AirPods 2 in a new color could soon launch alongside AirPower

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AirPods 2 might look something like this artist’s concept.
AirPods 2 might look something like this artist’s concept.
Photo: Caviar/Cult of Mac

The design of Apple’s AirPods is about to get a tweak, according to a new unconfirmed report coming out of Asia. Expect a fresh choice of color and a coating that will make these earbuds harder to drop.

This refresh is reportedly tied to the release of the AirPower wireless charger which is expected to launch at the same time.

Apple details efforts to squash minerals that pay for wars

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Wolframite is made into Tungsten which is used in iPhones and other Apple devices.
Wolframite is made into Tungsten which is used in iPhones and other Apple devices.
Photo: Wikipedia

Apple had third parties audit all its mineral suppliers to be sure none are using their profits to support armed conflicts. Last year, there were five companies who refused the audits and all were dropped from Apple’s list of suppliers.

The iPhone maker regularly tests to be sure the materials that make its computers and accessories are sourced responsibly.

Lego adds spooky augmented reality ghosts to new playsets

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Hidden Side sets combine Lego bricks with augmented reality ghosts.
Hidden Side sets combine Lego bricks with augmented reality ghosts.
Photo: Lego Group

Lego is exploring the cutting edge of play with its Hidden Side sets. These include augmented reality (AR) ghosts that children catch on their iPhone or Android.

This upcoming offering from the toy giant is in line with all of AR, which combines the real world with the digital one. 

iPhone SE returns — grab one before they disappear

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iPhone SE
Bag a bargain iPhone SE before it's too late!
Photo: Sam Mills/Cult of Mac

The iPhone SE is making a rare appearance on Apple’s clearance page. This discontinued model was already inexpensive, and it’s available now for $100 less than the usual price.

But don’t dither; it’s likely to sell out again quickly.

UPDATE: Sold out.

UAG’s translucent folio case protects your iPad while showing it off

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Despite being semi-transparent, UAG’s Plyo Series meets military drop-test standards.
Despite being semi-transparent, UAG’s Plyo Series meets military drop-test standards.
Photo: UAG

Urban Armor Gear‘s Plyo Series doesn’t hide your fancy new iPad inside a bulky case.  It protects your expensive tablet but includes translucent plastic so it can still be seen.

This case, which also serves as a stand, is currently available only for the most recent 9.7-inch iPad models.

Colorful custom AirPods will make you see green

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Caviar AirPods in black
You don’t have to settle for white AirPods if you have plenty of green.
Photo: AirPods

If you’ve been hoping for a pair of AirPods in black or red then this is your lucky day. And you’re even luckier if for some reason you’ve been hoping to pay a whole lot of money for them.

Luxury brand Caviar now has the Apple’s wireless earbuds in new colors but these go for more than three times the standard price.

Tim Cook joins Trump’s workforce advisory panel

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Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook has joined a Trump Administration panel focusing on worker education.
Photo: Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

Apple’s CEO is one of 25 members of the new American Workforce Policy Advisory Board which will advise President Trump on issues affecting workers.

Tim Cook and the president have a surprisingly congenial relationship considering they differ on some fundamental issues.

Apple soaks Google to sit in Safari’s sweet spot

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A group called Google You Owe Us wants $1000 each after Google invaded their privacy
Google pays a hefty sum to stay the default Safari search engine, making a real contribution to Apple’s bottom line.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

With sales of iPhones plateauing, money from its Services sector is playing an increasing role in Apple’s bottom line. There’s a significant source of this type of revenue many might not expect: arch-rival Google.

As part of its advertising business, Google pays Apple a huge sum every year to stay the default search engine in the Safari web browser. And it’s expected to grow.

This cheap Lightning-to-USB-C cable is better than Apple’s [Review]

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Anker PowerLine II USB-C Cable with Lightning Connector
There’s no reason to get Apple’s Lightning-to-USB-C cable when Anker’s is at least as good for less money.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Anker is taking pre-orders for a Lightning-to-USB-C cable that costs much less than Apple’s version. We tested this new accessory to see how quickly it can charge an iPhone to be sure it’s a reasonable copy and not just a cheap knockoff.

Read on to see how well the Anker Powerline II USB-C cable stood up to our tests.

Porn, gambling apps abuse Apple’s developer program to sneak onto iPhones

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Apple Developer Enterprise Program
Apple’s Developer Enterprise Program can be misused to distribute iPhone software that violates the company’s community guidelines.
Photo: Apple

It turns out Facebook and Google aren‘t the only companies misusing the system Apple created to allow companies to share internal iOS apps with their workers. Software with hardcore pornography and  gambling have been distributed to the public via the Developer Enterprise Program.