Reviews

Here at Cult of Mac, we regularly review Apple products and other tech gear and accessories. We also frequently write about Apple TV+ offerings.

If we receive a review unit, we disclose it. (Read our reviews policy.) We frequently employ affiliate links. If you purchase a product after clicking a link from our website, we might earn a commission.

Read Cult of Mac’s latest posts on Reviews:

Journey’s LOC8 MagSafe iPhone wallet works great with Find My [Review] ★★★★

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Journey LOC8 MagSafe wallet and stand★★★★
Journey's LOC8 MagSafe iPhone wallet and stand is stylish and Find My-friendly.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

Losing a wallet and all its contents can be a major drag. But rather than taking up precious space by inserting a tracking card, why not make the whole wallet a tracker? Enter your replacement wallet, Journey’s stylish LOC8 MagSafe Finder Wallet and Stand. And, oh yeah, did I mention it’s not just a magnetic iPhone wallet, it’s an iPhone stand? Yep. And it works beautifully with Find My, just like an AirTag or an Apple device you’d hate to lose.

And better yet, you can take 20% off the regular price of LOC8 through Father’s Day at Journey or Best Buy. See below.

Hands-on with Smart Script in Notes in iPadOS 18

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Hands-on with Smart Script in Notes in iPadOS 18
Smart Script can make your handwriting easier to read, while staying your handwriting.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s Notes app in iPadOS 18 includes a new feature called Smart Script that allows users to handwrite text and then have it smoothed and straightened in real time. It promises to make text scrawled on the tablet with an Apple Pencil more readable and aesthetically pleasing.

I tested Smart Script on my iPad Pro with Apple Pencil. It’s not doing exactly what you might think — let me explain.

Pitaka MagEZ car mount elevates iPhone charging on the road [Review] ★★★★

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Pitaka MagEZ Car Mount Pro 2 Qi2★★★★
Pitaka's mount has a strong magnetic grip for your iPhone or other handset.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

Sometimes people take car chargers for granted as merely functional necessities. But Pitaka challenges that with its new MagEZ Car Mount Pro 2 Qi2, a sleek and innovative device that fast-charges your iPhone or other smartphone and streamlines your in-car experience. It takes up little space as it brings your handset’s screen in sight.

As as a Qi2 device, it gives everyone MagSafe-level charging. And the company also makes a MagSafe edition, of course. It’s a great accessory to keep in the car, especially if the car lacks CarPlay on its infotainment screen.

Your bedside table deserves this 3-in-1 charging station [Review] ★★★★

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ESR Qi2 3-in-1 charging station★★★★
ESR's Qi2 3-in-1 charging station can wirelessly fast charge your iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods.
Photo: Rajesh Pandey/Cult of Mac

A multidevice charger like the ESR Qi2 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Station is a must-have, especially if you own an iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods. A 3-in-1 charger removes the hassle of dealing with multiple power bricks and cables, which occupy unwanted desk space and power sockets.

ESR recently launched its Qi2 3-in-1 wireless charging station, which stands out for its Qi2 support and detachable Apple Watch charger. Its small footprint, sturdy design and welcome extras make it a solid contender for a prime spot on your nightstand.

Though cool, Apple Pencil Pro could be overkill for many iPad users [Review] ★★★★★

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A photo of the new Apple stylus on an iPad illustrates this Apple Pencil Pro review.★★★★★
Apple Pencil Pro is brilliant for artists, but what about people who simply want to take notes?
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple Pencil Pro is the latest and greatest iPad stylus coming out of Cupertino. It adds a new “squeeze” gesture, an internal gyroscope, haptic feedback and Find My support. I’m not a digital artist, so for this iPad Pencil review, I tested the stylus by writing notes, entering text with Scribble and doing moderate editing of photographs.

Plenty of artists have reviewed the new accessory, so my goal was to answer the question, “Does a typical iPad user need Apple Pencil Pro?” Or would a cheaper alternative suffice?

