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A HomePod with special skills + Tim Cook’s VR power play [The CultCast]


AI-generated image of a HomePod smart speaker with an embedded display.
No, the next-gen HomePod isn't gonna look like this. AI can't do everything! (At least not yet.)
Image: Midjourney/Cult of Mac

This week on Cult of Mac’s podcast: That old rumor about a HomePod with a built-in display for FaceTime calls and smart-home wizardry resurfaces. But this time, some fresh details make Erfon even more cranked up than usual about Apple’s smart speaker.

Also on The CultCast:

  • It sounds like Tim Cook pulled a power move on Apple’s design team to make sure the company foists an expensive AR/VR headset on the masses sooner rather than later. Who’s excited? Show of hands?!?
  • Apple TV+ racks up another Oscar, and Erfon is almost intrigued enough to resubscribe. (Especially if his “get three months free” trick works again.)
  • The baton’s about to wave on Apple Music Classical. We’re all quivering with excitement!

Listen to this week’s episode of The CultCast in the Podcasts app or your favorite podcast app. (Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review if you like it!) Or watch the video live stream, embedded below.

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Wrestling doc Monster Factory will body-slam you with truth [Apple TV+ review] ★★★★


David Goldschmidt (aka Goldy) and Hurley A. Jones Jr. (aka Bobby Buffet) in “Monster Factory,” premiering on Friday, March 17 on Apple TV+.★★★★
David Goldschmidt (aka Goldy) and Hurley A. Jones Jr. (aka Bobby Buffet) are just two of the wrestlers we meet in Monster Factory.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ Review Monster Factory, a surprisingly inventive docuseries about wannabe pro wrestlers, is Apple TV+’s best sports docuseries yet. Over the course of its six breezy and beautiful episodes, set at a wrestling farm school in New Jersey, we meet a cast of eccentrics who share a common dream: to throw people around for a living.

They want to become stars, to go down in pro wrestling history. And with cantankerous Danny Cage as their coach, these ne’er-do-wells learn everything there is to know about wrestling — and they teach us, too.

Get a lifetime of decentralized private network protection for only $149


Get a lifetime of decentralized VPN protection for only $149.
Protect your data with this $149 plug-and-play adapter.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

When it comes to cyberdefense, it pays to diversify. Hackers don’t rely on just one way to infiltrate their targets, so you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket either. That’s why a lot of people are switching to decentralized private networks (DPNs) over traditional VPNs, since they don’t have a central group of servers to target.

Using a DPN is a novel approach to internet security that offers a lot of benefits, and Deeper Connect Pico is a great way to get started. It boasts incredible tech to secure your online data and activity. Typically $249, you can grab this powerful cybersecurity device for only $149.

5 secret tips and tricks in Safari on iPhone


5 Safari Tricks & Secrets
Get the most out of the browser in your pocket.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

I spend a lot of time in Safari, and odds are, you do too. For an app that’s absolutely instrumental to my iPhone, any new tips and tricks I learn can feel life-changing.

Here are a few of my favorite hidden features. These will help you browse the web faster, clean up your experience and restore tabs you accidentally close. I also have a handy Shortcut you can download at the end.

Liaison unleashes some carnage this week [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★☆☆


Connor Mills, Nikolai Kinski and Eva Green in ★★★☆☆
Ulterior motives abound on Liaison.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ Review Apple TV+ international espionage thriller Liaison recovers from a few body blows this week, in an episode appropriately entitled “Carnage.”

Mark Bolton is dead and Alison might be next, but she won’t roll over for anyone, even with boyfriend and mercenary Gabriel trying to get her to see sense. Sabine wants out, Didier’s in the hot seat, Dumas is getting nervous, and London is still in danger. Liaisons pleasures are major even if it does feel deliberately minor in a lot of important ways.

Truth Be Told whipsaws through another killer episode [Apple TV+ recap] ★★★★☆


Mychala Lee, Merle Dandridge and Mekhi Phifer in ★★★★☆
Truth Be Told positively brims with strong performances this week.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewThe search for a mayoral hopeful’s killer takes center stage on this week’s Truth Be Told, the Apple TV+ crime series told through the lens of podcaster Poppy.

Eva’s on the hunt for a killer, but is it a smokescreen for her own guilt? Poppy can’t decide. Markus is still acting out, and it’s getting in the way of his parenting. Plus, Poppy has some secrets of her own to spill. And fate has one last curveball to throw this crew before the season’s final inning.

Make AI your photo editor with a lifetime subscription to Luminar Neo [Exclusive discount]


Make AI your photo editor with a lifetime subscription to Luminar Neo.
Use Luminar Neo's AI superpowers to make your iPhone photos look amazing.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

While the cameras on our iPhones and how we take photos are constantly improving, we can always use a hand to clean them up after the fact. For those of us that aren’t professional photographers, or particularly adept at photo editing, user-friendly and innovative photo editing software can make this daunting task a whole lot easier.

Luminar Neo uses the power of artificial intelligence to edit, refine and stylize photos. And now, you can grab a lifetime license to it, bundled with other impressive photo editing add-ons, for only $79 (regularly $400) — but the savings don’t stop there. Cult of Mac readers can save an extra 10% by adding exclusive coupon code TAKE10NOW.

Transforming everyday pictures into truly beautiful photographs can become a reality with this AI-driven software.

Dear Edward drowns in guilt and funky fan mail [Apple TV+ recap] ★☆☆☆☆


Colin O’Brien in ★☆☆☆☆
So. Many. Unbelievable. Letters.
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewIt’s all about splitting and coming back this week on Dear Edward, the Apple TV+ series about the tangled web of grief in the wake of a plane crash.

In the episode, entitled “Paper Covers Rock,” Edward acts out at school and is rewarded with a crisis or two he wasn’t aware were coming his way. Plus, Linda goes into labor, Lacey is clueless, Dee Dee doesn’t want group to end, Adriana and Kojo don’t want their time together to end, and Steve and Amanda don’t want their affair to end.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, your Apple TV+ reviewer is anxious for this dreadful series to end. (The good news is, the end is nigh.)

Shrinking doesn’t really want to do ‘the work’ this week [Apple TV+ recap] ★★☆☆☆


Jason Segel in ★★☆☆☆
You probably don't want a shrink like Jimmy (played by Jason Segel).
Photo: Apple TV+

TV+ ReviewShrinking is all about reconciliation this week. The Apple TV+ show about the social circle of a manic pixie dream therapist sees Jimmy Laird trying to mend the rift between his hero, Paul, and his family.

Meanwhile, as Brian prepares for his wedding, he meets with nothing but disappointments and potential catastrophes. Gaby is caught between her rock and a hard place. And Alice makes a fateful mistake.

Everything comes out in the end in “Moving Forward,” this week’s whatever installment of the hit show that could have been an email.