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Episodes

Home of the most recent episodes of The CultCast including links to topics discussed and coupons from our beloved sponsors.

293: Why Apple’s making an iPhone Pro

Chris C.

Photo:  @YSR50

Photo:  @YSR50

On The Cult Cast:

  • Why Apple’s making an iPhone Pro, a tech-packed cutting-edge phone that will showcase what Cupertino is capable of.
  • Genius Bar jackpot! Aka, why the Genius Bar sometimes replaces your old broken tech for a brand new model.
  • Stick around for a super-powerful electric long board, a HomeKit-enabled ceiling fan, and pro-level keyboard case for your iPad Pro in an all-new Under Review 🤖


This episode supported by:

  • You might know of Shutterstock as home to royalty-free photos. But, they offer much more. Kickstart your next interactive project with video clips or music tracks from their collection, and save 20% for a limited time at shutterstock.com/cultcast


  • Build a beautiful, responsive website quick at Squarespace.com. 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 CultCloth.co.


  • 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.


  • We also want to give Kevin MacLeod at Incompetech.com a thanks for the great music you hear on today’s show.


On the show this week:

@erfon / @bst3r / @lewiswallace / @thecultcast


Got suggestions or feedback for us? Air your thoughts at thecultcast.reddit.com




Macintosh Jr. has the power to crush the other kids!

Apple’s risky balancing act with the next iPhone

Why Apple sometimes gives brand new products for your old broken one (connected podcast)

  • Have you or a friend ever taken an old product into the Genius Bar, and had them replace that product with a brand new version? Isn’t it great when that happens??
  • Well it turns out it’s likely not cause Apple’s so nice.
  • When Apple develops a new product, they can’t test for everything.
  • When a problem surfaces, Apple may initiate what they call a “Field capture period”
  • During this time, if Apple is investigating a problem with a product, and you bring in a product that exhibits the symptoms of that problem, they’ll give you a new piece of hardware, then send your device back to Cupertino to dissasemble and investigate.
  • Certain kinds of sunscreens dissolving glue in Apple watch backs, causing the back to come off.

Under Review

Leander on a skateboard

292: Why we’re hyped for HomePod!

Chris C.

Photo:  Apple

Photo:  Apple

On The Cult Cast:

  • The magic of HomePod! We’ll tell you about the built-in audio tech that’s getting even the most ardent audiophiles hyped about Apple’s new smart speaker.
  • Plus: why iPhone 8’s biggest features may be disabled at launch
  • Why you can grab free Beats in Apple’s new back to school promo without being in college
  • The fascinating story behind Steve Jobs’ iconic turtleneck
  • More of iOS 11’s best unknown features
  • And we wrap with the heart warming story of why Steve Jobs insisted on always buying Scott Forstall’s lunch.


This episode supported by:

  • You might know of Shutterstock as home to royalty-free photos. But, they offer much more. Kickstart your next interactive project with video clips or music tracks from their collection, and save 20% for a limited time at shutterstock.com/cultcast


  • What is Backblaze? It’s unlimited, cloud backup for Macs and PCs. And it’s native for Macs! Try it out free for 15 days at Backblaze.com/cultcast.


  • Casper’s American-made mattresses have just the right amount of sink and bounce, 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.


  • 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.


  • We also want to give Kevin MacLeod at Incompetech.com a thanks for the great music you hear on today’s show.


On the show this week:

@erfon / @bst3r / @lkahney / @thecultcast


Got suggestions or feedback for us? Air your thoughts at thecultcast.reddit.com




iPhone 8’s biggest features could be disabled at launch

  • Some of the iPhone 8’s biggest new features could be disabled when the handset makes its debut this September.
  • According to Fast Company, there is “a sense of panic in the air” at Apple as engineers scramble to iron out software bugs that are affecting wireless charging and 3D facial recognition.
  • For both features, the hardware is ready — but the software that controls the features is “not ready for prime time.”
  • If Apple cannot fix the issues, wireless charging could be disabled when the iPhone 8 goes on sale this September. Users would then have to wait for a future iOS update for it to be enabled — just like Portrait Mode on iPhone 7 Plus, which wasn’t ready for launch last fall.
  • Same goes for facial recognition, but this report says Apple will indeed include a touch ID sensor under the screen, so at least you’ll have that.

