Don’t be fooled: iPhone XS is not a boring ‘S’ upgrade [Review]

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iPhone XS and XS Max
iPhone XS is more than meets the eye.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

If you ever watched schlocky ’70s sci-fi show The Six Million Dollar Man, you probably remember the opening sequence, during which a faceless narrator describes building a man who is “better than he was before. Better … stronger … faster.”

With the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, Apple’s engineers achieved just that type of incredible transformation. They fabricated phones that look “normal,” like last year’s iPhone X. But, just like the shadowy geniuses who built the bionic man, Apple indeed made the iPhone X better, stronger and faster — thanks in large part to the A12 Bionic chip that powers the new phones’ most advanced functions. (Other hardware and software upgrades help, too.)

Just like Col. Steve Austin, the ace astronaut who got $6 million worth of bionic implants after a devastating crash, the iPhone X received massive internal upgrades to morph into the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. While it looks like the same old (excellent) device, it’s actually far more fantastic and futuristic.

It’s total a bionic blast!

Apple Watch Series 4 review: So good it’ll make your heart race

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Apple Watch Series 4 Infogram Watch Face
The Series 4 comes with some great new watch faces, like this information-packed Infograph face.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

I have a new best friend. It’s the Apple Watch Series 4. Boy, do I love this miraculous little machine.

The new Apple Watch really is wonderful. As with everything else, speed makes it so much more fluid and seamless. The display is gigantic and awesome! There’s so much technology packed inside, it’s a sci-fi marvel.

I took it for a long bike ride to test it out. Here’s what I found.

The iPhone XS Camera review for iPhone 7 owners

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Depth Control gets confused by glass.
Depth Control gets confused by glass.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Most iPhone camera reviewers are upgrading from last year’s model, the incredible iPhone X. Most iPhone buyers are upgrading from an earlier iPhone, probably the iPhone 6s or 7. This review is for the buyers. In it, I compare the new iPhone XS camera to the iPhone 7 camera, and talk about just how massive an upgrade this is.

iPhone X owners shouldn’t feel left out, though. Camera-wise, the iPhone XS and XS Max might be the biggest iPhone upgrade since the iPhone 3GS added autofocus. One note: The iPhone XS Max has the exact same camera as the XS, so this review goes for both.

Smark translation device feels strangely retro in iPhone age [Review]

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Translator
Can Smark do anything our iPhone can't do?
Photo: Luke Dormehl/Cult of Mac

The Smark modular translator is something like Star Trek’s universal translator, a device able to instantly convert spoken words from one language to another.

In the 1960s, this was pure sci-fi. But here in 2018, translation apps on our smartphones can handle the task with ease and accuracy. At this point, is there any reason for a standalone translation device? Smark offers some features that might make it appealing to travelers.

Change your Apple Watch crown color with WatchDots [Review]

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Apple Watch watchdots
Customise your Apple Watch with WatchDots
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

I love my Apple Watch Series 3, but there’s one thing about it that annoys me: that red dot on the Digital Crown.

However, just because Apple thinks you should be stuck with a giant red dot on the side of your wrist, that doesn’t mean you need to put up with it. You can customize Apple Watch with a cool accessory called WatchDots.

Small Fry offers complicated portrait of Steve Jobs as a father [Review]

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Think Steve Jobs was tough as a boss? Lisa Brennan-Jobs memoir
Think Steve Jobs was tough as a boss? Here's what he was like as a father.
Photo: Luke Dormehl/Cult of Mac

Small Fry is the memoir of Lisa Brennan-Jobs, the daughter Steve Jobs didn’t want. Frequently sad and occasionally disturbing, it’s not the airbrushed portrait of Steve that Apple would like to see in print.

But it also relays some charming moments, showing us a side of the Apple co-founder that we’ve never seen before. It’s a glimpse of Steve Jobs at his most personal.

New book shows how Apple makes great software [Review]

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Ken Kocienda's book Creative Selection is an insider's account of how Apple makes great software.
Ken Kocienda's new book offers an insider's account of how Apple makes great software.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

When Steve Jobs died in 2011, pundits wondered how the company would continue to make great products without him.

The question is partly answered by programmer Ken Kocienda’s new book, Creative Selection, which describes his 15 years working at Apple helping to develop the original iPhone, iPad and Safari web browser.

Kocienda’s book is a remarkable insider’s story that shows how Apple creates the software that it’s rightly famous for.

Brydge keyboard seeks to turn your iPad Pro into a MacBook [Review]

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Brydge 12.9 is almost a touchscreen MacBook
The Brydge 12.9 Series II does a better job of transforming an iPad Pro into a keyboard than any rival add-in keyboard.
Photo: Brydge

The whole purpose of clip-on iPad keyboards is to make this tablet function like a laptop. The Brydge series takes that idea and runs with it: it does everything possible to make the iPad into MacBook.

This company — also called Brydge — just released an improved version of its eponymous keyboard for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Don’t miss our hands-on review. 

Moodo lets you control the way your home smells from your iPhone

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Moodo
Want to make your home smell nice? There's an app for that.
Photo: Moodo

Entrepreneurs are tripping over themselves to make “smart” versions of every product we already own. As such, it was only going to be so long before someone made a smart scent dispenser. That product is called Moodo. It’s a smart home fragrance box that lets you control how your home smells from your iPhone. Or your smart speaker.

But does it smell like a winner, or is this one gadget we’re turning our nose up at?

Historic shipwreck leaves its mark on green leather Apple Watch band

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CLESSANT
The Russian Green band is made from embossed calf's leather. The unique crosshatch pattern offers a discreet yet remarkable texture and is highly resistant to wear.
Photo: Benjamin McKay/Cult of Mac

Sometimes even an item as mundane as a watch strap tells a story. And the Russian Green Leather Apple Watch Band by Clessant has a cool one.

The band’s design is inspired by leather discovered in a doomed shipwreck more than 200 years ago. Clessant takes this inspiration to new levels and brings this unique discovery to light with its modern-day interpretation of this age-old Russian leather.