Mac to the future! [Cult of Mac Magazine 390]

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The past possesses a certain appeal.
The past possesses a certain appeal.
Cover: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

If the latest Apple leaks and rumors prove correct, this year’s new Macs might seem strangely familiar. From colorful iMacs to the reintroduction of long-lost MacBook ports, it looks like Apple might go retro in a big way.

Cult of Mac writer Luke Dormehl dives into the phenomenon and makes the case for why going “Mac to the future” might be just fine.

And speaking of bad things … our Apple TV+ reviewer Scout Tafoya got an early look at Cherry, the new movie from longtime Marvel directors the Russo brothers. Let’s just say things went a little sour. (Scout’s blistering review of Cherry is pretty epic.)

On the other hand, he liked the new documentary Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry. That movie arrived on Apple’s streaming service this week, in case you’re looking for a little weekend viewing.

Read these stories and more in this week’s issue of Cult of Mac Magazine. It’s free and built for easy reading on your favorite iOS device. (If you don’t want to download the free app, you can get the links in any web browser below.)

Today in Apple history: Apple bids farewell to the Newton

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The Newton MessagePad 2100 was the last hurrah for Apple's Newton line.
The MessagePad was a product ahead of its time.
Photo: Moparx

February 27: Today in Apple history: Apple discontinues Newton MessagePad February 27, 1998: Apple discontinues work on the Newton MessagePad product line, the series of personal digital assistants the company launched five years earlier.

“This decision is consistent with our strategy to focus all our software development resources on extending the Macintosh operating system,” Steve Jobs says at the time. “To realize our ambitious plans we must focus all of our efforts in one direction.”

This week on The CultCast: All-new MacBook Pros, iMacs, Mac Pro minis, incoming!

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CultCast 442: AirPods with health sensors
Looks like the Mac lineup is about to get even more magical.
Image: The CultCast

This week on The CultCast: We’ve got new details and leaks on the upcoming MacBook Pros, iMacs and Mac Pro mini … or will it be the Mac mini Pro? Plus: Lossless music is coming to Spotify, which means the mythical Apple Music lossless is likely right around the corner!

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.

Apple hires hunks for Band of Brothers followup

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Apple TV+ will adapt ‘Masters of the Air’ into a limited series.
A drama series based on Masters of the Air is headed for Apple TV+.
Graphic: Simon & Schuster

Apple TV+ reportedly picked Austin Butler and Callum Turner for the cast of Masters of the Air, a followup to HBO’s mega-hit Band of Brothers. Supposedly, two more lead actors have been chosen but not yet named.

The limited series will follow a group of bomber pilots during WWII.

Bouncing light looks unbelievably beautiful in new puzzle game Lyxo

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Lyxo
Halfway between a physics puzzler and a psychedelic light show.
Photo: Emoak

Lyxo is an ultra-realistic game about bounced light. It’s also one of the most aesthetically beautiful games to arrive in the App Store for quite a while. And, yes, it’s possible to be both at once.

“I first had the idea while lying in bed one morning,” Tobias Sturn, the one-person development studio known as Emoak, told Cult of Mac. “I saw a beam of light falling beautifully into the room, and cutting through the shadows. Immediately, I thought of a game where the player uses mirrors to guide a beam of light through a completely dark room.”

Jump forward a little over a year, and this week Lyxo launched on iOS. Sturn took us through the game’s creation, including opening up his sketchbooks, and explained his crash course in physics to build the game engine.

First 14-inch MacBook Pro with mini LED moves closer to release

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First 14-inch MacBook Pro with mini LED moves closer to release
There’s a to of hope that the 14-inch MacBook Pro will have slim screen bezels.
Photo: Apple

Apple reportedly plans to shake up the design of the MacBook Pro later in 2021. Sources in the company’s Asian supply chain assert that a 14-inch model is on the way, a first for Apple.

Just as importantly, it and an improved 16-inch MacBook Pro supposedly will be the first macOS notebooks with a mini-LED display, improving the look of the screen.

Designer’s sublime space feeds his creative process [Setups]

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Arun Venkatesan's setup is a light and airy marriage of form and function.
Arun Venkatesan's setup is a light and airy marriage of form and function.
Photo: Arun Venkatesan

San Francisco-based designer Arun Venkatesan is about to take delivery on a 2020 MacBook Air with an M1 chip to replace the 2013 MacBook Air he uses in tandem with his 2018 MacBook Pro. But the new Mac isn’t really what he’s excited about.

He thinks less about having the latest technology and more about how his tools fit into his design philosophy, which he wrote about at length here. Form and function meet in his elegant and minimal setup.

Coronavirus delay may have fanned flames of iPhone 12 anticipation

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iPhone 12 review
The iPhone 12 has been a big hit for Apple.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

When the coronavirus pandemic hit last year, one of the many, many impacts of the spread was the delaying of Apple’s iPhone 12 series. While Apple and its suppliers were able to claw back some of the lost time, the iPhone 12 devices were ultimately pushed back to late October and early November, rather than the usual September release.

But while this might have been frustrating for Apple and customers alike, a new piece of research suggests it may have actually been a net positive. According to Counterpoint Research, the delay could turn out to have been a prudent move for Apple. It reports:

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TikTok continues to dominate the App Store in 2020.
Does Apple have too much control over the App Store?
Photo: Kon Karampelas/Unsplash CC

No, Apple isn’t working on a vaccine passport app for the World Health Organization

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covid.19.coronavirus.graphic2
Report was erroneously made by European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen.
Photo: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Apple is not developing a coronavirus vaccine passport with Google, despite European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s assertion that such an app is in the works.

On Thursday, von der Leyen told reporters Apple and Google were developing a potentially travel-boosting solution for the World Health Organization. However, “a person familiar with Apple’s position” says the EC boss is mistaken.