Get the fantastic Cult of Mac, 2nd Edition book at more than 70% off

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The Cult of Mac 2E
This deluxe chronicle of Apple fandom is beautifully designed.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

If you’re looking for a holiday gift for an Apple fan, consider The Cult of Mac, 2nd Edition. This great-looking coffee table book about the Apple community is on sale right now for just $9.99 — a whopping 71% off.

Co-written by David Pierini and yours truly, the gorgeously designed, full-color book details many aspects of the Apple fan universe.

Hands-on: AirPods 3 sound great thanks to lots of trickle-down tech [Review]

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AirPods 3 on messy desk
Everything about AirPods 3 is better.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

The new AirPods 3 are marvelous little earbuds. They sound fantastic, are dead easy to set up and use, and the wireless charging case is a godsend.

Compared to their predecessors, Apple greatly improved just about everything — and they are well worth their $179 price tag.

Apple unveils next-gen Apple Silicon: M1 Pro and M1 Max

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M1 Max chip
Apple's M1 Max is the biggest Apple has made with 57 billion transistors.
Photo: Apple

Apple Unleashed event bug At Apple’s “Unleashed” event Monday, the company unveiled a pair of new “pro” Apple Silicon chips: the M1 Pro and M1 Max processors.

The two new chips were described by Apple executives as “breakthrough” and “groundbreaking.” The M1 Max “is by far the most powerful chip we’ve ever built,” said Johny Srouji, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware technologies, during the “Unleashed” presentation.

At first glance, they appear to be a pair of wicked-fast but battery-sipping beasts that blow Intel out of the water.

Last chance! 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.

If you want to win an iPhone 13, you better enter right now. The giveaway ends Tuesday night!

Why Apple didn’t crash and burn after Steve Jobs’ death

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Steve Jobs typeface portrait
Apple is made in Steve Jobs' image.
Photo: Dylan Roscover

Ten years after Steve Jobs’ death on this day in 2011, Apple is thriving when many predicted it wouldn’t.

Go back and look at articles published in the wake of his death, and it’s all gloom, gloom, gloom. But a decade on, the company is worth more than $2 trillion, revenues have nearly tripled, the stock is up more than 1,000%, and there’s no end in sight.

Apple’s success has many fathers of course, but one big one is that Jobs’ personality has been deeply embedded into the company and how it does things. It’s called “the routinization of charisma,” and it helps explains why Apple continues to prosper.

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?

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.

Turn your iPad into a mini iMac with this elegant stand [Review]

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Wiplabs Slope iPAd stand
Slope is a stunner!
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Now that iPadOS supports mice and trackpads, it’s a better time than ever to turn your iPad into a mini iMac. To do that, you need the Slope: a nice-looking stand that props up your iPad at the perfect angle for working. Just slide a keyboard and trackpad underneath, and you have something that resembles Apple’s new Magic Keyboard, but at a fraction of the price.

Made from anodized aluminum, the Slope looks good in the kitchen, on your desk or at bedside. It keeps your iPad out of the muck when cooking, or at the perfect angle for watching videos.