The CultCast
This week: you’d never know it from Steve Job’s effortless keynote introduction, but the original iPhone was plagued with huge design and production issues that almost made Apple call it quits, right up until the day it was released!  To commemorate the iPhone’s 10th anniversary, we’ll recount some of the incredible stories behind iPhone’s beleaguered early days, and celebrate how Apple pulled off one of the greatest device launches in history.
And stay tuned for an all-new What We're Into!
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On the show this week
Sign up to get a free copy of Unsung Apple Hero, an e-book detailing Bas Ording’s career at Apple. We’ll email you a copy when the e-book is released in July! 
Trying to build a better iPod
  • iPod was ruling the world, it was 50% of Apple’s revenue.
  • Apple had the wherewithal to realize it was only a matter of time before phones would do it all, and they realized they needed to build one.
  • Well the iPod used a click wheel, so why not build a phone function into that?  It worked great, until they realized it wouldn’t work for dialing numbers.
  • Steve Jobs realized their multitouch technology, which existed as rough demo, could be the key to controlling the iPhone.  But they’d had to shrink it.  The technology at the time consisted of  a ping-pong table-sized display with a projector shooting down onto it.  They had found their solution.
The pressure
  • Around 2005, Steve Jobs conveyed to Forstall and team that he hated the replacement iPhone proposals he was seeing, and that’s when he threatened to take the project away from them.  He gave the team two weeks to come up with a good design.
  • The team went into overdrive. Working tirelessly.  Non stop.  They had to come up with an entire multitouch design language, touch interactions, like pinch to zoom and the rubber banding scroll.
  • When the two weeks was up, they convened with Steve to show him their new work.
  • He watched silently, stoic.
  • And when the demo was over, Steve said, "let me see it again.”
  • So once more they dived into their vision of the iPhone.
  • And after they were through, Steve simply said: Good job guys.  He was blown away.
The keyboard
  • One of the biggest challenges was the software keyboard.  They knew it’d be compared to what Blackberry had, so it had to be good.
  • Unfortunately, in it’s current version, it was total crap.  Worse, the launch date was looming.
  • Scott Forstall knew they were in the danger zone.  He pulled out all the stops.  He froze development on other apps and brought in all their UI developers, and told everyone: make a keyboard.
  • Well three weeks later they all convened, and one by one they showed off their work.  Some of the examples were decent, some really complicated or strange.
  • But one guy came up, and presented what looked like normal keyboard, but as he typed, they realized it was extremely accurate.  They were shocked.
  • How could this be.  How was this working.
  • The UI developer had built AI techniques into the keyboard to learn how you type, and as you did so, it could predict which letter you’d type next.
  • And even though the key sizes on the keyboard didn’t change, but the hit region of your next likely key choice would grow, so even if you didn’t hit it on the head, the right key would still be input.
Software designers didn’t know what the phone looked like. The hardware designers didn’t know what the software looked like.  They all saw it for the first time at the Macworld keynote in January, 2007
What we’re in to
Direct download: CultCast_290_-_The_chaotic_iPhone_launch_stories_you_ve_never_heard.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:41pm PDT

This week:  
  • More of the powerful new iOS 11 features you’ve never heard of. 
  • The talented app which will harnesses the power of Apple’s  new augmented reality features  
  • Scott Forstall is back, and he’s sharing the bizarre story of how the original iPhone really came to be. 
  • Everything you need to know about HEIF, the JPEG-killing format Apple is adopting
  • Cliff jumping in our loin cloths
This episode supported by
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Thanks to Kevin MacLeod at for the great music you hear on today's show.
On the show this week
Former iOS Chief Scott Forstall Discusses Creating the First iPhone
  • Former iOS chief Scott Forstall is back from the dead.  In a rare appearance, he appeared an event Tuesday night at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, where he discussed the birth of the iPhone and his relationship with Steve Jobs.
  • It’s  the first time he's spoken publicly since he was ousted from Apple in October 2012
  • Forstall also spoke about the concept of skeuomorphic design, claiming he had "never heard of skeuomorphism" when he was working on iOS and that it sounded "unnatural”.
    • "When I look at design - when I look at good design - it's approachable, friendly, you can use it without a manual. It's fun. We talked a lot about photo-illustrative design. It was infused into the design sense of Apple by Steve Jobs since the original Mac. We used these design philosophies. It doesn't mean we loved it, or loved every single part of it. We know it worked. How do we know it worked? You just have to watch people use it.”
  • Where things got really interesting is when Scott spoke about the origins of the iPhone.  The TRUE origins.
