Beloved farming RPG Stardew Valley+ debuts on Apple Arcade

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‘Stardew Valley+’ is only one of the games coming soon to Apple Arcade.
You can farm in “Stardew Valley+” or fight monsters. Or get married.
Image: ConcernedApe

Popular farming simulator Stardew Valley+ is now playable via Apple Arcade. The game promises many hours of entertainment, with farming, ranching, fighting monsters and even getting married.

It’s one of a number of classic titles to hit Apple’s gaming subscription service in recent weeks.

Hestia merges telescope with iPhone for easy celestial photography

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Hestia merges telescope with iPhone for easy celestial photography
You can take Instagram-worthy pictures of the night sky with the Vaonis Hestia.
Photo: Vaonis

The Vaonis Hestia gives users a closer look at the moon, sun and stars, but it’s far from a traditional telescope. It’s designed to let beginners use their iPhone to view the heavens, easily find the celestial objects they want to see, and then photograph them.

It’s also quite portable. It’s ready to go with you to escape light pollution.

Zagg’s new keyboard lineup covers range of sizes with something for everyone

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Zagg Pro Keyboard 15
The new Zagg Pro keyboards use Bluetooth and wireless charging.
Photo: Zagg

Zagg just launched a line of Bluetooth desktop keyboards that range in size from 12 inches all the way up to 17 inches, with larger models adding a numberpad and function keys. And they really don’t need wires, as they also charge wirelessly

In addition, the new keyboard lineup includes one designed specifically to plug into the Lightning port of an iPad. And there’s a USB-C variant, too.

Display problems could leave iPhone 15 Pro Max in short supply

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Mockup of iPhone 15
You might want to order your iPhone 15 Pro Max on day one if you don’t want a long wait.
Photo: Mockup Cloud

A standout feature of the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max is reportedly causing assembly problems. The high-end models Apple will launch in autumn 2023 are expected to have the thinnest screen bezels of any handset, but that’s apparently making the panels harder than usual to produce.

If true, this could lower the supply of the iOS devices when they launch.

Apple puts iPhone SE 4 plans back on hold

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iPhone XR with iPhone SE 4 text
Don’t hold your breath for the iPhone SE 4.
Image: Rajesh

The on again/off again iPhone SE 4 is reportedly off again. For at least a couple of years, anyway. Apple reportedly no longer intends to make a new budget iOS handset in 2024.

That’s probably not surprising considering the popularity of the company’s more expensive models.

Why Apple threatened to pull iMessage and FaceTime out of UK

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iMessage and FaceTime
iPhone users in the UK might want to talk to the government if they’d like to keep using iMessage and FaceTime.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

The U.K. government has proposed an update to the Investigatory Powers Act that Apple and other tech companies strongly oppose because it they argue it would substantially weaken the security of their messaging applications.

The updated act would allow the government to require security features in the apps be disabled immediately and without informing users.

Apple reportedly warned that it’ll disable iMessage and FaceTime in the UK before it’ll comply with the law.

Apple gets ready to take on ChatGPT with ‘Apple GPT’

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Is
Apple reportedly is scrambling to catch up in the generative artificial intelligence department.
Image: Hal Gatewood/Unsplash License/Modified by Cult of Mac

Apple reportedly developed its own generative AI chatbot that’s very similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. While this might never be released, the underlying tech is already going into the company’s applications and services.

If true, the chatbot’s technology could be a significant upgrade to the Siri digital assistant that’s built into so many Apple products — and that currently draws so much criticism.

This SanDisk 4TB external SSD is surprisingly affordable [Update]

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SanDisk 4TB Extreme Portable SSD
Add 4TB of data to your Mac and/or iPad with this SanDisk SSD, which is no longer overpriced.
Photo: SanDisk/WD

The SanDisk 4TB Extreme Portable SSD cost a jaw-dropping $699 when it launched. You can now pick it up for a third of that original cost: $229. Amazon also offers similar deals on smaller-capacity versions for a limited time.

These external drives promise data-transfer speeds up to 1,050 MBps over a USB-C connection, and work with Mac and iPad.

UPDATE: Published reports indicate this SSD has a high failure rate, which might explain why it’s on sale. Buyer beware.

iOS 16.6 and macOS 13.5 are less than a week away

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iOS 16.6
iOS 16.6 is almost here, along with an array of other Apple OS updates.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

The release candidates for iOS 16.6 and macOS Ventura 13.5 were seeded to developers on Tuesday. These are the final betas of minor bug updates without significant new features, but nevertheless they will be worth installing when the final versions are released, almost certainly within a week.

The same is true for iPadOS 16.6 RC, watchOS 9.6 RC and tvOS 16.6 RC.

iPhone shines as relative bright spot in weak global smartphone market

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iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus now come in yellow as well as a rainbow of other colors.
iPhone didn’t have a great Q2, but other handset-makers did worse.
Photo: Apple

iPhone pulled in its highest-ever Q2 share of the global smartphone market, according to an analysis firm. Apple’s total shipments were down, just not down as much as shipments of Androids from rival handset-makers.

