Messi’s World Cup trailer traces soccer legend’s rise

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Messi's World Cup documentary series
The second Lionel Messi documentary to debut on Apple TV+ airs February 21.
Photo: Apple

As the trailer Apple TV+ dropped Thursday for documentary series Messi’s World Cup: The Rise of a Legend shows, the soccer superstar is practically a deity in his home country, Argentina. And if you don’t already worship him, you might start after watching the show, which premieres February 21.

Anyone who loves the world’s most-popular sport, soccer (aka football), probably knows a thing or two about Messi. But that just makes the new four-part documentary series all the more enticing for its “exclusive, behind-the-scenes” look at the man’s five World Cup appearances and his long-awaited 2022 win with Argentina.

Take a peek at South Korea’s newest Apple Store

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Apple Hongdae store in Seoul, South Korea
Apple Hongdae opens on Saturday in Seoul.
Photo: Apple

Apple previewed Apple Hongdae Thursday, its seventh Apple Store in South Korea and 100th in the Asia-Pacific region, opening Saturday in a busy university neighborhood in Seoul with a daily Today at Apple Pop-Up Studio featuring hip-hop artist Beenzino.

“We couldn’t be more excited to bring our customers in Korea something special at the start of the year with the opening of the all-new Apple Hongdae,” said Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of Retail.

Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 without blood oxygen feature go on sale in US

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Apple Watch Ultra with the Modular Ultra face
Buy a new Apple Watch and it will do so many functions. Just not Blood Oxygen monitoring.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

With the Apple Watch sales ban back, Apple has decided to sell its latest smartwatches without blood oxygen monitoring in the U.S. The tweaked Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 models went go on sale starting January 18 across the company’s online and retail stores.

The Cupertino giant is not making any hardware tweaks to the wearables. Instead, it will turn off the blood oxygen sensor feature through software.

Apple Watch sales ban is back, but there’s a fallback option

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Apple Watch Blood Oxygen app
The Apple Watch Blood Oxygen app is at the heart of a sales ban for the wearable.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple lost a court appeal Wednesday, which means Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 might once again get pulled from U.S. store shelves. The court agrees with previous rulings that the wearables are in violation of a patent held by a medical-device company.

But Apple has a workaround: it’s almost certainly going to remove the application at the center of the patent dispute.

Today in Apple history: Mac’s ‘1984’ ad debuts in theaters

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1984
Before it won the Super Bowl, Apple's iconic Mac ad invaded theaters.
Photo: Chiat/Day/Apple

January 17: Today in Apple history: Mac's '1984' ad debuts in theaters January 17, 1984: A week before its famous airing during Super Bowl XVIII, Apple’s iconic “1984” ad debuts as a trailer in movie theaters.

To hype its revolutionary new Macintosh computer, Apple buys several months of promotion from theatrical ad distributor ScreenVision. Cupertino’s sci-fi-tinged “1984” spot — which depicts a sledgehammer-wielding freedom fighter taking on a Big Brother figure supposed to represent IBM — gets such a favorable audience reaction that some theater owners continue to roll the ad after Apple’s contract ends.

The New Look Apple TV+ trailer shows fashion, like war, is hell

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The New Look drama series on Apple TV+
Don't expect Christian Dior and Coco Chanel to actually fight the Nazis, but there will be drama. And Dior's sister was in the French Resistance.
Photo: Apple TV+

Competing designers in World War II Nazi-occupied Paris — Christian Dior, Coco Chanel and others — launched modern fashion and helped bring the war-torn world back to life, the trailer for upcoming The New Look drama series on Apple TV+ implies.

Who knew? And with a cast including Ben Mendelsohn (Dior), Juliette Binoche (Chanel), John Malkovich, Maisie Williams and other familiar faces, who cares if it’s letter-perfect history? It looks like a good time.

The 10-part series The New Look premieres on Apple TV+ on Valentine’s Day, February 14.

Cozy iMac nook makes picture-perfect workspace [Setups]

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24-inch iMac setup
The pink computer really works here.
Photo: OK-Mulberry6597@Reddit.com

Apple’s sleek and colorful all-in-one desktop computer, the iMac, appears in Cult of Mac‘s setups coverage less often than other Macs, but not for lack of trying. It seems people don’t flaunt iMac setups all over social media all that much. But judging by today’s warm and inviting pink-iMac setup, maybe they should.

The cozy little office space also benefits from smart lights we don’t see all that often, either.

Vibrant new Apple Watch band and face celebrate Black unity

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Apple Watch 9 with new Black Unity Sport Band and face
This Apple Watch 9 features the new Black Unity Sport Band and one of the new faces.
Photo: Apple

Apple unveiled its new 2024 Black Unity Collection featuring a new Apple Watch band and face Wednesday, as well as related iPad and iPhone wallpapers. Proceeds from watch band sales help support grantees in the company’s Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI).

