Why the Apple Watch Can Afford to Cost Thousands of Dollars

Great article by Sam Byford, with some surprising insights from Vertu creative director Ignacio Germade. Comparing the Apple Watch Edition to luxury travel starts to paint the product in a light which makes more sense.

People fly first-class because of the luxury experience of how it feels to be in first-class. People will buy the Apple Watch Edition for these same reasons.

Maglev Train Reaches 311mph Whilst Carrying 100 Passengers

This is incredible technology. BBC News:

The maglev trains are even faster than Japan's famous bullet trains, which currently travel at about 320km/h (200mph).

The nose of the old bullet trains had to be redesigned to stop sonic booms happening when they exited tunnels. Imagine the design challenges when designing an even faster >300mph train.

Downcast for Mac Released

The iOS version of Downcast is one of my most-used iPhone apps. Now there’s a companion Mac app, I’ll be listening to even more podcasts.

Josh Centers has a great review of the app over at TidBITS, if you’d like to find out more.

My thoughts? If you’re starting with nothing and want to get into the world of podcasting apps, try Instacast. If you’re a Downcast user — like me — and don’t want to migrate between apps, the Mac app is a nice addition, although there are some bugs in the 1.0 release (iCloud playlist syncing isn’t working quite right for me).

EA Makes More Money through Apple’s App Store than Origin

Jeffrey Grubb reports for VentureBeat:

The mobile-based future is here, and publisher Electronic Arts is reaping the rewards. EA reported today that it made more money through Apple’s App Store than any other retail distributor. That includes its own Origin digital-download service.

When the consoles die, what comes next? Mobile. Some of the numbers are very impressive:

Real Racing 3 also continues to generate revenue for the publisher. The racing game reached 45 million downloads and averages around 2 million daily active users.

That’s a lot of racers. EA’s chief operating officer Peter Moore comments on the strength of Apple’s App Store:

“Apple was EA’s biggest retail partner as measured by sales. That is a first.”

A first indeed.

How Elon Musk’s Hyperloop Transportation System Might Actually Work

If it’s going to get you from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes, it’s going to be fast, that’s for sure.

If it wasn’t Elon Musk pitching this idea, I’d call foul — but when you look at Musk’s previous endeavours, Hyperloop starts to look less like a question of “Really?” and more like a question of “How much?” and “When?”.

PC Shipments Shrank 10.9% in Second Quarter 2013

“We are seeing the PC market reduction directly tied to the shrinking installed base of PCs,” Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa said in the statement. “In emerging markets, inexpensive tablets have become the first computing device for many people, who at best are deferring the purchase of a PC.”

This can’t be good news for Microsoft: they won the desktop PC market, but they’re not winning the smartphone or tablet market.

“How to Best Manage an iTunes Library Without iTunes Match: Wi-Fi Sync and the Case of the Audiophile” Updated

This (pretty awesome) article I wrote last year needed updating. So I just updated it. (Yes, the images are fixed, finally.)

For those curious whether I still use this method for managing my music, I do not. I no longer use an iPod Classic — and I’m fully in the iTunes Match camp now, with no full local copy of my music collection on any computer or device. Further, I’m incredibly excited for iTunes Radio, when it launches later this year.

My Review of Duolingo for TidBITS (Plus my First Podcast Appearance!)

Speaking of TidBITS, I'm proud to announce my first article for this respected operation has been published. It's a review of Duolingo:

Learning a new language from scratch is a massive undertaking: getting started with basic words and phrases is a common approach, but leaping beyond these ordinary words to a solid understanding of grammar and pronunciation requires dedication and a lot of practice, particularly for adults. This is often so much to ask that the new language is quickly set aside, turning something that should be a fun and rewarding challenge into a boring chore that’s easy to put off.

Duolingo is a free Web site and app designed to solve this problem.

Bonus points for my first podcast appearance, too! (Big week.)