Leander Kahney

Humane Ai Pin review roundup: It’s a disaster


Humane's AI Pin projector in action.
Humane's AI Pin projector in action.
Photo: Humane

I love the idea of Humane’s Ai Pin: It’s an omnipresent smart assistant that you can assign tasks to, and it will perform them for you — like booking the best flight on a certain day, or asking what’s good to eat at a restaurant you just stumbled across. That’s the vision for the $700 magnetic lapel pin released Thursday. But the first Humane Ai Pin reviews paint a disturbing picture.

Many of the third-party testers sound sympathetic to Humane’s vision for the device. In fact, most of the early reviews bend over backward to try to accommodate the Ai Pin’s drawbacks, emphasizing that this is version 1.0 of the product.

But while the vision is beguiling, the implementation makes Humane’s Ai Pin almost unusable. It’s not just slow or unreliable. It flat-out doesn’t work most of the time. The Verge‘s review sums it up well: “Should you buy this thing? That one’s easy. Nope. Nuh-uh. No way.” Ouch.

Why the DOJ’s antitrust lawsuit against Apple is weak


Flanked by colleagues, U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland lays out the Justice Department's antitrust case against Apple.
Flanked by colleagues, U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland lays out the Justice Department's antitrust case against Apple.
Image: Department of Justice

The Department of Justice’s monumental Apple antitrust case appears weak.

Still, the civil lawsuit, filed Thursday, represents the biggest legal challenge to Apple’s power in the company’s 47-year history. If successful, the lawsuit could force Apple to fundamentally change the way it makes products and conducts business. A similar action against Microsoft in the 1990s significantly curtailed that company’s reach and power.

But the DOJ’s lawsuit against Apple appears to be based on old and outdated information, and Apple has already — or is about to — address most of the major concerns.

How to use AirPods as hearing aids


AirPods Pro and Transparency Mode make for fine hearing aids.
AirPods Pro and Transparency Mode make for fine hearing aids.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

AirPods can work surprisingly well as hearing aids. Thanks to Transparency mode, AirPods Pro will boost the sound of your environment around you. They can give you freaky Spiderman super-hearing if you boost input volume to the max. And Conversation Boost on the latest AirPods Pro 2 can intelligently raise the volume of people talking to you (while lowering the volume of your music or podcasts).

My prescription hearing aids were out of action recently due to a battery problem, so for a few weeks, I used my AirPods Pro as hearing aids.

For the most part, they’ve been pretty good. They work best when set up properly, which is a bit of a chore, but here’s how to do it.

Two years after Russian invasion, Ukrainian coders keep up the fight


MacPaw's Kyiv office during blackout.
MacPaw's Kyiv office during a blackout.
Photo: MacPaw

Two years after the Russian invasion, one of Ukraine’s preeminent Mac software companies isn’t just surviving. In fact, MacPaw is doing pretty well — shiny new bomb shelters notwithstanding.

The company behind CleanMyMac X and Setapp has launched new products — including some designed to take the fight to Russia. MacPaw also opened a satellite office in Boston and donated millions to humanitarian efforts, all while most of the company’s employees have remained behind in the war-torn country.

“Living and working amidst the unjust full-scale Russian invasion poses numerous challenges for our team,” said Nina Bohush, a senior MacPaw PR specialist based in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city. “Just imagine a morning that starts with loud explosions outside the window because of another Russian attack … Of course, going through these unprecedented circumstances impacts people’s mental health and productivity.”

The Ai Pin demo that Humane should have made


Humane's AI Pin projector in action.
Humane's AI Pin projector in action.
Photo: Humane

So far, all the demos of Humane’s supposedly iPhone-killing Ai Pin have been underwhelming.

Humane pitched the small, screenless device — which ships next month — as a successor to smartphones. However, it is garnering almost no buzz at all, no thanks to its lackluster marketing. The Ai Pin’s first introductory video looked especially bad. It proved so head-scratchingly awful, it made you wonder if the company wants the device to bomb, like some kind of high-tech The Producers investor/insurance scam.

