Posture trainer has ways to make you sit up straight [Reviews]


Upright posture trainer
You're a monster.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

“It’s alright,” I tell the Upright posture trainer, which is attached to the base of my spine. “I’ll do it right this time.”

I’m not looking at the device itself; that would be impossible. Instead, I’m looking at the three smiley-face icons in the thing’s companion app. The green one is lit up now, but I just slipped into yellow for a second before I caught myself, and if it hits the red one — either from me slouching or overextending my back — it will be unpleasant.

Jamstik+ teaches you to rock (while looking like a dork) [Reviews]


Jamstik Bluetooth guitar
The Jamstik looks like a toy, but it could teach you some serious skills.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

As a long-time player of console rhythm games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band, I’ve had several people’s share of silly, plastic instruments laying around my house. And while they’ve all looked varying levels of authentic, none of them actually taught me anything about how to play the guitar other than the base concepts of “one hand pushes down here while the other one goes up and/or down.”

But the Jamstick+ aims to change that by being an odd-looking, toy-like instrument that actually has lessons (via apps) to show you the basics and help you learn strumming, plucking and finger assignment. It even has real-feeling strings and frets to help you translate your lessons into the real thing.

Other than those individual pieces, however, you might feel ridiculous holding it.

Apple’s changing auto design without even having a car out


Apple car truck
We're pretty sure the Apple Car won't look like this. Not a chamfer in sight.

We haven’t even gotten an official announcement of the Apple Car yet, but it looks like the company is still working its way into the automotive industry.

That’s according to the staff at car news site The Drive, which placed Apple’s chief design officer Jony Ive and CEO Tim Cook on its list of “The 10 Most Influential People in Automotive Technology.” They didn’t top the list, however; that would be crazy. But they did place higher than some people who are actually in charge of real vehicles that people are driving around right now.

But The Drive backs its decisions up pretty well.

Siri’s latest shortcoming: Public speaking


NPH iPhone 6s ad
Oh, you.
Photo: Apple

A new iPhone 6s ad features actor Neil Patrick Harris, the Internet’s boyfriend, practicing an acceptance speech with digital assistant Siri.

The spot shows off the latest device’s hands-free feature, which lets you activate the helper with voice commands without the phone having to be plugged in. But mostly it’s just a fun little promo.

Check it out below.

Strikingly simple Yohann iPad stand works all the angles [Reviews]


Yohann iPad stand updated photo
It's just one piece, but it does basically everything you need.
Photo: Evan Killham, Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

I have a pretty decent iPad cover that lets me easily prop up my tablet in case I want to stay in bed and watch Netflix all day like someone who does not suffer from depression at all. But the recently released Yohann iPad stand makes my existing system look like cheap garbage.

It’s genuinely a beautiful and elegantly designed piece that looks great whether it’s holding the iPad or not, and it’s also incredibly useful. You’ll pay for every bit of that ingenuity, but if you have the scratch, this belongs in your home.

Snopes declares Apple Music deletion fears ‘mostly false’


Apple Music
Everyone can stop burning their phones as warlocks.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

You’ve done it now, Apple Music-phobes. Now Snopes is involved.

The myth-busting website, which has ended several of my burgeoning Facebook arguments before anyone could call anyone else a Nazi, has turned its attention to this week’s claims that Apple’s streaming service is just reaching into your computer and absconding with your music. And it has good news for the people who are frantically clutching their tunes like virtual teddy bears.

According to Snopes, the rumors we’ve heard are “Mostly False.” But here’s what that means.

Mother’s Day on Messenger is all about digital flowers


This is even weirder than that basketball game from March.
Screencap: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

We know that emoticons and Emojis are for expressing yourself when words fail you, but what does it mean when you put flowers around your text bubble? According to Facebook Messenger, that just means it’s Mother’s Day.

The chat app has rolled out a weird feature in advance of Sunday’s mother-loving holiday to let you festoon your messages with happy little flowers.

Here’s how you get in on the festivities.

Swanky art print sees original Mac as one big party


Mac-art-print-by-We-Are-Dorothy header
We thought the original Mac was already a work of art, but this is also cool.
Photo: We Are Dorothy

A new Mac art print takes a festive look at the machine that launched the brand.

It comes courtesy of online art shop We Are Dorothy, and the piece features a cutaway view of the 1984 classic. And rather than just showing what actually made the original Mac run, the framable version crams its machine full of shining happy people and sly references to Apple culture.

Check it out in full below.

Another Apple Music horror story (and how to avoid the curse)


Apple Music
What the hell, Apple Music?
Photo: Apple

Apple Music has had a pretty rough first year. Despite gaining millions of subscribers and setting download records with some of its more high-profile releases, users still have plenty to stop them from quite clicking on that heart next to the service.

And that’s not just because nobody’s really sure what the hell Apple Music hearts do.

