Sonos adds Lock Screen Controls to iOS App

10:17 AM EDT, Jun. 21st, 2016 · Dave Hamilton · Cool Stuff Found

In a scenario where many Sonos users might find appropriate use for the word, finally, today Sonos rolled out a new version of their iOS controller app that adds playback controls to the iOS lockscreen. Users can now control volume, play/pause and seek location as well as being able to see album art without unlocking their iPhones (and from the Apple Watch, too). Previously users would need to unlock their iPhones and launch the Sonos app to do any of these things. In addition to the lock screen controls, Sonos added Peek & Pop shortcuts, split view, slide over, simpler TruePlay tuning and higher quality Napster and Rhapsody streams. For this Sonos user, today's update is very much Cool Stuff Found! Version 6.3 of the Sonos iOS controller can be is available for free in the app store.

Apple Puts Non-Retina MacBook Pro on Death Row

9:48 AM EDT, Jun. 21st, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · Product News

Farewell, legacy MacBook Pro

Apple's 13-inch non-Retina MacBook Pro looks to be close to end of life because the company is pulling it from retail displays, and it's unavailable in some locations. Once the 13-incher is gone, the MacBook Air will be the only non-Retina laptop Apple sells, and none of its computers will ship with an internal optical drive.

Apple Forms a Subsidiary to Sell Electricity

5:45 PM EDT, Jun. 20th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Cool Stuff Found

Apple is publicly moral in many ways. Apple's products are highly recyclable and Apple works to be good stewards of the planet's resources. To that end, Apple has formed a subsidiary, called Apple Energy. The goal, with approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is to sell excess solar energy to consumers and businesses via Renewable Energy Certificates. Not only is Apple setting the example for how to be green and also make money at it, but the company positioning itself for its own technical future. Of course, there are implications for Apple's (rumored) electric car as well. Forbes has a great story on this. "Why Apple Energy Is A Wake-Up Call For Businesses."

MGG 610: Airplane Mode on the Mac? Sure!

5:44 PM EDT, Jun. 20th, 2016 · John F. Braun & Dave Hamilton · Mac Geek Gab Podcast

Mac Geek Gab Podcast

Dave's back from WWDC and he and John focus on your questions this week. How best can one enable Airplane Mode on a Mac? How do you find a missing Mailbox? Why does the iTunes Library stay put when you tell it to move? And... what happened with John's phone? Was it the charger? Was it the app? We have answers!

Chatlight Video Chatting Light: $19

5:36 PM EDT, Jun. 20th, 2016 · Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

Chatlight on iPad

Check out the Chatlight—I did a Cool Stuff Found during January's CES show, and now Stack Commerce has put together a deal for this device. It's designed to light you for selfies and video chats. It clips onto the edge of your mobile device and two banks of LEDs light your face. The bank of LEDs rotates, too, allowing you to control your lighting. You can get Chatlight through our deal for $19.

TMO Background Mode: Interview With Flexibits Founder Michael Simmons

3:05 PM EDT, Jun. 20th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Background Mode Podcast

Michael Simmons is the founder of Flexibits, famous for the award winning Fantastical apps for Mac and iOS. In his youth, Michael got his start as a fan of video games on the Commodore 64 and the Amiga. He was intrigued by what was different, better, surprising and delightful. In college, it was communication and film school, and he became interested in something closely related: story telling. That resulted in his first job in the video game industry. After that, there was a series of programming jobs culminating in his authorship of Data Rescue at ProSoft. His acquired expertise eventually resulted in the founding of Flexibits some 20 years after it all began. It's a classic case of inspiration and talent leading to starting his own software company. Michael, a great speaker, tells how it all happened.

TMO Daily Observations 2016-06-20: Apple Power Plans, what’s Coming for Passcodes

1:29 PM EDT, Jun. 20th, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · Daily Observations Podcast

Daily Observations Podcast

Apple wants to be an electric company, but that doesn't mean we'll be buying iElectricity soon. John Martellaro and Bryan Chaffin join Jeff Gamet to talk about Apple's plans for the surplus electricity it generates through its renewable energy efforts, plus they share their thoughts on Apple's plans for biometric passcodes and protecting our privacy.

Apple is Taking a Different Stand on Artificial Intelligence Agents

1:15 PM EDT, Jun. 20th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Link

Apple & AI Agents

In the science fiction of yesteryear, artificial agents were presented as helpful, local companions. The scope of the internet and its ability to drill into our private lives wasn't a pervasive theme. Nowadays, we have AI agents built by giant technology companies that want to build AI agents to learn about us, store that data, and sell things instead of simply make us smarter or more efficient. Except Apple. Apple's public morality goes in another direction. Thank goodness. It's all on page two of Friday's Particle Debris column.

Denver, Boulder get Transit Data in Apple’s Maps

11:19 AM EDT, Jun. 20th, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · Cool Stuff Found

Colorado is finally getting in on the Maps transit directions game because Apple just added Denver and Boulder. That means you can get direction that include busses and light rail, and if either city ever adds subways, those would show up, too. Apple added transit direction to Maps in iOS 9 with a limited number of cities. That number is slowly increasing and includes locations such as New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston. More cities are coming, so hopefully yours will show up soon.

