Best and worst of 2023: The CultCast’s year-end wrap


Best and worst of 2023: The CultCast episode 627 year-end wrap.
Let's go out with a bang, shall we?
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This week on Cult of Mac’s podcast: Since Apple and the rest of the civilized world is taking a holiday break, we’re spending the majority of the show on our final picks for the best and worst of 2023.

Also on The CultCast:

  • The U.S. ban on the import and sales of Apple Watch takes another weird twist.
  • Former Apple design chief Jony Ive lures another former colleague away from Cupertino. This time, the goal is to build AI hardware for OpenAI.
  • Amazon Prime Video’s plan to add commercials is a major bummer.

Listen to this week’s episode of The CultCast in the Podcasts app or your favorite podcast app. (Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review if you like it!) Or watch the video live stream, embedded below.

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This week’s top Apple news

On the show this week: Your host Erfon Elijah (@erfon), Cult of Mac managing editor Lewis Wallace (@lewiswallace) and Cult of Mac writer D. Griffin Jones (@dgriffinjones).

Here are the headlines we’re talking about on this week’s show:

Best and worst of the year!


  • Erfon
    • Xbox Game Pass is like the Netflix of video games. And with its ever-expanding library of games from indie devs as well as big titles from major studios, it’s finally worth the monthly price.
    • Though I would never normally be interested in a vertical climbing game, Jusant‘s beautiful aesthetic, intuitive climbing mechanics and mysterious plot made it one of my favorite games of 2023.
  • Lewis
    • Anker 3-in-1 Cube with MagSafe is an incredibly compact high-end charger that looks gorgeous on your nightstand, whether at home or on the road.
    • My favorite podcasts: Ported from a syndicated radio show (but with skippable ads), Armstrong & Getty on Demand serves up daily news with a libertarian bent and plenty of humor. Triggernometry values free speech and dishes out “honest conversations with fascinating people.”
  • Griffin
    • 404 Media is a journalist-run independent media company with excellent investigative reporting on the hottest tech news.
    • Mastodon is an open-source social media platform that cuts out garbage ads, tracking and algorithms. That lets you cut straight to high-quality discussions with people you care about.


  • Erfon
    • Amazon Prime keeps getting more expensive but offering fewer and fewer benefits.  And since Amazon offers free shipping on all orders over $25, this is one subscription you might consider canceling in 2024.
    • The state of streaming in 2023 is a huge mess.  Every studio now wants you to fork over $10 to $15 to access content, and now they’re packing their streams with ads.  It’s like cable TV all over again.
  • Lewis
    • Apple services get big price hikes: Apple TV+ went from $6.99 to $9.99 this year, a 40% hike! And Apple One Premier jumped from $32.95 to $37.95. How many more dollars can Tim Cook squeeze out of Apple fans?
    • San Francisco: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for SF. The City by the Bay still possesses its natural beauty, its pleasant weather and its unbeatable burritos. But all the San Francisco doom loop talk looks very real on the ground, with horrifying overdoses and tranq zombies, tooth-rattling potholes, an astonishing array of empty storefronts and plenty of poo.
  • Griffin
    • Michael Darius is a former Apple employee who is selling his meager experience from nearly 20 years ago as some kind of design guru and personal protégé of Steve Jobs.
    • The feeling of being trusted to drive a stranger’s car alone after you only met them earlier that same evening is a bizarre experience I hope to never repeat.


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