Keep iPhone going with Belkin’s power bank/wall charger [Review] ★★★★☆

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Belkin BoostCharge Hybrid Wall Charger 25W + Power Bank 5K review★★★★☆
Juice up your devices even when there's no power socket in sight with Belkin's wall charger and power bank.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

A wall charger is useless when there’s no power socket handy. That’s why Belkin recently launched one that has a built-in battery so it’s ready to charge up your iPhone even when you’re off the grid.

Belkin BoostCharge Hybrid Wall Charger 25W + Power Bank 5K has a pair of USB ports and flip-out power prongs for maximum adaptability.

I put it through a series of tests with my iPhone 15 Plus, and it came through quite well.

Here are all the best apps and games for Vision Pro

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Vision Pro Home View Apps
We’ve found all the neatest apps for Apple’s latest device.
Image: Apple

The best Vision Pro apps, games, demos and experiences showcase the AR capabilities of Apple’s headset.

If you own a Vision Pro and don’t know where to start, I put together a list of apps and games to try out first. Alternatively, if you can’t afford a headset (or if you live outside the United States), you can live vicariously through me as I show you all of the most interesting Vision Pro apps I’ve found.

I highly recommend you check out the companion video to this article to see these apps in action. Alternatively, you can continue reading below.

This pocket-size charger juices up Apple Watch anywhere [Review] ★★★★

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qCharge 2.0 review★★★★
qCharge 2.0 is a combination Apple Watch charger and battery ready to go where you go.
Photo: Adel Neal/Cult of Mac

qCharge 2.0 from Citius Systems is a power bank with built-in charger especially for Apple Watch. With one of these, you can replenish the device almost anywhere, no wall socket needed.

I tested it out with my own Watch. Here’s why I like it.

Vision Pro gives a first look at computers of 2034

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Apple Vision Pro Enterprise apps
Stop thinking of Vision Pro as a clunky thing you strap to your face. Instead, consider visionOS as a window into the future of computers.
Screenshot: Apple

Vision Pro is years ahead of its time. Apple’s AR headset lets us see today what using an average computer a decade in the future will be like.

In 2034, being surrounded by physical screens will seem charmingly obsolete. Virtual displays of any size generated by an AR headset from Apple (or its rivals) will take the place of displays connected to our computers, phones, watches, etc. And that’s only the start.

You can experience the coming revolution now because Vision Pro is another example of Apple giving us a glimpse of the future.

Vision Pro poll: More than half of Cult of Mac readers will return ‘magical’ headset

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An Apple Vision Pro headset promotional image with the word
A shockingly high number of Cult of Mac readers say they won't be keeping their Vision Pro headsets.
Photo: Apple/Modified by Cult of Mac

You’d think readers of a website called Cult of Mac would be into Apple products. But a straw poll of Cult of Mac Today readers found a whopping 76% of respondents plan to return their Vision Pro to Apple.

The eye-popping number comes as droves of Vision Pro early adopters say they plan to take advantage of Apple’s generous return policy. Discomfort, the headset’s high price and the lack of a clear use case for the isolating device top the list of reasons cited by disaffected Vision Pro owners.

Typing on Vision Pro: A scientific test with surprising results

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Hand touching a floating keyboard typing on Vision Pro
Using Vision Pro's virtual keyboard, you just reach out and touch parts of the screen when you need to.
Photo: Apple

The Vision Pro’s virtual, floating-in-the-air keyboard has been nearly universally condemned. There’s no way around it: Typing on Vision Pro sucks.

But people said the same thing about the original iPhone, which ditched a physical keyboard compared to the BlackBerry. And these days, physical keyboards for your iPhone are more of a novelty than a standard accessory that everybody buys.

So to get to the bottom of exactly how bad the Vision Pro keyboard is, I took a bunch of different typing tests across a bunch of different keyboards. And the results I found were incredibly surprising. I accidentally discovered the best way to input text in Vision Pro.

Check out our latest YouTube video or keep reading to see what happened.

People are returning Vision Pro in droves … or are they?

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Apple Vision Pro box in a bag
Apple Vision Pro is being returned in droves by early adopters.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Many early adopters seem set on returning their Apple Vision Pro headsets. As the 14-day return window approaches for people who bought the device on launch day, an avalanche of posts on X and other social media channels point to a wave of Vision Pro returns.

