Stephen Hackett

13 posts on MacStories since November 2016

Stephen is the co-founder of Relay FM, where he hosts three podcasts. He also writes the blog 512 Pixels and shares a home office with way too many old Macs. He's been covering Apple since 2008 and has a dogcow tattoo on his right ankle.

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The Original Apple TV: Ushering in a New Era of Entertainment

Today's Apple TV is its own full-fledged platform. While it is more expensive and less popular than other some other media streamers, the Apple TV has come into its own. The current device can stream 4K HDR content, play games and even be used as a calculator.

The original Apple TV didn't enjoy such a wide feature set, and it wasn't treated as a full-blown product by the company, which repeatedly talked about it as a "hobby."

To understand that attitude, I think it's important to go back to when Steve Jobs first previewed the device in September 2006.

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Going Out on Top: The iPod mini

Very often in life, we see things like products, athletic careers and even relationships end way later than they should. When this happens, sometimes the end goes unnoticed and with little fanfare.

Occasionally, things end on a high note, like when an athlete announces their retirement after winning a championship or a band calls it quits after a massive album and tour.

In the world of Apple products, the iPod mini is an example of the latter. It's perhaps the best example of Apple killing one of its darlings.

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Reliving that Snow Leopard Magic

Enthusiasts of all types always have that one special obsession. For muscle car people, maybe it's one particular year of Ford Mustang. Photographers always have a favorite lens, while baseball players may have a favored bat or glove.

Ask almost any macOS fan, and they'll tell you that Snow Leopard is their favorite version of all time.

There are a bunch of good reasons for that, beyond pure nostalgia.

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HomePod Follows in iPhone 4’s Steps

The HomePod firmware that was accidentally posted last month by an Apple employee has led to a wealth of knowledge about Apple's upcoming iPhone.

Most leaks in recent years have come from Apple's expansive supply chain. A rear shell here and a camera component there slowly fill in the details about unreleased hardware. It's a slow process normally, but one the rumor cycle has become accustomed to over the years.

The HomePod is obviously different. While the accidental leak contained just software, inside its depths were details about all sorts of unannounced features. Developers even found icons depicting the next-generation iPhone.

Whoops.

This isn't the first time that Apple has leaked from the top about an upcoming iPhone.

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Three Tiny Laptops

The 12-inch MacBook with Retina display is a marvel of engineering. It packs the power of macOS into a tiny chassis that weighs just two pounds. You can carry it and an iPad before you reach the weight of the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

There are, of course, trade-offs when it comes to such a small machine. The single USB-C port is a show-stopper for many, as is the under-powered — but fanless — Intel CPU.

The fact that compromises are needed to make notebooks thin and light is nothing new. Over the years, Apple has made several bold moves in this direction. Three really stand out.

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The Long-Lived iPad 2

Every once in a while, an Apple device comes along that sticks around for a while without an update.

Jokes about the "current" Mac Pro aside, one such device that comes to mind for me pretty quickly is the iPad 2, introduced back in March 2011. It was finally taken off the market three years later.

While that doesn't seem remarkable today, it was an eternity when it came to iOS devices at the time. The iPad 2 was one of the first devices Apple kept around to fill a lower price point on its product matrix.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves quite yet.

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The Clamshell iBook G3

Close your eyes and picture a Mac laptop. It has a small screen in a case unique among a sea of PC notebooks. It runs without a fan, and has impressive battery life. The trackpad is smooth and the keyboard is responsive.

Now open your eyes. Is this what you had in mind?

Let's talk about the original "Clamshell" iBook.

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