Apple TV+ notches 11 SAG Award nominations — and Lily Gladstone wins [Updated]

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Killers of the Flower Moon posters featuring SAG best actress Lily Gladstone
SAG nominated Lily Gladstone and the ensemble cast of "Killers of the Flower Moon" for awards.
Photo: Apple TV+

After the 30th Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards showered Apple TV+ with 11 nominations in January — for Apple Original Film Killers of the Flower Moon and hit TV shows The Morning Show, Lessons in Chemistry and Ted Lasso — the streamer managed to net just one win Saturday in Los Angeles. SAG named Lily Gladstone best actress.

To be precise she took the prize for Outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role for Killers of the Flower Moon.

Now that she has a Golden Globe and a SAG award under her belt, her chances of bagging the Best Actress Oscar on March 10 seem even brighter.

Apple Pencil 2 drops to lowest-ever price

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Apple Pencil 2 in hand
Now's your chance to bag a great stylus at its lowest price ever.
Photo:

Apple Pencil is one piece of Cupertino kit for which there are plenty of cheaper third-party alternatives. But why shop around for those often not-as-good choices when you can get the lowest price on Apple Pencil 2?

Right now you can nab one on Amazon for $79. That’s down from the regular price of $129 — $50 off! And the still-capable Apple Pencil (1st generation) is on sale for even less. See below.

Slick new Yamaha speakers blast rapper’s soundtrack [Setups]

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MacBook Pro setup with new Yamaha speakers
This setup replaced big ol' Yamaha speakers with smaller new ones the user said sound just as good.
Photo: jonyoungmusic@Reddit.com

For those who get by with audio from a laptop or display speakers in their computer setup — as good as that can be these days — an upgrade to desktop speakers offer a real treat for the ears. Today’s MacBook Pro setup from a Florida-based rapper just got a nice set of brand new Yamaha speakers and jacked them in to a huge subwoofer under the desk. 

First-ever iOS trojan steals your face to break your bank [Updated]

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Trojan horse: first ios trojan goldpickaxe
The deceptive iOS trojan GoldPickaxe steals facial-recognition and more to get at your money.
Photo: Pexels-Kamal-Hayit

For the first time, an iOS trojan has been spotted in the wild. Adapted from a well-known Android trojan, GoldDigger, the new malware is called GoldPickaxe, according to a new report. And it steals an iPhone user’s facial recognition data to go after money in banking and other financial apps. We’ll show you how below.

Get up to $100 off connectivity-boosting Thunderbolt docks

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OWC Thunderbolt Go Dock
OWC's Thunderbolt Go Dock is a mobile powerhouse.
Photo: OWC

Known for docks, hubs and other Mac-friendly accessories, OWC has put together a big sale on Amazon. You can get up to $100 off Thunderbolt docks!

We’re focusing on Thunderbolt docks that can help you broaden your computer setup’s connectivity. But you can also find external hard drives, memory kits, keyboards, cables and more in the sale.

Bluetti SwapSolar pairs power station with unique portable fridge for outdoor fun

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Bluetti SwapSolar power station and fridge
SwapSolar is perfect for camping trips and other outdoor activities.
Photo: Bluetti

The SwapSolar, Bluetti’s very first “ecosystem,” pairs a power station with a portable fridge. The combo is designed to power up all your outdoor activities and keep your food and drinks chilled. But the Bluetti SwapSolar is currently heating up Indiegogo.

SPONSORED
This post is brought to you by Bluetti.

The crowd-funding campaign for SwapSolar — which combines the new MultiCooler (the world’s first portable refrigerator powered by lithium iron phosphate batteries) and the AC180T hot-swappable battery power station — launched Tuesday on Indiegogo and quickly eclipsed Bluetti’s $50,000 goal. There’s still plenty of time for you to get in on the deal, though, with multiple perks and discounts available for early backers.

Earthsounds trailer: You’ve never heard nature like this

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Earthsounds documentary series on Apple TV+
The Earthsounds docuseries premieres February 23 on Apple TV+.
Image: Apple

Now hear this: Apple TV+ dropped a trailer Tuesday for its upcoming documentary series Earthsounds, narrated by Golden Globe winner and Emmy Award nominee Tom Hiddleston.

The streamer said you’ll “hear our planet like never before in the new 12-part immersive natural history series.” All episodes become available February 23.

Act fast to chop $200 off M2 MacBook Air 

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M2 MacBook Air
$200 off is nothing to sneeze at.
Photo: Apple

There’s no time like the present to jump on a great deal on a very cool laptop computer — $200 off an M2 MacBook Air. You can get that price on a midnight- or spay gray-colored model at B&H Photo.

