Suspicion puts Uma Thurman in the hot seat [Apple TV+ recap]

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Uma Thurman runs out of time in Suspicion
Uma Thurman runs out of time in Suspicion.
Photo: Apple TV+

The kidnapping suspects under Suspicion land in New York for their next rendezvous this week on Apple TV+’s thriller series.

As the noose tightens around them from the lead-hungry FBI and British police service, the group starts to look at each other askance more frequently than usual. Can they really trust each other? This week, there’s enough breathing room to soak up the tension. And Katherine Newman (played by Uma Thurman) finds herself in an uncomfortable situation.

Things get even weirder this week on Severance [Apple TV+ recap]

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Severance recap: Things are not going well for Helly.
Things are not going well for Helly.
Photo: Apple TV+

Severance takes a detour to a birthing cottage as Helly recovers from her suicide attempt and Mark recovers from having misjudged her so wildly. Now that he’s starting to see her side of things, he just has to hope it’s not too late.

Elsewhere in this week’s episode of the Apple TV+ hit about a company with extreme ideas about work/life balance, Irving and Burt circle each other. Mrs. Cobel grows nervous about her grip on the employees. And a psychiatrist comes in to monitor everyone.

Trust is running thin at Lumon Industries, and tensions are running high.

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey is Apple TV+ at its best [Apple TV+ recap]

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The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey recap: Samuel L. Jackson delivers a strong performance in this riveting new Apple TV+ series.
Samuel L. Jackson delivers an unforgettable performance in this riveting new series.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+ made an incredibly smart move picking up The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, based on the book of the same name by legendary writer Walter Mosley.

Directed by Ramin Bahrani, adapted by Mosley himself, and starring a searing Samuel L. Jackson, this is one of the best things to air on Apple TV+ so far. This sensitive and painful look at a man losing his memory at the end of a hard life is everything it ought to be.

Recharge your Apple Pencil 2 in this convenient case [Review]

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TechMatte Apple Pencil Gen 2 Charging Carrying Case review
With TechMatte’s charging case, your Apple Pencil.is ready to use wherever you go.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The TechMatte Apple Pencil Gen 2 Charging Carrying Case juices up the iPad’s official stylus when it’s not attached to the tablet. It’s a secure place to carry the Apple Pencil around, and keep it topped off when you’re on the go.

I tested this charging accessory to be sure it lives up to its promises.

Espresso Display V2 gives you the touchscreen Mac you’ve been craving [Review]

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Espresso Display V2 review
The Espresso Display V2 is a gorgeous external display that’s also a touchscreen.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Although Apple refuses to make a touchscreen Mac, the Espresso Display V2 is ready to fill in the gap. There are 15.6-inch and 13.3-inch versions of the very slim external display, and both support touch and an optional stylus.

I tested the screen with a MacBook and iPad to see how well it performs in ordinary use. And I also tried out the stylus as well as the stand for desktop use and the case for taking the display on the go.

On this week’s Servant, Leanne shows everyone who’s really in charge [Apple TV+ recap]

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Servant recap,
Don't mess with Leanne.
Photo: Apple TV+

Dorothy is getting fed up with Leanne and her followers on this week’s installment of Apple TV+ thriller Servant. The cultish mischief is ramped up as Leanne starts to exercise more overt and dark power over the goings on in the Turner household. And Dorothy realizes she’s no longer the one in control in a chaotic climactic vignette.

The endgame now looks like it’s going to be Dorothy and Leanne fighting for the soul of baby Jericho.

Severance drills down into darker matters [Apple TV+ recap]

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Severance recap: Lumon Industries' Harmony Cobel (played by Patricia Arquette) is up to no good.
Lumon Industries' Harmony Cobel (played by Patricia Arquette) is up to no good.
Photo: Apple TV+

Severance throws a couple of funerals this week, but only one might be final. Apple TV+’s satirical psychological thriller about the hazards of compartmentalizing runs into a grim cul-de-sac in the episode, with some people giving up and others giving in.

The show’s purposefully lifeless world of corporate culture and suburban malaise find darker territory than ever this week as it becomes clear that each character, in their own way, will stop at nothing to do the job they deem most important.