Apparently, it’s not just Mark Zuckerberg who thinks Apple’s expensive headset isn’t worth the money. There appears to be a mass exodus of early adopters who ponied up the cash for Apple’s pricey headset. They cite three main reasons for returning Vision Pro. But is the situation really as bad as it seems?

Mechanical Mac keyboard packs useful features into small package [Review] ★★★★

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Satechi SM1 Slim Mechanical Backlit Bluetooth Keyboard review★★★★
Satechi SM1 offers mac users a compact mechanical keyboard with multiple connectivity options.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Satechi SM1 Slim Mechanical Backlit Bluetooth Keyboard offers a 75% layout with low-profile brown switches so it’s easy to type on while not taking up much room on your desk. This mechanical keyboard for Mac can connect with up to four computers, including your iPad and iPhone, plus Windows machines. And it uses a variety of connectivity methods: Bluetooth, wired and more.

I’ve used it for several weeks now in my home office. I found a lot to like.

What it’s really like to cook with Apple Vision Pro

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Screenshot of a recipe for pizzelles floating in a kitchen
Just look over to the right to see the recipe.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

If you’re addicted to your Vision Pro, with your apps floating around you all the time, you’ll have to cook yourself dinner at some point. After all, you may not be able to afford to eat out after buying one. Cooking with Vision Pro offers some fun surprises, but it’s not all gravy.

There are obvious upsides. Placing timers around your kitchen and having easy access to a recipe floating nearby seem incredibly convenient rather than fiddling with your iPhone. This is what I was most excited to try out.

But the downsides snuck up on me. I had a hard time reading my measuring spoons, nor could I tell apart my sugar from my flour. But worst of all, trying to lick the cookie dough off a large whisk without smearing the Vision Pro proved impossible.

Check out our YouTube video or keep reading below.

3 reasons to watch Masters of the Air‘s bloody WWII aerial ballet

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Austin Butler, right, appears in Masters of the Air on Apple TV+
The life expectancy of these airmen was not high.
Photo: Apple

When I was a kid, I had a thing for historical aircraft. I especially loved the smooth lines of the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. And it played a big role in ending World War II, as shown in Masters of the Air on Apple TV+, the final installment in Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s World War II filmmaking trilogy.

Despite massive challenges, the plane and its crews’ strategic bombing helped bring down Adolf Hilter and the Nazi regime, shortening a horrific ground war.

And yet as good as the series is, sometimes it lands just short of the runway, like a beat-up B-17 losing its landing gear and grinding to a halt. Will it blow up? Maybe, maybe not. But is Masters of the Air worth watching? Hell yes.

Find the best laser printer for your Mac

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Best laser printer for Mac
For most cases, laser printers outshine inkjet printers. Here's how to find the best laser printer for Mac.
Photo: Cult of Mac

What is the best laser printer for Mac users? When choosing between laser or inkjet, we recommend laser. Laser printers used to be prohibitively expensive, but prices have come down, and you’ll have fewer headaches. Inkjet printers are better for photos but are a pain to own. Replacement ink costs a fortune, the heads clog, and they dry out if the printer isn’t in regular use.

Laser printers, on the other hand, can sit idle for weeks without problems. They cost more up front, but are often cheaper to own in the long-run.

In this guide, we’ll explore which brand of printer works best with Mac and top laser printers that are fully compatible with macOS, whether you need a printer for your personal use, a home office or a small business.

What’s it like working out wearing a Vision Pro?

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Me wearing workout clothes on a treadmill. Oh, and a Vision Pro on my face.
Is this the future of working out? Probably not.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

People have been spotted wearing Apple’s Vision Pro headset at gyms. I was curious whether they had unlocked a secret killer feature or whether they were bearing through aches and pains just to show off. What’s it really like working out wearing a Vision Pro?

To find out, I hopped on a treadmill, lifted some weights and did some crunches while wearing the headset to discover the pros and cons of wearing a Vision Pro while working out. Check out our latest YouTube video to see what it’s like first-person.

The overall experience proved unsurprisingly mixed — with one very surprising drawback.

Can you get real work done inside Vision Pro?

