Apple’s new iPad Pro keyboard case is slim but pricey [Review]

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The Smart Keyboard Folio turns the iPad into a laptop, but there are better options.
The Smart Keyboard Folio turns the 2018 iPad Pro into a notebook.
Photo: Andrea Nepori

Anyone planning to use a 2018 iPad Pro for business probably needs an add-on keyboard. Apple’s own offering in this category is the Smart Keyboard Folio, which wraps tightly around this new tablet, both protecting it and providing the text input method so many of us depend on.

Because it’s made by Apple, nearly everyone who buys an iPad Pro considers getting this accessory, but the price will give you reason to pause.

We put one through extensive testing to help you decide if it’s right for you.

All the ways a 2018 iPad Pro is better than a MacBook [Review]

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Is the 2018 iPad Pro or a MacBook a better option for you?
Is the 2018 iPad Pro or a MacBook a better option for you?
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

The dividing line between MacBook and iPad Pro gets narrower every year. The new iPad Pro models added a USB-C port, further reducing the differences. This is a good opportunity to consider which is the right choice for your next computer.

There’s a tremendous amount of overlap in what tablets and notebooks do. But each is better than the other at some things. For many people, a MacBook is still the best option. But for others, an iPad Pro is a better way to go. Read on for suggestions on how to decide.

The new iPad Pro might be too pro for you [Review]

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The new 2018 iPad Pro is a lust object you probably don’t need.
The new 2018 iPad Pro is a lust object you probably don’t need.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Every 2018 iPad Pro review I’ve read seems to be written by someone who doesn’t use the iPad like a pro. Most of the reviewers focus on using Apple’s new tablet they way most people do: reading the internet, doing some mail and watching lots of video.

Which is a shame, because there’s a lot to like in this iPad for “power” users, aka folks whose everyday carry is an iPad. People like me. The iPad has been my most-used device for years. I do everything on it. (Everything, ironically, except writing articles — but that’s because my ancient 27-inch iMac still works fine, and I like to use a trackpad for editing text.)

Rather than reviewing the iPad Pro from the point of view of a “normal,” I’m going to talk about this gorgeous new device like someone who uses an iPad for work every day.

2018 Mac mini review roundup: Pricey but impressively powerful

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Apple Mac mini 2018
Apple packed a lot of power inside the new Mac mini's space gray case.
Photo: Apple

The Mac mini is back! It’s no longer the ultra-affordable entry to macOS it once was. But it’s still the cheapest Apple computer you can buy — and there’s a good reason for the price hike.

This year’s upgrade (the first since 2014) makes it the fastest and most impressive Mac mini yet. Intel’s latest chips, coupled with faster RAM, ample storage options and all the ports you need are squeezed inside its tiny shell.

Here’s what the reviewers are saying so far.

2018 MacBook Air review roundup: A beautifully big improvement

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MacBook Air 2018
The original ultraportable is back with a bang.
Photo: Apple

The long-awaited MacBook Air update sports an all-new design and more powerful internals, but early reviews indicate there’s still room for improvement.

It’s also the most expensive MacBook Air to date. So, should you spend $1,199 on it when it lands in stores this week? Here’s what the first 2018 MacBook Air reviews have to say.

2018 iPad Pro review roundup: The best tablet money can buy

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2018 iPad Pro
Have you ordered yours yet?
Photo: Apple

According to early reviews, you should absolutely rush out to get a new iPad Pro when the tablets go on sale Wednesday.

The iPad Pro was already the best tablet money could buy. And yet, Apple somehow made it even better with an improved design, an edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display, and an A12X Bionic chip that delivers unbeatable performance.

Don’t just take our word for it. See what the reviewers are saying below.

mophie Powerstation XXL keeps your iPhone going all week [Review]

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mophie Powerstation XXL was designed especially for devices with Lighting ports.
mophie Powerstation XXL was designed especially for devices with Lighting ports.
Photo: mophie

Travelers who don’t want to worry about finding electrical sockets for their iPhone or iPad should look no farther than the mophie Powerstation XXL. This external battery is relatively portable but still packs enough power to fully recharge an iPhone XS Max more than four times.

Even better, this accessory gets its power through a Lightning port, and it can charge three devices at once. We put the Powerstation XXL through a complete set of tests and bring you the results.

With a 14-hour battery, these new sports earbuds go the distance [Review]

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Tarah Pro sports earbuds are up to almost any adventure.
Tarah Pro sports earbuds are up to almost any adventure.
Photo: Jaybird

Tarah Pro earbuds, the latest wireless sports headphones from Jaybird, take adventure audio to new extremes. With smart new features and an astonishing 14 hours of battery life, these sweat-proof earbuds can go the distance — even if you’re a marathoner.

If you’re a fitness fanatic who constantly crushes your Activity goals during epic outdoor adventures, these might be the perfect Bluetooth earbuds for you.

iPhone XR review: Why buy anything else?

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iPhone XR review: With a great screen, cameras, battery life and Face ID, the iPhone XR is a nifty smartphone.
With a great screen, cameras, battery life and Face ID, the iPhone XR is a nifty smartphone.
Photo: Kristal Chan/Cult of Mac

The iPhone XR is typical Apple. It’s an entry-level phone with a bunch of premium features. Jony Ive just cannot cut corners, even if he wanted to. This is no plasticky, cut-rate phone built to meet a price point. It’s a primo phone with primo features (and a primo price tag, TBH). It just happens to be the cheapest new iPhone in Apple’s lineup.

The XR delivers everything customers care about: a big, beautiful screen; great cameras; long battery life; and Face ID.

The iPhone XR is arguably Apple’s most interesting smartphone of 2018 because of this slightly odd bundle of budget/premium features. It’s arguably a $1,200 phone in a $750 package.

For a chance to win a brand-new iPhone XR, enter our free giveaway here.

5 great apps that bust out the bokeh on iPhone XS and XR

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The iPhone XS' new bokeh tool is just the beginning.
The iPhone XS' new bokeh tool is just the beginning.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iPhone XS camera is pretty incredible. The device uses its two rear cameras, plus the A12 chip’s Neural Engine, to record such an accurate 3D map of the scene that you can adjust the background blur with a slider. But that depth map is useful for more than just blurring backgrounds. It can be used by other apps to:

  • Add realistic lights to a scene.
  • Choose any subject to be in focus, not just the one you picked when shooting.
  • Add custom background blurs.
  • Remove and replace backgrounds, like movie green-screen effects.

The iPhone XS is the gold standard for iOS cameras, but the XR manages some excellent tricks of its own. Despite having only one rear camera, the XR can still recognise people, and then use AI and the super-powerful A12 Neural Engine to separate out the person form the background. While this portrait matte isn’t as detailed as an iPhone XS depth map, it can in theory still be used to do many of the same tricks.

Today we’ll look at the best depth apps for the new iPhone XS, XR, and XS Max.