Apple whips its gigantic global supply chain into shape [Opinion]

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Apple supply chain worker inspecting glass
Apple is really cleaning up its supply chain under Tim Cook.
Photo: Apple

Over the years, Apple took heavy criticism for employing an offshore supply chain rife with abuse. The company is still stained by the rash of worker suicides in 2010 at Foxconn, its main supplier.

But as Apple’s latest Supplier Responsibility report shows, the company continues to make remarkable strides to improve conditions for workers and the environment.

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PDF editor PDFelement Pro 6 for Mac works wonders with PDFs.
PDFelement works wonders with PDFs.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

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Dashlane app iOS
The Dashlane password manager app on iOS is good-looking and easy to use.
Photo: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

Quit or canned? Why is Angela Ahrendts leaving Apple? [Opinion]

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Ahrendts
Did Angela Ahrendts jump or was she pushed?
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

When Apple fires an executive, the company is rarely straightforward about the situation. Apple never puts out a press release stating plainly that the executive was canned. So Tuesday’s unexpected announcement that Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s head of retail, is leaving in April led many to suspect she was fired.

That’s because the announcement came as a surprise and seems rushed. She’s certainly not retiring or quitting to join another company. The press release phrase “new personal and professional pursuits” sounds like code for “canned.”

This wireless iPhone and Apple Watch charger prevents bedtime battles [Review]

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ZENS Dual Watch Aluminum Wireless Charger for iPhone Xr iPhone Xs
The Zens Dual+Watch is all you need for charging.
Photo: Zens

Our bedside table is lousy with chargers. My wife and I have separate chargers for our iPhones (Qi charging mats), my Apple Watch (a cool but bulky stand), and a new iPad Pro (a repurposed Android phone charger with USB-C). There is barely room for stacks of books and magazines, a bedside lamp, a Sonos speaker, earplugs, sleep masks, reading glasses, sleepy-time CBD tincture and other bedside junk.

Time to consolidate!

With Apple’s AirPower charging mat still AWOL and possibly dead forever, the Dual+Watch Aluminium Wireless Charger is a great three-device charger you can buy now.

Made by respected Dutch company Zens — an expert in wireless charging — the Dual+Watch charging mat fast-charges two iPhones, plus your Apple Watch. And it’s available now from the Cult of Mac Watch Store.

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Pauline Kahney
My mom, Pauline Kahney, is a new and enthusiastic user of the Dashlane password manager.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

iPhone XR review: Why buy anything else?

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iPhone XR review: With a great screen, cameras, battery life and Face ID, the iPhone XR is a nifty smartphone.
With a great screen, cameras, battery life and Face ID, the iPhone XR is a nifty smartphone.
Photo: Kristal Chan/Cult of Mac

The iPhone XR is typical Apple. It’s an entry-level phone with a bunch of premium features. Jony Ive just cannot cut corners, even if he wanted to. This is no plasticky, cut-rate phone built to meet a price point. It’s a primo phone with primo features (and a primo price tag, TBH). It just happens to be the cheapest new iPhone in Apple’s lineup.

The XR delivers everything customers care about: a big, beautiful screen; great cameras; long battery life; and Face ID.

The iPhone XR is arguably Apple’s most interesting smartphone of 2018 because of this slightly odd bundle of budget/premium features. It’s arguably a $1,200 phone in a $750 package.

For a chance to win a brand-new iPhone XR, enter our free giveaway here.

iPhone XR first look: So awesome we’re giving it away!

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iPhone XR giveaway: Enter to win this gorgeous blue iPhone.
Enter to win this gorgeous blue iPhone XR.
Photo: Kristal Chan/Cult of Mac

After unboxing the brand new iPhone XR, I can confidently say that this is a fantastic phone. Apple cut very few corners. The iPhone XR is beautifully designed, with a great big, edge-to-edge display. It’s incredibly fast, and camera performance is excellent. It looks awesome. The drawbacks are mostly minor.

Basically, it’s a $1,200 phone in a $750 package.

Check out the video to see our first impressions. Then read on to find out how you can enter to win the 128GB blue speed demon showcased in the video. Yep, it’s free to enter our iPhone XR giveaway. (Frankly, it’s going to be hard to part with this beautiful machine.)

‘Highly plausible’ Apple servers could be infected with spy chips, says former Apple hardware engineer

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Instrumental founder and CEO Anna Katrina Shedletsky
Instrumental founder and CEO Anna Katrina Shedletsky, who is using her experience as an Apple product design engineer to bring AI to manufacturing.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Despite Apple’s denials, it’s “highly plausible” that secret spy chips could have been planted on the company’s servers, said a former Apple hardware engineer.

Anna-Katrina Shedletsky, who spent nearly six years at Apple helping build several generations of iPod, iPhone and Apple Watch, said spy chips could have been slipped into the design of servers used for Apple’s iCloud services, as alleged in a Bloomberg Businessweek story.

“With my knowledge of hardware design, it’s entirely plausible to me,” she said. “It’s very highly plausible to me, and that’s scary if you think about it.”