3 Reasons to Watch: Slow Horses, the acerbic Apple TV+ spy thriller

By

Jackson Lamb is no James Bond, but Slow Horses is an excellent spy thriller nonetheless.
Image: Apple TV+

Slow Horses, the Apple TV+ spy thriller based on the Slough House novels by British novelist Mick Herron, spices up its twisty-turny plots with witty dialogue and convincing performances.

Lead character Jackson Lamb, a rumpled British spook played by Gary Oldman, runs the misfit spy shop known as Slough House. Everyone on his team (known as the “Slow Horses”) screwed up in a major way professionally, earning them their one-way ticket to Lamb’s dusty, low-rent M15 leper colony. Lamb torments them at nearly every turn with a mordant mix of skepticism and ridicule.

Here are three reasons you should watch Slow Horses the Apple TV+, which fires up its third season today.

AI generates weird and wonderful wallpaper for Mac [Awesome Apps]

By

Gemoo AI Wallpaper Generator
Type in a descriptive prompt and get that wallpaper on your Mac desktop.
Photo: Gemoo
Awesome Apps

Sick of the same old desktop wallpaper on your Mac? Developer Gemoo recently released a free AI Wallpaper Generator app that lets you replace your screen’s background visual with pretty much whatever you can think of in terms of a prompt, and with your choice of artistic style.

With 10 wallpaper prompts per day on the free version, it’s fun to play with. And if you need more, you can get the Pro version — once Gemoo settles on a pricing plan for it.

Solid standing desk doesn’t break the bank [Review] ★★★★☆

By

Fezibo All-in-One Standing Desk★★★★☆
This Fezibo standing desk gets the job done nicely -- and on the cheap.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

When I moved to a new place recently, I decided to get serious about an expanded and ergonomically healthy computer setup — including a solid and surprisingly affordable electric standing desk from Fezibo.

Better-known standing desks often go for $600 or more, but my spacious, handsome and practical desk cost me just $261. And so far it’s reliable, with just a couple of small caveats.

iPad gift guide: Pick the best tablet to give your loved ones

By

iPad gift guide: Pick the best model to give your loved ones
We have expert advice on choosing the best iPad to give as a gift.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

iPad makes a spectacular gift. Apple tablets are very popular, and everyone from little Billy to Grandma will enjoy one.

But there’s a wide array of models to choose from. In this guide, we go through all the options to explore their pros and cons as gifts.

Never miss a delivery with this free package-tracking app [Awesome Apps]

By

AfterShip package tracker
A package tracking app with all the features you expect, and it costs nothing.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac
Awesome Apps

AfterShip Package Tracker is a free app that does exactly what it says in the name: It tracks your packages. You can see all your orders in one place, when they will arrive, and how close they are geographically to you. Push notifications are fast and alert you when your items are on their way.

Plus, unlike just about every other package-tracking app for iOS, AfterShip Package Tracker is totally free, with no in-app purchases.

Premium iPad stylus takes on Apple Pencil with pressure sensitivity and buttons [Review] ★★★

By

Adonit Note+ 2 review★★★
Adonit Note+ 2 is actually better than Apple Pencil 2 in a couple of ways.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Adonit Note+ 2 is an iPad stylus with all the usual features as well as pressure sensitivity and a pair of programmable buttons. Plus there are writing tips in hard, medium and soft. These make it much better option for digital artists than typical styli. It actually goes head-to-head with Apple Pencil 2.

An iPad Pro is my primary computer, so I took the Note+ 2 for a hands-on test drive.

Inexpensive stand makes your Apple Watch into a desk accessory [Review]

By

HEDock review
The HEDock holds an Apple Watch in portrait or landscape mode.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Your Apple Watch can still be useful, even when you’re not wearing it. The HEDock holds the Watch up at a convenient angle while it’s charging.

This simple, very affordable accessory could be just what your desk or bedside table needs. And it’s on sale until the end of this year in the Cult of Mac Store for just $7.50.

Napoleon stands tall as one of Ridley Scott’s finest films [Apple TV+ review] ★★★★☆

By

Napoleon (played by Joaquin Phoenix) leads the charge on a grim battlefield.★★★★☆
Napoleon (played by Joaquin Phoenix) leads the charge on a grim battlefield. But Ridley Scott's Napoleon isn't all about war.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ Review Apple TV+ took its biggest gambles this year as a distributor of theatrical features with gargantuan budgets and run times to match, hoping that America will want to return to the epics of yesteryear in time for the holidays.

