Apple adds powerful new privacy features to Mail and more

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Apple Privacy Slide from WWDC 2021
Apple is taking even more shots at advertisers in the WWDC 2021 Privacy updates
Screenshot: Apple

Apple is bringing big privacy-focused changes to its Mail app and other parts of its ecosystem, the company said Monday.

“At Apple, we believe privacy is a fundamental human right,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior VP of software engineering. “We don’t think you should have to make a tradeoff between great features and privacy. We believe you deserve both.”

I want a folding iPhone and I want it now

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Why should Android users have all the folding fun?
Why should Android users have all the folding fun?
Photo: Mika Baumeister/Unsplash CC

If you’ve been paying attention to cutting-edge smartphones, you probably noticed a trend — foldable screens. And while folding phones might seem gimmicky, I think they present the perfect solution to a market-inflicted problem.

Unfortunately, while Apple is reportedly working on folding iPhone prototypes, the latest report suggests it we might wait nearly three more years for Cupertino’s first crack at such a device.

That’s way too long when the Android market is pressing forward fast. Please, Apple, don’t make us wait for a folding iPhone.

5 ways AirPods Max let me down

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AirPods Max playing music on Spotify
AirPods Max are great for lots of genres of music, or for watching video content, but...
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

I love the idea of good-sounding, comfortable, high-quality headphones. And Apple’s new AirPods Max definitely check those boxes.

They offer great sound and they’re super-comfortable to wear, even for longer periods of time. On top of that, they pack all the things that make AirPods magical in a very premium package.

But even with those awesome features, AirPods Max aren’t for everyone, and that includes me. As much as I’ve loved my AirPods and AirPods Pro, these kind of let me down.

Family-friendly games to play at your virtual Thanksgiving

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iOS Games on iPhone 11 Pro
There are plenty of great, classic games to play virtually with family this Thanksgiving
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

2020 has been a year of change and adjustment, and Thanksgiving is no exception. With family gatherings put on hold and more people looking for ways to interact virtually, there’s still plenty of fun and games to be had with your distant friends and family.

Whether you’re into board games, card games, or just looking for ways to interact between turkey and pie, these are some of the best iOS, Apple TV, and Mac offerings you can play virtually.

iPhone 12 Pro puts premium in your pocket [Review]

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Pacific Blue iPhone 12 Pro on wooden table
The iPhone 12 Pro looks like a piece of jewelry, and offers a ton of powerful features, too,
Photo: Ian Fucs/Cult of Mac

Back in September 2012, Apple released what was arguably the best iPhone, the iPhone 5. It looked beautiful, felt great in hand, and signaled the shift from 3G to LTE.

Now, eight years later, Apple is revisiting that playbook with the iPhone 12 lineup. And after about a week of using the iPhone 12 Pro, and putting it to the test on my family’s vacation to Disney World, I think I can safely say this is both my new favorite iPhone, and possibly the new best iPhone of all time.

iPhone 12 Pro review

All the things we didn’t get at Apple’s ‘Hi, Speed’ event

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Hi, Speed event image with wishlist in background
Apple's "Hi, Speed" event offered up some nice updates to the iPhone 12 and HomePod, but left some boxes on the wishlist unchecked.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

It happens before every Apple event. The rumor mill, tech blogs (hello), and iPhone-obsessed nerds pin every hope, dream and desire on the next version of Apple’s devices.

More often than not, those desires are dashed, pushing those wants off to another event. While Apple’s iPhone 12 event showed the steps the company is taking toward iterating on its most popular device, there were also some things left on the wish list.

Scribble and Smart Selection make Apple Pencil way more productive

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Apple Pencil 2 in Hand
The Apple Pencil is fancy, and finally getting more useful.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Back when Apple introduced the Apple Pencil, the company positioned the stylus primarily as a tool for artists. And try as I might, I’ve never been particularly great at drawing. That said, it didn’t stop me from picking up an Apple Pencil to annotate documents, edit photos or use as an alternative way to touch the screen.

Then the Magic Keyboard came along with a fantastic trackpad experience. It offered a different way to interact with the screen without touching it with my finger. But now, with iPadOS 14, Apple has rewritten the story of what Apple Pencil can do, and it’s completely changed how I use my iPad once again.

SmartDesk 2 lets you sit or stand at a stellar price [Review]

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SmartDesk 2 full setup with monitor and light
The SmartDesk 2 can turn your boring desk into a versatile workspace.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Until very recently, I never spent a lot of mental energy thinking about the desk I worked at. As long as there was enough space for whatever I was doing, and it wasn’t getting in the way, I was pretty flexible.

As I’ve started spending more time working and taking meetings from home, I have started to notice when certain “desks” don’t work as well. Sitting on the couch, standing at the bar in our kitchen, or working from the dining table are all OK from time to time, but none are particularly comfortable long-term. Some of this comes down to having a desk at the proper height, and some of it is the lack of flexibility I get in those situations.

That why, when the folks at Autonomous asked if I wanted to check out their SmartDesk 2 adjustable standing desk, I saw it as an opportunity to see if the hype about standing desks is all it’s cracked up to be.

The Magic Keyboard changes the iPad all over again [Review]

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The 12.9
The Magic Keyboard finally makes the iPad Pro a full-on laptop.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

It should come as no surprise that the iPad is one of our favorite devices here at Cult of Mac. Ever since the introduction of the 2018 iPad Pro models and iPadOS 13, Apple’s tablet has made huge strides in being more capable and powerful for tons of things I do. So, needless to say, when I saw the Magic Keyboard, I had high hopes.

One critical factor for the iPad to be a useful tool for me has been a good keyboard experience. Even more important is the ability to shift from typing on the keyboard to interacting with the touchscreen when I want to go mobile around the house or office. 

Now, with the Magic Keyboard, Apple offers a new option for the iPad Pro. The new case lets you effortlessly jump between keyboard and tablet mode whenever you want. Or you can forget about the touchscreen entirely, turning the iPad into more of a laptop than ever before.