But one man has had such a bad experience that the Apple Support representative he spoke to gave him some advice that was almost certainly not in her training. And he’s shared his story online to warn others away from what has happened to him.

iPhone drive adds storage, stays out of your way [Reviews]


SanDisk iXpand flash drive
You'll barely even know the SanDisk iXpand is there.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

Budget-minded iPhone owners have gotten used to making do with a meager 16GB of memory on their devices, but it’s annoying and may not be worth the money you’ve saved. But the market has no shortage of iPhone-friendly flash drives to make your life easier, and the new version of the SanDisk iXpand is one of the cooler ones we’ve seen.

Not only does it offer a bunch of different storage sizes and a really slick app to keep everything straight, but the makers also designed it to be as unobtrusive as possible. Basically, you can keep it plugged into your iPhone all the time, and you’ll barely even notice it. And that’s more than we can say about most of the phone accessories we carry around.

Spring into action with these hot new iOS games [Reviews]


New iOS games April 2016
We have a little bit of everything this time.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

April has arrived, which means that the cold and snowy weather is ostensibly behind us. In my case, I’ve traded it in for cold and rainy weather. But it’s still an improvement, so I’ll take it.

And if you’re looking for a way to celebrate the slightly improved temperatures, what better way than taking some cool, new iOS games for a spin outside? Just go to a park, sit in the sun, and jam your nose into your iPhone or iPad and ignore all of the beauty and wonder that surrounds you. Because we live in the future now, and that’s what we do.

Plus, these games are really good. Check them out.

Hacker puts Windows 95 on Apple Watch for some reason


Windows 95 on Apple Watch
Yep. That is definitely Windows 95 on Apple Watch.
Photo: Nick Lee

We’ve seen a lot of people do a lot of things with Apple’s debut wearable, but one hacker wasn’t satisfied merely to summon the ghosts of ancient first-party mobile and desktop operating systems. No, hacker Nick Lee set himself the goal of putting the venerable Windows 95 on Apple Watch.

Lee set out on the project out of nostalgia for the computer he grew up with in the ’90s (oh, kids), and he succeeded by patching some files in the native WatchKit development framework to sneak in his own app. In this case, that app was the 20-year-old disk image. And it works, provided you have a bit of time to wait for the new system to boot up.

Seriously, it takes a while. See it in action in the video below.

Amazing screen cleaner offers post-wipe protection [Reviews]


Whoosh Screen Shine 02
Don't even ask what this iPad looked like before.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

Best List: Whoosh Screen Shine Duo+

I don’t try to get my screens all fingerprinted and gross — they just get that way all on their own. It’s inevitable, really; we touch most of the screens we use throughout the day, and our hands are way dirtier than we think. I own more microfiber cloths than I do Lightning cables, but apparently my hands are grubbier than a normal human’s, so I need some more help. And apparently, that extra step is Whoosh Screen Shine.

It’s a screen-cleaning system that adds a bit of spray into the mix and claims it can repel fingerprints. I tried out the Duo+ version, which includes both desk- and travel-sized bottles, and it’s made my endless smudge hunt much more bearable.

Apple’s CEO security budget is surprisingly low


Tim Cook WWDC 2015
At least he has that knife.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

Apple doesn’t spend the least of any huge company on security for head Tim Cook, but it’s way less than we expected.

Considering the iPhone maker is the biggest company, well, ever, we thought that its board might be especially interested in shelling out some major coin to keep Cook safe. But we looked at several different corporations, and Apple’s spending on CEO security is on the lower end.

Like the way lower end. As in, you would not believe how much Facebook pays to keep founder and head Mark Zuckerberg alive.

Apple Watch ‘only’ owns half the smartwatch market


Apple Watch
Ugh, you only sold 52 out of every 100 smartwatches this quarter? Get out of here, loser.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

A new quarterly report by research firm Strategy Analytics has Apple’s share of the smartwatch market falling to just over 52 percent in the first three months of 2016. It’s the latest drop in a week full of disappointing news of the iPhone maker making way fewer billions of dollars than investors expect.

Apple head Tim Cook briefly addressed the Apple Watch “problem” during the company’s earnings call yesterday, but that’s probably not going to stop the cries of doom.

Make your home screen pop with round iOS folders


iOS round folders
Man, that looks weird.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

Usually, if you want to change the shape of your iOS folders, you need to jailbreak your device or squint really hard or something. But one person has found a way to make your app holders cool-looking and round, and all you have to do is change your device’s wallpaper.

You can see the cool circles in action in the video below.

How to use Night Shift while saving power


iPhone 6s Night Shift Low Power Mode
Oh, yeah. It's possible.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

We’ve been using Night Shift on our iPhones and iPads since it launched with iOS 9.3. We aren’t sure if it actually promotes good sleep, but we figure that lowering the amount of blue light that hits us after the sun goes down can’t be a bad idea. The only problem we’ve had with it is pretty simple, though: You can’t use it while Low Power Mode is on.

