Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me paints portrait of poisonous fame [Apple TV+ review] ★★★

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Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me★★★
Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me shows the private side of a public life
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewIn new Apple TV+ documentary Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me, we take a trip into the center of the pop star’s world to discover her journey has been nothing but hardship surrounded by impossible highs, which makes coping with her fame something like a near-impossibility.

Narrated by Gomez herself and directed by Alek Keshishian (Madonna: Truth or Dare), this revealing, well-intentioned and often quite beautiful documentary gets us inside of her turmoil and the whirlwind of both her fame and her illness. It’s important for people to know that being America’s sweetheart is no picnic, and that the machinery of fame is parasitic and unyielding. Hopefully, someone, somewhere will pull the brakes on throwing kids into the show business maelstrom.

In Causeway, Jennifer Lawrence gets back to indie basics [Apple TV+ review] ★★★

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Causeway review: Jennifer Lawrence plays an injured vet in new Apple TV+ drama Causeway.★★★
Jennifer Lawrence plays an injured vet in new Apple TV+ movie Causeway.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewDepressive drama Causeway, which stars Jennifer Lawrence as a recovering Afghanistan war veteran trapped in her hometown, marks the latest collaboration between indie film company A24 and Apple TV+.

Lawrence, dipping her toe back into being a movie star following last year’s Don’t Look Up, returns to her roots in the film, which premieres Friday on Apple TV+. Causeway hits a lot of expected Sundance/indie movie beats but finds grace notes in quieter, less empathic scenes.

AirFly 2 easily connects any audio source to AirPods [Review] ★★★★

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Twelve South AirFly 2 with AirPods★★★★
Your AirPods get more useful with AirPods 2.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

AirFly 2 from Twelve South can wirelessly connect your AirPods to any 3.5mm audio jack. It’s great for airline entertainment systems and gym machines. The new version has a longer battery life, adds new volume controls and costs less than its predecessor.

I tested the wireless audio adapter with AirPods and other headphones, as well as a variety of audio sources. Here’s why I’m quite pleased with it.

Why you should, or should not, upgrade to the 2022 iPad Pro [Review] ★★★★★

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12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro 2022 with its packaging★★★★★
The iPad Pro 2022 is Apple's most powerful ever.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The launch of the 2022 iPad Pro in 12.9- and 11-inch versions means current tablet users have new upgrade options. Their M2 processor makes these the most powerful iPads ever made, but they are not right for everyone.

I’ve used an M2-powered iPad Pro for a week now, and that’s given me insight into who should upgrade and who should not. Some people should definitely go for the latest and greatest, but others would be disappointed if they did so.

Here’s my advice when making your decision.

Edifier AirPlay 2 smart speaker looks good and sounds better [Review] ★★★★☆

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This handsome speaker offers high-quality sound at an attractive price.★★★★☆
This handsome speaker offers high-quality sound at an attractive price.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

If you’re looking for quality audio at an affordable price, you can certainly do much worse than Edifier products. The Chinese company consistently comes across with great value, and that’s the case with the Edifier MS50A powered wireless smart speaker.

The company sent me one of the handsome, wood-paneled speakers to test out. Though it’s not the smartest smart speaker on the block, it looks and sounds great for the price. I’ll get into more detail below.

An impostor doctor smiles while slumming it in Shantaram [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★☆☆

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Shantaram recap: Sometimes, a bad boy with a goofy grin is all you need.★★★☆☆
Shantaram recap: Sometimes, a good-natured bad boy with a goofy grin is all you need.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewOn this week’s installment of the Apple TV+ limited series Shantaram, Lin must take stock of where he is, what good fortune means and whether it’s his to truly celebrate.

The people of Bombay are getting used to the impostor doctor, but at every turn, Lin faces potential threats to his freedom and his place among his newfound community of outsiders. It’s a typically engaging outing of the Charlie Hunnam drama.

Louis Armstong’s Black & Blues takes a bold look at a jazz legend [Apple TV+ review] ★★★★

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Louis Armstrong’s 'Black & Blues' review: A wealth of archival footage gives us a rare portrait of jazz legend Louis Armstrong.★★★★
A wealth of archival footage gives us a rare portrait of a jazz legend in Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ Review New Apple TV+ documentary Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues takes a lively and appropriately soulful look at the man who invented popular music in America as we know it today.