The company also profiled one of the grantees — Shout Mouse Press — saying it inspires resilience and creativity in the Black community by lifting underrepresented voices in children’s literature.

iOS 17.3 with new iPhone Stolen Device Protection is only a week away

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Stolen Device Protection in iOS 17.3 beta
Your iPhone can better protect itself from data thieves with a new iOS 17.3 feature.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple revealed Wednesday that iOS 17.3 will be out “next week.” The major feature is Stolen Device Protection, a new system for protecting the personal information of users.

It’s likely new versions of iPadOS, macOS and watchOS will also debut at the same time.

This little gadget keeps your Apple Watch going anywhere

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qCharge 2.0 can go pretty much anywhere you go.
qCharge 2.0 can go pretty much anywhere you go.
Photo: Citius Systems

Apple devices are known for their beautiful designs and user-friendly functionality — not their battery power. Apple Watch is no exception, needing daily charging. So sometimes the battery runs low when you’re not near a charger. But a brand-new gadget fixes that problem.

qCharge 2.0 Portable Apple Watch Battery, now available in the Cult of Mac Store, goes wherever you go and charges up your Apple Watch (and AirPods Pro 2) anywhere, no cable required.

iPhone apps can offer non-Apple payment methods … but will they? [Updated]

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App Store
Expect a change in many iPhone applications thanks to a court order.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Following the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear appeals in the Epic Games v. Apple lawsuit, Apple is making significant changes to its U.S. App Store guidelines.

Developers can now link to an external in-app payment method. However, they still will need to pay Apple a commission of 12% to 27% on these transactions. And the mechanism for allowing such external payments might prove so onerous that developers take a pass.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney called it a “bad-faith ‘compliance’ plan” Tuesday — and vowed that his company will contest Apple’s plan in District Court.

Apple Vision Pro’s killer feature might be neck pain

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Person wearing Apple Vision Pro headset on an airplane.
How long will people be able to wear a Vision Pro comfortably?
Photo: Apple

The Apple Vision Pro headset might be a real pain in the neck, according to new reports after the latest round of demos. Three separate people reported feeling discomfort or even pain after wearing the headset for short periods.

Each of the people also expressed some level of appreciation or even amazement regarding the Vision Pro’s immersive visuals. However, if strapping the headset on for a half-hour proves uncomfortable for a majority of users, that’s going to be a serious problem that no amount of spatial computing wizardry — or even an ugly strap — can overcome.

Sleek new vertical MacBook stand is a real space-saver

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Twelve South BookArc Flex stand in chrome
It comes in chrome, above, as well as matte-black and matte-white finishes.
Photo: Twelve South

If you’re ready to put your MacBook in clamshell mode on a vertical stand, Twelve South rolled out a nice one for you Tuesday — BookArc Flex.

The minimalist stand lets you run your closed laptop like a desktop — just plug in your external display and fire up a keyboard and mouse — while saving loads of space on your desk for other gear. And you can get it with chrome, matte-black or matte-white finishes.

Today in Apple history: Macintosh Plus brings big changes to Mac

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The MacIntosh Plus was arguably the first truly great Mac.
The MacIntosh Plus was arguably the first truly great Mac.
Photo: Rama/Wikipedia CC

January 16: Today in Apple history: Macintosh Plus brings big changes to Mac January 16, 1986: Apple introduces the Macintosh Plus, its third Mac model and the first to be released after Steve Jobs was forced out of the company the previous year.

The Mac Plus boasts an expandable 1MB of RAM and a double-sided 800KB floppy drive. And it’s the first Macintosh to include a SCSI port, which serves as the main way of attaching a Mac to other devices (at least until Apple abandons the tech on the iMac G3 upon Jobs’ return).

Supreme Court decision means major iPhone app change is on the way

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App Store
A court-ordered change to iPhone apps is about to hit Apple in the pocketbook.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The U.S. Supreme Court effectively upheld a lower court’s ruling that Apple must allow third-party iPhone app developers to point customers to their websites when making purchases. This means the company is forced to drop its “anti-steering” rule for such applications — a major change.

It’s the primary result of Apple’s long-running legal battle with Epic Games.

Apple pitches Vision Pro as ‘ultimate entertainment device’

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Apple Vision Pro Environments
Environments are dynamic vistas in your space that change as the day progresses.
Photo: Apple

New entertainment experiences launching with Apple Vision Pro on February 2 should be dazzling, as users can turn any space into a personal theater, enjoy more than 150 3D movies and experience “the future of entertainment” with Immersive Video, Apple said Tuesday.

