by French Tech Blog iGeneration states that the Genius bar should allow battery replacements for all who ask
  • If you’re wondering if you should replace your battery, Apple can run a diagnostic on your phone's battery remotely – you don't need to visit an Apple Store.  Just contact their customer service via chat or email.
 
 
‘Steve Jobs’ could be Italy’s hottest new fashion line
  • An Italian clothing company going by the name of “Steve Jobs” has won its long-standing legal battle with Apple for the right to sell jeans with Jobs’ name on them.
  • The company — founded by brothers Vincenzo and Giacomo Barbato — was created back in 2012 when the two noticed that Apple hadn’t filed for a trademark on the name Steve Jobs. They decided the tech icon’s name would be perfect for their new fashion brand and slapped it on their first line of jeans.
  • Apple quickly filed a lawsuit against the Steve Jobs fashion company which uses a stylized J with an apple leaf at the top and a bite mark on the right side. According to la Repubblica Napoli, Apple lost its case because it unsuccessfully attacked the company’s logo itself, not Jobs’ name.
  • The Italian court ruled that because the letter “J” isn’t edible the mark on the side can’t be considered a bite, therefore it’s not ripping off Apple’s own logo.
 
Tim Cook will take home $102 million this year
  • Apple has had a great year, and CEO Tim Cook is being rewarded accordingly. According to a new report, Cook will take home a massive $102 million this year, composed of both his $3.06 million salary and an equity award of $89.2 million.
  • For security reasons, the Apple board now stipulates that Cook use private planes for all business and personal travel. His personal security costs in 2017 were calculated at $224,216, while he ran up a $93,109 bill for traveling on private planes for non-business trips.
  • Apple’s latest filing reveals that Cook’s top five lieutenants — including Luca Maestri, Angela Ahrendts, Johny Srouji, Dan Riccio, and Bruce Sewell — each received bonuses of $3.11 million. Including salary and stock options, this meant they earned around $24.2 million each, depending on if they stay at Apple long enough for all of their awarded stock options to vest.
  • Apple does not reveal how much it paid to Chief Design Officer Jony Ive, who recently returned to his job running Apple’s design team after two years working on the Apple Park headquarters project.
  • Tim Cook has previously said that he will donate his fortune (which currently stands at close to $1 billion) to charity — after paying for his 12-year-old nephew’s college education.
 
iMac Pro’s space gray accessories fetch silly money on eBay
  • The iMac Pro is the same size and shape as any other iMac. But to differentiate it from its more affordable siblings, Apple gives it an exclusive space gray paint job — and throws in space gray accessories to match.
  • Adopters get a space gray Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, a Magic Mouse 2, a Magic Trackpad 2, and a Lightning cable. If you buy these separately from Apple, they’re only available in white.
  • The combo is going for 500-$650 on eBay.
  • If you forget to buy one of the accessories during checkout, you can’t buy it separately.
 
Faves N Raves!
 
The $400 Toto Washlet C200 butt cleaner
 
Parrot Zik 3 headphones 
 
Synology 418Play NAS 
 
Otterbox Venture 45 cooler 
Direct download: CultCast_317_-_The_400_butt_cleaner.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:44pm PST

This week: our picks for the BEST Apple Gadge of 2017 💪🏼  Plus: Apple admits they are indeed slowing down older iPhones and Mac, but there’s more to the story than you’ve heard. We’ll tell you how to check if you’re affected, how to check your battery health, and how to prevent getting throttled.
 
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On the show this week
 
How old batteries are slowing down your iPhone and Mac
  • It all started with a post on Reddit (TeckFire):
    • My iPhone 6S has been very slow these past few weeks, and even after updating multiple times, it was still slow. Couldn’t figure out why, but just thought that iOS 11 was still awful to me. Then I used my brother’s iPhone 6 Plus and his was faster than mine? This is when I knew something was wrong. So, I did some research, and decided to replace my battery. I did a Geekbench score before the battery change, and found I was getting 1466 Single and 2512 Multi. After changing my battery, I did another test, and this time it was 2526 for Single and 4456 for Multi. From what I can tell, Apple slows down phones when the battery gets too low.
 