The Afterparty peters out in lame season finale [Apple TV+ recap]

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The Afterparty season finale recap: It's Maggie's turn to talk in the season finale.
It's Maggie's turn to talk in the season one finale.
Photo: Apple TV+

The first season of Apple TV+ “comedy” The Afterparty draws to a merciful close with its final piece of evidence this week. The show, about the half-dozen witness statements relevant to solving the mysterious death of a pop star, has one more story to tell. This time, the last suspect is no suspect at all, but rather a little girl who happened to see the whole thing.

The Afterparty consistently dragged its feet on the way to this magnificently inessential and perfunctory wrap-up of season one. (Yes, shockingly, Apple TV+ recently renewed this “global hit” for a second season.)

The series’ first season never generated any interest or momentum over the course of eight episodes, so why change now? Let’s put this body in the ground.

The Suspicion five plan their getaway [Apple TV+ recap]

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Suspicion recap: Things are getting dicey for Katherine (played by Uma Thurman).
Things are getting dicey for Katherine (played by Uma Thurman).
Photo: Apple TV+

The suspects are on the move this week on Apple TV+’s terrorism thriller Suspicion. As the five make their moves to leave the United Kingdom, there are loose ends to be tied up and strings they can’t see pulling puppets they can’t identify.

Secret identities and allegiances fall out of the woodwork left and right. And it seems like the next big chase is just around the corner. These people are far from safe.

The show’s thrills are now in the every idle second spent getting the characters from one place to the next, the big picture so fragile that one slip-up could shatter it to pieces.

Dear… returns with more gut-wrenching stories to inspire you [Apple TV+ review]

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Dear... review Apple TV+ season 2: High-minded celebrities like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar get the celebration they deserve in this Apple TV+ series.
Righteous celebrities like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar get the celebration they deserve in this inspiring series.
Photo: Apple TV+

Dear…, the Apple TV+ show about the public figures who inspire millions, returns for a second season Friday with a new roster of guest stars and a renewed purpose.

The filmed segments — during which we see people who write letters to the inspirational celebrities, as well as the celebs themselves — look splashier this time. The stories prove more gut-wrenching, and Lin-Manuel Miranda is nowhere in sight.

This show’s setup is an easy layup, but sometimes there’s satisfaction in that.

This might be the coolest AirPods case money can buy [Review]

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Elago-W3-AirPods-case
It looks like a tiny Macintosh!
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

UPDATE: Elago’s awesome W3 case, which makes your AirPods look like a tiny Macintosh, is now available for the latest (third-generation) AirPods and AirPods Pro. Read on for our full review.

AirPods won’t win any awards for their durability. Their shiny plastic case picks up scratches faster than a hip hop DJ’s latest vinyl. So you should protect them with a decent case.

And they don’t come much cooler than those from Elago. This one is like carrying a tiny little Macintosh with you wherever you go. And prices start at just $11.99.

Here’s our full review.

Take your iPhone’s MagSafe charger on the road with this slim case and stand combo [Review]

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Speck Presidio Pro Folio for MagSafe review
The Speck Presidio Pro Folio for MagSafe lets you easily take Apple MagSafe charger on the go. And it’s a useful travel stand.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple’s iPhone MagSafe charger is one of the best ways to juice up a handset, but it’s not really a travel accessory. That’s where the Speck Presidio Pro Folio for MagSafe comes in. It’s a slim case for Apple’s wireless charger that also acts as a viewing stand for an iPhone.

I tried it out, and I’m quite pleased with the accessory.

Severance goes on a serious head trip this week [Apple TV+ recap]

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Severance recap: Lumon employees go on a field trip this week.
Severance recap: Lumon employees go on a revealing field trip this week.
Photo: Apple TV+

New Apple TV+ thriller/comedy Severance takes a visit to a motivational museum this week. Actors Adam Scott, Britt Lower, Patricia Arquette, John Turturro and Yul Vasquez continue to do amazing work with their offbeat characters in this satirical study of the depressing nature of punching the clock.

Severance’s unique look and science fiction premise continue to pay dividends rich enough to get over some of the hurdles the show occasionally throws at the rational part of your brain.

A dinner party goes deliciously sideways this week on Servant [Apple TV+ recap]

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Servant recap Apple TV+: Leanne (played by Nell Tiger Free) lets loose in this week's unnerving and surprisingly funny episode.
Leanne (played by Nell Tiger Free) lets loose in this week's unnerving and surprisingly funny episode.
Photo: Apple TV+

The Turners throw a truly miserable dinner party on this week’s Servant, the Apple TV+ show about demonic forces assailing the residents of a Philadelphia brownstone.