  • Forstall claimed that before the iPhone was conceived, Jobs had initially wanted a tablet with capacitative touch and multitouch in order to get one over on someone he "hated" who worked at Microsoft.
    • "It began because Steve hated this guy at Microsoft. That is the actual origin," Forstall said, before adding that it wasn't Bill Gates. After hearing the person boast about Microsoft's tablet and stylus development, said Forstall, "Steve came in on a Monday, there was a set of expletives and then he said, 'Let's show them how it's really done'."
New Siri icon in iOS 11 may hint at iPhone 8’s virtual Home button
  • Apple may have left a big clue in iOS 11 that points to huge design changes coming later this year to the iPhone 8.
  • While doing some testing with the new Do Not Disturb When Driving feature, eagle-eyed Apple observers have spotted a new icon for Siri in iOS 11 that appears to be a perfect replacement for the Home button Apple is supposedly planning to ditch.
  • The pseudo-Home button, first noticed by AppleInsider, can be found at the bottom of iPhones and iPads. It’s about the same size as the physical Home button, but doesn’t have a Touch ID ring around it.
Apple and Ikea’s AR collab lets you test furniture before buying
  • Ikea has revealed a few new details about its augmented reality collaboration with Apple that lets customers test out virtual pieces of furniture in their homes before they buy them.
  • The app is scheduled to launch this fall alongside the official release of iOS 11. At launch, the app will boast 500-600 products that customers will be able to try out in their homes. This ultra-precise technology will allow them to be positioned on real backdrops in 3D with millimeter-accurate positioning.
  • In a recent interview, Michael Valdsgaard, digital transformation manager at Ikea
  • Ikea will aim to debut new products in the app before they arrive in store. He also said that Apple’s augmented reality platform was of interest to Ikea because of its guaranteed reach. “It will be the largest AR platform in the world overnight,” he said. “That’s super interesting to us.”
Everything you need to know about the JPEG-killing HEIF format Apple is adopting
  • JPEG was born in 1992
  • As of iOS 11, most iPhones will be switching from JPEG to HEIF.
  • HEIF is the new photo format that Apple is using to replace JPEG. And it probably will replace JPEGs, because the iPhone is the most popular, most-used camera in the world
  • HEIF — or High Efficiency Image File Format — is the still-image version of the HVEC — or H.265 — video format. Its main advantage for you and me is that photos saved in HEIF are roughly half the size of JPEGs, and of better quality
  • HEIF offers other advantages over JPEG. While a JPEG is a single image,  HEIF can be a single image or a sequence of images.
Automatic setup
  • When setting up a new iOS device, there's now an option to hold it near an existing device to automatically copy over settings, preferences, and iCloud Keychain.
How to use iOS 11’s new Automatic Setup
  • To use Automatic Setup in iOS 11, you need two devices running iOS 11To start the process, you aim the camera at the moving sphere on your old device’s screen.  Just like Apple Watch.
iOS 11 Makes it Easy to Share Your Wi-Fi Password With Nearby Friends
  • After choosing your WiFI network, the iPhone user is greeted with the traditional password screen, but on iOS 11 when the iPhone is brought near your iOS 11 device, a card your device notifies you that the iPhone wants to join you network.
  •  You can then tap and send your password to your guest, which recognizes the password, fills out the information, and connect to the Wi-Fi.
iPhone's Volume Slider No Longer Covers Videos in iOS 11
  • After selecting a WiFi network to join, iOS 10 users must enter a password for secured networks, but on iOS 11 and High Sierra, you can bring your close to a device which has access to that WiFi network and that device can transfer all required credentials directly to your connecting device!
Direct download: CultCast_289_-_The_powerful_iOS_11_features_you_haven_t_heard_of_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:01pm PDT

This week: 
  • Reviews for the new iPad Pro and HomePod are bonkers
  • Someone in the Apple supply chain just accidentally leaked some of iPhone 8’s marquee features
  • Speed tests show a big improvement in the new MacBook Pro
  • Apple finally offers us iCloud Storage sharing
  • Our favorite unannounced iOS 11 features
  • And we’ll tell you what we like (and don’t) about the apps and gadgets we’re currently testing in an all-new Under Review!
This episode supported by
Build a beautiful, responsive website quick at  Enter offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10% off. Squarespace—Build it Beautiful.
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
Thanks to Kevin MacLeod at for the great music you hear on today's show.
On the show this week
Apple suppliers confirm two of iPhone 8’s biggest features
  • Apple supplier Largan has confirmed it will be shipping its new 3D sensors in time for iPhone 8, while another has confirmed waterproofing and wireless charging technology.