Apple offers free Beats in latest Back to School promo

Apple is giving away free Beats headphones for its latest Back to School promotion.

  • Those who purchase a new iPad Pro — either the 10.5- or 12.9-inch models — will receive a free set of BeatsX wireless earphones worth $149.95. If you don’t want those, you can upgrade to the Powerbeats3 earphones for $50, or to the Solo3 headphones for $150.
  • Those ballers purchasing a qualifying Mac will receive a free pair of Solo3 wireless headphones worth $299.95. Eligible machines include the MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac Pro — but not the more affordable Mac mini, which hasn’t been updated in 1001 days.

Designer preps new version of Steve Jobs’ iconic mock turtleneck

The story behind Steve Jobs mock turtleneck

  • As was revealed in Walter Isaacson’s 2011 biography of Jobs, the Apple CEO was first inspired to wear his mock turtleneck uniform following an early 1980s trip to Japan. While there, he asked Sony chairman Akio Morita why everyone in the company’s factories wore uniforms. Jobs learned that this was a way of creating camaraderie between co-workers.
  • Miyake created Sony’s uniforms, which Jobs loved. However, the Jobs could not persuade his colleagues that an Apple uniform was a good idea.
  • As Jobs recalled, “I came back with some samples and told everyone it would be great if we would all wear these vests. Oh man, did I get booed off the stage. Everybody hated the idea.”
  • However, the process led to Jobs becoming good friends with Miyake. When the Apple chief asked the designer to create a one-off uniform he could wear, Miyake created 100 black mock turtlenecks for him. Jobs adopted the unofficial uniform when he returned to Apple in the late 1990s, and was rarely spotted without it from that point on.
  • Fashion designer Issey Miyake, creator of Steve Jobs’ iconic mock turtleneck, is launching a very similar shirt that will go on sale next month for $270.
  • Although not exactly the same, the new creation — referred to as the Semi-Dull T — looks close enough to the now-discontinued original design

The magic behind HomePod gets revealed in a new patent

  • According to Apple, its upcoming HomePod smart speaker will “reinvent the way we enjoy music” thanks to its seven-tweeter array, 4-inch woofer, and smart “spatial awareness” technology that lets it “read” its environment.
  • HomePod sets out to solve the problem of sound variability caused by a speaker’s physical location in a room. For instance, placing a speaker in the corner can cause a significant increase in radiated acoustic power at low frequencies. That results in muddy, bass-heavy sound.
  • It utilizes a variety of microphones both inside and outside a sealed speaker enclosure. Onboard processing establishes the correct equalization filter, based on internal pressure levels, speaker displacement, external pressure and other data gathered by the microphone array.
  • Comparing readings from its internal and external microphones allows the speaker Apple describes to dynamically alter its own calibration according to match the environment.
  • Apple says its smart speaker will boast an impressive A8 processor and six external microphones

iOS 11 makes it far easier to organize Home screen app icons

  • Rather than painstakingly dragging individual app icons across the pages of your Home screen, iOS 11 lets you move multiple icons simultaneously
  • You can also touch an app icon, then use your other hand to swipe to a different page to move the app

Built-in Screen recording

  • If you wanted to capture iOS gameplay, or make a funny or informative GIF of on-screen action, you needed to download a third-party app or connect your device to a computer.
  • With iOS 11, Apple baked in sweet functionality that lets you record your iPhone screen effortlessly.

Developer Access to iPhone’s NFC Chip Coming in iOS 11

  • Developers coding for iOS 11 will be able to create apps that can read NFC tags!
  • The NFC chip in the iPhone is currently only used to handle contactless Apple Pay transactions and Passbook check-ins, but a new framework called Core NFC allows developers to build apps that can read and write NFC tags (in iPhone 7 and 7 Plus).

Why Steve Jobs buys lunch

291: How the iPhone was made magical 🦄

Chris C.

Photo:  Apple

Photo:  Apple

On The Cult Cast:

It’s easy to ignore how intuitive it is to use an iPhone, but behind those vast array of simple swipes and taps was an entire team of designers who painstakingly crafted the sophisticated interactions that give the iPhone its magic.

This week we’ll tell you the stories behind inertial scrolling, swipe to unlock, and Bas Ording, the man who brought iOS to life using the physics of our natural world.


