iPhone 8 Plus brings solid improvements to an already-great device [Review]

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iPhone
There's no denying the iPhone 8 is a great phone, but can it shine through the iPhone X's shadow?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Compared to the radical redesign of the iPhone X, the iPhone 8 Plus looks quite familiar. With the exception of a glass back and a few superficial changes, it employs the same form factor that Apple’s been using since the iPhone 6 Plus. However, it packs some serious internal upgrades that make a difference in day-to-day use.

I picked up the 8 Plus on launch day and have been using it for just over a week. How does it rate? Get my take in the video and written reviews below. Also, don’t miss our huge iPhone 8 and 8 Plus case giveaway at the bottom of the post.

Outfit your Series 3 with a ballistic nylon NATO band [Review]

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Nyloon's Elysee Nylon Band for Apple Watch in navy, white and red has a comfortable, fabric-like feel.
Nyloon's Elysee Nylon Apple Watch Strap in navy, white and red has a comfortable, fabric-like feel.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Breathe new life into your existing Apple Watch or customize your new Series 3 with a cool, contemporary nylon band inspired by the original NATO strap of the 1970s. Best yet, these bands compare in quality to Apple’s nylon offering, and cost ten bucks less.

Nyloon started with the goal of making high-quality versions of the NATO straps created by the British Ministry of Defence in 1973. The result is a line of sporty, versatile and easily interchangeable nylon bands that sell fast.

Check out Watch Store’s full lineup of Nylon bands for Apple Watch, and read on to learn more about Nyloon’s must-have strap.

Best shelf apps for iOS 11 so far

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shelf apps
Shelves are super-useful, in real life and in iOS 11.
Photo: Ismus/Flickr CC

iOS 11’s neat Split View and Drag and Drop implementation has spawned a new class of apps, for iOS at least: shelf apps. These apps provide a slide-out shelf, or junk drawer, into which you can drag items for temporary storage.

This proves useful for all kinds of reasons. You may want to gather up a whole bunch of files for different places before dragging them into an email. You may want to have oft-used files, or snippets of text, or URLs close to hand, or you may like to use a shelf to organize a project, keeping everything together.

However you use them, you can find several shelf apps on the App Store so far, with more arriving all the time. Here’s a look at the Cult of Mac pick for best shelf app (along with a few other options that offer different features).

Apple TV 4K is almost picture-perfect [Review]

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Apple TV Siri Remote
An Apple TV under the tree is sure to bring a smile.
Photo: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple TV has finally caught up with the 4K revolution.

It may be late to the game, but Apple’s newest set-top box pulls out all the stops to be the best on the field. It’s packing incredibly powerful new hardware that leaves competitors in the dust, and a much-improved tvOS platform that is years ahead of its rivals.

It may seem pricey starting at $179, but with amazingly sharp videos and great apps and games all rolled into one, Apple TV 4K is well worth the upgrade.

Watch our Apple TV video review:

Apple Watch 3 reviews: LTE is big, but battery life suffers

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Apple Watch Series 3
Is Apple Watch 3 worth the upgrade fee?
Photo: Apple

Early reviews of the Apple Watch Series 3 are now dropping ahead of its official debut on Friday, September 22. If you’re still in two minds about whether you should upgrade, they should help you make that all-important decision.

The general consensus is that LTE is a great addition to Apple’s wearable lineup. Just don’t expect a drastically different experience, and prepare yourself for some early teething troubles.

Best iPhone X and iPhone 8 camera accessories

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8_Roundup_Camera
The new iPhone 8 and X cameras are incredible. These accessories make them even better.
Photo: Moment

The iPhone’s camera is good enough that it can be most people’s only camera — including professional photographers. The iPhone is a multi-purpose computer, though, not just a camera, so it can sometimes do with a little help when it comes to ergonomics, or to adding a little extra reach with a telephoto lens. These are the iPhone 8 camera gizmos you should buy:

Best iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus cases so far

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8_Cases
Which iPhone case have you picked?
Photo: Mujjo

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus may cost as much as the top-end iPhone X, but that certainly doesn’t mean you don’t want to protect your new iPhone.

You’ll find a range of cases on the market. Ultra-thin “skins” will to protect your iPhone 8 from scratches without changing its appearance much. Heavy-duty armor will save it from concrete smashes. And wallet-style cases let get organized. Here are our top picks for the iPhone 8/8 Plus cases you need to know about.

iOS 11 will change the way you use your iPad [Review]

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iOS 11 on iPad
New features in iOS 11 make the iPad a multitasking beast.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

IOS 11 is a huge update to Apple’s mobile operating system, but only if you’re using an iPad. While the iPhone gets its fair share of tweaks and polish, the iPad is transformed into a different machine. When you install iOS 11, your iPad will be transformed from a big iPhone, into a slick mobile computer. It has completely changed how I use my iPad, to the extent that I probably never need to buy another Mac again.

The headline features are drag-and-drop between apps, a new Mac-like Dock, a Finder-like app named Files, and a radically re-thought Control Center that echoes the one found in — you guessed it — the Mac. IOS 11, then, brings many of the Mac’s best features to the iPad, but redesigned to suit the touch screen.

What does this mean for daily use? It means that Mac and PC users can switch to the iPad without having to relearn how to do everything, and existing users will no longer feel like they have their hands tied while trying to do the simplest tasks.

Apple Watch just got way more stylish [Review]

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bezels
We love the high quality of Bezel & Bytes' genuine leather Apple Watch bands with added bling. All hardware is stainless steel and nickel-free.
Photo: Bezels & Bytes

Ladies, take note: Now’s the time to up your style game for fall with beautiful Apple Watch bands designed for women by women.

Transform your tech into a chic fashion accessory with Bezels & Bytes’ decidedly girlie collection of bling-accented bands that’ll take you seamlessly from work to play.

And, get a free pair of Triple Stud Earrings from Bezels & Bytes (a $25 value!) while supplies last when purchasing through Watch Store.