Leanne makes it her business to embarrass Sean’s guest, Dorothy spies something she shouldn’t, and sober Julian just drinks it all in.

The funniest and most daringly tense episode of the show — powered by Servant creator Tony Basgallop, showrunner M. Night Shyamalan and a host of incredible writers and directors — takes no prisoners. It also gives Nell Tiger Free some of the best comic work she’s done on the show to date.

The Afterparty’s cop show parody shoots and misses [Apple TV+ recap]

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The Afterparty recap: Detective Danner (played by Tiffany Haddish) reports for duty in a dreadful flashback episode.
Detective Danner (played by Tiffany Haddish) reports for duty in a dreadful flashback episode.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+’s The Afterparty, the show with a kaleidoscopic approach to genre, hits a new low this week as it becomes a dreadful procedural for its penultimate episode. The show has been many things by now — an unfunny cartoon, a musical, an action movie, an arthouse experiment — but it’s never fully just given into being bad television on purpose before now.

There’s something frankly a little insulting about being asked to watch a half-hearted impression of something The Afterparty creator Christopher Miller and the show’s writers keep telling us is bad and a waste of time and unrealistic. I’d much rather just watch a rerun of JAG on Pluto TV than continue with this baleful re-creation.

What, for heaven’s sakes, is the point of The Afterparty?

Suspicion serves up a classic mystery riff [Apple TV+ recap]

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Suspicion recap: Natalie (played by Georgina Campbell) goes sideways this week on Suspicion.
Natalie (played by Georgina Campbell) goes sideways this week on Suspicion.
Photo: Apple TV+

Apple TV+’s Suspicion has gathered its suspects together and now they have to decide who’s who — and more to the point, who’s guilty.

It’s a Ten Little Indians riff this week as everyone accuses everyone of being more guilty than they are. The suspects are going to have to come as clean as they can if they want to make it out of this bottle episode alive.

Rob Williams and his writers have crafted a nifty detour for these characters as they work together to figure out who’s put them in the spotlight and why. The nation is starting to think they’re heroes, but they might kill each other before any new evidence comes to light and they can prove their innocence.

10 tough cases that keep your iPhone in top condition

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10 tough cases for iPhone
Ensure your iPhone always looks brand-new.
Photos: OtterBox, Casetify, LifeProof, SwitchEasy, Elago

If you want your iPhone to always look brand-new — even after you’ve dropped it over and over again — you’ll need a rugged case that offers plenty of impact protection. And there are loads of tough iPhone cases to choose from.

We rounded up 10, starting at just $7.99, that are all built to be robust bodyguards for your iPhone.

Juice up Apple Watch on the go with this compact travel charger [Review]

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Ampere Apple Watch Charging Cable review
The Ampere Apple Watch Charging Cable fits easily into your luggage, and is ready to power up your wearable.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Ampere’s Apple Watch Charging Cable is a lot more portable than Apple’s. With its short cable, it fits easily in a purse or gear bag. As a bonus, it’s partially made from recycled ocean plastic.

I put the MFi-certified Apple Watch travel charger through its paces. Here’s how it did in real-world testing.

Servant takes us on a folk-horror funhouse ride [Apple TV+ recap]

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Servant recap
Leanne gets to have a little fun this week on Servant. But not too much.
Photo: Apple TV+

Servant heads off to the carnival this week as Apple TV+’s show about the madness lurking near a Philadelphia brownstone nudges crisis ever nearer to nanny Leanne and the Turners.

Writer/creator Tony Basgallop and director/producer M. Night Shyamalan prove once again they have a real eye for talent as this week’s hired guns do incredible work building an unyielding atmosphere of discomfort and discovery.

Leanne is finally ready to let her guard down, and the people watching her seem to know it, but who’s watching who, exactly? There’s still an open question about allegiances — and it’s about to get more complicated. There will be blood … and funnel cake.