This episode supported by:

  • You might know of Shutterstock as home to royalty-free photos. But, they offer much more. Kickstart your next interactive project with video clips or music tracks from their collection, and save 20% for a limited time at shutterstock.com/cultcast


  • Build a beautiful, responsive website quick at Squarespace.com. 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 CultCloth.co.


  • 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.


  • We also want to give Kevin MacLeod at Incompetech.com a thanks for the great music you hear on today’s show.


On the show this week:

@erfon / @bst3r / @lkahney / @thecultcast


Got suggestions or feedback for us? Air your thoughts at thecultcast.reddit.com




iPhone 8 will include fewer casing colors, no Touch ID

  • Will Apple manage to successfully embed Touch ID into the OLED display of the iPhone 8, or will it have to follow in the footsteps of Android device makers and opt for a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor?
  • None of the above, claims well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a list of predictions he’s made for the next iPhone, Kuo claims Apple will skip Touch ID altogether for its next-gen handset.
  • “We predict the OLED model [iPhone 8] won’t support fingerprint recognition,” Kuo writes. The reasons? The full-screen design doesn’t work with existing capacitive fingerprint recognition, and under-the-display fingerprint recognition tech still isn’t ready.

iPhone 8 might drop Touch ID for 3-D face scanner

  • The iPhone 8 might ditch Touch ID for 3-D facial scanning that could prove faster, easier and more secure than the fingerprint reader currently used for logins and payments.
  • Apple is currently testing the 3-D face-scanning technology in iPhone prototypes that utilize a new 3-D sensor, according to Bloomberg. The new security system could be augmented by eye-scanning technology with the intent of replacing Touch ID, the report adds, citing anonymous “people familiar with the product.”
  • One major production problem Apple faces with the OLED screen iPhone 8 is getting an under-screen fingerprint sensor to work. The technology just isn’t viable yet, according to various rumors, including a recent note from reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities.
  • The reported 3-D facial scanning tech in the iPhone 8 would analyze more data points than the current fingerprint sensor that powers Touch ID, according to Bloomberg, which offered more details on the tech being tested by Apple:
  • The sensor’s speed and accuracy are focal points of the feature. It can scan a user’s face and unlock the iPhone within a few hundred milliseconds, the person said. It is designed to work even if the device is laying flat on a table, rather than just close up to the face. The feature is still being tested and may not appear with the new device. However, the intent is for it to replace the Touch ID fingerprint scanner, according to the person. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.

Apple praises ‘unbelievable’ response to ARKit

  • In a new interview, Apple vice-president of product marketing Greg “Joz” Joswiak says the response to its augmented reality ARKit toolset from the developer community has been “unbelievable.”
  • While he wouldn’t share details about a rumored standalone AR headset Apple has hundreds of engineers working on, Joswiak stressed how the widespread usage of Apple mobile devices has the opportunity to make augmented reality into a mainstream technology overnight
  • Example of cool ARKit

The inside story of the iPhone’s ‘Slide to Unlock’ gesture

  • Who is Bas Ording?
  • One of the key design decisions that Apple’s Human Interface Team made early on while developing the iPhone was to go all in on big, simple gestures. They wanted to make a single, simple swipe accomplish as much as possible.
  • It’s a bit ironic. After investing so much in multitouch technology, which relies on multiple touch inputs, one of Apple’s key edicts was to make as many gestures as possible work with a single finger.
  • “We worked super-hard on multitouch, but then we tried to make everything just work with one finger,” he said laughing.

Other stuff we talked about

Under Review!

290: Camaraderie, chaos, and the original iPhone launch stories you’ve never heard

Chris C.

Photo:  bgr.com

Photo:  bgr.com

On The Cult Cast:

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!


This episode supported by:

  • You might know of Shutterstock as home to royalty-free photos. But, they offer much more. Kickstart your next interactive project with video clips or music tracks from their collection, and save 20% for a limited time at shutterstock.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.


  • 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.


  • We also want to give Kevin MacLeod at Incompetech.com a thanks for the great music you hear on today’s show.


On the show this week:

@erfon / @bst3r / @lkahney / @thecultcast


Got suggestions or feedback for us? Air your thoughts at thecultcast.reddit.com




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.

Birth of the iPhone: How Apple turned clunky prototypes into a truly magical device

Insider stories on how the iPhone was born

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