Apple hit with two lawsuits over slowing down iPhones
  • Apple has admitted to purposely throttling the performance of aging iPhones, but they say it’s not to shorten your device’s life, but to lengthen it.
  • Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components.
  • Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future.”
 
A bad battery will result in a slowed Mac too
 
Slow iPhone? Here’s how to check the health of your battery - leander
  • coconutBattery is a FREE Mac app that performs a single task — it checks the status of the battery in your Mac, or the battery of any iDevices connected to that Mac.
  • It shows you the state of your battery health, charge cycle, and the current capacity vs. the designed capacity
  • iStat menus also works for battery health and charge cycle plus a ton of other super useful information
 
Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs loses ‘Man of the Year’ award to the PC
  • Time magazine’s “Man of the Year” issue hit newsstands on December 26, 1983, and Steve Jobs fully expected to be on the cover.
  • The award represented just how far personal computers had come in just a few years, not just technologically but also as a world-changing industry. Apple, only five years old at the time, had not yet released the Macintosh. However, the Apple II was phenomenally successful. Apple was also on the verge of launching the Lisa, its first machine to offer a graphical user interface and mouse.
  • But when Steve received his issue of Time, it was not himself on the but a PC.  It was the first time the magazine had featured a non-human on the cover.
  • Steve Jobs 27 years old.  And when we ready to article, he was so upset, he actually cried.
Direct download: CultCast_316_-_The_BEST_Apple_Gadgets_of_2017.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:57pm PST

Ho Ho Hooo! This week on a very merry CultCast:
  • Next-day delivery of iPhone X is a sprinkling of Christmas magic
  • Updated AirPods are supposedly coming in 2018
  • How the iPhone almost never was
  • HOT Tips:
    • How to listen to Youtube videos when your iPad or iPhone screens are off
    • How to picture-in-picture Youtube videos on your iPad
    • And how to keep those pesky ads out of your Youtube videos for free
  • And we wrap up with our favorite shows of 2017!
  • To all our Cult friends, meeeeerry Christmas, happy (belated) Hanukkah
 
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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
 
Next-day delivery of iPhone X is a sprinkling of Christmas magic
  • It’s a Christmas Miracle!
  • All models are available in the U.S. Apple Store, marking something of a Christmas miracle for Apple — when you consider that the majority of pre-release reports suggested that the iPhone X wouldn’t be shipping to most customers until some time in 2018.
 
Listen up: Updated AirPods are supposedly coming in 2018
  • Did you know AirPods are among the most beloved new products that Apple has launched in years, with around 98 percent of customers describing themselves as either “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with Apple’s wireless buds.
  • Apple is planning to release an updated version of its AirPods wireless earbuds in the second half of 2018, respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claims in a new note to clients.
  • While he doesn’t share too many details about what the new AirPods will do differently, he does suggest that they will adopt a smaller quartz component — quite possibly making them even smaller than the first-gen model currently available.
 
Today in Apple history: iPhone may have to seek new name
  • The original iPhone wasn’t an iPhone at all. 
  • Back in 1998, a company called InfoGear showed off an “iPhone” at CES. Costing $499, with extra charges for internet access, the device made very early use of touch technology, visual voicemail, basic apps and more.
  • Even though it got good reviews, it didn’t sell well, but it peaked Cisco’s interest, and they bought InforGear and the iPhone trademark in 2000.
  • Fast forward to 2007. Apple announces their iPhone, and they did it knowing that Cisco owned the trademark.
  • Steve Jobs wasn’t going to let something silly like the law stop him from using the name he wanted for Apple’s new device.
  • Despite Cisco owning the name, Apple nonetheless went ahead and introduced the iPhone in January 2007. The following day, Cisco filed suit against Apple. As Adam Lashinsky revealed in his book Inside Apple:
    • “[Charles Giancarlo, a Cisco executive at the time] fielded a call directly from Steve Jobs. ‘Steve called in and said that he wanted it,’ Giancarlo recalled. ‘He didn’t offer us anything for it. It was just like a promise he’d be our best friend. And we said, ‘No, we’re planning on using it.’’ Shortly after that, Apple’s legal department called to say they thought Cisco had ‘abandoned the brand,’ meaning that in Apple’s legal opinion Cisco hadn’t adequately defended its intellectual property rights by promoting the name
    • The negotiation displayed some classic Steve Jobs negotiating tactics. Giancarlo said Jobs called him at home at dinnertime on Valentine’s Day, as the two sides were haggling. Jobs talked for a while, Giancarlo related. ‘And then he said to me, ‘Can you get email at home?’ Giancarlo was taken aback. This was 2007, after all, when broadband Internet was ubiquitous in homes in the US, let alone that of a Silicon Valley executive who had worked for years on advanced Internet technology. ‘And he’s asking me if I’m able to get email at home. You know he’s just trying to press my buttons — in the nicest possible way.’ Cisco gave up the fight shortly after that.”
  • Apple later repeated this somewhat underhanded move by borrowing another trademark owned by Cisco — the name “IOS” (which Cisco used for “Internet Operating System”). As a make-good, Apple and Cisco announced that they were teaming up to “explore opportunities for interoperability,” although this never happened.
 