But a new video just emerged that actually makes the device look cool. It’s the demo Humane should have made.

Woah! Is this the new iPhone 16 Pro camera?


A mockup illustrates the latest iPhone 16 Pro camera rumor with a camera module that looks like a tricorne hat.
This mockup illustrates a radical redesign purportedly coming to the iPhone 16 Pro's camera module.
Image: Majin Bu

The latest iPhone 16 Pro camera rumor comes with an image that shows a radically redesigned lens module. It looks like a fidget spinner, or an 18th-century tricorn hat seen from above, and would represent a striking departure from Apple’s current design language.

If the iPhone 16 Pro actually looks like this, it would instantly put to bed perennial complaints that the new iPhone looks just like the old one.

Vision Pro poll: More than half of Cult of Mac readers will return ‘magical’ headset


An Apple Vision Pro headset promotional image with the word
A shockingly high number of Cult of Mac readers say they won't be keeping their Vision Pro headsets.
Photo: Apple/Modified by Cult of Mac

You’d think readers of a website called Cult of Mac would be into Apple products. But a straw poll of Cult of Mac Today readers found a whopping 76% of respondents plan to return their Vision Pro to Apple.

The eye-popping number comes as droves of Vision Pro early adopters say they plan to take advantage of Apple’s generous return policy. Discomfort, the headset’s high price and the lack of a clear use case for the isolating device top the list of reasons cited by disaffected Vision Pro owners.

People are returning Vision Pro in droves … or are they?


Apple Vision Pro box in a bag
Apple Vision Pro is being returned in droves by early adopters.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Many early adopters seem set on returning their Apple Vision Pro headsets. As the 14-day return window approaches for people who bought the device on launch day, an avalanche of posts on X and other social media channels point to a wave of Vision Pro returns.

Apparently, it’s not just Mark Zuckerberg who thinks Apple’s expensive headset isn’t worth the money. There appears to be a mass exodus of early adopters who ponied up the cash for Apple’s pricey headset. They cite three main reasons for returning Vision Pro. But is the situation really as bad as it seems?

Apple Vision Pro is a magical delight, but I don’t recommend it [Review] ★★★★


Vision Pro Review: Apple Vision Pro reflected in a mirror.★★★★
Vision Pro is amazing, but I can't recommend you get one.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Apple Vision Pro is the most amazing technology I’ve experienced in my life. Thanks to the headset’s intuitive interface, it’s as close to mind reading as you can get.

It’s given me magical, highly emotive experiences I haven’t felt with any other technology. Immersive 360-degree videos make you feel like you are actually there — it’s a cliche, but it’s true.

I’m absolutely, unabashedly delighted with Vision Pro. But would I recommend you get one?

Hell no!

Apple Vision Pro unboxing and first impressions


Unboxing Vision Pro
Unboxing the Vision Pro.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Steve Jobs designed the Apple unboxing experience as a careful process of introducing the customer to an unfamiliar product. And the Vision Pro unboxing is no different.

You don’t just rip the product from its box like a kid at Christmas! You carefully unpack it, examining each component as you go. The idea is to gradually show the customer the parts of the product and give them an idea of how they work together. An Apple unboxing is a very carefully thought-out process and ritual.

And, as you’d expect, the Vision Pro unboxing proceeds just as Apple intended. The new spatial computing headset is sleek, premium and very luxurious. This is no Fisher-Price View-Master.

And as for Vision Pro first impressions after using the headset for a few hours? I was originally skeptical of AR headsets after using a Meta Quest 3 and not liking it much at all. But I’m now a zealous convert. I may never take this thing off!

Why you absolutely should get an Apple Vision Pro demo


A fat old guy getting a demo of Apple Vision Pro at an Apple retail store.
The store demo of Apple Vision Pro is wonderful. I urge you to get one.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — I demoed the Vision Pro at the Apple Store here on Chestnut Street. It’s the most impressive tech product I’ve ever seen. It makes the iPhone seem like a primitive stone tablet. It’s amazingly intuitive, works literally like magic, and is incredibly emotional. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

You don’t have to buy a Vision Pro, but you absolutely must go to a store and get a free demo. We put together a video (below) that will show you what to expect from your Vision Pro demo.

