Win iPhone 13 and a bundle of MagSafe-compatible cases from Speck [Cult of Mac giveaway]

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iPhone 13 giveaway: Cult of Mac x Speck: Enter for your chance to win an iPhone 13 and three awesome Speck cases.
Enter for your chance to win an iPhone 13 and three awesome Speck cases.
Image: Cult of Mac

For this week’s giveaway, we teamed up with Speck to offer Cult of Mac readers the chance to win an iPhone 13 and a bundle of three nifty MagSafe-compatible cases.

Speck is a long-standing case manufacturer for Apple devices, going all the way back to the original iPod. These days, the company makes tough, handsome cases for a range of smartphones, tablets, laptops and watches. Speck will send one lucky reader an iPhone 13 in Starlight, plus a bundle of three MagSafe-compatible cases from its new Presidio line.

A cheap, reliable remote for Apple TV [Review]

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Function 101 Apple TV button remote
This Apple TV remote has what others lack -- buttons!
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

If, like me, you hate the fiddly Apple TV Siri Remote like the pox, Function 101’s Button Remote for Apple TV might be your perfect choice.

It’s a traditional infrared remote control with 18 buttons, hence the name.

Thanks to its familiar design, it’s perhaps the easiest way to use your Apple TV. It works with most TVs and home theater components out of the box, and it costs just $29.95.

Goodbye to Cult of Mac Magazine

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Cult of Mac magazine last issue cover
Sadly, it's time to say 'bye' to Cult of Mac magazine.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Unfortunately this is the last issue of Cult of Mac Magazine.

We launched Cult of Mac Magazine back in September 2013 and have published 411 weekly issues since then. Yes, 411 issues!

Highlights include a cover made especially for us by Susan Kare, the designer of the original Mac’s icons, and a string of great-looking magazine covers by Ste Smith, a former staffer.

But declining readership, competition from news apps and difficulty getting advertising has led us to retire the publication. It’s been a great run, but it’s time to shut up shop.

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?