Best TV of 2017!
 
Leander
 
The Deuce
 
The Leftovers 
 
Silicon Valley
 
The Detectorists
 
The Crown
 
 
Erfon
 
Walking Dead!
 
AVDChina
 
Joe Rogan Experience
 
 
Direct download: CultCast_315_-_Best_TV_of_2017.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:23pm PST

This week:
  • In a surprising turn of events, Jony Ive has taken back the reigns of Apple’s design team.
  • The new iMac is out, and the reviews are coming in.  We’ll tell you what’s new about this beastly machine with a MONSTER price tag
  • By the numbers: how much dough Apple earns every single second will help you realize what plebeians we all are
  • And we wrap with how Apple got it right 2017, and what they need to do better in 2018!
 
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On the show this week
 
Jony Ive is once again leading Apple’s design team
  • Jony Ive is reportedly returning to hands-on design duties at Apple, two years after being promoted to the role of Chief Design Officer.
  • According to an Apple spokesperson, “With the completion of Apple Park, Apple’s design leaders and teams are again reporting directly to Jony Ive, who remains focused purely on design.”
  • Why Ive would be returning to his old role isn’t immediately clear — nor what this means for Dye and Howarth. Ironically, at the time that Ive was given his new job in 2015, some pundits suggested it meant Jony was on his way out of Apple, and this was a way of carrying out the transition. Now that he is “demoted” to his old position, no doubt many people will take it as signaling much the same thing.
 
Apple’s insane earning power
 
Apple’s ridiculously powerful iMac Pro is coming this week
  • By the time you hear this, the iMac Pro will be ready for you to come 'n git it
  • Comes wtih an 
    • 8, 10, or 18 core Intel Xeon Chip
    • 32, 64, or 128 GB of DDR4
  • A new thermal design means the iMac Pro runs 80 percent cooler than a regular iMac
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports for powering two 5K displays or four 4K displays at once, a 10-gigabit Ethernet port, four USB-A 3.0 ports, an SD card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. That makes it Apple’s most port-friendly Mac in years.
  • Hermetically sealed. Not upgradeable in any way, not even RAM.
 
iMac Pro impresses in first hands-on reviews
  • A few lucky tech reviewers have already gotten their hands on the slick new iMac Pro with
    • 10 core 3GHZ Intel Xeon chip, only the mid-tier chip (8, 10, 18 core)
    • 128GB DDR4 RAM
    • AMD Vega Pro with 64GB of RAM
  • Black Magic Speed Disk test: 3000 MB/s read/write SSD speeds….
  • Photographer Vincent Laforet got to incorporate the iMac Pro into his workflow for a few days and says
  • “I’ve seldom seen a jump this dramatic before on any new generation of Macs – 20%-30% speed increases are the norm … NOT 200%-300% increases.
  • Marques Brownlee has been using the machine for a week and did a quick overview video of it.  His reaction was more tempered but you could tell he was impressed with it’s FCP performance, especially since he films raw 8K and previews his cuts with color grading applied.
  • Makes the argument that for the price it’s a good value since you’re getting cutting-edge components that purchased separately would cost about the same price of the machine.
Direct download: CultCast_314_-_Shakeup_Jony_Ive_takes_back_the_design_team_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:52pm PST