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.

Incredibly clever selfie stick does triple duty as tripod and remote [Reviews] ★★★★★

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The SwitchEasy EasySelfie with a phone mounted inside★★★★★
Take all kinds of pictures easier with phone — not just selfies.
Photo: SwitchEasy

The SwitchEasy EasySelfie is a fantastically clever combination of three products — a selfie stick, a portable tripod and a camera remote — and it pulls off all three pretty well.

It’s cleverly designed and really well-made, and makes for a great mount for using Continuity Camera, among other things. If you’re looking for a portable and versatile way to mount your camera for all kinds of different things, the EasySelfie has you covered. Currently on sale with 20% off, making this $35.99 for a limited time.

9 cool things you can do with an old iPhone

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What Can You Use It For?
There are a few things you can use an old iPhone for.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

There are a lot of things you can do with old iPhones. In fact, it might be worth keeping them around rather than trading them in. There are all kinds of things you can use an old iPhone for: a DIY HomePod, a games console, a camera, a weather station, a smart display or a digital clock. And someone else you know may want it if you’re feeling generous.

Here are the nine things you can do with an old iPhone.

3 apps to help you with your New Year’s resolutions [Awesome Apps]

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Finish Your Goals This Year
You can actually get it done — with this apps.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Awesome AppsIt’s already January 6th, but if you haven’t given up on your New Year’s resolution already, I have three apps that’ll help you through it. (I won’t hold you to it if you’ve slipped up in the first week.)

Whether you’re trying to exercise more, work more efficiently or change your daily habits, these three apps will help you make a better 2024.

Keep Apple devices ready to go with mophie’s convenient 3-in-1 travel charger [Updated review] ★★★★

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Mophie 3-in-1 Travel Charger with MagSafe version 2★★★★
The new version of the mophie 3-in-1 Travel Charger with MagSafe is even more capable.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Roll out the mophie 3-in-1 Travel Charger with MagSafe and it’s ready to juice up your iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods. Just drop the devices on their appropriate wireless charging mat. And, to make it easier to take on the road, the accessory comes with a carrying case.

I used the original 2022 model, and mophie introduced a new version in late 2023. I retested the multidevice travel charger to see how quickly it wirelessly powers up a variety of Apple products and how easy it is to carry around. Here are my updated results.

Why and how to limit iPhone 15 to 80% maximum charge

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40 80 rule on iPhone
To preserve the battery in your iPhone as long as possible, follow the 40-80 rule.
Graphic: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

iPhone 15 has a charging trick many users might not be aware of: it can automatically stop charging when the battery level hits 80%. This makes it much easier to follow the “40-80 rule,” which helps increase the long-term useful life of the battery.

Here’s more on how it works, whether you should follow the rule, and how to flip on the setting on your iPhone.

Why a Wi-Fi 7 router should be on your 2024 shopping list

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Wi-Fi 7
You'll be sorry if you buy a wireless router without Wi-Fi 7.
Photo: Wi-Fi Alliance/Cult of Mac

Anyone shopping for a wireless router should get one that supports Wi-Fi 7. This new version will finally go mainstream this year, and you don’t want to miss out. Getting a Wi-Fi 7 router now makes sense if you want to have the fastest and most reliable internet connection possible, now and in the forseeable future.

Unlike most of its predecessors, the primary goal for Wi-Fi 7 isn’t more speed. Instead, it’s more about reliability. That said, a speed improvement is expected.

Here’s what we have to look forward to.

How to take fabulous fireworks photos with your iPhone

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These tips will help you take better fireworks photos.
These tips will help you take better fireworks photos.
Photo: Richard Dongses/Flickr CC

Last year’s fireworks made you say ooh and ahh, but when you look at your iPhone photos from that night, the sound you make is more of an ugh. Want to shoot better fireworks photos this time around?

Don’t blame Siri or some engineer in Cupertino for previous photo fails. The iPhone camera, as mighty as it is, can’t do all the thinking for you — especially in challenging lighting conditions like a fireworks display. But with a little thought and preparation, you can make this holiday worth reliving on your iPhone camera roll.

Below are some simple tips to make your iPhone fireworks photos sizzle.

What to expect from Apple Watch in 2024: Series X

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What to watch for in 2024: The tenth anniversary of Apple Watch.
What to watch for in 2024: The 10th anniversary of Apple Watch.
Photo illustration: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

2024 looks like a big year for Apple Watch. The world’s most popular wearable could get the biggest redesign in its 10-year history in the form of a device potentially called “Apple Watch Series X” or simply “Apple Watch X.”

That’s excellent news, because 2023 was not a great year for Apple Watch. Sure, we got a fresh new look with watchOS 10. But on the hardware side, the updates to Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 seem pretty minor. And then there’s the looming U.S. ban on Apple Watch imports and exports due to a patent dispute.

So, what should we expect from the Apple Watch 2024 lineup?

Everything Apple is working on in 2024 [Video]

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Collage of iPhones, Apple Watch, iPad, Macs and AirPods
Apple is going to have a big 2024.
Image: Apple/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

2024 is going to be a big year for Apple products. The iPhone is due for a second year in a row of big changes. And the entire iPad lineup is getting refreshed. The rest of the Macs are being updated to M3 chips. The Apple Watch Series X may receive a radical design. And fourth-gen AirPods will bring pro noise cancellation features to the cheaper buds.

We have a new video that summarizes everything we know about Apple’s top products coming next year.

What Apple can do to bring a Mac gaming renaissance

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Myst on Mac
Apple, please do what it takes to make "Mac gamer" no longer an oxymoron.
Photo: Apple

The Apple A3 series processors make the latest Macs into powerful gaming machines. And macOS Sonoma includes tools to make porting PC games to Mac much easier. As a gamer myself, these are very welcome moves.