Marvel’s What If…? shows off the promise of spatial gaming ★★★★☆

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A promo image for Marvel Studios' ★★★★☆
The free Vision Pro app plunges you in the the Marvel multiverse.
Image: Marvel Studios and ILM Immersive

Marvel Studios’ new What If…? An Immersive Story is a free app for Apple’s Vision Pro headset that combines interactivity with storytelling in a brand-new way. Is it a game? Is it an episode of the What If…? animated TV series? It’s not entirely either. It’s an hour-long story where you’re the main character, casting spells with your hands and collecting the Infinity Stones.

If you aren’t a Marvel fan, you’ll find the story a bit drab. But if you want to see the bleeding edge of what’s possible in gaming when you can seamlessly switch between VR and AR with natural hand controls, you need to check it out.

It’s like no other game I’ve ever played.

Still snarky, Carrot Weather 6.0 blooms with fresh features [Awesome Apps]

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Carrot Weather 6.0
Carrot Weather 6.0 arrives with a raft of new features. And with rising sea levels, it may need a raft.
Photo: Carrot Weather
Awesome Apps

The latest major update to the popular and snarky Carrot Weather app brings a delightful array of new features and improvements. It adds a dynamic “garden that grows over time” as part of a redesigned interface, along with line charts for hourly and daily forecasts, integrated weather news from around the world and more.

But of course it will still call you a “meatbag” and act surprised you’re still alive if you haven’t opened it lately. New Carrot Weather 6.0 is now available for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Vision Pro.

M2 iPad Pro vs. M2 iPad Air: Should you upgrade?

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M2 iPad Pro vs. M2 iPAd Air comparison
Should you ditch your Pro for the newest Air?
Image: Apple/Rajesh Pandey/Cult of Mac

Apple’s recently released M2 iPad Air packs modest upgrades over its predecessor and the same processor as 2022’s M2 iPad Pro. How do the two Apple tablets with identical M2 chips compare? Find out in our M2 iPad Pro vs. M2 iPad Air comparison.

While the new midrange tablet seems tempting, an iPad Air is still an Air, not a Pro.

Apple Magic Keyboard expands M4 iPad Pro to its full potential [Review] ★★★★

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Apple Magic Keyboard for M4 iPad Pro★★★★
Every M4 iPad Pro buyer should at least consider getting the Apple Magic Keyboard.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

With its cool cantilever design, Apple Magic Keyboard was a standout iPad Pro accessory even before its recent upgrade. Now that Apple fixed some of the original’s problems by adding a glass trackpad, a row of function keys and an aluminum palm rest, it’s even better. Especially with an improved USB-C port.

But does the functionality (and sheer coolness) justify the epic price of the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro? Read on to find out.

What’s the best Mac for video editing?

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Best Mac for Video Editing
Really, it’s… all of them.
Image: Apple/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Whether you run a video production studio or you’re starting a hobby YouTube channel, you’ll want to make sure you have the best Mac for video editing. 

Video editing is a good stress test for any computer. Cutting together an epic two-hour video essay requires high-speed storage, a lot of memory, processing power and GPU power. Apple silicon delivers all this in spades. Apple’s chips also come with special built-in hardware for processing video — the Media Engine. 

These days, every Mac is capable of 4K video editing. The best Mac for you comes down to whether you want a desktop or a laptop — and the size of your budget. Keep reading or watch our latest video.

Ikea Sjöss 45W charger: Why buy anything else? [Review] ★★★★

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Ikea Sjöss 45W charger review★★★★
The Ikea Sjöss 45W is the best dual USB-C charger you can buy for cheap.
Photo: Rajesh Pandey/Cult of Mac

Plenty of power bricks with dual USB-C ports give you options for charging your Apple devices. But Ikea — yes, the company known for its DIY furniture — has a new offering that trumps them all from a value viewpoint. As you’ll find out in our review of the Ikea Sjöss 45W charger, it packs two USB-C ports and supports all popular fast charging standards.