The film, which premieres today on Apple’s streaming service, brims with expert testimony from witnesses, fans, friends, and family of the incredibly influential jazz musician. It’s bolstered by a cornucopia of rare archival footage and photographs that root Armstrong firmly in history.

Louis Armstrong is too big a subject to think you could ever fully capture him, so director Sacha Jenkins treats this project as just one man’s look at another man. It’s remarkably successful.

Ugreen’s powerful 200W GaN charger is perfect for desktop or traveling [Review] ★★★★☆

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Four USB-C ports and two USB-A ports, all at your disposal.★★★★☆
Four USB-C ports and two USB-A ports, all at your disposal.
Photo: Adel Neal/Cult of Mac

Before you say it, I know – this isn’t the first time we’ve talked about gallium nitride (GaN) chargers. But the super-small, super-fast chargers are, frankly, worth getting excited about. I recently had the pleasure of taking Ugreen’s Nexode 200W desktop GaN charger for a spin, and let me tell you: This really is the puck-size charger you want on your desk.

iPad 9 vs. iPad 10: Which offers more bang for the buck?

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iPad 9 vs. iPad 10: Which offers more bang for the buck?
Apple now offers both the iPad 9 and the iPad 10. But which is better for you?
Image:

Apple positioned the new iPad 10 as the successor to last year’s iPad 9, but the two are far more different that their names suggest. The just-released tablet has a long list of improvements, including a larger screen. But it also comes at a substantially higher price.

Both models are still in Apple product lineup so you have a choice. Let’s go head-to-head to see how they stack up.

Get power almost anywhere with this portable solar charger [Review] ★★★★☆

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Lion 50W Foldable Solar Panel★★★★☆
Put the Lion 50W Foldable Solar Panel in the sun and it's ready to recharge your MacBook, iPad, etc.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Place the Lion 50W Foldable Solar Panel in the sun and it can power most devices with a USB-A or USB-C port. It’s portable enough to take on a multi-day hike, or to not take up much room in a closet for power outages.

I put the solar charger to the test and I’m quite pleased with how easy it is to use and how well it performs.

iPad 10 review roundup: Better but pricier

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iPad 10 in Hand
The first reviews of iPad 10 show a device with many enhanced features and a noticeably higher pricetag.
Screenshot: Apple

Early reviews of iPad 10 compliment its larger display, relocated camera and faster processor. But they also have plenty to say about the steep increase in price.

Read on to see if the new “budget” iPad, which now starts at $449, is right for you.

Apps to simplify music discovery, baby care and journaling your life [Awesome Apps]

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Awesome Apps iPhone and headphones
Regardless of what you’re trying to do, apps can help make it easier, faster, or more fun.
Photo: Unsplash

Apps can be useful for a a countless number of things. From making a new parents life easier to finding new music, there’s are apps fit to help make things nearly effortless. This week, we have a couple great new (to me, at least) apps, and a really solid update to one of my favorites. As usual, I’ll put out the call for other suggestions as well. If you have something you want us to check out for a future Awesome Apps post, be sure to email your suggestion or tweet them over!

Diagnose your charging woes with Plugable’s tiny power meter [Review]

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Plugable USBC-VAmeter3 review
The Plugable USBC-VAmeter3 tests the quality of the connections between your computers and chargers and other peripherals.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Your MacBook isn’t charging right and you can’t figure it where the problem is? Plugable’s USBC-VAmeter3 can help. Connect it to the power cable running to your Mac, iPad or iPhone to see the voltage, wattage and amperage.

I’m no electrical engineer, but I tested this miniature power meter. I found it both useful and kind of fun.