“Apple Vision Pro is the ultimate entertainment device,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing. “Users can turn any place into the best seat in the house, enjoy personal concerts and adventures with Apple Immersive Video, interact with lifelike prehistoric creatures in Encounter Dinosaurs, and even land on the surface of the moon using Environments. It’s unlike anything users have ever seen before and we can’t wait for them to experience it for themselves.”

M3 Max MacBook Pros get hefty discounts

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Space black M3 MacBook Pro
Save big on Apple's most powerful MacBook Pros.
Photo: Apple

Since its launch in late October 2023, retailers have frequently discounted Apple’s M3 MacBooks. Continuing that trend, Amazon is offering hefty discounts of up to $250 on the M3 Max-powered MacBook Pros.

Thanks to the deal, you can get the 14-inch MacBook Pro with M3 Max chip and 1TB storage for as low as $2,999, saving $200 from its $3,199 MSRP.

OLED iPad Pro might launch later than expected

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OLED iPad mockup
OLED screens are on the way to the 2024 iPad Pro line. But when?
Photo: Cult of Mac

The first iPad Pro with a OLED display is reportedly on track to launch in April. While that’s generally good news, previous leaks predicted a release in March.

The next generation of iPad Pro is also expected to have other enhancements, like an Apple M3 processor.

How many movies will Apple TV+ get out of Argylle franchise?

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Dua Lipa and Henry Cavill in Argylle
Dua Lipa and Henry Cavill star in Argylle, in theaters February 2.
Photo: Apple TV+

For a would-be blockbuster packed with A-list Hollywood talent, the Apple TV+ spy thriller Argylle coming to theaters next month sure flew under the radar until recently. And not only is the high-concept global romp starring Henry Cavill, Dua Lipa and everyone else in Hollywood seeming to come out of nowhere. So is the developing Argylle movie franchise, which could dominate screens for years.

Turns out Argylle is based on book four of a novel series that has only just released book one. Does that mean a whopping four Argylle movies will come to Apple TV+? Or maybe even more?

Apple ready to delete Apple Watch blood oximeter app to skirt sales ban [Updated]

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Apple Watch Shock
Apple's quick fix to evade the Apple Watch sales ban is a surprising one.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple’s solution to evading a sales and import ban on the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 is apparently a simple one: It is reportedly prepared to delete the application at the heart of the patent dispute that caused the ban.

But this will only be necessary if Apple loses its next legal appeal, which will be made soon.

Today in Apple history: MacBook Air becomes ‘world’s thinnest notebook’

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A plain manila envelope became a key stage prop for selling the MacBook Air.
A plain manila envelope became a key prop for selling the MacBook Air.
Photo: Apple

January 15: Today in Apple history: MacBook Air becomes 'world's thinnest notebook' January 15, 2008: Steve Jobs shows off the first MacBook Air at the Macworld conference in San Francisco, calling the revolutionary computer the “world’s thinnest notebook.”

The 13.3-inch laptop measures only 0.76 inches at its thickest point and 0.16 inches at its tapered thinnest. It also boasts a unibody aluminum design, thanks to an Apple engineering breakthrough that allows the crafting of a complicated computer case from a single block of finely machined metal.

In a brilliant piece of showmanship during the MacBook Air launch, Jobs pulls the super-slim laptop out of a standard interoffice envelope. (You can watch his keynote introducing the MacBook Air below).

Good monitor arms ‘go a long way’ [Setups]

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Mac Studio setup with three mounted displays
This user swears by the arms his 4 displays are mounted on.
Photo: TheJTizzle@Reddit.com

Sure, you can buy a computer monitor and set it up on the stand that came in the box. But what if you want to easily move the external display around? And what if you want to have multiple screens and move them around?

Keeping monitors up off the desk and mobile can really improve your setup. And the best way to do that is to mount your screens on arms. It takes some effort, but as today’s user points out below, it’s worth it.

Apple offers free book in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

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Apple homepage on MLK Jr Day 2024
Here's your chance to read Martin Luther King Jr.'s most transformative speeches and sermons.
Photo: Apple

As always on the third Monday in January, Apple’s homepage honors the memory of slain Civil Rights Movement leader Martin Luther King Jr.

It’s his national holiday. And this year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day you can download a free book that collects the man’s greatest writings.

Pro Max variant dominates iPhone 15 shipments

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iPhone 15 Pro Max
You're not the only one who rocking an iPhone 15 Pro Max. Not by a long shot.
Photo: Apple

The top-of-the line iPhone 15 Pro Max makes up close to half of shipments of the iPhone 15 series, according to a trusted market analyst.

This continues a trend from last year in which Apple’s most expensive model was also its most popular.