The effective power adapter stands out for its super-low price, which significantly undercuts the competition. Below is our quick review of the Ikea Sjöss 45W USB-C charger.

A great replacement button remote for Apple TV [Updated review] ★★★★☆

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Function 101 Apple TV button remote★★★★☆
This Apple TV remote has what others lack -- buttons!
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Update: Function 101’s Button Remote for Apple TV has been upgraded with Bluetooth, allowing the multibutton remote control to work without direct line of sight to your Apple TV. This proves essential if you mount the streaming box behind your TV or hide it away in a cabinet. Otherwise, the remote looks and works the same, and is an excellent replacement remote for your Apple TV.

If, like me, you hate the fiddly Apple TV Siri Remote, Function 101’s Button Remote for Apple TV is a good replacement remote.

It’s a traditional infrared remote control — and now with added Bluetooth — with 18 simple buttons, hence the name. Thanks to its familiar design, it’s perhaps the easiest way to use your Apple TV.

It works with most TVs and home theater components out of the box, works with regular batteries, and isn’t as easy to misplace as Apple’s remote. There’s a lot to like, and it’s on sale for 25% off exclusively for Cult of Mac readers over the Memorial Day weekend. Use code CULTOFMAC25 (code applies to sitewide to all Function 101 products).

OtterBox ‘Cactus Leather’ iPhone case looks good and makes you feel good [Review]

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OtterBox Cactus Leather iPhone case
OtterBox's new iPhone cases look like leather but haven't been anywhere near a cow.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The just-released OtterBox cactus leather iPhone cases give buyers the option to wrap their handset in a plant-based material rather than traditional leather. In my testing, the cactus-based material looks and feels somewhat similar to cow leather but not identical.

There’s a lot to like about OtterBox Symmetry Series Cactus Leather iPhone cases that are now available starting Monday.

Take a deep dive into the best parts of M4 iPad Pro [Review] ★★★★★

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M4 iPad Pro review★★★★★
I explain why iPad Pro M4 is so brilliant.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

You already know the latest iPad Pro looks pretty and runs fast. Rather than an M4 iPad Pro review that simply goes over those points again, I talked to experts on why the tablet’s new tandem OLED display looks so beautiful. And I also explain why an iPad needs a high-end processor.

Plus, this M4 iPad Pro review serves up the results of my real-world battery life tests, plus my thoughts on The iPadOS Question.

Should you buy a MacBook or iPad?

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MacBook VS iPad
Which is the better choice these days?
Image: Apple/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Should your next computer be a MacBook or an iPad? Apple is making the iPad more powerful and capable every year — it might be good enough that you don’t need a traditional computer in your life.

While macOS is still more powerful and versatile, the iPad’s hardware offers unique capabilities that no Mac can match. The iPad is easier to pick up and use, more portable and more reliable. It’s worth considering over a laptop if you don’t do a lot of specialized work.

Here are the pros and cons, MacBook vs. iPad: Price, easy of use, portability and more. Keep reading below or watch our video.

Best clip-on game controller is ready for the latest iPhone [Review] ★★★★★

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Backbone One USB-C game controller review★★★★★
Backbone One USB-C game controller makes high-end gaming a pleasure on iPhone.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Backbone One USB-C game controller adds real buttons, sticks and triggers to the newest iPhone models, and Androids too.

This is  second-generation version of the wrap-around gaming accessory that’s beenupdated, to better fit handsets in protective cases.

I really enjoyed testing the controller out with the iPhone 15 Plus. It lived up to my high expectations.

Space gray vs. silver MacBook [Buyer’s guide]

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2024 MacBook Air
The dark side ... or the light?
Image: Apple

After you’ve settled on a model and the specs you need, there’s still one more crucial decision to make before you buy a MacBook Pro: silver vs. space gray. And with the MacBook Air, you have two more options (starlight and midnight).

If you want an attractive and cohesive setup, the color of your Mac is the centerpiece of the whole look.