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Safari and Slack in Vision Pro
After a few days of testing, here’s what I noticed after trying to work on a Vision Pro.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Can you get real work done inside a Vision Pro? Yes — although it comes with many asterisks.

It’s closely correlated to how much work you can do entirely on the web without specialized apps, although the virtual Mac display can smooth that down a bit. Surprisingly, typing in Vision Pro is great.

Working on Vision Pro has its annoyances, quirks and limitations, but I think Apple has built a very solid foundation here for a version-one product.

Check out our video or keep reading below.

Find the best affordable, feature-packed keyboard for Mac mini

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Photo of a hand holding a Mac mini with the words
You'll find plenty of options in our guide to the best keyboards for Apple's pint-size Mac.
Photo: Teddy GR/Unsplash License/Cult of Mac

Apple’s smallest desktop computer is a powerhouse in a small package, but it doesn’t come with peripheral devices — so what are the best keyboards for Mac mini?

Whether you use a Mac mini for work or gaming, adding the right keyboard is crucial for maximizing your productivity and comfort.

I’ve always been fascinated with keyboards and have several. I’ll show you 10 of my favorite choices for great keyboards to use with Mac mini below.

Apple Vision Pro is a magical delight, but I don’t recommend it [Review] ★★★★

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Vision Pro Review: Apple Vision Pro reflected in a mirror.★★★★
Vision Pro is amazing, but I can't recommend you get one.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Apple Vision Pro is the most amazing technology I’ve experienced in my life. Thanks to the headset’s intuitive interface, it’s as close to mind reading as you can get.

It’s given me magical, highly emotive experiences I haven’t felt with any other technology. Immersive 360-degree videos make you feel like you are actually there — it’s a cliche, but it’s true.

I’m absolutely, unabashedly delighted with Vision Pro. But would I recommend you get one?

Hell no!

Apple Vision Pro unboxing and first impressions

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Unboxing Vision Pro
Unboxing the Vision Pro.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Steve Jobs designed the Apple unboxing experience as a careful process of introducing the customer to an unfamiliar product. And the Vision Pro unboxing is no different.

You don’t just rip the product from its box like a kid at Christmas! You carefully unpack it, examining each component as you go. The idea is to gradually show the customer the parts of the product and give them an idea of how they work together. An Apple unboxing is a very carefully thought-out process and ritual.

And, as you’d expect, the Vision Pro unboxing proceeds just as Apple intended. The new spatial computing headset is sleek, premium and very luxurious. This is no Fisher-Price View-Master.

And as for Vision Pro first impressions after using the headset for a few hours? I was originally skeptical of AR headsets after using a Meta Quest 3 and not liking it much at all. But I’m now a zealous convert. I may never take this thing off!

Why you absolutely should do an Apple Vision Pro store demo

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A fat old guy getting a demo of Apple Vision Pro at an Apple retail store.
The store demo of Apple Vision Pro is wonderful. I urge you to get one.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — I demoed the Vision Pro at the Apple Store here on Chestnut Street. It’s the most impressive tech product I’ve ever seen. It makes the iPhone seem like a primitive stone tablet. It’s amazingly intuitive, works literally like magic, and is incredibly emotional. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

You don’t have to buy a Vision Pro, but you absolutely must go to a store and get a free demo. We put together a video (below) that will show you what to expect from your Vision Pro demo.

iPhone up, China down: 7 nuggets from Apple’s earnings call

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Photo of an glass Apple Store with the words
Apple eked out a win thanks to strong iPhone sales last quarter. But not everything was rosy.
Photo: Karl Baron/Flickr CC/Modified by Cult of Mac

Apple’s holiday quarter financial results offer good news for investors. iPhone is doing great! And CEO Tim Cook talked about AI. But there’s rotten news coming out of China.

We pored over the results, and listened to the call Apple executives held Thursday with Wall Street analysts, so you don’t have to. Here’s the information you ought to know.

Apple Vision Pro’s biggest problem: It’s highly addictive!

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Screenshot of Apple's 'guided tour' of Vision Pro.
The biggest problem with Vision Pro? It makes the real world boring.
Photo: Apple

Apple has a huge problem with the Vision Pro that no one has talked about: It’s highly addictive!

The astonishing visuals that Apple’s new headset pumps directly into your eyeballs make the real world seem dull, according to Nick Bilton, a Vanity Fair reporter who got behind-the-scenes access for a cover story published Thursday.

