Introduced at WWDC 2017 as part of iOS 11, Apple’s ARKit will provide the tools for developers to tap into the increasingly popular and important world of augmented reality. And now that the iOS 11 betas are in developers’ hands, we’re getting some amazing first looks at what AR on the iPhone and iPad will soon deliver. One of the coolest is AR Measure, a tape measuring app that is way cooler than it sounds. Check out the video demo, below.
Nostalgic gamers rejoice, for Nintendo is bringing back its classic console as the mini Super NES Classic console system. It will come with 21 games like Super Mario World, F-ZERO, Final Fantasy III, Earthbound, Super Mario Kart, and Star Fox 2, which was previously unreleased. Nintendo will launch the mini SNES Classic Edition on September 29th for US$79.99. Just like the NES Classic, it will have an HDMI port so you can hook it up directly to your TV. Hopefully Nintendo learned its lesson when it released the NES Classic, which was hard to come by because of limited stock and was discontinued earlier this year. When September finally comes around, it wouldn’t be surprising if the SNES Classic is quickly sold out.
As part of the iPhone’s 10th Anniversary this month, The Wall Street Journal has published a short video which looks at how this revolutionary device came to be. How the iPhone Was Born: Inside Stories of Missteps and Triumphs features interviews with three Apple employees key to the device’s development: Tony Fadell, Greg Christie, and Scott Forstall. Topics include how Apple originally envisioned the iPhone, the range of initial prototype designs, and what it was like to work under pressure from Steve Jobs.
The latest footage of the construction of Apple’s new Apple Park campus is up. In addition to some breathtaking views of the building’s architecture and surroundings, we get our first look at the top level of the Steve Jobs Theater, a 1,000-seat auditorium named in honor of the company’s visionary founder where Apple will hold future meetings and product events. Also keep an eye out for all of those solar panels that, when complete, will comprise one of the largest on-site solar power installations in the world.
This video isn’t conventional computer tech. And yet’s immensely technical, invoking a principle of physics. Gotta love that. And so, if you’re camping, don’t have matches, can’t find a flinty rock and can’t get your campfire started for a cold night to come, here’s a really cool demo. What you need is some pulverized wood, a clear plastic sandwich bag, and some water from a nearby stream. Or your cooler. Sound impossible, Mr. MacGyver? Check it out.
AirVinyl Designs Skins are an easy an inexpensive way to customize your AirPods charging case, and Abhi Sirothia lets you know if they’re worth your time in this video review.
There are smart coffee makers, and then there’s Smarter Coffee. This coffee maker is so smart it can start brewing when you round the bend home from your morning jog. With the explosion in app-enabled appliances and smart home technology, it’s not too surprising. With Smarter Coffee, you can use the app or start brewing with a command to Alexa. That’s not all, though — the coffee maker has a built-in bean grinder. It will grind your beans to the perfect consistence, then brew your coffee just the way you like it. Connect Smarter Coffee to a fitness tracker. The coffee maker will start brewing when you near home after your jog or evening commute. Finally, the coffee maker tells you, through the app, how much water is in the reservoir. If you want to set it to brew eight cups of coffee, you’ll know right away if you need to add more water.
Are you a fan of Apple’s Final Cut Pro? Or curious about the controversial history of the Final Cut Pro X update? Check out Off the Tracks, a Final Cut Pro X documentary that just hit its crowdfunding goal on Kickstarter. The documentary features interviews with key industry figures and filmmakers, including Randy Ubillos, the creator of Final Cut Pro and iMovie. The documentary won’t be completed until early next year, but you can reserve an early copy for a pledge of $25.
If there’s one thing about Apple Stores that everyone can agree on, it’s that they certainly stand out, and it looks like Apple isn’t aiming to change that reputation any time soon. The company’s upcoming flagship store in Chicago is being constructed with glass walls all around and a carbon fiber roof. But this week, the construction crew deviated from the original design plans and added a white Apple Logo to the center of the roof, making the store look like a giant MacBook. Check out the video of the store’s construction from DNAinfo.
The 2017 Steam Summer Sale has just kicked off. While known for PC games, Steam sells a growing number of of Mac games, so there should be some great deals to be had over the next few days. The sale is on now through Wednesday, July 5th with discounts up to 85 percent on hundreds of games.
Several classic Sega games have long been available for iOS, but the company is kicking things up a notch with the launch this week of the “Sega Forever” collection. The company has brought five of its classic games to iOS and Android for free, with many more titles scheduled to launch in the coming months. The games available today include Altered Beast, Comix Zone, Kid Chameleon, Phantasy Star II, and Sonic the Hedgehog. The games are all free with ads, and can be upgraded to remove ads for $1.99 each. Each game also includes a set of iMessage stickers if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.
