Why Apple Arcade makes great gift for a child or your family

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Apple Arcade
Put Apple Arcade under your Christmas tree this year.
Photo: Apple

A recent survey shows that what most kids want for Christmas is video games. Let me suggest you give the gift of Apple Arcade this holiday season.

Apple’s game service offers over 200 titles in a wide variety of genres at a single, low price, and it’s especially well suited for kids. But there’s fun for the whole family, too.

And it’s not too late!

Make downloads safe and anonymous with this cloud-based download manager

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Do downloads the safe way with this cloud-based manager for only $39.99.
Get a lifetime of safe downloads and cloud-based backup for just $39.99.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

If you want to do your downloads with all the security of a virtual private network and none of the slowdown, Offcloud might just be the solution. It’s a browser-based download manager that lets you grab files on sites like BitTorrent, back up your own data, and sync everything to your existing drive.

You can tap all those features for less than $40 through December 25 — and that’s just for starters.

Everyone should use this simple clipboard manager for Mac [Awesome Apps]

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Maccy Clipboard Manager
If you don't have a clipboard manager already, your life is about to change.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac
Awesome Apps

Maccy is a fantastic macOS copy-paste manager that supercharges your clipboard history. It allows you to copy … and copy … and copy again, and still paste the first thing you copied. Of course, it works with cut-and-paste too. It’s super well-designed and very easy to use. With a simple keyboard shortcut, you can bring up a small menu to instantly paste something you cut or copied hours ago.

It’s a fantastic utility that will quickly become a must-have on every Mac you use. You can buy Maccy for just $9.99 on the Mac App Store, or build it from its open-source code yourself.

Let AI create your voiceovers with this text-to-speech tool

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Give a content creator the ability to create unique voiceovers with Speechnow™, now under $20.
Speechnow™ can upgrade a loved one's content with voiceovers, now only $20.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Content creators, small business owners, authors and others often need voiceovers but simply can’t pay a professional what they’re worth. But very affordable text-to-speech software Speechnow. lets anyone generate reliable voiceovers at minimal cost.

Through December 25, you can get a lifetime subscription to Speechnow for only $19.97 (regularly $299). Plus, since it’s digital, it requires no shipping. And that makes it the perfect last-minute gift for any content creator.

Today in Apple history: NeXT buyout brings Steve Jobs back to Cupertino

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Steve Jobs returned to Apple on December 20, 1996.
Steve Jobs pictured on December 20, 1996.
Photo: Tim Holmes/Flickr CC

December 20: Today in Apple history: Apple buys NeXT for $429 million, bringing Steve Jobs back to Cupertino December 20, 1996: Apple Computer buys NeXT, the company Steve Jobs founded after leaving Cupertino a decade earlier.

The deal costs Apple $429 million. It’s a massive price to pay for the failing NeXT, a computer company that already saw its hardware division crash and burn. But the price is worth it when you consider what Apple gets as part of the deal: the return of Steve Jobs.

AirPods work even better with Mac, thanks to AirBuddy

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Treat an Apple lover to a tool that improves AirPods utility on Mac: AirBuddy is only $8.
Enjoy enhanced AirPods functionality on Mac with AirBuddy, on sale now for only $8.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Love the way AirPods work with an iPhone but a little meh about how they work with a Mac? AirBuddy will connect AirPods to Mac with enhancements that provide the same advanced features you enjoy when using Apple’s earbuds with an iPhone.

Now through December 25, you can grab AirBuddy for only $7.97. Plus, since it’s a Mac app, it’s a great last-minute gift idea for a Mac and AirPods fan. You won’t need to sweat the shipping to get it there by Christmas!

(If you don’t already own AirPods, don’t miss this hot deal on AirPods Pro with USB-C case.)

This AirPods Pro 2 sale comes with an extra you’ll love

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Deal alert: AirPods Pro 2 sale
Get Apple's latest, greatest earbuds at a super-low price ... and enjoy a welcome perk!
Image: Cult of Mac

If you’re in the market for Apple earbuds, second-gen AirPods Pro with a USB-C case are the earbuds to beat. And this hot new AirPods Pro sale slashes the $249 list price down to just $199.99 … and it comes with AppleCare+!

Plus, if you order by 11:59 a.m. Pacific on Wednesday, December 20, you can take delivery by Christmas.

The only (potential) drawback is that this AirPods Pro deal is for Costco members only. But never fear: If you’re not already a member, Cult of Mac Deals offers a great deal on a Costco membership that will let you save money on Apple gear every day of the year.