’80s coming-of-age comedy Acapulco adds actual jokes for season two [Apple TV+ recap] ★★☆☆

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Acapulco season 2 recap: Acapulco returns with more '80s fun at a madcap Mexican resort. And this time, it's actually funny!★★☆☆
Acapulco returns with more '80s fun at a madcap Mexican resort. And this time, it's actually funny!
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewBilingual Apple TV+ comedy series Acapulco returns this week for a second season of bright colors and frothy hijinx narrated by Eugenio Derbez. The Mexican resort is an ’80s uproar, young Maximo’s life is crumbling (though he won’t admit it), and his family is at a crossroads. And everyone, as usual, needs a favor.

The second season so far seems exactly like the first, which is to be expected, so if you like the softest possible jokes, you’re in luck. The show is fleetingly charming and expertly designed — the art direction remains Acapulco‘s greatest virtue — and little by little, it’s relaxing into a funnier groove.

A need for drugs sends Shantaram to Bombay’s seedy underside [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★☆☆

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Shantaram recap: Lin (played by Charlie Hunnam, left) makes some dicey connections to Bombay's underworld this week.★★★☆☆
Lin (played by Charlie Hunnam, left) makes some dicey connections to Bombay's underworld this week.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ Review This week on new Apple TV+ limited series Shantaram, based on the best-selling book by Gregory David Roberts, Lin stares a new life in the face — but fate has other plans.

The escaped con is starting up a practice in a Bombay slum with help from his reluctant and besotted friend Prabhu. A need for penicillin puts him right where the local underworld chiefs want him, in thrall to them and in need of supplies only they can gift him.

Meanwhile, local politics are heating up, Lisa’s kicking junk, and Karla’s feeling left out. It’s a perfectly respectable episode of the drama.

Raymond & Ray dramedy digs up a dull day at the graveyard [Apple TV+ review] ★★☆☆

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Raymond & Ray review Apple TV+: Half-brothers Raymond (played by Ewan McGregor, left) and Ray (Ethan Hawke) must come to terms with their father's weird posthumous demand.★★☆☆
Half-brothers Raymond (played by Ewan McGregor, left) and Ray (Ethan Hawke) must come to terms with their father's weird posthumous demand.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ Review In aimless new dramedy Raymond & Ray, Ethan Hawke and Ewen McGregor play half-brothers who must bury their father — and decades of trauma — over the course of a long, late-summer day.

Directed by Rodrigo García, and produced by Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity, Roma), the film is never believable for even a second. Inessential by design and pleasant enough, this one’s built to go in one ear/eye and out the other just as quickly.

Logitech mechanical mini keyboard makes superb Mac companion [Review] ★★★★☆

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Logitech mechanical mini keyboard makes superb Mac companion [Review]★★★★☆
Mac users looking for a small mechanical, keyboard should consider this one from Logitech.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Logitech MX Mechanical Mini is a keyboard optimized for Mac. It features low-profile mechanical switches and backlighting, and can be paired with up to three computers

I’ve been using the Bluetooth keyboard in my home office for weeks. Here’s why I’ve come to love it.

Bye-bye, Baba Voss! See unleashes an incendiary series finale. [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★☆☆

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See series finale recap Apple TV+: We'll miss you, Baba Voss!★★★☆☆
We'll miss you, Baba Voss!
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewPost-apocalyptic Apple TV+ series See comes to its thrilling conclusion this week, sending off Baba Voss and his family in high bloody fashion.

With the whole of civilization in a tunnel to freedom, Haniwa, Maghra and Kofun must decide whether to let Baba go to his death by himself or stay with their people in their hour of need. Can Baba stop deposed queen Sibeth Kane before she destroys everything, or before he gets caught and killed?

It took three seasons, but See is finally worth seeing. And wouldn’t you know it? It’s over.

It’s confession time in Bad Sisters’ sensational season finale [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★★

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Bad Sisters recap: The dark comedy delivers in an uproarious season finale.★★★★★
Bad Sisters does not disappoint with its uproarious season finale.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewBad Sisters, the Apple TV+ black comedy about the murder of a bad man and the five women who stood to gain from it, draws its delicious first season to a close this week.

John Paul’s dead. Matthew’s closer than ever to finding the killer, but red herrings abound. John Paul’s widow Grace tells a tale to her sisters. The magnificent show comes to a gripping close in typically brilliant fashion.