Which color is best? I always go with silver — but here are some things to consider before you make your decision.

2024 iPad Air reviews roundup: Bigger, and probably ‘pro’ enough

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2024 M2 iPad Air with Apple Pencil Pro
Compatibility with the new Apple Pencil Pro is one reason to buy this year's iPad Air.
Photo: Apple

The first reviews of the 2024 iPad Air paint the tablet as a budget version of last year’s iPad Pro.

Here’s the consensus of the early M2 iPad Air reviews: If you want a big-screen iPad, but don’t need (or don’t want to pay for) high-end features like an OLED screen, Face ID and Apple’s most powerful processor, this is the tablet for you.

Digital photo frame with Wi-Fi makes great Mother’s Day gift [Review] ★★★★☆

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GPX Capture 7★★★★☆
A digital photo frame makes a great gift.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The GPX Capture 7″ Wifi Photo Frame is ready to display pictures sent from your whole extended family. It’s so easy to use it makes a great gift for the non-techie mom in your life.

The touchscreen looks great, whether it’s showing images or short videos sent in from a free app.

I put digital photo frame in my home office for hands-on testing. And I love it.

The 16 best Mac apps for all kinds of work and play

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All The Best Mac Apps
You’re bound to find some of these handy.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

These are the best Mac apps that’ll help you through all kinds of work — writing, graphic design, video editing — with a few simple (must-have) utilities that everyone can make use of.

Finding good apps can be hard, especially if you’re new to the Mac. Luckily, we’ve put together a list of the very best.

Keep reading or watch our video guide instead.

Hate earbuds? Edifier’s new sport headphones are for you. [Review] ★★★

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Edifier Comfo Run sports headphones★★★
Edifier's sleek Comfo Run sports headphones don't enter your ear canal.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

I’ve made no secret of my admiration for Edifier audio products in the past few years, but the streak couldn’t go on forever. But it’s not you, Edifier. It’s me, maybe. I blame my oversized head and clunky glasses for standing in the way of my affection for your sleek new Edifier Comfo Run sports headphones. I just couldn’t get the fit quite right for the best sound.

But I could see all sorts of athletes, and really anyone who prefers to keep earbuds and other objects out of their ear canals, loving these things. They work by air conduction.

Beats Fit Pro vs. AirPods Pro 2: Which earbuds are better?

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AirPods Pro 2 vs. Beats Fit Pro comparison
Which earbuds work better with your iPhone?
Photo/Graphics: Apple/Rajesh

If you want new wireless earbuds for your iPhone, the second-generation AirPods Pro are likely your top choice. But Apple offers another pair of earbuds you might consider: Beats Fit Pro. In this Beats Fit Pro vs. AirPods Pro 2 buying guide, we’ll compare the features of these two premium noise-canceling earbuds from Apple.

Do these earbuds provide the same features and sound quality as Apple’s flagship earbuds? Find out in this comparison.

New mophie case adds hours to iPhone battery life [Review] ★★★★

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mophie juice pack for iPhone 15 review★★★★
mophie juice pack is two useful iPhone 15 accessories in one.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The new mophie juice pack for iPhone 15 combines a protective case with a power bank. Simply put your handset in the case to greatly extend your battery life and add 6 feet of drop protection.

I did real-world testing on the version specifically for the iPhone 15. (mophie also sells juice packs for the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, but not iPhone 15 Plus.)

Anker’s portable power station gets you through blackouts and campouts [Review] ★★★★☆

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Anker Solix C800 Plus Portable Power Station★★★★☆
As a condo owner, I don't need more than Anker Solix C800 Plus to keep the place going in a power outage.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

The Anker Solix c800 Plus Portable Power Station is a capable and versatile portable power station that can get you through a power outage or let you live like a king on a camping trip.

With a stout 768Wh lithium-ion battery, the device packs a punch. It allowed me to charge multiple devices simultaneously and power various appliances in a simulated blackout. Now I’m just waiting for the power to go out for real, or for someone to invite me camping.