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Tim Cook ‘deeply offended’ by accusations of labor abuse

Tim Cook. Photo: Apple

Tim Cook. Photo: Apple

Tim Cook has told Apple employees he’s “deeply offended” by the BBC’s critical documentary Apple’s Broken Promises that investigated working conditions inside Apple’s supply Asian supply chain.

In an email obtained by The Telegraph from Apple VP Jeff Williams to the company’s workers in the UK, Williams said he and Cook are offended by the BBC’s suggestion that Apple broke promises with workers in the supply chain, and that no other company is doing “as much as Apple does to ensure fair and safe working conditions.”

Williams also countered the BBC’s claims that Apple uses tin sourced through child labor in Indonesia, saying Apple is spearheading the movement to hold the tens of thousands of artisanal miners more accountable, rather than getting out of the country altogether.

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Crystal Baller: Apple Television in 2016 and four more crazy rumors

Mall Santas, ‘rollover’ data, and our most-wanted gifts on The CultCast

Photo: izismile.com

Photo: izismile.com

Merry CultCast, boys and girls! This week: Santa gets a little “grabby”; Apple wins a major lawsuit; our iPhones deserve “rollover” data plans; the incredibly low payouts artists get from Spotify; and the high-end gifts we really want but will never get on an all-new Get To Know Your Cultist.

Thanks to Audible for supporting this episode. Audible, the home of over 150,000 audio books from practically every genre in existence. Grab our Leander Kahney’s book, Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products, for free with a 30-day Audible trial.

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Mall Santas, ‘rollover’ data, and our most-wanted gifts on The CultCast

Catch the full show notes ahead.

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ICYMI: Unique gifts for the Apple fanatic in your life

The holidays are upon us, but never fear: we're here for you with another amazing issue of Cult of Mac Magazine. Cover design: Stephen Smith

The holidays are upon us, but never fear: we’re here for you with another amazing issue of Cult of Mac Magazine. Cover design: Stephen Smith

It’s hard to believe that the holidays are already upon us, with Christmas arriving next week and Hanukkah already in full swing.

Our very own Leander Kahney weighs in this week with a fantastic gift guide for all those crazy Apple users in your world. This clever gift guide will help you find that special stuff your fanatic probably doesn’t have.

That, plus a fairly tasty gift guide for the cooks in your family or friend group from resident foodie Lewis Wallace, a quick and easy How To on reformatting your Mac’s hard drive from video and graphics whiz Stephen Smith, and some news on the recent spotlight aimed at Apple’s continued problems with Asian labor conditions.

Be sure to see below for these engaging stories and more. And Happy Holidays!

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Avatar Secrets shows how one woman found wisdom in a video game

Finding love, life lessons, and community in online games isn't as rare as you'd think. Photo: Ramona Pringle/Avatar Secrets

Finding love, life lessons and community in online games isn’t as rare as you’d think. Photo: Ramona Pringle/Avatar Secrets

Can you truly find yourself in a video game? Canadian filmmaker and professor Ramona Pringle thinks so. After her mother got sick and she broke up with her New York boyfriend, she spent a year playing World of Warcraft, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game.

During that time, she found many pearls of wisdom, which she’s condensed into 10 “avatar secrets,” which inform her app-based documentary film of the same name.

Video games are an unlikely place to find wisdom, yet, within them, we can find camaraderie, experience the sting of defeat, and help each other become our best selves. Rather than simple time-wasters, social video games like World of Warcraft and Second Life mirror the human condition.

While Pringle doesn’t log in to WoW much these days, the game had an undeniable impact. “This project very much changed my life, my career and my perspective,” she said during a telephone call with Cult of Mac.

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Caution: Don’t miss out on the best iOS apps of 2014

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users on iOS 8.0.1 could not get a cellular connection. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Download now, thank us later. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

The word “app” has always described Apple’s executable programs, but it wasn’t until the App Store appeared in 2008 that the term really took hold as a way to describe the little programs that help make our smartphones not just smart, but also useful and totally fun.

At this point, “There’s an app for that” has become a phrase you’ll hear pretty much everywhere.

We’ve taken a look at our favorite new apps, some of which have been featured on Cult of Mac previously, and chosen the year’s best. Now get downloading!

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BBC shines spotlight back on Apple’s poor working conditions in Asia

supply chain worker

Photo: Apple

In a documentary set to air tonight called Apple’s Broken Promises, BBC One went undercover at Pegatron, one of Apple’s main supply chain partners in China. The findings from inside Pegatron’s walls show that “Apple’s promises to protect workers were routinely broken,” according to the report.

Another alarming revelation was that Apple could be using tin dug by impoverished children in illegal Indonesian mines. Apple is denying the allegations, but BBC One is committed to unearthing a sensitive topic the iPhone maker has spent years trying to put to rest.

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Top 10 movies of 2014 you absolutely must watch

Top 10 movies of 2014 you absolutely must watch

2014 has been an intriguing 12 months for movies. With no obvious breakout Oscar winners (a la 12 Years a Slave) or billion-dollar box office smashes (like The Avengers), it’s easy to think it’s been a forgettable year.

But that’s not really true. Peer beneath the surface and it has, in fact, been a very strong year for movie fans — from emotional masterpieces like Richard Linklater’s Boyhood and returns-to-form like Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street to action-packed blockbusters such as Guardians of the Galaxy, there’s truly been something for everyone.

So what are our picks for the 10 “must see” movies of 2014? Keep reading to find out.

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Apple forms European Apple Pay team for local rollout

Apple Pay is headed to Europe. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple Pay is headed to Europe. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

A job ad that made a brief appearance on Apple’s website before being taken down has confirmed that Apple Pay is on its way to Europe. The listing called for a London-based intern who would “drive the roll-out” of Apple’s new mobile payment system across Europe, the Middle East, India, and Africa.

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Apple’s holiday RED campaign pushes total AIDS donations past $100 million

Apple Store logos went RED for World Aids Day. Photo: Apple

Apple Store logos went RED for World Aids Day. Photo: Apple

Apple’s World AIDS week campaign has earned a big donation for Bono’s Product RED charity this month. The holiday project RED promotions that ran during two of the busiest shopping days of the year – Black Friday until Cyber Monday – raised more than $20 million, according to an internal email obtained by Recode.

Tim Cook sent employees an email revealing that along with raising another $20 million, the iPhone maker has donated over $100 million for Product RED to fight AIDS in Africa.

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