These new apps will bring you some holiday cheer [Awesome Apps of the Week]

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We could all use a little Christmas cheer right about now, couldn't we?
We could all use a little Christmas cheer right about now, couldn't we?
Image: Cult of Mac

So far, 2020 has been a total Grinch. Find a little fun with these new and recently updated apps, which will guide you to Christmas light shows, plunge you into Marvel superhero brawls and even boost your darts game.

Plus, Canadian CBD connoisseurs can gain access to all the latest info on what’s available and where. And iPhone 12 Pro/Max owners can see in the dark.

We put AirPods Max and Apple Fitness+ to the test [Cult of Mac Magazine 380]

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In-depth reviews of AirPods Max and Apple Fitness+ in Cult of Mac Magazine.
Read our in-depth reviews of Apple's hot new offerings.
Cover: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Between AirPods Max and Apple Fitness+, this was one big week for Apple. The company continues to expand its sprawling, intertwined empire of hardware, software and services — and these new entries look like winners.

Read our dueling reviews for insight into how the high-end headphones and the subscription fitness service compare to rivals. You’ll find them, along with a load of helpful Apple how-tos and the week’s top news stories, in this week’s free issue of Cult of Mac Magazine. Download it now for your iOS device. Or use the links below to get to the stories on the web.

AirPods Max will excite your ears, dazzle your eyes and empty your wallet [Review]

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AirPods Max review: Apple's new noise-canceling headphones truly put the
Apple's new noise-canceling headphones truly put the "pod" in AirPods.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

With a sleek design and some sweet Apple magic, AirPods Pro Max headphones look great, sound exciting and reward those in the Apple ecosystem.

However, the hefty $549 price tag, some quirky design decisions and some very real limitations mean they’re not right for absolutely everyone.

AirPods … to the Max! [Cult of Mac Magazine 379]

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AirPods Max: Apple takes AirPods to the Max!
Apple's high-end headphones sold out fast.
Cover: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Apple’s new over-the-ear headphones are kind of over the top. From the high-end design to the sky-high price tag, AirPods Max certainly made quite a splash this week.

They sold out almost immediately after Tuesday’s unveiling. And that weird AirPods Max case got mercilessly mocked online, as people compared it to a bra and a sleep mask, among other things.

It’s not all AirPods Max this week, though: Apple TV+ started streaming Wolfwalkers, which our reviewer called the “best animated film of the year.” Plus, Apple’s mysterious self-driving car project raced back into the rumor fast lane.

Read up in this week’s free edition of Cult of Mac Magazine. Download it now for your iOS device. Or use the links below to get to the stories on the web.

Logitech Circle View Doorbell joins short list of HomeKit doorbells

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Logitech Circle View Doorbell: A HomeKit doorbell with a modern look.
The Logitech Circle View Doorbell wouldn't look out of place on a modern home like this.
Photo: Naomi Ellsworth/Unsplash CC

Logitech unveiled the Circle View Doorbell on Tuesday, calling it “the first wired video doorbell developed exclusively for Apple HomeKit.”

The $199.99 accessory features Face Recognition and Logitech TrueView video, and works with most wired doorbell systems, Logitech said.

Too late: AirPods Max’s hottest colors won’t arrive by Christmas [Updated]

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If you didn't order already, it's not going to be a blue AirPods Max Christmas.
If you didn't order already, it's not going to be a blue AirPods Max Christmas.
Photo: Apple

If you wanted AirPods Max in blue, pink or green, it looks like you’ll be waiting till well into 2021. Order one of the three hottest colors of the pricey new over-the-ear headphones now, and they won’t be delivered for 12 to 14 weeks, according to Apple’s online store.

Those shipping times slipped quickly after Apple launched the high-end headphones via press release early Tuesday morning. By late morning West Coast time, space gray AirPods Max delivery times had slipped as well — to December 31. Only the silver option still showed as being available for delivery prior to Christmas.

Act fast, and you can get them between December 15 and 17. But adding custom engraving pushes the delivery date to December 29 for that model. (Update 2: By midafternoon West Coast time on Tuesday, even the silver AirPods Max delivery window had slipped to December 31 – January 8.)

California’s COVID-19 exposure notifications go live Thursday

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COVID-19 contact tracing is about to get easier in California.
COVID-19 contact tracing is about to get easier in California.
Photo: Brian McGowan/Unsplash CC

California will launch a COVID-19 exposure-notification system Thursday that uses smartphones to track interactions with infected people.

The state “has partnered with Google and Apple to launch a #COVID19 exposure notification app, CA Notify,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday on Twitter. “Starting Thursday, you can opt in to get push notifications on your phone if you have been exposed to COVID-19.”

Mandalorian selfies, 21st century biz cards and more [Awesome Apps of the Week]

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What kind of lunatic wants to show up in Din Djarin's holopuck?1? Awesome Apps of the Week include Star Wars, HomePage, OmniFocus and SpotHero.
What kind of lunatic wants to show up in Din Djarin's holopuck?!?
Image: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

You can make like an intergalactic outlaw or keep in touch like a pro with two of the new apps and updates featured in the week’s roundup. And the other two featured apps show off the growing versatility of macOS Big Sur and CarPlay, two Apple platforms that deserve a little extra love.

Get the scoop in this week’s edition of Awesome Apps of the Week.

Behold, Apple’s best of 2020 [Cult of Mac Magazine 378]

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Apple picks the year's winners.
Apple picks the year's winners.
Cover: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

It’s December, so it’s time to brace yourself for the annual onslaught of “best of” recommendations. Cupertino came out of the gate early this week, crowning its favorite 15 apps and games of the year.

Separately, the company also highlighted the biggest hits on Apple Music, diced in a variety of ways, as well as the best podcasts, books and audiobooks of 2020. And, like last year, Apple Music users can check out their own personal hit lists. Take a look at your Replay 2020 playlist for insight into what you streamed with abandon during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Get the lowdown in this week’s free edition of Cult of Mac Magazine. It’s loaded with the week’s top Apple news, plus plenty of how-tos for iPhone, HomePod and Mac users.

We’ve also got reviews of three new Apple TV+ shows this week: astonishing nature docuseries Earth at Night in Color, uplifting kids show Stillwater and Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special.

New MacBook Air is an ‘instant classic’ [Cult of Mac Magazine 377]

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M1 MacBook Air review: It's an instant classic.
The new M1-powered MacBook Air is a total joy.
Cover: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Just how good is that new MacBook Air? Leander Kahney, our tab-hoarding editor in chief, calls it an “instant classic.” Read his full MacBook Air review to get some interesting insights into the incredible performance of this M1-powered laptop.

However, buyer beware: If you’re considering snapping up one of these new Macs with Apple Silicon inside, there are several things that could be deal-breakers, depending on your own particular needs. Be sure to check out our quick checklist of “6 reasons an M1 Mac might not be right for you.”

Read all that and more in this week’s free edition of Cult of Mac Magazine. Download it now for a slick reading experience on your iOS device.

Also: Don’t miss out on the great deals in the Cult of Mac Store’s biggest-ever event. Our massive Black Friday sale runs all weekend long.