But right now, Apple is taking a “build it and they will come” attitude. History shows there’s an important step needed to turn Mac into a serious competition for PC and gaming consoles: CEO Tim Cook and Co. need to put their money where their mouths are and financially encourage top game developers to bring their products to macOS.

That might even include buying one or more game developers.

What to expect from AirPods and AirPods Max in 2024

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AirPods in 2024
Expect to see two versions of AirPods 4 -- including one with noise canceling -- in 2024.
Photo: Cult of Mac

In an effort to boost sales and clarify offerings, Apple will revamp its AirPods lineup in 2024, reports have indicated — but that won’t include updates for every product.

AirPods 4 should arrive next year, with two versions replacing current lower-priced earbuds models. And AirPods Max will receive some long-awaited updates, although the pricey over-ear headphones won’t get a major revamp. And as for what comes after AirPods Pro 2, we’ll have to wait until early 2025, most likely.

How to save money by dumping unwanted App Store subscriptions

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Apple is raising some subscription services costs for the first time.
Start the year off saving cash by canceling any App Store subscriptions you don't want.
Photo: David Švihovec/Unsplash License/Modified by Cult of Mac

We’re almost to a new year, and it’s a fine time to clear out some of the mistakes of the past. That includes no longer paying for apps or services you don’t use anymore. Luckily, it’s easy — if you know how to cancel subscriptions on iPhone.

Here’s how to find everything you’ve signed up for through the App Store, see what it’s costing you, and cancel it if you’ve lost interest. Or perhaps save a bit of money by changing how often you’re billed.

Signs point to a slow, steady year for the Mac in 2024

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The Mac in 2024
2024 will be a slow burner year for the Mac.
Image: Apple/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

2024 is expected to be a slow and steady year for the Mac, with the iPad and Vision Pro taking center stage. After Apple’s thunderous launch of the M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max chips in the MacBook Pro and iMac a few months ago, these chips will roll out as spec bumps in the MacBook Air M3 and the rest of the lineup next year.

And don’t hold your breath for an M4 MacBook Pro. That probably won’t debut until early or mid-2025.

What to expect from iPhone in 2024

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What to expect from iPhone in 2024
2024 iPhones could be all about the little improvements.
Image: Rajesh Pandey/Cult Of Mac

Apple plans some big upgrades for the iPhone 16 lineup in 2024. The phones could get even bigger displays, with AI integration helping make Siri smarter (and, hopefully, a lot more useful).

These changes should arrive on top of the usual yearly upgrades like faster A-series chips and brighter displays. So, what should you expect from iPhones in 2024? Read below to find out.

What to expect from iPad in 2024: Pro, Air and mini

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What to expect from iPad in 2024: Pro, Air and mini
2024 will be a big, colorful year for iPad.
Image: Cult of Mac

Get ready for big changes in the iPad 2024 lineup. Apple plans to shake things up next year, offering new versions of every tablet model, from the basic budget offering to the largest iPad Pro.

Details of the upcoming changes leaked out early, so we can tell you now what’s coming to the iPad in 2024.

How to set up your new Mac like a pro

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Set Up Your New Mac: Moving to a new Mac is fast — we’ll get your Mac on track in no time.
Let's get that nice new Mac set up, shall we?
Image: Apple

It’s a great season to get a new Mac. Every Mac today is a great buy. If you’re one of the lucky people to get one this year, here’s how to set it up like a pro.

So rip open that box, tear off that plastic and get to the good stuff.

If this is your first Mac with Apple’s powerful new chips inside, you’re in for a real treat. It’s pretty easy to set up whether you have an old Mac to transfer data from or you’re starting from scratch. There are a few choices to make along the way, though, and some essential tricks and apps you’ll want to consider, so we’re here to take you through the process.

Here is Cult of Mac’s guide to setting up your new Mac the right way.

How to set up your new AirTag the right way

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AirTag
Here's everything you need to know about setting up your new AirTag.
Photo: Mark Chan/Unsplash

The Apple AirTag is arguably among the company’s most useful product releases in recent years. Once you set up an AirTag, it gives you powerful options for locating it (and whatever you attach it to). Put one of Apple’s tracking tags on an item like a keychain or luggage, and you can easily track its location from your iPhone, Mac or iPad.

Since AirTag’s launch, numerous reports have detailed how the tracking tag helped owners find lost items. If you recently acquired an AirTag, here’s how you can set it up the right way and use it properly.

How to set up and use your brand-new AirPods

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lost AirPods
Not everyone has the ears for AirPods
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

If you’re a super lucky duck, then Santa may have left a pair of AirPods a) in your stocking or b) under your tree (depending on how good or bad you’ve been in 2023). AirPods are truly one of the best products Apple ever made, because they really do offer a huge upgrade on all previous headphones.

They’re easy to use, and they sound amazing. Here are a few pointers on getting the most out of your new AirPods.

Get a lifetime of AI, ChatGPT and Python courses for less than $30

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Take advantage of holiday savings for this $30 bundle focused on AI, ChatGPT and Python advancement.
A smart gift idea: Pick up this AI, ChatGPT and Python course pack for only $29.97.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

The technology sector is loaded with lucrative job possibilities, and you can get career-boosting assistance in the form of a comprehensive educational package built around artificial intelligence and coding.

Through December 25, pick up The 2023 Ultimate AI, ChatGPT and Python Programming Bundle for only $29.97 (regularly $154). Use it to advance your career in 2024 — or as a last-minute present that can benefit your giftee for years to come.