Graham Bower, author at Cult of Mac

Why you’re wrong about Apple Watch Series 7

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Have you been too hard on Apple Watch Series 7?
Have you been too hard on Apple Watch Series 7?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Six months after its launch, people are still griping about Apple Watch Series 7. Even our own Lewis and Erfon recently agreed on The CultCast that Series 7 wasn’t worth the upgrade.

Many have moaned that it lacks new features, with some even suggesting it was a last-minute rush-job on Cupertino’s part. Personally, I don’t believe a word of it. I love my Series 7 and I think the haters have got it all wrong. Here’s why.

The radical evolution of watchOS and what it tells us about Apple’s future

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I've seen the future and it's Apple Watch: The radical evolution of watchOS and what it tells us about Apple’s future.
I've seen the future and it's Apple Watch.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Unveiled at a special event way back in 2014, the first Apple Watch looked similar to the wearable we know and love today. But looks can be deceiving. Take the Digital Crown and Side Button, for example. Their design may not have changed, but their functionality is now very different.

Apple Watch went through a radical evolution over the past eight years. What started out as an “intimate way to connect and communicate,” has become primarily a health and fitness device.

This pivot is uncharacteristic of Apple. Products like iPod, iPhone and iPad launched with a clear vision and remained true to it. The Apple Watch’s evolution suggests a shift in Cupertino’s approach to new products, and provides tantalizing clues to the future of the company’s rumored next platform launch: realityOS.

The Mac is back, with its best lineup in years

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The Mac lineup has never looked better.
The Mac lineup has never looked better.
Photo: Apple

In 2010, Steve Jobs proudly proclaimed Apple had become a “mobile device company.” Tim Cook went further, dismissing anything that wasn’t a mobile device as a “hobby project.” It sounded like the Mac’s days were numbered. At Cult of Mac, we even ran a story on how to replace your Mac with an iPad.

How things have changed. With Tuesday’s launch of the Mac Studio, Apple completed the best Mac lineup we’ve seen in more than a decade. The new M1 Ultra chip offers unprecedented desktop performance. And longtime Mac fans will welcome the return of Apple’s Studio Display monitors.

The Mac is most definitely back. So what happened? Why did Cupertino fall out of love with the Mac, and what prompted the change of heart?

How to use Apple Watch blood oxygen sensor, and what it’s good for

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The Blood Oxygen app is not for medical use. So what exactly is it for?
The Blood Oxygen app is not for medical use. So what exactly is it for?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

The blood oxygen sensor featured in Apple Watch Series 6 and 7 is “not intended for medical use,” Apple says. That seems odd, considering that low blood oxygen is a serious medical condition. If the watch’s monitor is not for medical use, then what exactly is it for?

In this post, we’ll look at what blood oxygen is, how Apple Watch measures it, how the device compares to medical-grade alternatives, and what you can actually use it for.

How to make your New Year’s resolution stick with Apple Fitness+

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Make 2022 the year you achieve your fitness goals
Make 2022 the year you achieve your fitness goals.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

If your New Year’s resolution is to get in shape in 2022, Apple Fitness+ provides the perfect solution. Tightly integrated with Apple Watch, it offers hundreds of excellent video workouts you can do at home right now. But the question is, will you?

As the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Subscribing to Fitness+ is all very well, but it’ll be a waste of money if you lose interest after a week.

Unfortunately, sticking to a New Year’s resolution isn’t easy. That’s probably why almost 50% of them fail in the first year.

If you want to smash your fitness goals in 2022, you need to start by getting your head in the right place. And that’s where well-formed outcomes can help. They are goals that meet certain essential criteria identified by psychologists in the 1980s using a technique called neuro-linguistic programming, or NLP.

Well-formed outcomes provide a framework that can massively increase your chances of achieving your goal. And all you need to do to turn your resolution into a well-formed outcome is ask yourself these six questions.

How to publish an ebook on Apple Books with Pages

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How to turn a Pages document into a stunning ebook.
Turn your Pages document into a stunning ebook.
Image: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Creating a killer app isn’t the only way to make an honest buck in the Apple ecosystem. You can publish an ebook quickly and easily on Apple Books.

It’s a straightforward way to sell your ideas, and doesn’t require any coding. In fact, the only software you need is probably installed on your Mac already: Pages. You still need to do the heavy lifting when it comes to the writing. But publishing an ebook using Pages takes very little effort. And the ebooks you create support a surprising amount of functionality.

This guide will show you how to publish an ebook to Apple Books using Pages.

The Touch Bar was doomed from the start. There was no escape.

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Was the Touch Bar out of touch with pro users needs?
Was the Touch Bar out of touch with pro users’ needs?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

The MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar was a technological marvel in its day. It brought the magic of multi-touch to macOS and, with its stand-alone T1 chipset, it put ARM-based Apple Silicon inside the MacBook when the M1 chip was still just a twinkle in Cupertino’s eye.

There’s no doubt it was a clever piece of engineering, but it proved unpopular with pro users. Many missed the tactile feedback of the traditional Escape key and function keys.

Apple rejigged things last year, shrinking the Touch Bar to make room for a physical escape key, but it was too little too late. Many will be glad to see the Touch Bar go, but I’m gonna miss that little sliver of multi-touch magic at the top of my keyboard.

The real Apple Watch Series 7 looks way nicer than those fugly mockups

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Series 7 is an evolution rather, not a revolution. And that's a good thing.
Series 7 is an evolution rather, not a revolution. And that's a good thing.
Photo: Apple

As expected, the new Apple Watch Series 7 features a bigger, brighter display and slimmer bezels. Fortunately, that’s about the only thing the rumors got right.

Mockups suggesting the new wearable would come with clunky, flat sides turned out to be way off the mark. The design of Series 7 is more evolution than revolution, taking the classic Apple Watch look and refining it to become more elegant than ever.

Why I don’t want new health sensors in Apple Watch Series 7

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Does Apple Watch need more health sensors?
Does Apple Watch need more health sensors?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Since Apple Watch gets a hardware update like clockwork every fall, it’s a safe bet we’ll see a Series 7 model next month alongside the iPhone 13. There are plenty of rumors about what to expect, including a better display and a new flat-edged design, both of which sound great to me.

But I’m less keen on the prospect that Apple Watch Series 7 might come with additional health sensors. Here’s why.

watchOS 8 adds new Mindfulness app and Portrait watch face

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watchOS introduces a new Portrait mode watch face with depth effect
watchOS introduces a new Portrait mode watch face with depth effect
Photo: Apple

We got our first glimpse of the OS that will be gracing everyone’s wrists this fall when Apple showed off watchOS 8 during Monday’s WWDC keynote.

This update looks like more of an evolution than a revolution. Text editing gets a little easier.  And we’ll get various small enhancements for the apps we already know and love, like photo sharing and a redesigned Music app.