2016’s Hitman was a fantastic sleeper hit, eventually rising to “Game of the Year” status. It’s an engaging combination of stealth, action, strategy, and even comedy but, until now, it was only available for PC and consoles. Thanks to the porting efforts of Feral Interactive, Hitman is now available for macOS, and it’s even on sale, too! Head over to Steam to check it out and download the free demo, but be sure to verify the game’s system requirements before you buy, as it currently supports only recent Macs with AMD graphics cards.
The highly anticipated and controversial new book about the development of the iPhone, The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone, is now available. Initial reviews reveal that the book isn’t the “complete” history of the iPhone that most were expecting, but that it does provide a number of new stories and insights about the inner workings of Apple and the relationships between the company’s executives and its partners during this crucial time in Apple’s history. Early press excerpts from the book caused some controversy, and its release was timed perfectly with last night’s interview with ex-iOS chief Scott Forstall. Check it out now at Amazon, or download the Kindle or iBooks versions to start reading right away.
Chuck Joiner interviewed me for his “On the Road to Macstock” series. I am speaking—as are Jeff Gamet and Dave Hamilton—at Macstock 2017, and Chuck asked me for a preview of my presentation. As Chuck put it, “Bryan Chaffin of The Mac Observer gives us a taste of the kind of timely analysis of events that he will deliver to the audience in Woodstock IL in July. This time, Bryan provides his thoughts on Project Titan, Apple’s automotive project, and what Tim Cook’s comments really mean. Bryan has a reputation for strong opinions, and this conversation is no exception.” Seems about right.
Oh my. Check out Apple’s new commercial called The Archives, and it’s another emotionally-compelling piece. The spot is for the Memories tab in Photos in iOS 10, which can “automatically creates beautiful movies out of the photos and videos in your camera roll in a matter of seconds.” To personify that, Apple shows an elderly craftsman—an old-world archivist—painstakingly putting together a series of images. The action cuts to what appears to be real videos and photos of an expecting family shot on iPhone. Those get made into a movie that the mother is watching years later. The tagline is, “Memories – movies made for you on iPhone 7. Practically magic.” I like the imagery and the analogy.
If you thought the Raspberry Pi is small, take a look at this US$9 CHIP board from Next Thing Co. Game developer Chris Larkin combined it with a 12V battery, some 3D printing magic, and a wireless keyboard to host a fully working emulator of an Apple II computer. And just in time for the 40th anniversary of the Apple II from 1977. This video demonstrates how to build one yourself. Super cool.
Get ready for a new Futurama fix because Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow is coming to the App Store on June 29th. The iPhone and iPad game teams up the TV show’s voice actors, writers, and animators for what they’re calling new episodes rolled into a video game. The developer, Tinyco, has a teaser video out featuring the heads of Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, Stephen Hawking, and George Takei that also shows off a little of the game play. Like we said when we first heard about the game, shut up and take my money.
Apple’s old retail store in the city of Lone Tree, CO (Park Meadows Mall) was always shoulder to shoulder. Late last year, Apple opened its new store, not far from the old location. The new design is gorgeous and spacious. The problem is getting a pano shot. Because the store is so big, it’s impossible to get a proper shot with a constant flow of foot traffic during business hours. So I got there early before the store opened and took this amazing photo. The store really shows off its beauty when empty like this. But, of course, the really beauty is when it opens and becomes, well, still very crowded. (iPhone 7, size reduced.)
College students and recently single grown ups, rejoice! Ikea is Apple’s augmented reality launch partner, which means you’ll be able to try out furniture in your home or apartment through your iPhone or iPad. Ikea plans to let you view furniture from their catalog in your rooms without having to make a trip to your local store. Just take photos of your rooms and place photorealistic furniture where ever you want to decide if it looks good, or even fits, before you buy. The retailer is committed to its AR push in a big way, too, because it plans to show new products in the app before they appear in other places. Ikea is shooting to have their app ready to go when iOS 11 officially launches this fall.
Pad & Quill announced this week the Oxford case for iPad Pro 10.5-inch. I love leather cases, and I’m a big fan of Pad & Quill’s designs, and I think this case looks good. It’s made from American full-grain leather and it’s stitched with parachute-grade stitching. It also includes a built-in Apple Pencil holder, so yay! Lastly, it will serve as a stand and is compatible with Apple’s Smart keyboard. Oh, and it has a 25-year warranty. 😂 It’s $129.95.