In fact, Bilton says Vision Pro is “like a drug” that offers a “dopamine hit.” And an unnamed source in Bilton’s story likens the Vision Pro to “tech fentanyl.”

Here’s a great take on Apple’s plans for opening up the App Store

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Riley Testut pictured in his office
Riley Testut, creator of the original alternative app marketplace.
Photo: Riley Testut

iOS developer Riley Testut, the brains behind AltStore (the original alternative App Store), has a great take on Apple’s plans to open up the App Store in the European Union

This is “everything I’ve been wanting for the past few years,” he said after Apple laid out its plans last week. “Even reading the announcement I was tearing up.”

Testut, who lives in Texas, has a vested interest in Apple loosening its grip on the App Store to comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act. He’s the co-creator of AltStore, a hacky skunkworks project that enables sideloading of iPhone and iPad apps. Now he’s working to transition AltStore into an officially sanctioned app marketplace that complies with Apple’s new rules.

In an exclusive interview with Cult of Mac, Testut talks about the hidden upside for iPhone owners around the world; the downsides of Apple’s strict new framework and fees; and the joys of making AltStore one of the first legit third-party app marketplaces in the EU.

Testut’s take on Apple’s plans for opening up iOS is perhaps the best to date, and well worth a read.

You can also watch the full interview on YouTube.

Devs call Apple’s new iPhone sideloading rules ‘malicious compliance’ and ‘ludicrously punitive’

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Devs call Apple’s new iPhone sideloading rules 'malicious compliance' and 'ludicrously punitive'
Apple's new App Store rules for the European Union enrage some developers.
Image: danilo.alvesd/Unsplash License/Cult of Mac

A noted Apple critic used the terms “malicious compliance” and “hot garbage” to describe the elaborate rules the company laid down Thursday for allowing European iPhone users to sideload applications.

Those blasts came from Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, a company that’s locked in a legal battle with Apple over App Store rules. But other devs also cast aspersions on Apple’s framework for setting up App Store rivals. They pointed out that the new system comes with a huge financial obligation, and that it will make free apps almost impossible.

To be clear, though, not all developers are unhappy. Apple’s new rules also drew some compliments.

Evolution of the Mac: 40 years of innovation

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From left to right: Mac Plus, Mac Classic, iMac G4, iMac G5, Intel iMac.
How has the Mac changed in the last 40 years?
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

The 40-year history of Macintosh computers is a roller coaster of ages golden and dark.

Anything that lasts so long in the forefront of technology has to change to stay relevant. This once-plucky computer that began as an antithesis to the IBM PC, which dominated the world in 1984, is now itself a dominating force, ever pushing the needle in the world of technology.

How did this all happen? Let’s walk through 40 years of Macintosh.

Why I’m going ‘nearly nude’ with my iPhone 15 Pro Max

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iPhone 15 Pro Max with no case, held aloft defiantly
iPhone case? I don't need no stinkin' case.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

After several months with my iPhone 15 Pro Max, I’m stripping off its case and going “nearly nude.”

Yes, there’s a chance I’ll drop it and incur a hefty repair bill. (If so, AppleCare+ will ease the sting.) But the unbridled joy of the naked iPhone in my hand — and the lurid thrill of leering at its sleek natural titanium finish — make it worth the risk.

This rainbow Apple Watch band will dazzle you with color [Under Review]

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Juuk Ligero Rainbow Apple Watch band review: The colors on this aluminum Apple Watch band will take your breath away.
The vibrant colors on this aluminum Apple Watch band will take your breath away.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

Under Review on The CultCast: PRODUCT NAME REVIEW “Oooooooh!” my wife squealed when I pulled the Juuk Ligero Rainbow Apple Watch band out of the shipping carton. The brightly colored links in the aluminum bracelet definitely caught her eye.

Unfortunately for her, the band wouldn’t fit her smaller Apple Watch. So I got to try it.

The Rainbow Ligero looks like no other band you’ve seen. As with Juuk’s other metal Apple Watch bands, the Rainbow version’s striking looks provoke an immediate reaction. Its bold colors — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple — shimmer on the wrist. And now it’s back in the Cult of Mac Store.