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About Alex Heath

Alex Heath Alex Heath is a staff writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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Current delivers the best way to use Facebook on the Mac

Current

Facebook apps for the Mac have come and gone over the years, but none have managed to capture much attention. A new contender has the goods to stick around.

After working at Apple as an engineer on WebKit and iAd, Scott Kyle decided to get into indie app development. His first stab at it is Current, a new Facebook app for OS X that lives primarily in the menubar. With quality design, notifications, a classic chat interface, and some other tricks up its sleeve, Current makes Facebook feel at home on the Mac.

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Spotify finally gets it together on the iPad

Screenshot2

For the last year or two, Spotify’s iPad app has been sadly, pathetically ignored. Like Twitter for Mac and Tweetbot for iPad, the app has lagged behind the iPhone version so badly that it almost feels like using a different service.

So the use of the word finally is very fitting when describing Spotify’s big update today on the iPad.

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Apple reverses stance on weird iOS calculator widget ban

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 4.31.17 PM

Yesterday Apple notified indie developed James Thomson that he would have to remove the iOS 8 widget from his calculator app, PCalc. After the news received a good amount of backlash and press attention, Apple has reversed its stance on the issue.

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For app makers, Apple giveth widgets (and Apple taketh away)

PCal widget

PCalc has fallen victim to Apple’s proverbial axe. Screenshot: Alex Heath/ Cult of Mac

When you live in Apple’s world as a third-party developer, you are required to play by Apple’s rules. And sometimes those rules are subject to sudden change.

James Thomson, the developer behind the scientific calculator app PCalc, was notified today by Apple that his iOS 8 widget must be removed. The reason? A new stipulation that iOS widgets cannot perform calculations.

The reasoning behind Apple’s decision may never be known by Thomson or anyone outside the company, and that’s just the point. The App Store is Apple’s kingdom to rule, for better or worse.

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YO! Taco Bell’s new iPhone app is the future of fast food

Photo: Taco Bell

Photo: Taco Bell

What if you could skip the late-night line at Taco Bell by ordering from your phone? It would be Doritos Locos heaven.

Taco Bell is trying to reinvent the drive-through with a new mobile app released today for iOS and Android. The entire Taco Bell menu is available inside the app, with all the customization options you can get in-person (and some app-exclusive food items coming in the future). Most importantly, you can place orders from anywhere and have them ready when you arrive.

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7 biggest takeaways from Tim Cook’s interview at WSJD Live

Photo: WSJD

Photo: WSJD

Tim Cook gave a rare public interview on Monday night at the Wall Street Journal’s new tech conference, WSJD. The Apple CEO touched on a range of topics, including Apple Pay’s success, a big potential partnership, why the iPod classic was discontinued, and more.

Here are the biggest takeaways from Cook’s comments:

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Wells Fargo will pay you to try Apple Pay

Photo: Wells Fargo

Photo: Wells Fargo

Banks and credit card companies have been heavily pushing Apple Pay already, but perhaps the biggest gesture of support so far is from Wells Fargo.

In a promotion announced today, Wells Fargo said that it will pay customers up to $20 just for trying Apple Pay.

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CVS and Rite Aid block Apple Pay as mobile wallet war heats up

A war for mobile wallet dominance is on the horizon. Apple Pay. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

A war for mobile wallet dominance is on the horizon. Apple Pay. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Two major pharmacy chains have stopped supporting Apple Pay as merchants in the U.S. take sides on which mobile wallet platform to embrace.

Reports from a couple days ago revealed that Rite Aid had started disabling its NFC terminals, thereby forbidding the use of Apple Pay and Google Wallet. Now CVS has reportedly started shutting down its NFC terminals.

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AT&T locks Apple SIM in new iPads, thereby defeating its purpose

Once you go AT&T, you can't go back. Screenshot: Apple

Once you go AT&T, you can’t go back. Screenshot: Apple

The Apple SIM in the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 is based on an awesome idea—who doesn’t want to switch carriers with a tap of the screen? But the actual utility of the Apple SIM is pretty muddled, as evidenced by AT&T locking the SIM to its network.

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Amazon Rewards credit card now supports Apple Pay

Amazon Rewards Visa in Passbook. Screenshot: Alex Heath/ Cult of Mac

Amazon Rewards Visa in Passbook. Screenshot: Alex Heath/Cult of Mac

Amazon added Apple Pay support today for its Amazon.com Rewards Visa.

Since Chase, the Amazon rewards card issuer, was an Apple Pay launch partner, some speculated that Amazon intentionally opted out of Apple’s mobile payments system. But Amazon quickly confirmed this week that it was working on adding support for its credit card in the near future. Now it’s followed through.

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