Right now you can get the highly rated laptop — 4.9 out of 5 stars at B&H — for just $1,149, down from $1,349. That’s a great deal on a bantamweight machine that packs a powerful punch, thanks to Apple silicon.

Pair faces 20 years in jail over iPhone fraud scheme

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Fake iPhone fraud scheme
Take note: Trying to trade in 5,000 fake iPhones for real ones might not work.
Photo: Photo: Donald Tong/Pexels CC

A federal jury found two Chinese men living in Maryland guilty Tuesday in a fake iPhone fraud scheme. They attempted to defraud Apple in a $3 million scheme to replace fake iPhones with real ones, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said.

Haotian Sun and Pengfei Xue’s mail fraud convictions carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Apple Watch Ultra is tough, but this case/band combo makes it tougher

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Elkson Quattro Pro 2.0 case for Apple Watch Ultra
Want your Apple Watch Ultra to be all but indestructible? Try this case.
Photo: Elkson

The Apple Watch Ultra is famously rugged and great for endurance sports. But no wearable is truly indestructible. So if you want to make your Ultra even tougher, put it in the Elkson Quattro Pro 2.0 bumper case with band for Apple Watch Ultra.

The case/band combo, which now comes in six colors, is available in the Cult of Mac Store for just $23.99.

Custom mechanical gaming keyboard ups ‘cool’ factor [Setups]

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NuPhy mechanical gaming keyboard
The user describes the key caps on his NuPhy Halo75 mechanical gaming keyboard as "fire."
Photo: mcaputo023@reddit.com

Mechanical keyboards are all the rage for folks who love their nuanced typing feel, customizability and all that clickety-clackety noise.

Today’s featured Mac Studio and dual-Studio Display setup boasts a great mechanical gaming keyboard, the NuPhy Halo75, with custom keycaps.

World’s top 7 bestselling smartphones are iPhones

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iPhone 14 in a MagSafe case
iPhone 14 is the world's top-selling smartphone.
Photo: MagEasy

For the first time, iPhones captured the top seven out of 10 spots on a list of bestselling smartphones worldwide, according to Counterpoint Research.

And guess what? iPhone 15 series handsets enter the list not at the top, but at No. 5. Many markets place a greater value on less expensive handsets.

Just the sound of a touchscreen swipe can give away your fingerprint

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Fingerprint biometic security
It's not like your fingerprint is being read off the screen. It's recreated from sound and friction.
Photo: Pixabay@Pexels

New research suggests attackers can use the sound of a user’s finger swiping on a touchscreen to recreate their fingerprint pattern, according to a report Tuesday. And that biometric security risk could lead to trouble, of course.

All it takes is casual swiping in popular apps while a device microphone is on.

Great. As if we didn’t have enough to worry about, biometic-security-wise.

Apple Music Replay 24 debuts with fun new feature

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Apple Music Replay 24 with new monthly archive
"See, I told you I loved that album. Here it is with 1 minute of listening in May, 2021!"
Photo: Apple

Tuesday is the first day Apple Music users can see their Apple Music Replay 24 favorites so far for the new year — but that’s not all. There’s a fresh new feature to help you obsess over past listening.

Apple Music Replay now gives you monthly stats, including month-by-month lists of your top artists, albums and songs going back to through your history with Replay. So now you have even more proof of your listening habits (good or bad).

Clock ticks on killer iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods refurb deals

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Deals on Apple refurbished gear - iPhone 13 Pro
On the deals list: iPhone 13 Pro (and various minis!)
Photo: Apple

Amazon bargain site Woot! is quietly offering some fantastic refurbished Apple gear deals, including iPhones, Apple Watches and AirPods.

Woot refers to its deals lineup as “basically an Apple soup.” It’s your chance to slurp up bargains (if you don’t need the newest gadgets).

The sale ends Monday, February 26, at 10 p.m. PT.

Get Mifa’s cool tactical Apple Watch band in orange or green

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Now you can pick from five colors, including orange and green.
Now you can pick from five colors, including orange and green.
Photo: Mifa

Mifa’s Every-Day-Carry (EDC) Nylon Sports Leather Apple Watch Band is a favorite item in the Cult of Mac Store for its cool, tactical look. And now you can get it in two eye-catching new colors — orange and green.

It doesn’t matter if your Apple Watch is made of aluminum or stainless steel, Mifa’s rugged EDC band can be a great complement to it.

Beats shoots and scores with headphones in MLS team colors

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Beats headphones for eight MLS teams show designs.
Eight teams will receive custom Beats headphones to start, with the 22 other clubs to follow.
Photo: Major League Soccer

Beats and Major League Soccer (MLS) struck a multi-year deal Monday to make the Apple headphones subidiary the official consumer audio products partner of the league. That will include eight custom-branded Beats headphones for MLS teams delivered initially. Headphones for the other 22 clubs will follow.

