TAP, the wearable finger/chord keyboard, is available for pre-order. I wrote about this device in the prototype stage back in May of 2016. I said then that it might make sense, and now the company is ready to release. TAP reminds me first and foremost of the Atreides battle language from Dune. In the books, the language was used to communicate by tapping your fingers on someone else (while optionally having a different conversation with your mouth). When I watch TAP in action in the video below, it’s how I’ve always envisioned Frank Herbert’s idea. TAP works with a chord metaphor. They slip over your fingers and map your finger movements to chords that represent letters. Simply tap away to type wirelessly…anywhere. In any event, they’re available for preorder for $129, and each comes with a charging case. The company said they’d begin shipping in late December. We’ll be testing these puppies out.
Lofree is heading back to Indiegogo for version 2 of its retro-styled, mechanical, wireless Mac keyboard. The first version raised more than $700,000, and version 2—called Four Seasons—has topped $38,000 in its first day. While the keyboard works with Mac, iOS, Android, and Windows, the key layout is for Mac. It features both a wireless and wired mode, and will last between 1 and 2 weeks on a charge, depending on your backlighting use. Oh, and it offers backlighting with three levels of LED light, which you can see in the video below. It comes in four colors, Vernal White, Aestival Blue, Autumnal Grey, and Hibernal Black. There are Super Early Bird slots left at $74, and Early Bird slots for two keyboard for $140. They’re estimating shipping for March of 2018.
If you’re looking for a way to streamline your podcast production workflow, well known Mac developer Marco Arment may have just what you need. His Forecast app handles the tedious parts of podcast production like adding show titles and graphics, filling in show length and file size, and entering chapter points. It can also spread MP3 encoding across all of your Mac’s processors, making the whole process even faster. His app has been in use privately for two years and now it’s available as a public beta. Forecast is free and you can show your support my mentioning the app on your show, or buy an ad. You can download Forecast at the Overcast website.
In this video podcast, Bryan Chaffin and John Kheit ask whether the macOS High Sierra root access flaw indicates that Apple is FUBAR or was a simple SNAFU. They also discuss the huge spike in Bitcoin and whether or not we’re seeing a bubble. And speaking of bubbles, some Tesla critics say that company is experiencing its own. The cap the show with a look at The History Channel’s The Curse of Oak Island, and Bryan has a theory about the most recent episodes. (WARNING NSFW: PROFANITY & RANTS)
Marvel Studios has released the trailer for Infinity War, the next epic installment of The Avengers series. The film brings intergalactic villain Thanos to Earth in his quest to collect all six Infinity Stones. It also marries the Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers worlds together, as both bands must unite to fight Thanos. That means it’s a huge cast of big names in the Marvel universe, including: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Loki, Hulk, Star Lord, Nebula, Groot, Black Widow, The Collector, and roughly everyone else, too.
There’s more than one way to quit apps on the iPhone X once you know the right gesture. It isn’t quite as smooth as quitting apps on an iPhone 7 or 8, which is kind of weird because it could be just as simple. Check out TMO’s video showing how app quitting works on the iPhone X.
Apple’s free Hour of Code classes for kids in its retail stores runs December 4th through 10th, and registration is open now. The sessions are open to kids age 12 and older and uses Swift Playgrounds on the iPad to teach coding concepts with robots. The company’s Hour of Code curriculum is available for free online, too, so schools can take advantage of Apple’s materials, too. You can sign up your kids for sessions at the special Today at Apple Hour of Code website.
If you live in San Francisco, Hong Kong, Singapore, or Berlin you can sign up urban sketch walks hosted by some of the top iPad urban sketchers in the world. The iPad sketch walks are part of Apple’s promotion for the 10th anniversary of the Urban Sketchers community. The walks include renowned artists Uma Kelkar, Rob Sketcherman, Don Low, and Omar Jamarillo. The walks are free and will be an awesome opportunity to learn new iPad sketching skills from incredibly talented artists. You can sign up at the Apple Today website.