Get Microsoft Office Home & Business 2019 for Mac, just $29.97

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Gift lifelong productivity with a lifetime of MS Office 2019, now just $29.97.
Enjoy all of Microsoft Office 2019 on any Mac for less than $30.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

There comes a time in nearly every adult’s life when you must install Microsoft Office. Yes, you can technically get by without Word, Excel and the other essentials. But if you want to get certain tasks done on your killer Mac setup, you’ll need these tools. And this limited-time deal on Microsoft Office for Mac might be the time to get them.

Right now, you can get yourself or a fellow Mac user lifetime access to Microsoft Office Home & Business 2019 for Mac for only $29.97 (regularly $229). This could be the ideal gift for anyone getting a new (or refurbished) MacBook this holiday season.

iOS and macOS updates delete mystery bugs

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iOS 17.2.1 fixes mystery iPhone bugs
Take a couple minutes and install iOS 17.2.1. Your iPhone will be free of some bugs.
Image: Cult of Mac

iPhone users can now install iOS 17.2.1. And macOS Sonoma 14.2.1 is out as well. These are minor bug fix updates, though. The changes are so small Apple didn’t bother to describe them.

These are the only updates introduced Tuesday. There’s no iPadOS version, nor one for Apple Watch. And no new betas, either.

Today in Apple history: Apple crushes Think Secret rumors site

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Cupertino's battle with Apple rumors site Think Secret splits Apple fans.
Cupertino's battle with a rumor site splits Apple fans.
Image: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

December 19: Today in Apple history: Apple crushes Think Secret Apple rumors site run by Nick Ciarelli, aka Nick de Plume December 19, 2007: Apple settles a lawsuit with reporter Nick Ciarelli, resulting in the shuttering of Think Secret, his masssively popular Apple rumors website. Writing under the screen name Nick de Plume, the Harvard University student had broken a number of Apple stories on the site, which he launched in the late 1990s.

The terms of Ciarelli’s settlement with Apple remain secret. In a statement, he says he will “be able to move forward with my college studies and broader journalistic pursuits.”

Apple News+ adds content from The Athletic and Wirecutter

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The Athletic homepage
If you subscribe to Apple News+, you now have top sport journalism at your fingertips.
Photo: The Athletic

Apple News+ subscribers now get access to The Athletic‘s sports journalism and will see Wirecutter‘s in-depth product ratings in the feed early in 2024, Apple said Tuesday.

“Like so many lifelong sports fans, I am a devoted reader of The Athletic and their fantastic sports reporting and local coverage,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Services.

“We’re so proud to now bring sports fans The Athletic in Apple News+ — which millions of News+ subscribers are going to love,” he added.

Score a lifetime of 15-minute book summaries for just $50

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Give self growth this holiday season with Headway Premium, now only $50.
Give your brain a daily dose of big ideas with Headway's 15-minute book summaries.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

The Headway app serves up daily 15-minute book summaries that deliver a wealth of insights from nonfiction bestsellers. It’s a fast, easy and fun way to learn from thought leaders.

And now, you can save 83% off a lifetime subscription to the premium version of the Headway app. And since Headway doesn’t require shipping, it makes for a perfect, thoughtful gift!

Get a lifetime sub to this easy-to-use graphic design software for just $40

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Get a Plasfy lifetime subscription for $39.99 through Christmas.
Last-minute gift! This Plasfy lifetime subscription is only $39.99.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

You don’t need expensive graphic design software, or pricey monthly subscriptions, to crank out images that look like a million bucks. Plasfy makes creating professional and effective graphics and designs possible with just a few clicks.

And right now, a Plasfy lifetime subscription is on sale for just $39.99.

Apple Watch Ultra sale: This is one of the best deals we’ve ever seen [Sold out]

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Apple Watch Ultra sale on models with Ocean band, like this yellow one
We've never seen a better deal on Apple Watch Ultra.
Photo: Apple

UPDATE: Sold out. Sorry!


In this one-day extended Apple Watch Ultra sale, you can take home Apple’s beefiest watch for as low as $509.99 $529.99. While up from the lowest price ever, it’s still one of the best prices we’ve ever seen on an Ultra, and a great deal for sure … although there are a few caveats.

Today in Apple history: iPhone may have to seek new name

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Cisco
Here's what an "iPhone" looked like in 2006.
Photo: Cisco

December 18: Today in Apple history: iPhone may have to seek new name December 18, 2006: Apple fans mourn the death of the iPhone before it even launches.

After Linksys begins selling new handsets, Cupertino watchers must come to grips with the fact that Apple’s rumored smartphone probably won’t be called the iPhone after all. Why? Because Linksys’ parent company, Cisco Systems, owns the iPhone trademark, despite Apple previously having made the iMac, iBook, iPod and iTunes.