“We are extremely excited to join forces with the MLS, one of the fastest growing and most dynamic sports leagues in the world,” said Chris Thorne, Beats CMO. “Beats will be working closely with the MLS clubs and top players to deliver amazing experiences throughout the upcoming season.”

Classic iPod reborn as cheap open-source project

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iPod alternative: Tangara portable music player
The chunky little Tangara is like your old iPod, except you can totally mess with it.
Photo: Cool Tech Zone

Tangara, a new portable music player that sports serious iPod Classic vibes, totally eclipsed its initial crowd-funding goal as of Monday. So the open-source iPod alternative could become a reality.

Complete with a touchwheel, the nostalgia-provoking player from startup Cool Tech Zone differs from Apple’s famous iPods in major ways. Mainly, its open hardware and open-source software make it easy to access, customize, repair and upgrade.

Don’t sleep on perfect ambient lighting [Setups]

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Philips Hue ambient lighting with Play Gradient Light Strip in setup
It's amazing what an atmospheric effect a light strip can have on a setup.
Photo: Philips Hue

As we’ve seen so often in our endless tour of computer setups on social media, ambient lighting matters. Sure, you want proper lighting so you can see what you’re doing, but extra-mile work like setting Philips Hue ambient lighting — as in today’s Mac Studio setup — can make a big difference cosmetically and in more practical ways.

Syncing audio and brightness with dual Studio Displays [Setups]

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dual Studio Displays setup
The bezels joining in the middle where these side-by-side Studio Displays meet doesn't much bother the user.
Photo: mcaputo023@reddit.com

Dual Studio Displays are a popular-if-pricey choice among Mac users. In addition to making a case for going with the configuration in the first place, today’s Mac Studio setup offers some helpful tips for creating synced dual Studio Displays.

It suggests third-party tools to help sync audio and brightness levels across the two monitors.

3 wild new spatial games coming soon to Vision Pro

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new Vision Pro games
Are you ready to blow your mind with new spatial games for the Vision Pro headset?
Photo: Apple

Three games designed for visionOS spatial experiences through the new Vision Pro headset will soon join a dozen existing such titles, plus another 250 compatible games already in Apple Arcade, Apple said Thursday.

The company highlighted all the fun Vision Pro users can have, including descriptions of the upcoming versions of Alto’s Odyssey, Gibbon and Spire Blast for Vision Pro.

Time for deep discounts on Apple Watch 9

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deep discount on Apple Watch 9
Don't waste another minutes. Seize these watch deals.
Photo: D. Griffith Jones/Cult of Mac

Giant online retailers Amazon and Best Buy are offering deep discounts on Apple Watch 9. At Amazon you can choose different Series 9 versions ranging from $70 to $100 off regular prices. Best Buy offers tons of options, all at $70 off, from the cheapest to more pricey models.

And notably, Best Buy lists all of its $70-off sale items as “With blood oxygen feature.”

Get up to $100 off AirPods Max while you can

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AirPods Max on charging stand
Getting $100 off the top-shelf cans is a good deal, even with an updated version on the way.
Photo: Floating Pixels

In what appears to be the first big discount on Apple’s $549 over-ear, noise-canceling headphones in 2024, you can currently get up to $100 off AirPods Max at Amazon and Best Buy ($449.99).

The last time folks had a shot at a deal like this was Black Friday 2023. It’s not clear how long the deals might last. And other AirPods models are also on sale.

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These French studio-monitor speakers never surrender [Setups]

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Focal Shape 65 speakers
These intriguing studio monitors from France -- plus a massive subwoofer to match -- have never appeared in our Setups coverage before.
Photo: Focal

We love it when an interesting computer setup on social media — something real and well-used, not staged — shows us a brand-new thing (new to us, that is). And this week that comes in an audio engineer’s iMac Pro setup featuring brilliant Focal studio-monitor speakers on stands above a massive Focal subwoofer under the custom-made desk.

We’re pretty sure Focal speakers have never appeared in setups featured on Cult of Mac. For one thing, they’re from France. That country comes to mind less for premium audio than the United States, UK, Germany, Japan and Denmark, to name a few leaders. 

Protect your iPad with a colorful and practical Laut Huex Folio

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It comes in a nice array of colors.
It comes in a nice array of colors.
Photo: Laut

It’s wonderful how slim and light iPads are, including the capable 11-inch iPad Pro and 10.9-inch iPad Air. But while it may be tempting to carry yours around without any sort of case, it’s risky.

So you might consider a slim and lightweight case and stand that protects your tablet and adds a splash of color — like the Laut Huex Folio Case with Pencil Holder. You can get one at a good price in the Cult of Mac Store.