Cool Vision Pro apps, concepts and experiences available on day one


An example of an Apple Vision Pro app.
Ready to get your mind blown? Check out these Vision Pro apps and demos first.
Image: Apple

If you’re gonna spend $3,500 on a face-hugging computer, you’ll want to get your money’s worth of mind-blowing experiences. For that, you’ll need the best Vision Pro apps available on day one.

Here are some of the coolest apps, concepts and use cases we’ve seen so far:

Apple Vision Pro’s biggest problem: It’s highly addictive!


Screenshot of Apple's 'guided tour' of Vision Pro.
The biggest problem with Vision Pro? It makes the real world boring.
Photo: Apple

Apple has a huge problem with the Vision Pro that no one has talked about: It’s highly addictive!

The astonishing visuals that Apple’s new headset pumps directly into your eyeballs make the real world seem dull, according to Nick Bilton, a Vanity Fair reporter who got behind-the-scenes access for a cover story published Thursday.

In fact, Bilton says Vision Pro is “like a drug” that offers a “dopamine hit.” And an unnamed source in Bilton’s story likens the Vision Pro to “tech fentanyl.”

Apple will allow alternative browser defaults and engines in EU


Screenshot of default browser screen in iOS.
EU users are about to get a lot more choice for their default browser and browser engines.
Screenshot: Apple

Apple is further opening up iOS to alternative browsers and browser engines, as part of Cupertino’s plan to comply with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act.

In iOS 17.4 — launched Thursday as a beta — iPhone users in the EU will have a lot more choice over the default browser and browser engines.

The biggest change will be the ability to use alternative browser engines, like Google’s Blink renderer instead of Apple’s WebKit.

New website showcases high-quality photos of every Mac released


Screenshot of Mac40th, a website with pics of every Macintosh, ever
Mac40th showcases every Macintosh, ever.
Screenshot: Mac40th/Cult of Mac

To celebrate the Macintosh’s 40th birthday, the author of a celebrated book about Macs created a website featuring photos of every Mac ever released.

Jonathan Zufi, author of Iconic: A Photographic Tribute To Apple Innovation, just launched Mac40th.com, a new website with more than 1,000 photos of every Mac, ever.

“So many people have come across a Mac at some point in their lives,” Zufi said in an email to Cult of Mac. “Mac40th.com is about giving fans a fun trip down memory lane with the hope that the Macintosh’s 40th anniversary evokes happy memories for anyone who has ever had an experience with an Apple Mac.”

New video makes Vision Pro look fun, conveniently skips the work part


Screenshot of Apple's 'guided tour' of Vision Pro.
Apple's guided tour makes Vision Pro look amazing, but suspiciously skips over any serious work.
Photo: Apple

Check out Apple’s new video for the Vision Pro: It’ll definitely give you FOMO. Labeled a “guided tour,” the 10-minute video shows a newbie user testing the AR/VR headset for the first time.

You’ll see lots of moments where the newbie gasps with Steve Jobs’ famous childlike wonder. But while Vision Pro looks amazing for consuming media, the video suspiciously skips over work you might do with Apple’s new spatial computer. It’s mentioned, but briefly: Here’s your workspace, now let’s watch Godzilla!

Apple Black Friday deals: AirPods, Apple Watch, iPad and more [Held over!]


Illustrative graphic with the text 'Best Apple Black Friday deals'
There are some great deals to be had on Apple gear and accessories during the 2023 Black Friday sales.
Photo: Midjourney/Cult of Mac

Update: Black Friday might be over but the deals certainly are not. Many of the best deals on Apple products are still live and you can score some hefty discounts on them this shopping season. In fact, some of these deals disappeared for a while on Black Friday — like the iPad (9th gen) for just $229 (save $100) — then reappeared at some point!