Shantaram drops a breezy bad boy into Bombay’s underworld [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★

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Shantaram recap Apple TV+: Lindsey Ford (played by Charlie Hunnam) and Karla Saaranen (Antonia Desplat) go toe-to-toe in Shantaram.★★★
Lindsey Ford (played by Charlie Hunnam, left) and Karla Saaranen (Antonia Desplat) go toe-to-toe in Shantaram.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ Review In new Apple TV+ limited series Shantaram, Charlie Hunnam headlines as a man on the run from Australian authorities who starts over in Bombay — only to fall into still more trouble.

The ambitious drama, based on the best-selling book by Gregory David Roberts (which in turn was partly based on the author’s own experiences), charts a man’s new life in a hotbed of sin and all-but-sanctioned crime. Along the way, he discovers himself at long last in the least likely of settings.

Ugreen Nexode 140W Charger is a compact, multiport powerhouse [Review] ★★★★☆

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The 5-foot braided cable that comes with the charger is one of its highlights.★★★★☆
The 5-foot braided cable that comes with the charger is one of its highlights.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

In the fast-growing world of increasingly compact-yet-powerful gallium nitride (GaN) chargers, Ugreen is a player. The company has expanded its line of multiport chargers and recently sent me its Nexode 140W model to try out.

I found it potent, reasonably compact and a fine purchase for most people who need to charge laptops, tablets, smartphones and other devices — especially if they can get it at the discount below, which makes it an exceptional value.

Use classic Mac keyboards and mice with these adapters [Review]

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Extended Keyboard II and ADB Mouse II connected to my MacBook Pro and Cinema Display
You can use classic Mac keyboards and mice with a modern machine thanks to clever adapters and apps.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Apple’s modern keyboards are perfectly adequate but pretty unremarkable. They are anything but fun. But thanks to the wide selection of modern USB adapters from TinkerBOY, you can liven up your setup with long-lost keyboards and mice of yore.

You can use the legendary Apple Extended Keyboard II, with its unique key switches that make typing an almost ecstatic experience. You can get an adapter for the original Macintosh Mouse, for clicking and dragging like it’s 1984.

I get a fair share of products for review at Cult of Mac but none had me excitedly checking the mailbox every day like these. Read on for my experience using TinkerBOY’s keyboard and mouse adapters with a modern Mac.

iPhone 14 Plus review: Go big or go home ★★★★

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iPhone 14 Plus review: Go big or go home★★★★
The iPhone 14 Plus offers a big, beautiful display and impressive battery life at a nice price.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The iPhone 14 Plus combines two popular phone features: larger screens and lower prices. With a 6.7-inch screen, it offers Apple’s largest display but for a lot less money than any previous model this size.

I replaced my iPhone 13 with the larger Plus. The large screen and lengthy battery life make me happy with the change, and they’re why I recommend others choose a larger iPhone, too.

See takes its sweet time getting to its ultimate battle [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★☆☆

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See recap Apple TV+ ★★★☆☆
It's hugs all around this week on See.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewThe sky is falling this week on See, Apple TV+’s fantasy epic about a world with no sight. In the penultimate episode of the series, Baba Voss and Maghra have precious few resources left at hand to defend themselves from Sibeth Kane and Tormada’s explosives.

Harlan has one last gift to give Maghra. And Tormada learns what governing next to Sibeth really looks like. Plus, we get flashbacks to Baba and Maghra’s courtship. All in all, it’s a pretty good episode of a very silly show.

Bad Sisters goes rogue and serves up a delicious switcheroo [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★

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Bad Sisters recap Apple TV+ ★★★★
John Paul (played by Claes Bang, left) and Grace (Anne-Marie Duff) have something to celebrate.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ Review Apple TV+’s Bad Sisters has one last twist of fate in store for the Garvey girls and their target, dastardly brother-in-law John Paul.

This week, Roger finds out who’s the architect of his misfortune, Ursula swears it’s over with Ben, Theresa’s in the hospital, Matthew’s dripping with determination, Becka’s a liability, and Eva makes a choice.

The best part? Nothing, somehow, is at all what it seems. It’s another magnificent installment of the delectable dark comedy.