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.

Apple Watch Series 6: Color us impressed [Review]

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Apple Watch Series 6
Apple Watch Series 6
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Almost all the reviews of the Apple Watch Series 6 say the same thing: Yeah, it’s great, but it’s an incremental upgrade, and if you already have a Series 5, skip the upgrade.

That’s sage advice, I guess, especially in the middle of a crushing pandemic that’s ruined the economy, left millions unemployed, and has lots of people thinking carefully about their expenses.

But I say stuff it!

If you have the money, run out and buy the latest Apple Watch. It’s frickin’ amazing! It blows my mind that you can have a mini-iPhone strapped to your wrist that can make phone calls, pay for groceries, give directions, monitor your blood and heart, and so, so much more. It’s a technological marvel, my favorite gadget — and it could possibly save my life.

Tim Cook mostly avoids grilling during historic congressional antitrust hearing

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Tim Cook answers questions about App Store business practices.
Things didn't get too hot during Tim Cook's virtual visit to Capitol Hill.
Photo: C-SPAN

Apple CEO Tim Cook mostly avoided questioning during Wednesday’s historic congressional antitrust hearing on the business practices of Big Tech.

Cook took only a handful of questions from the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee. Lawmakers directed most of their questioning — which capped a year-long investigation into antitrust issues — at Cook’s fellow CEOs from Facebook, Google and Amazon.

Is Jon Prosser the new Mark Gurman?

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Jon Prosser, the up-and-coming Apple reporter.
Jon Prosser, the up-and-coming Apple reporter.
Photo: Jon Prosser/Front Page Tech

In the space of three short months, Jon Prosser went from an obscure YouTube nobody pumping out videos barely anyone watched to becoming one of the hottest Apple reporters on the internet.

On Twitter and YouTube, he’s unspooled a string of accurate predictions, including the exact dates and launch times of two of Apple’s newest products, the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the 2020 iPhone SE. That’s no mean feat, given Apple’s obsessive secrecy.

Prosser’s latest leak — revealed on last week’s episode of Cult of Mac’s podcast, The CultCast — claims Apple is working on a special pair of Steve Jobs Heritage Edition AR glasses. That wild revelation drew skepticism from none other than über-Apple reporter Mark Gurman.

“Do I even need to say that this (along with the rest of the Apple AR glasses stories in the past week) is complete fiction?” Gurman tweeted.

Jon Prosser makes headlines

Perhaps Gurman, who made his bones at 9to5Mac before moving up to Bloomberg, is feeling the heat. Prosser is starting to nip at his heels.

Apple plans a pair of ‘Steve Jobs Heritage Edition’ AR glasses

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Steve Jobs AR Glasses
Apple is planning special edition AR glasses modeled on the specs Steve Jobs wore.
Photo: Sebastian Errazuriz

Apple is working on a special pair of AR glasses that resemble the spectacles Steve Jobs famously wore, white-hot Apple leaker Jon Prosser told Cult of Mac.

Called the “Steve Jobs Heritage Edition,” this limited-edition version of Apple Glass would be round like a classic pair of John Lennon-style glasses. Cupertino would position it as a special edition of the core AR glasses, much like the original $10,000 gold Apple Watch.