For starters, don’t miss this killer deal on AirPods Pro 2 (with USB-C) for just $189 (save $60) — this is the best price we’ve seen on the best AirPods you can get. Plus, Apple Watch SE (2nd gen., 2022) is down to just $179 (save $70) — the SE is a great gift for someone this Xmas. Or, if you are shopping for yourself, the latest Apple Watch Series 9 is just $329 (save $70).

There are lots of great Apple deals to be had on Black Friday 2023 — just not from Apple itself. Apple is usually pretty stingy when it comes to Black Friday (Tim Cook loves his margins!). This year, you can get an Apple gift card worth up to $200 when you splash out on select products, but the latest and greatest — iPhone 15, M3 MacBook Pros, iMac, and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 — are not included.

However, there are great savings on Apple products from third-party retailers like Best Buy, B&H Photo, Target and Walmart. All these stores offer significant discounts on AirPods, Apple Watch, iPads, iPhones and more. Here are the best deals on Apple gear we’ve found.

This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items.

Tame cord spaghetti with Function101’s Cable Blocks [Review]


Function 101 Cable Blocks cord management
Function 101's rubbery magnetic Cable Blocks are my favorite cord management system.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Almost every day, our robot vacuum tangles itself in charging cables, which the kids toss cavalierly across the floor. Snaking from behind the couch, the cords wait like baited fishing lines to ensnare our unsuspecting Roomba. It’s an unmitigated cable management disaster.

Luckily, we just got some Cable Blocks from Function101. Cable Blocks are rubbery little magnetic blocks that sit on your desk or nightstand and hold cables out of the way. It’s a simple and clever design.

Here’s why Cable Blocks are my favorite cable management system.

Play ’80s synths, surf with a solid VPN, test hard drive for video and find great Italian food [Awesome Apps]


iPhone ad in the style of vintage Works Progress Administration artwork
This week's awesome apps include a retro synthesizer, a solid VPN, a quick test for hard drives and a guide to Italian eateries.
Image: Midjourney/Cult of Mac

Awesome AppsIn this week’s Awesome Apps roundup, we have a synthesizer app that brings back the sound of the ’80s, a solid VPN for safely surfing the Web, an app for testing external drives for recording high-res video, and a guide to the best eateries in Italy.

Add a calculator widget to your Home Screen [Awesome Apps]


Calcullo is a simple calculator widget for your Home Screen.
Calcullo is a simple calculator widget for your Home Screen.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Awesome AppsNew in iOS 17 are interactive widgets on the Home Screen — that is, widgets that can do things, not just passively show information — and a handy one is Calcullo.

Calcullo is a $1.99 calculator widget for your Home Screen that makes it easy to tap out quick calculations on the fly.

Get in the habit of reading, track flights, and use iPad as a monitor [Awesome Apps]


iPad screen showing three apps: Flighty, Reading Time and Orion.
This week’s Awesome Apps: Reading Time, Orion and Flighty.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Awesome AppsIn this week’s Awesome Apps roundup, we have a book-reading app that will help you make reading a habit; a free app that turns an iPad into an external monitor for game consoles or cameras; and a great travel app that puts critical flight information on your Apple Watch.

3 reasons you should buy an Apple Watch Ultra


The Apple Watch Ultra has one standout feature that alone is worth the price of admission.
The Apple Watch Ultra has one standout feature that alone is worth the price of admission.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Although I go for almost daily bike rides for exercise, I used to always forget to record the rides on my Apple Watch. I’d always record the rides on my bike computer. But when it came to the watch, I’d never remember until halfway through the workout, if at all.

That’s until I got the Apple Watch Ultra, which boasts a bright orange Action button that I set to start an Outdoor Cycle workout.

Now, I remember every time, and it’s because of the button. It’s the strangest thing, and I have no explanation. But the act of hitting a physical button makes me remember.

The versatile Action button — which you can set to turn on the watch’s flashlight, start the stopwatch or run a shortcut, among other things — is reason enough to get the Apple Watch Ultra, which I’ve been wearing since its launch last year. But there’s another great reason. Actually, two.