Rajesh Pandey

WhatsApp video calls are about to get much better

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WhatsApp gets much-needed calling improvements
WhatsApp video and voice calls get a quality boost.
Photo: WhatsApp

WhatsApp is introducing key improvements to video (and voice) calling on its platform for a better experience. As part of the upgrade, you can now share audio while screen sharing.

Another notable change is having group video calls with up to 32 participants on your phone or desktop. This is the same limit as FaceTime.

Apple won’t pay OpenAI to add ChatGPT to iOS 18

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An iPhone screen showing an iOS 18 popup that says
Apple and OpenAI's ChatGPT integration in iOS 18 is about more than money.
Photo: Apple

Apple is not paying OpenAI for ChatGPT access in iOS 18, according to a new report. Neither is OpenAI paying Apple for the privilege of integrating its chatbot into millions of iPhones later this year.

A news story sheds light on the high-profile arrangement between the two companies — and details how it is more than about money.

Apple Watch gets automatic sleep tracking with watchOS 11

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watchOS 11 features
Sleep tracking on the Apple Watch gets a lot better with watchOS 11.
Photo: watchOS 11 brings some notable usability improvements.

watchOS 11 brings automatic sleep tracking to the Apple Watch. This means the smartwatch can track your sleep even if you don’t set a sleep schedule or use the Sleep Focus mode.

While a small change, it makes sleep tracking on the Apple Watch much more useful.

iPhone finally gains T9 dialing with iOS 18

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iOS 18 bento box
iOS 18 brings a small but key improvement to the Phone app.
Image: Apple

Apple is finally adding T9 dialing support to the iPhone’s Phone app with iOS 18. The feature lets you search for contacts or phone numbers directly from the dialer.

T9, or text on 9 keys, is predictive text technology that enables you to enter a character with a single keypress for each letter.

Passwords app turns iCloud Keychain into a full-fledged password manager

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The new Apple Passwords app logo, along with all the types of things you can save: Wi-Fi, app, website and shared passwords; verification codes; passkeys; and Sign in with Apple logins.
Apple's new Passwords app will let you save all the things.
Image: Apple

Apple Let Loose Event: The new Apple Passwords app “makes it easy to access your credentials and have them securely stored all in one place,” said Craig Federighi, the company’s software chief, Monday during the WWDC24 keynote.

Apple is upgrading iCloud Keychain to become a full-fledged password manager in iOS 18, iPadOS 18 and macOS Sequoia.

Will your iPhone and iPad get iOS 18 and iPadOS 18?

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Apple Intelligence on iPhone, iPad, and macOS. Is your gear on the list of supported devices for iOS 18, iPadOS 18, macOS Sequoia and watchOS 11?
iOS 18 is not dropping support for older iPhones, but they will miss out on Apple Intelligence.

Apple Let Loose Event:Apple showcased iOS 18, iPadOS 18, watchOS 11 and macOS Sequoia on Monday during the kickoff keynote that kicked off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. With so many new features and improvements, you might wonder if your iOS 18 will be among Apple’s supported devices. Same goes for other older devices and Apple’s other upcoming operating system updates.

Below is a list of all the iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and Macs that will get the iOS 18, iPadOS 18, watchOS 11 and macOS Sequoia update later this year. Note: The AI-powered Apple Intelligence features the company unveiled at WWDC24 won’t work on many older devices. So even if your computer can run the latest operating system, you still might not benefit from the AI stuff.

iOS 18, iPadOS 18 Control Center gets a lot more customizable and powerful

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Control Center is getting a big upgrade in iOS 18.
Control Center is getting a big upgrade in iOS 18.
Photo: Apple

Apple Let Loose Event: iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 will introduce “new levels of customization and capability to Control Center, helping you access many of the things you do every day even faster,” said Apple software chief Craig Federighi during Monday’s WWDC24 keynote.

The revamped Control Center features multiple groups and offers easy access to media playback controls, smart home devices and more.

macOS Sequoia brings iPhone and Mac closer than ever

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Apple software chief Craig Federighi unveils macOS Sequoia at WWDC24.
And the next Mac operating system is ... macOS Sequoia!
Photo: Apple

Apple Let Loose Event: macOS Sequoia brings the “incredible features” of iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 to your Mac. This includes improvements to the Messages app, Math Notes and more.

Craig Federighi, the Apple software VP who unveiled macOS Sequoia during Monday’s WWDC24 keynote, said the new Mac operating system “introduces even more features to help you effortlessly get things done.”

iOS 18 could bring an even better Dark Mode

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The App Store is slowly filling with applications that support Dark Mode.
Dark Mode is one of many features made possible by the iOS 13 SDK.
Photo: Apple

iOS 18 could add a dark tint to the iPhone’s Home Screen app icons in Dark Mode. This should give them a stealthy look and help them blend with the system’s overall dark theme.

Additionally, Apple will allow you to lock first-party apps like Mail and Messages in iOS 18 using Face ID.

Your bedside table deserves this 3-in-1 charging station [Review] ★★★★

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ESR Qi2 3-in-1 charging station★★★★
ESR's Qi2 3-in-1 charging station can wirelessly fast charge your iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods.
Photo: Rajesh Pandey/Cult of Mac

A multidevice charger like the ESR Qi2 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Station is a must-have, especially if you own an iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods. A 3-in-1 charger removes the hassle of dealing with multiple power bricks and cables, which occupy unwanted desk space and power sockets.

