Forget the MacBook Air. Roll your own Apple ‘laptop’ for less than $600.

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The Brydge Keyboard on the 10.2 iPad
An iPad with a Brydge keyboard is a pretty good replacement for a Mac!
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

A year ago, when Apple introduced the latest iPad Pro models, I called the tablet the computer for everywhere. To this day, I still think the 2018 iPad Pro, complete with Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard Folio, is an incredible setup for tons of situations. At the same time, it’s anything but cheap, starting at $1,107 for an 11-inch model with keyboard and Pencil.

Then there’s the Mac laptop lineup. Apple’s current cheapest offering is the MacBook Air, also starting at $1,100. Fortunately, you don’t have to drop over a grand to get an incredibly versatile, powerful, and portable budget laptop made by Apple.

This essential iPad shortcut lets you instantly preview any file

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Add Quick Look to the Files app. Sometimes I think it was easier the old way.
Sometimes I think it was easier the old way.
Photo: Maksym Kaharlytskyi/Unsplash

The iPadOS Files app isn’t bad, but it has one super-frustrating flaw. While you can now enjoy multiple windows, hook up any and all USB drives, and even connect to network servers, you can’t do one simple thing: Preview a file. Or rather, you can preview any file, just by clicking on it, but you never know whether Files will actually show you a Quick Look preview, or just open that file in an arbitrary app.

Today, we will add a dedicated Quick Look entry to the Files app share menu. Never again will you tap to preview a file and have it launch an app instead.

iPhone 11 Pro camera holds its own against $20,000 Leica

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Sawyer Hartman compares iPhone 11 Pro to Leica
The iPhone 11 Pro gave a mind-blowing performance against a Leica.
Screenshot: Sawyer Hartman/YouTube

YouTube is full of photographers comparing their professional kits with the latest iPhone camera.

But a recent test and conclusion by Sawyer Hartman risked sounding blasphemes. Could a $1,300 iPhone 11 Pro outshoot $20,000 worth of some of the best gear produced by the iconic German brand, Leica?

That may depend on who’s looking.

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Apple removes all 181 vape-related apps from the App Store
Apple doesn't want your vaping apps.
Photo: Mike Mozart/Flickr CC

The MacBook Pro is PRO again! We talk the new 16-incher plus our Disney+ first impressions, on The CultCast

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CultCast 414: The long-rumored 16-inch MacBook Pro is finally here, and it's a beauty.
The long-rumored 16-inch MacBook Pro is finally here, and it's a beauty.
Image: Cult of Mac

This week on The CultCast: Everything you need to know about the new 16-inch MacBook Pro! Plus, our first impressions of this hot new machine. And we discuss Disney+, and why it may beat Netflix and Amazon as the best streaming service today.

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.

Mophie iPhone 11 battery case adds hours between recharges [Review]

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Mophie Juice Pack Access for iPhone 11
Mophie Juice Pack Access adds to the thickness of the iPhone 11, but also adds hours of battery life.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Mophie Juice Pack Access for the iPhone 11 extends the battery life of Apple’s latest handset while also protecting it. This hard case leaves the iPhone’s Lightning port available, while also letting you charge you phone with your MacBook’s cable.

Discover if this is the right iPhone 11 battery case for you in our hands-on review.

Get your MacBook Pro’s Escape key back without spending $3,000

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Escape the Touch Bar's tyranny by restoring your MacBook Pro Escape key.
Find out how to escape the Touch Bar's tyranny.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The Escape key is pretty essential to the Mac. You can use it to, well, escape from the current window/view/text field. You can use it to dismiss some dialog boxes. It can even be used to force-quit an unresponsive app. And that’s before we get to the Vim text editor, which is as dependent on the Escape key as Jony Ive is on new kinds of aluminum. So why did Apple remove the physical MacBook Pro Escape key when it introduced the Touch Bar?

Apple made that move, much to the despair of some users, back in 2016. Now, in the new 16-inch MacBook Pro, the Escape key is back. But what if you have a perfectly good previous-gen MacBook Pro? Are you really going to spend close to $3,000 just to get your Escape key back? No, you are not. Instead, you are going to repurpose the Caps Lock key, and turn it into an Escape key.

AirFly Pro is a little dongle that makes AirPods even more magical

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AirFly-Pro-AirPods
Every AirPods owner needs an AirFly Pro.
Photo: Twelve South

AirPods might be one of the best accessories Apple has ever made. But there’s a quick and easy way to make them even better: Pair yours with the AirFly Pro from Twelve South.

This second-generation dongle lets you connect your AirPods or AirPods Pro to almost anything. It has better battery life than its predecessor, and supports two pairs of headphones simultaneously.

You can order yours today.

Why the new MacBook Pro will be my first new Mac in 6 years

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macbookpro
To be honest, I’d buy any MacBook as long as it didn’t have that broken butterfly keyboard.
Photo: Apple

The new 16-inch MacBook Pro launched yesterday, and by all accounts, it’s fantastic. But it arrives at a time when the MacBook (Pro or otherwise) is no longer the default choice for a portable Apple computer. Regular readers will know that several Cult of Mac writers use an iPad Pro as their main machine. Killian, Ed, Ian and I all ditched the Mac awhile ago in favor of iOS.

And I haven’t bought a Mac since 2013. It was a MacBook Air that has since moved on. The only Mac I still own is a 2010 iMac. And yet I have already ordered the new MacBook Pro. Why? What changed?