Two professors from Purdue University have published a study (via Gizmodo) that suggests Pokémon GO has caused as many as 145,000 traffic accidents. The study, titled Death by Pokémon GO was based on statistics from one county in Indiana between March 1st, 2015, and November 30th, 2016. Pokémon GO was released in July of 2016, earning some 100 million downloads in its first month alone. The game was the breakout hit for augmented reality, and millions of fans scoured the city and countrysides looking for Pokémon to capture for fighting. The study found an increase in traffic accidents corresponding to the increase in players, as well as a corresponding decrease as the game waned. They specifically attributed a half million dollars in vehicle damage, 31 accidents, and two deaths in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, to the game. Scaling the data upwards to encompass the whole professors offered “speculative” findings that the game led to more than 145,000 accidents, 29,000 injuries, and 256 deaths, and that was just in a five month period. Which is interesting considering that augmented reality is just getting going. Society has a long period of adjustment coming as we learn how to deal with both augmented and virtual realities being a daily part of our lives.
We’ve had more than 30 years of mainstream GUI computer systems, and somehow user interfaces are still miserably bad. Bryan Chaffin and John Kheit also talk about Bloomberg’s report that said HomePod will focus on music even though the world is clamoring for an Apple home voice assistant. This week’s look at pop culture includes Future Man, a Hulu original they both like. (WARNING NSFW: PROFANITY & RANTS)
Apple has a new holiday commercial out called Sway. The spot channels the feeling of Christmas without overtly mentioning that specific holiday, with a sound track by Sam Smith (“Palace”). It’s a subtle promotion of AirPods featuring two young dancers who meet and metaphorically fall in love. She gives him one of her AirPods, and they then dance and sway through the snow sharing the same song. The tag line is “move someone this holiday.” What do you think?
Artist and YouTuber Sketch Art turned an iPhone X into mobile street art. Using spray paint, lids, tape, paper, and techniques you might have seen performed live on a downtown sidewalk, he painted a “custom skin” for his iPhone. I’ve always been fascinated by this artform, and while I wouldn’t do it to my own iPhone X, I thought it was amazing. The video below is a 17 minute version where he walks us through the whole process. A 3 minute version posted to Facebook has garnered some 6 million views, but you’ll have to go there to view it.
There’s a scumbag out there using Venmo to steal iPhones (and other devices) from ordinary people. According to The Verge is works like this: someone posts an iPhone for sale, as was the case in the wake of iPhone X’s launch. A person going by the name of Andy Mai answers the ad, offers to pay a lot for the device, with payment over PayPal’s VenMo. The two parties agree to meet—often in public—but Andy Mai sends a surrogate, usually a young Asian male. The seller gets his funds in VenMo and hands over the device. Later—sometimes immediately—VenMo informs the seller that the funds have been withdrawn. The running theory is that the funds were illicit and the account was suspended by Venmo. These sales are taking place through Facebook Marketplace and Andy Mai appears as if it’s a real Facebook account. But he’s a smart scumbag. He’s hiring unwitting people to pick up the devices, and they don’t meet the criminal, either. And it’s not just iPhones. Cameras, coveted sneakers, designer handbag, and other products have been stolen using this VenMo scam for years. My takeaway is not to trust VenMo, but hey, that’s just me. The Verge has more.
If you have an iPhone X and want to record Animoji longer than 10 seconds, and don’t want to have to send your creations to someone just so you can save them, AnimojiStudio has you covered. The Maccast’s Adam Christianson turned me on to the app, and it’s pretty awesome. You can record and save Animoji videos without Apple’s built-in 10 second cap, and you can live stream your Animoji-fied self on services like Periscope. AnimojiStudio is free, but comes with a catch: it uses Apple’s private APIs so it isn’t on the App Store. You’ll need a paid or free developer account and Xcode to compile and install the app, or sideload the precompiled IPA file.
Apple would very much like for this to be a post-PC era, thank you very much. The company has a new spot out called What’s a computer that does a pretty job of making the case that the iPad does everything a computer does. Especially, or at least, if you’re young. It follows a young woman through her life while she sends things, FaceTimes, looks up stuff on the internet, does school work, sheens around on her bike with iPad on her back, listens to music, draws with Apple Pencil, and more. At the end, her mom comes out and asks what she’s doing with her computer. The young woman looks over her shoulder and casually responds, “What’s a computer?” I’d love your thoughts.
Let’s be honest: Who doesn’t want a battle crab robot in their livingroom? That’s the distilled essence of living in the future, and exactly what Reach Robotics is giving us with its MekaMon. The MekaMon is a 4-legged robot you control with your iPhone or iPad for games and to battle against other MekaMon robots—in real life or AR. It’s is amazingly cool, and you’ll have to pay a trip to the Apple Store (online or in person) to get yours. MekaMon is priced at US$299.95 and is available now.