With Martin Scorsese’s heartbreaking Killers of the Flower Moon garnering headlines and climbing toward recouping its budget, here comes Ridley Scott’s Napoleon. The Apple Original biopic about the diminutive French emperor — in theaters now, and coming to Apple’s streaming service at some point in the future — proves Apple TV+ is a safe bet for good movies.

Coupling unfliniching violence with a keen sense of the absurd, it’s one of Scott’s finest films.

For All Mankind bets big on outlandish Russian plot line [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★☆☆

By

For All Mankind, season 4, episode 3, Russian space agency★★★☆☆
After enduring torture during a coup attempt, a battered and dazed Margo Madison is offered work at the Russian space agency.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ Review Sure enough, last week’s hints of looming unrest blossom this week in a full-scale coup against Mikhail Gorbachev in alt-history drama series For All Mankind, season 4, episode 3, “The Bear Hug.” And who’s in the middle of it all? Why, the former head of NASA, of course — Margo Madison.

In the span of one episode — released Wednesday instead of Friday for the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend — she gets horribly tortured and finds herself in a big new space-agency job. But it ain’t NASA this time. I’d say you can’t make this stuff up, but someone did. Meanwhile, another coup unfolds at private space-exploration company Helios Aerospace.

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters episode 3 references you might have missed [Apple TV+ recap]

By

Godzilla and an H-bomb in Monarch: Legacy of Monsters episode 3
Let's nuke Godzilla!
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ Review Apple TV+ slipped out the third episode of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters a few days early so Godzilla could arrive in time for Thanksgiving. Here’s a quick recap that puts it in context not only with the earlier episodes and MonsterVerse movies but also events of the 20th century.

Read on if you’re ready for massive spoilers about the latest episode, plus some speculation about the show’s future.

AirPods gift guide: Choose the best models and accessories

By

AirPods Buying Guide: Choosing the best models and accessories
Gifting AirPods for the holidays? Here's all you need to know.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

A gift that always goes down well with Apple fans, no matter the time of year, is a brand-new pair of AirPods. But it’s important to ensure you pick the right pair out of the four on offer if you really want to impress.

In our AirPods buying guide, we’ll help you choose between AirPods 2, AirPods 3, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max — and highlight some of the best cases and charging accessories to go with them.

Elago Clear band for Apple Watch looks great, feels even greater [Review]

By

Elago Clear band for Apple Watch
It's also a steal at under $13.
Photo: Adel Neal/Cult of Mac

Almost everything is cooler when you can see right through it. Sadly, Apple stopped making transparent devices when it discontinued the iconic iMac G3. But for those craving that retro look, Elago offers a transparent Clear band for Apple Watch that looks absolutely terrific.

Made from a strong and lightweight thermoplastic, it’s incredibly comfortable to wear all day long. And it’s insanely affordable at less than $13. I’ve been wearing one for months now and it has easily become one of my favorite Apple Watch bands.

Best USB-C hubs for iPhone 15

By

These are the best USB-C hubs you can buy for iPhone 15, iPad, Mac, and MacBook.
Bag yours from as little as $6.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Apple’s decision to finally ditch Lightning in favor of USB-C on iPhone 15 means that you now have infinitely greater flexibility when it comes to connectivity. Whether you want to hook up storage drives, an external display, or even an Ethernet cable, you can do it all with USB-C.

But there is a catch. First, you’ll need a suitable USB-C hub or adapter that lets you connect all the peripherals you want to use through one port. Here are the best USB-C hubs you can buy today for iPhone 15.

Monarch: Legacy of Monsters references you might have missed [Apple TV+ recap]

By

'Monarch: Legacy of Monsters' on Apple TV+
TL;DR: 'Monarch: Legacy of Monsters' is awesome.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewMonarch: Legacy of Monsters stomped onto Apple TV+ on Friday, bringing the biggest star yet to the streaming service: Godzilla.

As a lifetime fan of kaiju films, I’m here to review the first two episodes, and also to remind viewers of MonsterVerse lore brought up in the new series. I even throw in some speculation on what’s coming in later episodes.

Craft 74 new workouts on Apple Watch with SmartGym app [Awesome Apps]

By

SmartGym 7 for Apple Watch
Time to get ripped with SmartGym 7 for Apple Watch. Or at least fit.
Photo: SmartGym
Awesome Apps

The SmartGym app is already well-loved by Apple Watch users, and its recent update adds more than 70 new workouts and loads of convenient new functionality.

And it’s considered so good it’s currently up against two other finalist apps to win the App Store Award for Apple Watch App of the Year.