Suspicion adds a new suspect — and an unexpected twist [Apple TV+ recap]

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Kunal Nayyar and Tom Rhys-Harries in Suspicion
Aadesh and Eddie think maybe they can find the real kidnappers.
Photo: Apple TV+

The kidnapping of Leo Newman remains unsolved in this week’s episode of Apple TV+ thriller Suspicion, as a new suspect enters the game and the stakes jump into the rafters for all concerned. No one is ever going back to their old lives after this.

The original three suspects are taking stock of the damage done to their personal existences when in walks new patsy Eddie and Sean, the psychopath who looks to be out to get away with kidnapping and murder.

It’s been standard-issue mistaken identity so far. But what happens when the body count starts climbing? When the suspects increase without any rhyme or reason? This week’s mostly very solid episode of Suspicion starts asking harder questions — and giving more dispiriting answers.

On The Afterparty, even a cartoon isn’t funny [Apple TV+ recap]

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The Afterparty recap,
What's going on here? Whatever it is, it isn't amusing.
Photo: Apple TV+

This week on Apple TV+ show The Afterparty, we hear from the final suspect who attended the reunion that ended with pop star Xavier’s murder. So, if you’ve loved hearing about these events over and over — congratulations! You’re getting them one more time, this time delivered in the form of an unremarkable animated TV show.

Newly single mom Zoë takes Detective Danner through her version of the events that took place that deadly night. Naturally, she makes plenty of detours to talk about her life as a mom and a divorcee, and how hard all of this has been for her.

Her story would prove more compelling if these points hadn’t already been made in the previous five episodes of this dreadful show. It only took half of this short season for The Afterparty to run out of steam. All in all, it’s a pitiful display from comedy performers who should know better.

Carry an AirTag in style with clever Orbitkey holders [Review]

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Orbitkey AirTag holders reviews
Attach an AIrTag to your keys or other item with the Orbitkey Leather Holder or Slim Case.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Orbitkey offers a pair of AirTag holders that make it easy to attach Apple’s tracking tag to your keys or purse. The Slim Case has a minimalistic design, while the Leather Holder wraps the AirTag in a stylish sleeve.

I used both holders to see how they stood up to real-world use.

Lincoln’s Dilemma delivers a compelling history lesson [Apple TV+ review]

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Lincoln's Dilemma review: Apple TV+ Abraham Lincoln documentary offers fresh look at the Great Emancipator.
The new documentary offers a fresh look at the Great Emancipator.
Photo: Apple TV+

New Apple TV+ docu-series Lincoln’s Dilemma delivers a fine history lesson in classical PBS form. The four-part series, which premieres today, brings you the story of Lincoln’s presidency and the ways in which he approached the issue of slavery, from his first dealings with the issue until his death at the hands of a Confederate sympathizer.

Stewarded by executive producer/directors Jacqueline Olive and Barak Goodman, executive producer Jelani Cobb and a host of historians and activists, the series’ form is likely too sturdy and utilitarian to change the way anyone views Lincoln.

However, the filmmakers’ intent is admirable. They set out to neither oversell nor undersell Lincoln and his views on slavery, how history has sought to simplify the political figures of the 1860s, and how the Great Emancipator was and was not an adequate moniker for the 16th president of the United States.

Colorful canvas bands a strong, stylish fit for Apple Watch [Review]

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Monowear-Urban-Canvas-Apple-Watch-1
Canvas doesn't have to be dull.
Photo: Adel Neal/Cult of Mac

Monowear’s gorgeous Urban Canvas bands are a terrific match for Apple Watch. They’re nicely priced at just $38, and they come in a range of great color options that go well with almost anything.

Here’s why they’re some of the toughest and most surprising Apple Watch bands I’ve worn to date.

Severance thrills with a sci-fi descent into workplace hell [Apple TV+ recap]

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Adam Scott in Severance
Who said maintaining a work-life balance should be easy? Or nonsurgical?
Photo: Apple TV+

New Apple TV+ dark comedy/thriller Severance centers on a company man with an unusual relationship to himself and his job. Every day he goes to work, and his brain stays behind.

At work Mark’s a new man — one who doesn’t have to think about his grief or his petty social problems. At home, he’s a sad sack who doesn’t know he’s about to stumble into a conspiracy.

Comedy veteran Ben Stiller and first-time showrunner/writer Dan Erickson collaborated on Severance, which premieres Friday. The unconventional show takes pointed satirical swipes at modern workplace culture, but ultimately offers a deeper look at the meaning of life.