The powerful iOS 11 features you haven’t heard of, this week on The CultCast

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iOS 11 WWDC Hero
This week we'll tell you about iOS 11's best lesser-known features.
Photo: Apple

This week on The CultCast: More of the powerful new iOS 11 features you’ve never heard of! Plus: The talented app that will harnesses the power of Apple’s new augmented reality features; Scott Forstall is back, and he’s sharing the bizarre story of how the original iPhone really came to be; and everything you need to know about HEIF, the JPEG-killing format Apple is adopting.

Our thanks to Blue Apron for supporting this episode. Blue Apron makes it easy to cook delicious meals at home. Get your first three meals free at BlueApron.com/CultCast.

Former Apple product design engineer reveals how Apple runs its factories

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Instrumental CEO Anna-Katrina Shedletsky
Anna Katrina Shedletsky is a former Apple product design engineer who is using her experience to build AI that helps companies streamline manufacturing.
Photo: Instrumental

On this week’s Apple Chat (the podcast formerly known as Kahney’s Korner): I talk with former Apple product design engineer Anna-Katrina Shedletsky about her take on modern manufacturing and how AI will revolutionize factories. She introduces us to her new company, Instrumental, which is using machine learning to help manufacturers identify and fix problems on their assembly lines.

Using her hard-earned experience at Apple overseeing the production of the first Apple Watch and several generations of the iPod, Shedletsky says machine learning is coming fast to manufacturing. Amazingly, almost all consumer electronics products are still assembled by hand — including hundreds of millions of iPhones.

But that’s changing. Manufacturing is undergoing a huge sea change with the advance of robotics and AI.

Save on luxury Apple Watch bands with Ullu’s summer sale [Watch Store]

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Ullu Summer Sale
Ullu offers a line of luxury Apple Watch bands in premium leathers that include stringray and ostrich.
Photo: Courtesy of Ullu

Ullu offers a taste of the accessibly exotic with its line of handcrafted leather bands for Apple Watch. The Apple-centric accessories brand offers luxurious bands in ostrich and stingray, as well as its signature Italian leather bands.

For the month of June, Ullu is hosting a summer sale — save up to 20 percent on select straps for Apple Watch. Peruse the collection of colorful, artisan-made bands in our Watch Store, and step up your summer style.

Why everyone loves the HomePod, this week on The CultCast

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Even audiophiles are surprised by HomePod.
Even audiophiles are surprised by HomePod.
Photo: Digital Trends

This week on The CultCast: Early reviews for the new iPad Pro and HomePod show Apple’s done it again. Plus: Someone in the Apple supply chain just accidentally leaked some of iPhone 8’s marquee features; speed tests show a big CPU boost in the new MacBook Pro; Apple finally offers us iCloud Storage sharing; our favorite unannounced iOS 11 features; and we’ll tell you what we like (and don’t) about the apps and gadgets we’re currently testing in an all-new Under Review.

Our thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode. It’s simple to accept Apple Pay and sell your wares with your very own Squarespace.com website. Enter offer code “CultCast” at checkout to get 10 percent off any hosting plan.

Free tool makes wirelessly backing up iOS devices a breeze

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dna
Backups have never been simpler.
Photo: DigiDNA

Backing up your iOS devices can be a pain — but not if you have iMazing Mini, a smart yet simple new tool from DigiDNA that makes backups a breeze.

It not only gives you more control over your data, but it can perform backups wirelessly on a schedule that suits you. It also has a whole bunch of other awesome features, and it’s completely free — without any pesky ads.

Whole Foods acquisition gives Amazon almost as many stores as Apple

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Whole Foods will soon become an Amazon subsidiary.
Whole Foods will soon become an Amazon subsidiary.
Photo: Whole Foods

Amazon is coughing up a whopping $13.7 billion in cash to acquire Whole Foods Market.

The two companies will merge but Whole Foods stores will continue to operate independently, with co-founder John Mackey retaining his role as CEO. The move instantly gives Amazon almost as many stores as Apple.

Microsoft exec claims iPad Pro is a Surface copycat

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You can thank Microsoft for this... apparently.
You can thank Microsoft for this... apparently.
Photo: Apple

In love with your new iPad Pro? You can thank Microsoft for that.

Microsoft executive Ryan Gavin claims Apple’s latest take on tablets wouldn’t have happened without the Surface Pro. It is a “clear example” that the company is following Microsoft’s move into ultraportable 2-in-1 machines.

10.5-inch iPad Pro feels like the future [Review]

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The new 10.5-inch iPad Pro puts monstrous power at your fingertips.
The new 10.5-inch iPad Pro puts monstrous power at your fingertips.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

I could be the poster boy for Apple’s “iPad problem.”

That problem, in a nutshell, is this: Even long-in-the-tooth iPads several generations old continue to work just fine for many everyday tasks. That, in turn, slows the upgrade cycle. iPad sales drop, and pundits pile on to declare that Apple is doomed. Again.

I’m one of those cheapskates who couldn’t be bothered to shell out for a new iPad over the past few years but a freak accident — and the surprisingly convincing unveiling of the 10.5-inch iPad Pro at last week’s Worldwide Developers Conference — finally coaxed me out of iPad complacency.

I’m thrilled I finally wised up. The new 10.5-inch iPad Pro is a beast of a machine that’s so fast, smooth and responsive that it makes me feel like I’m in a sci-fi movie interacting with a killer device that hasn’t been invented yet. It feels like the future!

This iPhone case is basically indestructible [Deals]

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Mous Limitless Ultra-Slim iPhone Cases with Airo Shock Protection
These phone cases are tough enough to survive a drop from 45 feet as though it never happened.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Our iPhones are beautiful and fragile devices. If you’re not crazy, you protect yours with a sturdy case. But even with a ‘premium’ case, you can never be quite sure that your phone won’t break into pieces when the big drop comes.

Find and delete storage-hogging iMessage chats in iOS 11

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iMessage storage
iMessage gets a bunch of new space-saving features in iOS 11 beta.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Maybe, if you opt for one of the new 512GB iPads, you won’t have to worry about storage space. But for everyone else, iOS 11 has you covered. Now, under a new section in settings, you can whittle down the storage used by the iMessage app, weeding out old conversations, revealing oversized attachments, and even check to see which conversations are taking up the most space.

Let’s see how to use it.