  • Largan’s sensors are capable of carrying out facial and iris recognition and provide an alternative to fingerprint scanning. They could be the solution Apple turns to if it is unable to embed a Touch ID scanner beneath the iPhone 8’s display.
  • iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models are already splash- and water-resistant with an IP67 rating, but Apple's fine print warns that "splash, water, and dust resistance are not permanent conditions and resistance might decrease as a result of normal wear." iPhone water damage is not covered by Apple's warranties. 
  • But in Wednesday's shareholders meeting, [Robert] Hwang, [Wistron CEO] told reporters that the Assembly process for the previous generations of [iPhones] have not changed much, though new features like waterproof and wireless charging now require some different testing, and waterproof function will alter the assembly process a bit,” 
  • A report earlier this year said Apple's next iPhone models will feature improved IP68-rated water resistance (30 minutes in up to 3 feet of water)
2017 MacBook Pro is Up to 20% Faster Than Last Year's Model in Benchmarks
  • Apple this week refreshed its MacBook Pro lineup with Intel's seventh-generation Kaby Lake processors, and early benchmarks for the notebooks suggest the 2017 models are up to 20 percent faster than the equivalent 2016 models equipped with Intel's sixth-generation Skylake processors. 
  • Only about a 30% improvement over 2012/2013 MacBook Pros...
10.5-inch iPad Pro review roundup: Apple’s most impressive tablet yet
  • One of the big improvements of the new iPad Pro is its new variable refresh rate display, which Apple calls ProMotion, and means that it can run at 120Hz, or twice as fast as previous displays. It can also cycle down to 24Hz on still images.
  • ARS has praised the new ProMotion by saying that it makes it easier to read text and scroll simultaneously, with the “ghosting” effect you get at 60Hz greatly reduced
  • What everyone agrees on is that the new A10x processor is blazingly fast
  • Smart keyboard is getting mixed reviews. Some saying it feels flimsy and unsatisfying to type on.
  • Uses the newest Touch ID.
  • Dramatically better antireflection coating.
  • About 30% faster than 9.7inch iPad Pro, even more on multicore Geekbench tests I saw. Export times in Garage Band almost halved in some cases.
  • Way better front (7MPX) and back cameras (12MPX), especially from the previous 12inch which had a 1.2 MPX camera.
  • Fuller, better sounding external speakers
  • iPad finally feels "pro"
HomePod First Listen Impressions: 'Incredible' Audio With Bass-Heavy Sound That Easily Beats Echo
  • A few websites have now gotten the chance to hear how HomePod sounds in a quiet environment, and they're sharing their opinions online. 
  • Mashable: The audio wasn't just loud — filling a room with sound, good or bad, is easy — it was rich.
    • Mashable noted that Apple had in-room comparisons with its competitors, including Sonos Play:3 and Amazon Echo, and that the HomePod easily beat the two other speakers in pure music playback quality.
  • CNET: HomePod came off as bolder and more vivid than Sonos Play:3 in the [listening] experience, and a lot better than Amazon Echo. I'd also say the music sounded consistently vivid and crisp in a quiet space
  • What HiFi: We also heard a pair of HomePods playing a live recording of Hotel California by The Eagles. The attention to detail was striking, with different instruments sounding discretely realised.
  • Engadget called HomePod's audio "incredible,”
  • if listening to the HomePod was like listening to a CD, then audio through the Echo sounded like AM radio.
Apple Drops 2TB iCloud Storage Price to $9.99, Eliminates 1TB Option
  • Following the WWDC keynote, Apple updated and simplified its iCloud storage tiers
    • 50GB: $0.99
    • 200GB: $2.99
    • 2TB: $9.99 (updated from 1TB)
  • Apple is offering an option to share a 200GB or 2TB iCloud storage plan with family members, which is perhaps the reason behind the price drop. 
  • Google Photos offers free backup for photos and videos.  Or you can back up via Plex premium.
Offload unused apps 
  • Automatically offload unused apps if you’re low on storage.
iOS 11 Preview: Control Center Gets Customizable With 3D Touch
Control center is now customizable, and you can use 3D touch to expand some control center icons (like the music control)
iOS 11 Lets AirPods Users Change Tracks With a Double Tap
  • AirPods will soon be able to skip forwards and backwards between tracks with a double tap of either earpiece, thanks to a new additional setting in iOS 11. 
  • It’ll be possible to customize the AirPods so that a double tap on one earpiece skips, while double tapping on on the other earpiece goes to the previous track. 
