Tim Cook’s hotly anticipated Epic trial testimony is a big nothingburger

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Tim Cook makes the case for Apple during Congress' antitrust hearing.
Tim Cook makes the case for Apple during the Epic Games v. Apple trial.
Photo: C-SPAN

As the Epic Games v. Apple trial winds down, Apple CEO Tim Cook took to the witness stand Friday to deliver a big fat nothingburger.

Trial watchers were hoping Cook would deliver dramatic and explosive testimony, but he mostly dodged, demurred or couldn’t remember.

Talk about ‘Spring Loaded’: Apple event sets my head spinning

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We finally got our first legit look at an AirTag.
We finally got our first legit look at an AirTag, but that was just the beginning!
Photo: Apple

Wow, that was the speediest, most jam-packed Apple event in recent memory.

It was so quick-moving, we all got whiplash. There was barely time to catch your breath between announcements: Here’s a new purple iPhone. Fuggedaboutit, here’s a new Apple TV, and new AirTags. Oh, and hers’s new iMacs — and iPads!!

In an hour, Tim Cook and Co. managed to introduce a raft of products with dozens of new features and technologies while dazzling us with some pretty jaw-dropping promo videos.

Once again, the prerecorded format worked well. The promo videos in Tuesday’s “Spring Loaded” event looked super. They hit us with a great mix of head-spinning effects and angles, humor and product placement.

Here are some thoughts and initial reactions to some of the major announcements:

iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini now comes in purple

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purple iphone 12
The iPhone 12 and 12 mini now come in purple.
Photo: Apple

In a surprise move, Apple just introduced a brand-new color for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini — purple.

The new color spiced up Apple’s “Spring Loaded” special event Tuesday. It’s an unusual move for Apple, which rarely introduces new colors or finishes mid-cycle.

Despite pandemic, 2020 was Apple’s best year ever [Year in Review]

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Apple products on a table
The big story for Apple in 2020, was, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic.
Photo: Elena Mozhvilo/Unsplash

In spite of a devastating pandemic, a moribund economy, widespread unemployment, factory and store closures, and a workforce toiling from home, Apple in 2020 had one of its best years ever.

The company released a raft of new products, saw its stock soar, enjoyed a record valuation, made record amounts of money, experimented with virtual product launches and events, released great advertising, and mostly skated through government antitrust hearings.

The company even killed off a hated product feature, to widespread plaudits from fans.

M1 MacBook Air is an instant classic [Review]

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MacBook Air M1 2020
Apple's new M1 chip makes this ultraportable laptop ultra-fantastic.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

I just opened more than 650 tabs in Safari on a new M1 MacBook Air. I would have opened more, but I got bored.

Meanwhile, in the background, the machine is downloading Photoshop and the Microsoft 360 suite, and I can see in Activity Monitor that it’s processing thousands of iCloud photos while also indexing the hard drive.

Despite this, the machine is as fleet as a greyhound. I started working on a Photoshop project while checking email, keeping an eye on TweetDeck and, of course, clicking around all those open Safari tabs. The MacBook Air is just humming. I’ve never seen anything like it.

HomePod mini sounds pretty big for such a little guy [Review]

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HomePod mini
The HomePod mini sounds great for such a small speaker.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Apple has been doing some remarkable things with audio lately. The sound coming out of a new MacBook or iPad Pro is nothing short of amazing, given the tiny speakers they have. AirPods sound spectacular. And then there’s the original HomePods, which punch way above their weight and are some of the best speakers out there.

But what about the new HomePod minis, which cost $99 and pack the potential to give Apple a much-needed boost in the smart speaker game? Do they sound any good?

iPhone 12 mini is the ultimate one-handed phone [Review]

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iPhone 12 mini
The iPhone 12 mini is a hot little number.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Buying a compact smartphone used to mean making some big sacrifices. You either had to settle for an older model, or you had to opt for an Android handset (ugh!). That’s no longer the case, thanks to iPhone 12 mini.

iPhone 12 mini makes no compromises. It’s not a watered-down version of the larger iPhone 12; it is an iPhone 12 that’s squeezed into a smaller body. It has a gorgeous Super Retina XDR display, a blazing-fast A14 Bionic processor, great cameras, 5G and Face ID.

What’s missing? Absolutely nothing! If you want a small smartphone that has it all, iPhone 12 mini is the only option.

iPhone 12 Pro Max: Bigger, bolder and undeniably better [Review]

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iPhone 12 Pro Max: The iPhone 12 Pro Max is the biggest and best yet.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is the biggest and best yet.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

The biggest and best version of iPhone 12 has finally landed. The iPhone 12 Pro Max takes everything that makes this year’s iPhone lineup so terrific and combines it with an even bigger screen and a better camera. Apple calls it “the photographer’s iPhone,” but really, it’s the best smartphone going for anyone who likes super-sized displays.

iPhone 12 Pro Max is Apple’s biggest smartphone to date, with a Super Retina XDR display that measures at 6.7 inches diagonally. It’s also the fastest handset on the market, thanks to an incredibly speedy A14 Bionic processor that’s coupled with 5G connectivity (where available).

However, the Pro Max is just one of four iPhone 12 options available this year —- and it’s the most expensive of the bunch. Is it worth it?

Apple Silicon M1’s biggest surprise? Insane battery life

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Apple M1 battery life
Apple's new M1 chip offers massive battery life improvements.
Photo: Apple

Apple Silicon was widely expected to be fast, but perhaps the biggest surprise of the new M1 chip is the insane battery life it enables.

During Tuesday’s “One More Thing” keynote, Apple touted some truly eye-popping battery life numbers. While we expected improved battery life from the new MacBooks, the numbers Apple released surpassed expectations.

New M1 Mac mini is 3x faster, starts at just $699

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With the M1 chip inside, the new Mac mini delivers blazing-fast performance.
With the M1 chip inside, the new Mac mini delivers blazing-fast performance.
Photo: Apple

Apple just unveiled a new M1 Mac that no one was expecting (but should have) — the Mac mini.

Featuring the Apple M1 chip, the new Mac mini boasts 3x faster CPU performance and up to 6x faster graphics, compared to the previous generation mini, Apple said during Tuesday’s “One More Thing” keynote.