Why everyone’s upset about AirPods Pro, and Tim Cook’s favorite shower tech, this week on The CultCast

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CulCast 424
Finally, you too can shower like Tim Cook. We'll tell you how.
Photo: YSR50

This week on The CultCast: it’s not your imagination, Apple changed AirPods Pro and it made them worse—we’ll tell you what’s going on. Plus: a new report says Apple caved to FBI pressure to keep your iCloud backups less safe. And stay tuned to hear about about Tim Cook’s favorite new… shower tech? Rub a dub dub my friends.

Our thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode. Easily create a beautiful website all by yourself, at Squarespace.com/cultcast, and use offer code CultCast at checkout for 10% off your first purchase.

Today in Apple history: Apple ships the first Mac

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Apple lays out the strengths of the revolutionary Macintosh 128K in an original Mac ad.
Apple lays out the strengths of the revolutionary Macintosh 128K.
Photo: Apple

January 24: Today in Apple history: Apple ships the first Mac January 24, 1984: Apple ships its first Mac, the mighty Macintosh 128K.

Bringing a mouse and graphical user interface to the masses, and heralded by an acclaimed Super Bowl commercial that’s still talked about today, the first-gen Mac will quickly become one of the most important personal computers ever released.

Profile focuses on Apple’s cutthroat buying practices and ‘The Blevinator’

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Apple vice president of procurement, Tony Blevins
The Wall Street Journal profile on Apple purchasing executive Tony Blevins, shown above, gives an inside perspective on the company's tough negotiating tactics.
Photo: North Carolina State University

In a feature piece based largely on background sources, the Wall Street Journal Thursday profiled Apple’s vice president of procurement giving a unique insight into the dog-eat-dog business of buying components from third-party suppliers for Apple products.

Doqo turns iPad Pro into MacBook with 7 ports [Review]

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Doqo keyboard with 12.9-inch iPad Pro
The Doqo keyboard with 12.9-inch iPad Pro has advantages even over a MacBook.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Anyone who longs for the days when MacBooks came with tons of ports can look to the Doqo, an iPad Pro keyboard case that includes a pair of USB-A ports, HDMI, memory card readers, and more. There’s also a trackpad and full-size keyboard. This could be the touchscreen laptop you’ve been hoping for.

I’ve extensively used the Doqo keyboard with a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and explore its advantages and problems in this review.

This Command key shortcut will change how you use your Mac

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command key
Take command.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

There are two kinds of Mac users. The sad, harried folks who don’t know how to use this easy, essential, life-changing Command key trick. And the happy, efficient, relaxed people who learned it years ago. If you’ve seen the movie Back to the Future, it’s like the difference between the two 2015 versions of George McFly, before and after Marty screws around with the 1950s. This trick will change your life.

Are you ready?

Why TikTok could become Apple Music’s scariest rival

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2020 is the year everyone wants to be TikTok famous.
Everyone wants to be TikTok famous. In fact, TikTok could be the wave that crashes Apple Music's ship.
Photo: Aaron Yoo/Flickr CC

It’s the year 2020 and absolutely everyone is making a streaming service, including TikTok.

The budding social network is hard at work inking licensing deals for its upcoming music streaming service, Resso, that will compete against Spotify and Apple Music. TikTok owner ByteDance reportedly struck a deal with the agency Merlin, which represents tens of thousands of artists, paving the way for the company to launch its music app globally.

Shifting focus from being a video-sharing app to creating a music platform may seem like an odd move for TikTok. But after months of binging on TikTok videos, I’m convinced it could become the biggest threat to Apple Music and Spotify.

Apple says EU’s potential charging cable mandate ‘stifles innovation’

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iPhone Lightning connector
New regulations could force Apple to ditch Lightning cables in Europe.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple today argued against the European Union’s demands for standardized charging cables for smartphones and other devices.

New regulations being considered by the EU could force Apple to ditch the iPhone’s familiar Lightning connector for an industry-wide alternative. Apple said the move “stifles innovation” and hurt smartphone buyers.

“Apple stands for innovation and deeply cares about the customer experience,” Apple said in a statement to Cult of Mac. “We believe regulation that forces conformity across the type of connector built into all smartphones stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, and would harm consumers in Europe and the economy as a whole.”

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That didn't take long.
Photo: The Tetris Company

Get this powerful VPN protection for up to 10 devices — on sale today! [Deals]

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VPN Unlimited Main
Protect your online activity and identity, while also bypassing annoying location-based content restrictions.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

If you’re not using a VPN when you go online, what are you even doing? On public or private networks, it’s one of the best ways to stay secure and anonymous online, along with other benefits. So if you’re dragging your feet with a VPN, now’s the time to get on board.