Under Review
Direct download: CultCast_288_-_iPad_Pro_and_HomePod_get_great_reviews_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am PDT

This week: in one of the most exciting and action-packed keynotes in years, Apple updates just about everything they’ve got.  Hot off the event, catch our reactions plus our picks for best in show!
This episode supported by
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Check out the Cult of Mac  Watch store for a curated selection of our favorite straps, all available for prices far less than you’d expect. 
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
Thanks to Kevin MacLeod at for the great music you hear on today's show.
On the show this week
WWDC keynote is proof of Apple’s awesome power and poise
First look: From cute to badass, Apple’s new hardware impresses
Hardware, software and surprises: Key takeaways from Apple’s WWDC 2017 keynote
HomePod leads to string of Twitter jabs
11 awesome iOS 11 features Apple didn’t bother to mention
HomePod smart speaker will totally rock (and control) your house
New 10.5-inch iPad Pro is Apple’s best tablet yet
Apple teases ‘seriously badass’ iMac Pro and other new Macs at WWDC
Direct download: CultCast_287_-_Reactions_to_the_best_WWDC_in_years_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am PDT

This week: new evidence points to one of the most hardware-packed WWDCs in years!  Add in four new OS reveals and, by golly, you have one heckuva exciting show.  We’ll tell you all we know, and share all the products we predict will hit the stage.
This episode supported by
Build a beautiful, responsive website quick at  Enter offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10% off. Squarespace—Build it Beautiful.
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
We also want to give Kevin MacLeod at a  thanks for the great music you hear on today's show.
On the show this week
Steve Jobs closes down Apple!
Everything we expect to see at WWDC2017
MacBook Pro
Macbook Pro with Touch Bar was announced 7 months ago!  But a new one looks to be on the way.  Expect:
  • More powerful Kaby Lake processors
  • 32GB of desktop-class RAM for 15-inch MacBook Pro
  • Price slash for 13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar which hasn’t been selling well per Ming Chi Kuo
MacBook Pro shipping estimates hint at WWDC refresh
  • Shipping times for the 15-inch model have slipped on the Apple online store
  • It seems strange that shipping times would suddenly slip for a product that’s been on sale since October.
  • “A spot check shows 15-inch MacBook Pro delivery estimates are similarly as long in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, and several other countries,” reports MacRumors.
12-inch MacBook
  • It’s been over a year since Apple has updated its the portable 12-inch MacBook.  Now would be a good time.
MacBook Air
  • Bloomberg reported earlier in May that Apple is “considering” updating the MacBook Pro with a newer processor because sales of the machine have continued to be “surprisingly strong.” Who knows what processor it’ll get or what (if any ) other upgrades (like as USB-C or a new display) might be included.
iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac mini
  • Apple announced earlier this year that they are hard at work on new pro-level desktop machines, but don’t expect to see anything at WWDC. The company made it clear that the new Mac Pro is in the works, but they also gave a spec bump to the current line.
  • It is possible we may see an announcement about the pro-level iMacs they talked about, especially considering it hasn’t been updated since Oct. 2015!  Maybe we’ll get some Kaby lake chips.
10.5-inch iPad Pro
  • KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo thinks there’s a good chance Apple will debut its 10.5-inch iPad Pro at this year’s event.
  • But if it will be using a new design language similar to the iPhone 8, it probably won’t be revealed until after the new iPhones.
Apple is already manufacturing its Siri-powered speaker
  • Apple’s grand unveiling of its Siri-powered home speaker could come as soon as next week, according to a new report that claims production on the new device is already underway.
  • “The device will differ from Inc.’s Echo and Alphabet Inc.’s Google Home speakers by offering virtual surround sound technology and deep integration with Apple’s product lineup,” reports Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter.
  • If Apple does announce the speaker at WWDC don’t expect it to be available immediately. The report claims that units won’t ship until later this year, giving devs plenty of time to integrate their applications with it.
Apple registers new Macs, iPads, Magic Keyboard ahead of WWDC
  • Apple has registered a bunch of new products with the Eurasian Economic Commission ahead of WWDC next week.
  • Its filings hint at the imminent arrival of new Macs, iPads, and a refreshed Magic Keyboard.
  • The company has registered five new Macs with the EEC
  • Another four model numbers are associated with iOS 10, which likely ties them to new iPad Pros. Possibly also the 10.5-inch model
  • Finally, there’s a model number that points to a wireless keyboard. It’s been well over 19 months since Apple introduced the original Magic Keyboard, so we could well see a refreshed model with some minor improvements under the hood.
Get drawing tips as we cover WWDC with sketchnotes
Direct download: CultCast_286_-_WWDC_Product_Predictions.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:40pm PDT