Apple Says No to GOP Convention Over Trump

9:19 AM EDT, Jun. 20th, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · News

Trump is enough to keep Apple away from the GOP presidential convention

Apple won't provide any funding or support to the Republican presidential convention because of Donald Trump's negatively charged position on women, minorities, and immigrants. Other tech companies are staying out of this year's event, too, and some are scaling back their support, showing how controversial the Republican presumptive president nominee is.

Squarespace Supports Apple News Format for Customers

9:07 PM EDT, Jun. 17th, 2016 · Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Squarespace announced support for Apple News Format this week. Squarespace is a do-it-yourself website publishing platform that specializes in gorgeous themes. The move to support Apple News Format means Squarespace customers can publish to that format directly from their site, and that means their content could be subscribed to in Apple News and be discoverable within the service, too. Apple News is a curious beast whose top quality as of this writing is that it's part of Apple's Proactive service on iOS devices. That sort of real estate ensures it has eyeballs, which in turn makes it a desirable place to be. Services like Squarespace supporting Apple News Format is not only beneficial to its customers, it increased the value of Apple News, too. I also imagine developments like this indicate that Apple's little news service is picking up steam, because supporting it is does require resources for a small company like Squarespace. Speaking of which, competitors like Wordpress require third party plugins to support Apple News Format, for now. I suspect it will eventually be built into the Wordpress engine, too.

China’s iPhone 6 Sales Ban Not a Big Problem for Apple

7:22 PM EDT, Jun. 17th, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · News

China says iPhone 6 copies local company's patented phone design

Beijing's Intellectual Property Bureau has ordered Apple to stop selling the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in the city because it infringes on a Chinese company's design patent. Of course, Apple is appealing the ruling and—wait...there's an intellectual property bureau in China?

Many Apple Pay Customers Confuse Simplicity with Vulnerability

6:05 PM EDT, Jun. 17th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Particle Debris

Particle Debris

The iPhone and Apple Watch contain sophisticated security and encryption protocols for use with Apple Pay. To make it very easy for customers, Apple has brilliantly made the setup and use incredibly simple. Has that simplicity fooled customers into thinking that the Apple Pay process is risky and makes them vulnerable? A Pew study suggests that potential customers mistake the simplicity for various kinds of vulnerabilities, and they shy away.

CoogyLoop, an Easy Game that Sucks You In

5:58 PM EDT, Jun. 17th, 2016 · Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

I found one of those games. You know, the ones that look sort of interesting, so you download it. No worries, you'll just try it out a little. It's not like it's going to suck you in until you're left scrambling to understand what just happened to the last hour of your life, and ZOMG THAT REPORT ISN'T FINISHED AND YOU'RE GOING TO GET FIRED! It's called CoogyLoop, and the instructions are easy: "Tap anywhere when the ball is inside the coloured area. Easy, right?" The ball spins in a circle, and a random portion of the circle is highlighted once per rotation. Just tap the screen when the ball is inside that random area, and you're good to go (find a new job because you will probably get yourself fired after playing this all day). It's free, with an in-app purchase to remove ads if you wish. Good luck. And oh: you're welcome. 

Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headphones: $69.99

5:43 PM EDT, Jun. 17th, 2016 · Bryan Chaffin · TMO Deals

Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headphones

Check out Bone Machine, Bluetooth headphones that conduct sound to your inner-ear through your skull—without them being over your ears. That has the practical effect of allowing you to listen to music, a podcast, a voice call, or whatever without blocking out the road. There's a promo video on the deal listing featuring a woman running, for instance, an excellent example of a when you might want to still hear your surroundings. The price on this device through our deal is $69.99, some 30 percent off retail.

Report Claims No Dual Lens Camera for iPhone 7

9:47 AM EDT, Jun. 17th, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · News

The next iPhone will have dual rear-facing cameras. Or not.

Apple's iPhone 7 won't sport dual lens cameras, contrary to earlier rumors that claimed it would. Or, more accurately, there's a new rumor that says something different than the old rumor, and no one knows what Apple really has planned for the next iPhone update.

TMO Reader Builds Awesome DIY Office Chair Mat

8:04 PM EDT, Jun. 16th, 2016 · Jeff Gamet · Cool Stuff Found

I love inspiring someone to do something really cool, and one of TMO's readers totally ran with my suggestion to get a quality chair mat instead of the plastic kind every office supply store sells. Reader Geoduck took my glass chair mat advice to heart, but went above and beyond by designing his own portable hardwood mat. It looks great, is functional, and was made from reclaimed parts that otherwise would've become just more waste in a landfill. The whole project cost Geoduck under $100, and now he has a quality office chair mat that should last pretty much for ever.

Netflix Adds Support for Picture-in-Picture on Newer iPad Models

7:04 PM EDT, Jun. 16th, 2016 · Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Netflix slipped out an update with a very cool feature this week: picture-in-picture (PIP) support. This allows you to watch a streaming movie on newer iPad models in a small window while another app is running. Models covered include iPad Pro, iPad Air and iPad Air 2, and iPad Mini 2 and newer. To use the feature, simply press the home button while a movie is streaming—the movie will collapse into a small window that shoots to the corner of your screen. You can move it to another corner by dragging or flicking it around. Tap the movie to get the option to pause, quit it, or go back to full-screen mode. This was a feature technically added to iOS 9, but developers had to specifically implement it. I'm delighted Netflix has now done so. In the screenshot below, Supernatural is playing inside Angry Birds 2. Don't judge me*. *Go ahead and judge me.