Apple product reviews and recommendations | Cult of Mac

For All Mankind poses great questions, then refuses to answer them [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★☆☆

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For All Mankind recap ★★★☆☆
This must be a time machine. A completely infuriating time machine.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+ alt-history hit For All Mankind makes all the right moves this week, then immediately blows a 26-point lead in the last inning.

For once, the dramatic arcs thrown at Margo, Karen, Dev, Aleida and Kelly all seem pretty satisfying and not at all cheap or hyperbolic. Then the writers ensure we won’t see how any of that plays out, instantly turning this from one of the show’s best episodes into its most frustrating yet.

But hey, at least we’re going to Mars, I guess.

Physical wants to swing, but everyone’s a jerk [Apple TV+ recap] ★★☆☆☆

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Physical recap: This episode starts with a nightmare and then goes downhill.★★☆☆☆
This week's episode starts with a nightmare and then goes downhill.
Photo: Apple TV+

This week on Apple TV+ aerobics opera Physical, its star self-help guru buys a whiteboard and the show itself backslides. After a promising showing last week, Physical reverts to its worst tendencies.

Danny is still unbearably pretentious and selfish. Sheila is still a misanthropic jerk to absolutely everybody. John is becoming more desperate by the minute. And Greta indulges in a threesome. None of this constitutes real news or development on this show. But since Physical doesn’t really know what it wants to say, this is just how it goes most weeks.

Loot is funny, but we’ve heard these jokes before [Apple TV+ recaps] ★★★☆☆

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Loot recap Apple TV+: Saturday Night Live alum Maya Rudolph needs to get serious in Loot.★★★☆☆
Saturday Night Live alum Maya Rudolph needs to get serious fast in Loot.
Photo: Apple TV+

In new Apple TV+ comedy Loot, Maya Rudolph plays a billionaire playgirl who must grow up and discover a conscience when she realizes that her public behavior casts her charitable foundation in a bad light.

Surrounded by misfits, she must tailor her wild lifestyle to more humble settings. Otherwise, she risks turning the one good thing in her life into a joke.

Travel-ready 7-in-1 USB-C hub packs both HDMI and DisplayPort [Review] ★★★★☆

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HyperDrive USB4 Mobile Dock review★★★★☆
Be ready to connect to HDMI or DisplayPort monitors with the HyperDrive USB4 Mobile Dock.
Photo: Hyper/Cult of Mac

With Hyper’s HyperDrive USB4 Mobile Dock, you’re ready to connect to either HDMI or DisplayPort monitors at 4K or even 8K. The USB-C hub also includes dual USB-A ports, Ethernet and more. Plus, it’s the right size to use in your office or on the road.

I put the dock through a battery of tests to see how it stands up on real-world use. Here’s how it did.

New Soundcore sport ANC earbuds: Good fit for fit people [Review] ★★★★☆

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It's not difficult to get used to those rotating ear hooks.★★★★☆
It's not difficult to get used to those rotating ear hooks.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

Ever have an earbud fall out of your sweaty ear at the gym? I lost a somewhat pricey product that way once. And if you lose one of them, you’re probably not going to use the other one, even if it’s designed for occasional solo use.

The new Soundcore Sport X10 True-Wireless Earbuds, released Tuesday, aim to put an end to wayward earbuds.

Anker sent me a pair of the earbuds to try, along with instructions for using the Soundcore app for them in beta. Below, I’ll get into why I found the new product to be an excellent value at $79.99.

Tehran tenses up for explosive season 2 finale [Apple TV+ recap] ★★☆☆☆

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Tehran season 2 finale recap: Who will double-cross who in the season finale?★★☆☆☆
Who will double-cross who in the season finale?
Photo: Apple TV+

In the season finale of Apple TV+ spy drama Tehran, Peyman is dead — and everyone is guilty.

Milad and Tamar need to patch up their frayed relationship if they have any hope of escaping the country and certain death. Marjan and Faraz must make sure they don’t look guilty as the investigation into the “accidental” death of the son of the head of the Revolutionary Guard commences.

And there’s still the matter of Peyman’s father, Qassem, whom Tamar swore to kill. Now, she has next to no shot at getting near him. It’s a lot of ground to cover in 43 minutes. And there’s still the more difficult task of making any of these people compelling enough to want to see them in a third season.

You can feel a cliffhanger coming in Now and Then [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★

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Now and Then recap Apple TV+: Ana (played by Marina de Tavira) and Pedro (José María Yazpik) hope for a positive outcome on election night.★★★★
Ana (played by Marina de Tavira) and Pedro (José María Yazpik) hope for a positive outcome on election night.
Photo: Apple TV+

Line ’em up, it’s Election Day on Now and Then, the Apple TV+ telenovela about the fallout from a 20-year-old murder case.

Pedro and Ana wait with bated breath to see if he won the mayoral election, while Ernesto gives him an ultimatum and Francis offers her a job. Marcos and Sofia plot their escape, Flora schedules a surgery, Hugo’s awake from his coma, and Sullivan’s been keeping secrets from everybody.

The plot is thick and the drama delicious this week.

Home builds bigger in dispiriting second season [Apple TV+ review] ★★☆☆

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Home review Apple TV+: A sprawling 17th-century home in France gets remade on the inside.★★☆☆
A sprawling 17th-century home in France gets remade on the inside.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+ documentary series Home returns Friday for a second season of wonky architecture and human interest stories. The streamer is banking on the beauty of accessibility as spectacle and drama to bring audiences back for more feel-good TV.

The houses the series showcases look glorious, to be sure. But the stories are meant to be as much of a hook as the sight of impossible angles and cozy nooks nestled in wondrous corners of the earth.

For All Mankind’s mission to Mars gets a little Musk-y [Apple TV+ recap] ★★☆☆

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For All Mankind recap: Multimillionaire Dev Ayesa (played by Edi Gathegi) wants to get to Mars first.★★☆☆
Self-made multimillionaire Dev Ayesa (played by Edi Gathegi) wants to get to Mars first.
Photo: Apple TV+

For All Mankind heads to Mars a little sooner than expected this week — and with a surprise guest in the cockpit.

Danielle and Ed, then Molly and Margo, fall out. Karen and Ed fall into business together. Aleida worries about her family from the moon. And Danny Stevens is still a little psychopath.

It’s business as usual on Apple TV+’s frustrating space-exploration soap. The highs of last week’s TV movie of the week detour are already forgotten.

Sheila freaks out this week on Physical [Apple TV+ recap] ★★☆☆

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Physical recap: Rose Byrne finally gets to let loose.★★☆☆
Rose Byrne finally gets to let loose in the role of Sheila.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+’s Physical, about a would-be fitness guru in California, heads to a funeral this week to rethink its priorities. Sheila’s finally cracking up, John’s lies catch up with him in a sad way, Bunny is at the end of her tether, and a vengeful mother gets her hooks into two generations of women.

A couple of standout performances lift this week’s episode out of the usual doldrums. Rose Byrne is allowed to stretch a bit beyond the usual limitations of her role as Sheila Rubin — and the result is a glimpse into a better version of what this show could be.