Lock down your iPhone and Mac for life with this heavily discounted security bundle

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Get a lifetime MonoDefense subscription for just $119.97 ($399) through Christmas.
This bundle of respected security apps will keep you and your family safe from online threats.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

The internet is a dangerous place. But you don’t have to take chances with hackers and other bad actors. You can secure your iPhone, Mac and more — up to five devices total — with a lifetime license to KeepSolid’s MonoDefense Security Suite.

This multi-app software suite is on sale for just $119.97 (regularly $399) for a limited time.

2024 Apple Watch could pack two major new health features

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Apple Watch Series 9 with Mulberry Sport Band on desk
2024 Apple Watch might pack some big upgrades.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Apple reportedly plans to launch a redesigned Apple Watch next year capable of detecting hypertension and sleep apnea.

Like the temperature sensor on recent Apple Watches, the next-gen model won’t provide exact blood pressure readings. Instead, it will only show if the blood pressure is elevated compared to the baseline reading. If the watch detects hypertension (or sleep apnea), it might recommend a doctor’s visit.

Today in Apple history: iOS finally overtakes Windows Mobile

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Original iPhone running iOS 1
It's hard to believe how quickly the mobile landscaped morphed over the past decade.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

December 17: Today in Apple history: iPhone iOS overtakes Windows Mobile December 17, 2009: Apple finally triumphs over longtime rival Microsoft … on mobile operating systems market share. New data shows that iPhone OS surpasses Windows Mobile in the United States for the first time.

With roughly 36 million Americans owning smartphones, a quarter of them run Apple’s mobile operating system, according to figures released by research firm Comscore.

Digitize old film and slides with a high-quality Kodak film scanner

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Gift a film lover the Kodak Slide N Scan, which can digitize film and slides for only $170 with free shipping!
Protect photos by digitizing them with the Kodak Slide and Scan, now under $170 with free shipping.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

The Kodak Slide N Scan film scanner can safely digitize negatives and slides. And ahead of the holidays, it’s on sale for only $169.97 (regularly $224) with code KODAK.

It’s perfect for turning a box of old negatives into a pristine collection of digital images.

Best (and worst) gear of 2023 [The CultCast]

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A red question mark atop a winner's podium.
What gear and amusements made us smile (and kvetch) in 2023?
Image: Joshua Golde/Unsplash License/Cult of Mac

This week on Cult of Mac’s podcast: After a quick spin through the news of the week, we get down to business with our second round of picks for the best and worst tech and entertainment of 2023.

Also on The CultCast:

  • Would you pay 99 bucks for a USB-C case for AirPods Pro? I think the price is outrageous, but not everyone is so sure.
  • Apple just raised the bar for authorities who might want to spy on your iPhone’s push notifications.
  • A new iPhone security feature will soon make it harder for thieves to wreck your life.
  • And the latest on how Apple might be forced to open up iPhone to appease regulators.

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.

Today in Apple history: Apple signs ‘clone Mac’ deal

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Power Computing clone Macs sounded like a good idea at first.
This deal marked the start of the clone Mac era.
Photo: Antnik

December 16: Today in Apple history: Apple signs clone Mac deal with Power Computing December 16, 1994: Apple Computer inks a licensing deal with Power Computing, allowing the company to produce Macintosh-compatible computers.

With falling market share, and longtime rival Microsoft steaming ahead thanks to its software-licensing strategy, Apple executives think the only way to compete is for the company to hand over its operating system for third-party Macs. Of course, it doesn’t turn out exactly like that…

The perfect 3-in-1 Apple travel charger is on sale for just $48

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Save more than 30% on this Apple-compatible 3-in-1 wireless charging station.
This foldable wireless charging station powers iPhones, AirPods and Apple Watches for only $48.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Keeping your iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods fully charged at all times can prove daunting, especially when you’re on the road. But you can keep all your Apple gear ready for action with this charging station for multiple devices. The MagStack is a great travel charger — and it’s on sale now!

You can streamline your charging experience, whether at home or away, with the MagStack. This Apple-compatible 3-in-1 charging station is foldable and wireless, and for a limited time, you can get one for only $47.99 (regularly $74).

Hands-on with the 10 best new features in iOS 17.2

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iOS 17 promotion artwork with a sticky note that says
A bunch of new features are coming in this big update to Apple’s latest.
Image: Apple/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

iOS 17 brought dozens of great features and changes, but the latest 17.2 update adds even more.

The headline feature is the new Journal app — other new tweaks come to iMessage stickers, NameDrop and Apple Music. If you have a new iPhone 15 Pro, you can record Spatial Videos and use the Translate app directly from the Action button. You can also customize more notification sounds and StandBy.

Here are the ten best features in 17.2.