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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.”

Apple Watch Series 4 review: So good it’ll make your heart race

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Apple Watch Series 4 Infogram Watch Face
The Series 4 comes with some great new watch faces, like this information-packed Infograph face.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

I have a new best friend. It’s the Apple Watch Series 4. Boy, do I love this miraculous little machine.

The new Apple Watch really is wonderful. As with everything else, speed makes it so much more fluid and seamless. The display is gigantic and awesome! There’s so much technology packed inside, it’s a sci-fi marvel.

I took it for a long bike ride to test it out. Here’s what I found.

Why it’s a big deal that Lisa Jackson spoke at Apple’s iPhone XS event

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Apple VP Lisa Jackson showcases Apple's environmental efforts during the Gather Round event.
Lisa Jackson showcases Apple's green innovation during the Gather Round event.
Photo: Apple

It’s an incredibly big deal that Wednesday’s Gather Round keynote featured Lisa Jackson, Apple’s head of environmental initiatives.

The annual iPhone unveiling is Apple’s biggest product event of the year. Every single word and image is carefully calibrated to do one thing, and one thing only: sell as many of the new products as possible.

So why did Tim Cook turn over several precious minutes to Jackson to talk about renewable energy and recycling?

Why you couldn’t type the F-word on iPhone and other fascinating facts from Apple book

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Ken Kocienda's book, Creative Selection: Inside Apple's Design Process During the Golden Age of Stave Jobs.
Ken Kocienda's book, Creative Selection: Inside Apple's Design Process During the Golden Age of Stave Jobs.
Photo: St. Martin's Press

Why couldn’t you type the F-word on the iPhone? Why did Steve Jobs make weird eye movements during demos? What kind of manager was Scott Forstall?

These and other questions are answered in a new book by Ken Kocienda, a former iPhone programmer who spent 15 years at Apple helping to develop the first iPhone, iPad and Safari web browser.

Published this week, Creative Selection, Inside Apple’s Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs, is a fascinating account of Kocienda’s career that focuses on how Apple makes great software. (read our review here)

Here are some of the most interesting things we learned from the book.

The Apple design process of demos, decisions and feedback with Ken Kocienda [Apple Chat podcast]

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Former Apple programmer Ken Kocienda has written a great insiders account of how the company makes its products.
Former Apple programmer Ken Kocienda has written a great insiders account of how the company makes its products.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

“It’s this long process of demos and decisions and feedback that creates this long, iterative progression … that leads you from not-very-promising ideas to products you can ship.”

Curious what it was like to work at Apple during its Golden Age of design? What exactly did the creative process look like? On this episode of the Apple Chat podcast, I sit down with Ken Kocienda, a programmer who spent 15 years at Apple during the Steve Jobs era. He worked on the first versions of the Safari web browser, iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. His new book, Creative Selection: Inside Apple’s Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs, chronicles his experiences working at the company and offers an inside look at the creative process that made the team successful.

On the podcast, Kocienda discusses his role in the development of the iOS keyboard, explaining how text entry evolved and offering insight into the autocorrect algorithm. He walks us through the Darwinian process of creative selection, describing how the demo pyramid functioned to provide feedback and move an idea from prototype to product. Listen in for his experience presenting a demo to Jobs himself and learn how the original spirit of the Macintosh lives on at Apple today!

New book shows how Apple makes great software [Review]

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Ken Kocienda's book Creative Selection is an insider's account of how Apple makes great software.
Ken Kocienda's new book offers an insider's account of how Apple makes great software.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

When Steve Jobs died in 2011, pundits wondered how the company would continue to make great products without him.

The question is partly answered by programmer Ken Kocienda’s new book, Creative Selection, which describes his 15 years working at Apple helping to develop the original iPhone, iPad and Safari web browser.

Kocienda’s book is a remarkable insider’s story that shows how Apple creates the software that it’s rightly famous for.