iPhone Home screens gone wild! [Cult of Mac Magazine 368]

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Home screen themes are definitely a thing now.
Home screen themes are definitely a thing now.
Cover: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Customizing iPhone Home screens is all the rage right now, thanks to a cool new feature in iOS 14 (and a hacky workaround using the Shortcuts app). See what this new craze is all about, and find out how you can do it yourself, in our top stories this week.

Plus, we might know exactly when to expect next month’s big iPhone event. And don’t miss our Apple Watch Series 6 review.

You will find all that and much more (including reviews of new Apple TV+ series Tehran and Tiny World) in this week’s free issue of Cult of Mac Magazine. Grab it and get to reading!

Survival of the fittest: Can Apple Fitness+ crush the competition?

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Can the competition keep up with Apple Fitness+?
Get ready for a serious workout with Apple Fitness+.
Photo: Apple

Apple Fitness+ will enter a crowded market when the service launches later this year. Established players like Peloton and Adidas already have a significant head start.

But Apple is in great shape to give them a run for their money. Fitness+ is a logical next step for Cupertino. The upcoming service plugs some significant gaps in Apple’s fitness offering while intelligently leveraging the power of its platform to gain an advantage.

After Apple Fitness+ sprints off the starting line, the competition might find itself struggling to keep up.

Before you buy your Apple Watch Series 6, catch our one-week reviews on The CultCast

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CultCast 433
Spoiler alert: We're loving Apple Watch Series 6!
Photo: @YSR50

This week on The CultCast: Don’t miss our one-week reviews of Apple Watch Series 6! We’ll tell you if it’s worth upgrading. Plus: Multiple sources are now confirming a second Apple hardware event coming October 13, where a new “iPhone 12 mini” may be announced — we’ll tell you what we know. And stick around for more Apple stock talk! Erfon reveals what his big investment is worth now, following this month’s depressing AAPL stock plummet, and we’re talking real numbers.

Our thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode. Easily create a beautiful website all by yourself, at Squarespace.com/cultcast. Use offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.

New emoji for 2021 will set your heart afire

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The list of new 2021 emoji is short.
These are probably the only new emoji we’ll see in 2021.
Image: Emojipedia

The new emoji set to appear in 2021 will help you express relief or confusion. Or show that your heart’s afire, or that it’s mending.

Those might seem fairly ordinary, but there is something extremely odd about the the list of upcoming emoji: It’s very short. The group responsible for coming up with new emoji picked just seven new designs to debut next year. The reason is simple: COVID-19.

Case stickers appear to confirm ‘iPhone 12 mini’ naming

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These iPhone 12 dummy units show what the real handset might look like.
iPhone 12 will run from mini to Pro Max.
Photo: Marques Brownlee

An image that reportedly shows iPhone case stickers seemingly adds more evidence that Apple will call its smallest iPhone 12 model the “iPhone 12 mini.”

The pictures, posted on Twitter Thursday evening by Apple leaker DuanRui, follow a recent report from @L0vetodream suggesting that this year’s models will be called the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Today in Apple history: iPod nano gets colorful aluminum upgrade

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iPod nano
The second-gen iPod nano was totally metal.
Photo: Dongyi Liu/Flickr CC

Sept 25: Today in Apple history: Second-generation iPod nano gets colorful aluminum upgrade September 25, 2006: Apple ships its second-generation iPod nano, offering a fancy redesign of the pocket-size original.

Among the new iPod nano’s improvements is a slimmer, anodized aluminum casing, a brighter screen, longer battery life and a wide range of colors. And, oh yes, it also includes gapless music playback for the first time!

European Commission will keep fighting in $14.8 billion Apple tax battle

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iPhone with gavel.
Europe isn't throwing in the towel.
Photo: Tingey Injury Law Firm/Cult of Mac

Contrary to reports suggesting otherwise, the European Commission has revealed that it will appeal a recent court decision that went in Apple’s favor concerning a massive $14.8 billion tax bill.

The EC made the tax demand to Apple in 2016, accusing it of benefitting from illegal state aid from Ireland. However, Apple appealed the decision and, in a July hearing, had its objections upheld. Now the EC is asking another court to overturn that verdict.

PSA: Acclaimed spy series Tehran and more debut on Apple TV+

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Tehran is reportedly headed for Apple TV+.
Tehran is a spy thriller starring Israeli actress Niv Sultan.
Photo: Apple

It’s a packed day for Apple TV+ as the service debuted multiple episodes of new shows. The crown jewel of the bunch is Tehran, a new spy series about a Mossad hacker-agent who tries to infiltrate Tehran to destroy Iran’s nuclear reactor.

Apple TV+ dropped the first three episodes of the acclaimed show (check out Cult of Mac‘s effusive review) Friday. New episodes will debut each subsequent week.