The good news for Apple is that consumers around the world are more interested in premium smartphones than ever before.

Stacked batteries could let iPhone 15 go longer between charges

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iPhone 11 Pro Max teardown
A new type of battery could give the iPhone 15 the longest battery life yet.
Photo: TechInsights

Apple will put batteries that could last up to 10% longer in the upcoming iPhone 15 series, according to an unconfirmed report. These will be stacked batteries rather than wound ones.

iOS handsets already offer lengthy times between recharges, but surely no one will complain about extending that.

Apple can wait on major App Store change until Supreme Court ruling

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App Store faces barrage of antitrust charges
The fate of the App Store anti-steering policy is up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Photo: Sora Shimazaki/Pexels CC

Apple is hoping to take its lawsuit with Epic Games all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and on Monday received permission to hold off on making a significant change to the App Store ordered by lower courts until there’s a final decision by the high court.

This means the Mac-maker won’t have to change its App Store policy that prevents developers from sending customers to their websites to pay for apps or services… yet.

You’ll laugh and cry at the most popular emoji on World Emoji Day

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You’ll laugh and cry at the most popular emoji on World Emoji Day
Did your favorite emoji make the top 20 list? Find out now.
Image: Facemoji/Cult of Mac

There’s no better day to check into the state of emoji than World Emoji Day, celebrated every year on July 17. There’s a new most popular one this year, though the top five stayed consistent. And the top 20 also boasts a new entry you should be aware of.

It’s wise to know the meaning of the most popular so you’re not confused when someone sends you a 🗿.

Factory-sealed 2007 iPhone sells for almost $200,000

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Factory-sealed 2007 iPhone
This is $190,000 worth of iPhone.
Photo: LCG Auctions

An original iPhone from 2007 just sold for what’s apparently a record-breaking amount. At over $190,000, it’s more than 3X the previous top price, actually. But the latest device to sell at auction has a quirk that made it even rarer than usual.

The eye-opening price shows the market for factory-sealed 2007 iPhone units is hot.

Here are the M3-powered Macs expected in fall 2023

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Here are the M3-powered Macs expected in fall 2023
The Apple M3 is almost here, and it’s reportedly going into multiple Macs.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The next generation of Apple silicon is right around the corner, and the upcoming M3 processor is supposedly going into multiple new Macs before the end of 2023.

Here is what we know about the iMac and the two MacBooks we have to look forward to this autumn.

Apple explains how to use Do Not Disturb on iPhone

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Apple explains how to use Do Not Disturb on iPhone
Do Not Disturb mode lets you work or have fun without distractions from your iPhone.
Graphic: Apple Support

When you want to work or watch a movie without distractions, turn on Do Not Disturb on your iPhone. A new Apple video shows how to activate this mode.

The activation process is simple enough that this Apple Support video mostly serves as a reminder that Do Not Disturb is available.

Why the Microsoft/Activision deal is a huge win for Mac gamers

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Why the Microsoft/Activision deal is a huge win for Mac gamers
Microsoft promised to allow rival cloud-gaming services access to Activision Blizzard games.
Image: Cult of Mac

Microsoft acquiring Activision Blizzard will be best thing to happen to Mac gaming in decades. The selection of titles available for Mac (and iPad) will shoot up dramatically because Microsoft has committed to allowing its popular games available on rival cloud gaming services.

Mac gaming has limped along since the 1990s. This deal will be a huge turnaround — if it makes it over all the regulatory hurdles.

Nod your head at the emoji coming in 2024

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Proposed Emoji 15.1 additions
You’ll almost certainly be able to add these to your IMs in 2024.
Image: Emojipedia

The list of new emoji up for approval includes a phoenix, a breaking chain, a lime, a person nodding or shaking their head, plus a handful more.

These are being proposed to the Unicode Consortium in September, but are very unlikely to appear on iPhone and other computers before 2024.

Sweet deals on Mac, iPad and Apple accessories linger on after Prime Day

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The new MacBook Air features a spacious, high-resolution 15.3-inch Liquid Retina display — 25 percent larger than the 13-inch MacBook Air with M2.
The 15-inch MacBook Air is new but you can still find a discount on it, and other Apple products, in after-Prime Day sales.
Photo: Apple

Although Amazon’s Prime Day is over, you have not missed your chance to save money on iPad, MacBook or AirPods. These Apple products are still on sale with enticing discounts.

But don’t wait — these deals could disappear at any time.

Debugged iOS and macOS Rapid Security Response patches are ready for installation

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Apple releases debugged iOS and macOS Rapid Security Response patches
The Rapid Security Response patches that Apple released then withdrew have been fixed and re-released.
Graphic: Cult of Mac

Apple’s on again/off again Rapid Security Response patches for iOS 16.5.1, macOS Ventura 13.4.1 and iPadOS 16.5.1 are once again available. These have been cleared of the bugs that caused Apple to withdraw them after the initial release.

The updated RSR patches are critical because they close a security hole that has been exploited by hackers.