On For All Mankind‘s Mars, the working man’s life sucks (and then he dies, probably) [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★

By

Miles Dale (Toby Kebbell) in For All Mankind★★★
Miles Dale and his new Helios colleagues are psyched to work on Mars. But that doesn't last long.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ Review Last week’s season four opener of Apple TV+ alt-history drama series For All Mankind went necessarily big to catch everyone up and start off with a bang. So it’s not surprising episode two establishes a more practical stride, focusing on the realities of life in a working Mars colony.

Turns out life sucks for the working man up there in more ways than just an alarming chance of fatality. Life in Happy Valley, Mars, also tells a deeply unfair tale of haves and have-nots, just like on Earth.

This 4K portable monitor is beautiful and surprisingly affordable [Review] ★★★★

By

KYY K3-3 Portable Monitor -- simulated screen image★★★★
The KYY K3-3 Portable Monitor is 4K and looks much better than you might expect given its price.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The KYY K3-3 Portable Monitor adds a high-quality second screen to your Mac or iPad. Even some iPhones. It’s 15.6 inches and has a 4K resolution, so it’s designed for work and play wherever you go.

I tested the reasonably priced second screen in my home office and when working remotely to see how it stands up to real-world use. I like it more than I expected to.

Best MagSafe wallets for iPhone

By

These are the best MagSafe wallets you can buy for iPhone.
There's a MagSafe wallet for everyone.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

One of the best ways to use MagSafe on iPhone is to make it carry your wallet. It means you don’t have to remember to pick up multiple items every time you leave the house, and it ensures that you always have access to credit and ID cards that you can’t carry virtually in the Apple Wallet app.

Now that we’ve had MagSafe for a few years, there are lots of great wallets to choose from. Here are six of the best that you can slap onto the back of your iPhone today.

Tame cord spaghetti with Function101’s Cable Blocks [Review]

By

Function 101 Cable Blocks cord management
Function 101's rubbery magnetic Cable Blocks are my favorite cord management system.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Almost every day, our robot vacuum tangles itself in charging cables, which the kids toss cavalierly across the floor. Snaking from behind the couch, the cords wait like baited fishing lines to ensnare our unsuspecting Roomba. It’s an unmitigated cable management disaster.

Luckily, we just got some Cable Blocks from Function101. Cable Blocks are rubbery little magnetic blocks that sit on your desk or nightstand and hold cables out of the way. It’s a simple and clever design.

Here’s why Cable Blocks are my favorite cable management system.

Block all YouTube ads with the best Safari extension ever [Awesome Apps]

By

Vinegar running on iOS
No ads. Picture-in-picture. Background play. All in one extension. Perfect, no notes.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac
Awesome Apps

If you love YouTube but hate YouTube ads, Vinegar is the best Safari extension you can download. It blocks all ads on YouTube and restores many iOS-native features like playing videos in the background, picture-in-picture, and more on iPhone, iPad and Mac alike.

YouTube ads are freaking insufferable. But if you don’t want to put down the dough for YouTube Premium (currently $13.99 per month), you can pay a one-time fee of just $1.99 to buy Vinegar for all your Apple devices.

If you ever watch YouTube, Vinegar is life-changing. Get it now on the App Store for iOS, iPadOS and macOS.

Play ’80s synths, surf with a solid VPN, test hard drive for video and find great Italian food [Awesome Apps]

By

iPhone ad in the style of vintage Works Progress Administration artwork
This week's awesome apps include a retro synthesizer, a solid VPN, a quick test for hard drives and a guide to Italian eateries.
Image: Midjourney/Cult of Mac
Awesome Apps

In this week’s Awesome Apps roundup, we have a synthesizer app that brings back the sound of the ’80s, a solid VPN for safely surfing the Web, an app for testing external drives for recording high-res video, and a guide to the best eateries in Italy.

For All Mankind season 4 launches with painful look back [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★

By

For All Mankind season 4★★★
Graying XO Ed Baldwin (Joel Kinnaman) pilots a craft with a Soviet colleague in "For All Mankind" season 4.
Photo: Apple TV+

Alternative-history space-race drama series For All Mankind returned to Apple TV+ Friday with a season 4 opener that handled two tough jobs pretty well — painfully looking back at past tragedies and peering ahead with trepidation to probable new ones. After all, space is dangerous and so are people.

In an episode called “Glasnost,” set 8 years after the end of season 3, For All Mankind sets its sites on asteroid wealth and a joint mission led by the United States and Russia to get it. And it doesn’t take long for people to start dying up there.