ESR recently launched its Qi2 3-in-1 wireless charging station, which stands out for its Qi2 support and detachable Apple Watch charger. Its small footprint, sturdy design and welcome extras make it a solid contender for a prime spot on your nightstand.

Apple’s newest Macs and iPads ship with hidden Thread radio

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Apple Magic Keyboard for M4 iPad Pro
Apple could be future-proofing its Macs and iPads with this move.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

iPhone 15 Pro and 2nd gen HomePod are not the only Apple devices to ship with a Thread router. The company has secretly shipped all its recent iPad and Mac models with the smart home radio as well.

Unlike on the iPhones though, the Thread router is not active. This could explain why Apple has not advertised its inclusion in the specs page of its new Macs and iPads.

iPhone’s standard warranty no longer covers hairline display cracks

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Apple-Store-logo
Apple wants you to pay for hairline crack repairs now.
Photo: Laurenz Heymann/Unsplash

Apple just made a major change to its standard warranty terms for the iPhone and Apple Watch. Going forward, the company will no longer cover a single hairline crack under its warranty.

Instead, users must pay for the repair or claim accidental damage under their AppleCare plan.

Apple wants to bring Apple TV+ to China

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Apple may simplify its TV app for users by the end of the year.
Apple is looking at ways to bring Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade to China.
Photo: Apple

Apple held talks with China Mobile in 2023 to bring Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade to China. If the two parties agree, Apple will gain access to over 200 million of China Mobile’s broadband and TV customers.

It is unclear whether Apple and China Mobile are still in talks and have reached an agreement.

iPhone 16 Pro’s display could sport seriously small bezels

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In a break, Apple may use
Apple really wants to slim down the bezels on the iPhone 16 Pro.
Graphic: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The iPhone 16 Pro could sport the world’s slimmest bezels on a smartphone. Its borders will apparently measure just 1.2mm, with the iPhone 16 Pro Max having even slimmer bezels at 1.15mm.

The slimmer bezels should help offset the size increase due to Apple using larger displays on its 2024 iPhones.

iMessage could let you animate words in texts in iOS 18

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Court filings show why Apple didn't port iMessage to Android.
Text animation effects might be coming to iMessage in iOS 18.
Photo: Alexander Shatov/Unsplash CC

Apple could add new text effects to iMessage in iOS 18. One of the effects reportedly includes the ability to animate individual words in a message.

iMessage, Apple’s proprietary instant messaging service, already supports many message effects and animations to add some excitement to texts. The possible new text effects in iOS 18 should make things even more eye-catching and fun.

Siri could let you control individual apps in iOS 18

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Siri with AI artificial intelligence
AI could finally give us the Siri we deserve.
Photo: Cult of Mac/Nadezhda Moryak

As a part of its AI upgrade, Siri in iOS 18 will reportedly enable control of individual apps through your voice. Apple has supposedly  upgraded its voice assistant’s underlying architecture using LLMs to achieve this.

Additionally, Apple will process many basic AI tasks on-device in iOS 18 for faster response and a better user experience.

M2 iPad Pro vs. M2 iPad Air: Should you upgrade?

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M2 iPad Pro vs. M2 iPAd Air comparison
Should you ditch your Pro for the newest Air?
Image: Apple/Rajesh Pandey/Cult of Mac

Apple’s recently released M2 iPad Air packs modest upgrades over its predecessor and the same processor as 2022’s M2 iPad Pro. How do the two Apple tablets with identical M2 chips compare? Find out in our M2 iPad Pro vs. M2 iPad Air comparison.

While the new midrange tablet seems tempting, an iPad Air is still an Air, not a Pro.

iPhone sales in China rebound thanks to discounts

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The iPhone 15 Pro Max camera array, pictured in front of a green plant.
iPhone sales in China reportedly spiked by 52%.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

iPhone shipments apparently bounced back sharply in China in recent months. Apple reportedly saw a 52% increase in shipments following heavy discounts by third-party retailers.

Since the beginning of 2024, Apple has seen a double-digit decline in iPhone demand in China. A resurgent Huawei also made things difficult for Apple, as the Chinese company registered a sales growth of 69.9% in the first quarter.

iOS 18 could feature generative AI-powered custom emoji tool

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Emoji search coming in iOS 14
iOS 18 might let you create custom emoji using generative AI.
Photo: Bernard Hermant

Apple might use generative AI in iOS 18 to allow iPhone users to create custom emojis, letting them express themselves just the way they want. The company is already at the forefront of adding the latest Unicode emoji to iOS.

Additionally, Apple is working on an AI-powered smart recaps feature. It will provide you with a summary of your missed notifications, new messages, documents, and more.

iOS 18 could bring new Home Screen personalization options

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iOS 18 concept video
iOS 18 could allow you to change the app icon colors on your iPhone's Home Screen.
Concept: Kevin Kall

iOS 18 reportedly will let iPhone users change app icon colors on the Home Screen. Plus, they would be able to put the icons anywhere they want.

Since iOS’ inception, app icons on iPhone’s Home Screen have snapped to a grid, much to the dismay of some users. However, Apple could finally tweak this behavior with iOS 18.

iPhone 14 listed on Apple’s refurbished store with big discounts

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iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max brought big-time camera-system upgrades.
You can now buy a refurbished iPhone 14 directly from Apple.
Photo: Leander

Nearly 20 months after its launch, Apple has started selling refurbished iPhone 14 through its Certified Refurbished store. For now, the refurbished units are only on sale in the US.

You can purchase any model from the iPhone 14 model from Apple’s Certified Refurbished store, including the iPhone 14 Pro Max.