Low Power Mode is another cool feature; it turns off high-consumption stuff like Siri’s hands-free mode, mail fetch, and automatic downloads to stretch your battery life out until you can get your ailing iPhone to a charger. We assume that the reason you can’t run both simultaneously is that Night Shift is a juice-chugger, but we still miss it when our battery hits a critical low at night. But it is possible to have them both on at once. You just have to trick Siri a little.

Here’s how to do it.

Want lunch with Tim Cook? Consider selling your house


Tim Cook's next WWDC keynote is right around the corner!
We like to think that this is how Tim orders dessert.
Photo: Forbes

You still have time to raise some scratch if you want to put in a bid on Charitybuzz’s annual auctioning-off of lunch with Tim Cook. The bidding is just barely into sextuple digits with a little under 10 days to go.

In addition to an epic meal time with the Apple CEO for a winner and their plus-one, the prize package also includes VIP passes to an Apple keynote. And of course, your donation will go to Cook’s favorite charity.

Apple taps Touch ID, 4K video in new iPhone 6s ads


iPhone 6s ads onions
Yeah, we have no idea.
Photo: Apple

Two new iPhone 6s ads are zooming in on super high-def video and the power of your fingerprint.

While one is fairly straightforward and informative, the other is kind of … out there. We’re not entirely sure what to do with it, really. The entire Cult of Mac staff just watched it and had no words. But we really can’t stay mad at Neil Patrick Harris, who shows up at the end.

Check out the videos below.

Cops fear Apple could be a bad influence on citizens


iPhone rain by Dariusz Sankowski encryption 100+ organizations and individuals back Apple vs FBI
Another day, another filing.
Photo: Dariusz Sankowski/Pixabay

Court filings from several law enforcement organizations say that people may just stop helping with police with their investigations if Apple gets its way in an iPhone encryption case in Brooklyn.

The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the Association of Prosecutor Attorneys, and the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York all presented their arguments to try to convince the presiding judge that the iPhone maker is subverting centuries of law by refusing to help in a drug case.

New rule for Apple Watch apps could end lag


Apple Watch by fancycrave1
Nobody's made a "You Are Dying" app yet, so we'll have to keep checking manually.
Photo: fancycrave1/Pixabay. Licensed through CC0 1.0

Cupertino is about to crack down on non-native Apple Watch apps.

The company posted a new requirement on its developer site that says that in the near future, all new apps must run natively on the device and originate in the watchOS 2 development kit. This new policy could finally get us some Apple Watch apps that work as well as we’d like them to.

You know, instead of some of the ones we have no, which kind of don’t.

Marble MacBook case makes laptop a stone-cold knockout


White marble MacBook case
The company also offers cases made of real snake skin, so we'll take this, thanks.
Photo: Elemnt

Designers have found a lot of interesting ways to cover your precious laptop, but this might be a new one: a marble MacBook case that gives your device a cool, classic look. This one comes courtesy of Elemnt and rawbkny, the same people who found a way to give you a wooden keyboard, and this is easily their most ambitious project yet.

“We have managed to cut down the marble slab to 0.8mm thickness, backed with fiberglass and 3M pressure sensitive adhesive,” Elemnt’s Mikhail Novikov said in an e-mail. “The marble cover is rigid yet flexible enough to wrap the MacBook all around using specific lasercut lines to allow the edges to bend. The marble is sourced directly from Milan, Italy.”

Facebook whipping out its crystal balls to ‘improve’ your feed


Facebook and Apple have beef.
Photo: Thomas Ulrich/Pixabay

Facebook is bringing more algorithms to bear to predict exactly what you’ll want to see in your News Feed, according to a post on its Newsroom site today.

The social-media platform has been tinkering for years with the processes that determine what actually makes it to your screen. But these latest “improvements” might prove even more restrictive and detrimental to publishers than the loss of the chronological feed, and they could inspire other services to make similar changes.

Here’s what Facebook is doing to your News Feed now.

Cool concept brings the eMac back from the dead


eMac 2016 concept
Look what's back. Kinda.
Photo: CURVED/labs

We’d almost forgotten about the eMac, but some designers have refreshed it for 2016.

The clever thinkers over at Curved have come up with a concept that brings the teardrop shape back for a new generation. Their version combines that classic design with more-recent Apple hallmarks. And while we’re not completely sold on some parts of it, it’s still a pretty handsome machine.

Check it out below.

How to streamline your Touch ID setup


The iPhone is Time's most influential gadget of all time.
Photo: andri333 / Pixabay CC

If you’re setting up your new iPhone for the first time, one of your must-do steps will be setting up Touch ID. Apple’s biometric security system lets you map your own fingerprint to the Home button so nobody can unlock your device but you (or the bad person who has gained control of your thumb somehow, but that’s a bit grim).

When I set up my Touch ID the first time, I mapped the thumbs of both hands separately, and that was a good idea because I frankly have no idea which side my phone is going to be on when I want to get into it. And that’s served me well, but we’ve found an even more efficient way to do that same thing thanks to some sharp internet investigators.