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Thin is in: The 2015 MacBook hands-on review

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

No USB, no problem. The new 2015 MacBook rocks. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Imagine an iPad Air sliced in half. The top half peels up to reveal a pin-sharp high-res screen. The other half has a full-size keyboard that’s almost flat.

This is the new MacBook; Apple’s latest crazy thin laptop that, as usual, is dividing the tech punditsphere.

With no ports but one, some think this machine is too radical, too new. It’s been called a glorified Netbook — short on features, and, to really rub it in, high on price.

But I’m smitten. We have one in here at the Cult of Mac offices, and I’ve been putting it through its paces. Here’s what I found:

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10 essential Finder tricks every Mac user should know

Photo: Yeray Hdez Guerra/FlickrCC

Master your Mac with these 10 Finder tips. Photo: Yeray Hdez Guerra/Flickr CC

In Mac OS X, you’ll spend much of your time in the Finder, the part of your operating system that manages files and such. While you might think you know all there is to know about it, the Finder is a complex and wonderful app — with its own special tricks to master.

Here are 10 essential Finder tips that will help you get the most out of your time working or playing on your Mac.

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LA school district wants multimillion dollar refund for failed iPad program

LAUSD wants back the money it wasted on iPads. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAUSD wants back the money it wasted on iPads. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is demanding a multimillion dollar refund from Apple following a failed iPad program that was set to give more than 640,000 students a tablet for education.

It is thought that the Board of Education is exploring the possibility of litigation against the Cupertino company as it seeks to claim back money that has already been lost on the scheme.

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18 things we learned from the new Star Wars trailer

"Chewie, we're home." Photo: Disney

“Chewie, we’re home.” Photo: Disney

J.J. Abrams whetted our appetite for more lightsaber dueling action with the first Episode VII teaser last year, but today’s release of a new trailer has got us counting down the days until Christmas.

We’re still eight months away from Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ public release, and while plot details for the highly anticipated movie are being kept under wraps, there’s a ton of fresh info to glean from the new trailer. We’ve diced the entire trailer up into GIFs so you can rewatch each scene to look for new clues.

Here are 18 things we learned from the new trailer:

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Smart sport glasses want to be Apple Watch for your head

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The Recon Jet is Google Glass for sports like running and cycling. It’s highly functional and works well, but still suffers from the Glasshole effect. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

You rarely see Google Glass anymore, but if Recon Instruments has its way, you’ll be seeing plenty more head-mounted displays in the future.

The Recon Jet, launched Thursday, is a pair of smart eyeglasses for sporty activities like running and biking. Bristling with sensors, the device shows all kinds of biometric data and social stats on its tiny heads-up display. Paired with a smartphone, it can take pictures and video, send and receive status updates, find friends and family on the piste and much more.

But sports is just a start. If Recon is successful — and that’s a big if — we may be seeing smart glasses in a lot more places. Recon is betting hard that the face is the place for smart wearables.

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Alleged iPad Pro case reveals possible details of Apple’s 12.9-inch tablet


New photos of cases reportedly designed for an upcoming 12.9-inch iPad Pro may reveal interesting tidbits about Apple’s long-rumored giant tablet.

Check out the possible details, based on photos from renowned Apple leaker Sonny Dickson, below.

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How to hack the new MacBook’s power chime onto the MacBook Air and Pro

Here's how to hack the new MacBook's power chime onto the Aiir and Pro. Photo: Apple

Here’s how to hack the new MacBook’s power chime onto the Air and Pro. Photo: Cult of Mac

You know how the iPhone and iPad plays a little chime when you plug it in? The new MacBook also does that. But sadly, the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro remain completely silent when they connect to juice — which can make it hard to tell when you’ve accidentally knocked the MagSafe loose.

If you’ve got a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, though, it’s easy to hack in the new MacBook’s power-charging sound. Here’s how.

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Apple considering how best to add Force Touch to iPhone 6s

Apple Watch's Force Touch tech could be coming to iPhone. Photo: Apple

Apple Watch’s Force Touch tech could be coming to iPhone. Photo: Apple

Apple is reportedly testing two different designs for incorporating Apple Watch-style Force Touch technology into its next iPhone, according to a new report citing the Taiwanese supply chain.

With around five months until the next iPhone is unveiled, Apple is apparently experimenting with different placements for the Force Touch sensor — either locating it between the handset’s outermost protective screen cover and the in-cell touch panel, or else underneath the touch panel backlighting layer.

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Shield your iPhone fitness data from other apps’ prying eyes

Keep your activity data private. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Keep your activity data private. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

With the advent of Apple’s motion coprocessor chip (the M8 in recent iOS devices), any apps that you download and grant permission to can use this data to enhance their offerings.

This lets apps like RunKeeper, Carrot Fitness and others both gather fitness data from your iPhone as well as send it to the Health app.

This could raise privacy concerns for some, so being able to decide which apps we allow to access our fitness-tracking data — or whether the iPhone tracks these activities at all — can be a helpful.

Here’s our recipe for getting finer-grained control over your fitness-tracking data.

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Confused about the Apple Watch UI? Memorize this cheat sheet

Photo: Apple

This will make a lot more sense to you after you read this post. Photo: Apple

Here’s a chart that explains the Apple Watch user interface so well, you’ll have the UI memorized by the time your smartwatch comes in the mail.

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