These French studio-monitor speakers never surrender [Setups]

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Focal Shape 65 speakers
These intriguing studio monitors from France -- plus a massive subwoofer to match -- have never appeared in our Setups coverage before.
Photo: Focal

We love it when an interesting computer setup on social media — something real and well-used, not staged — shows us a brand-new thing (new to us, that is). And this week that comes in an audio engineer’s iMac Pro setup featuring brilliant Focal studio-monitor speakers on stands above a massive Focal subwoofer under the custom-made desk.

We’re pretty sure Focal speakers have never appeared in setups featured on Cult of Mac. For one thing, they’re from France. That country comes to mind less for premium audio than the United States, UK, Germany, Japan and Denmark, to name a few leaders. 

Today in Apple history: Intel and Microsoft face lawsuit for stealing Apple code

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Apple vs. Microsoft was one of the big tech battles of the 1990s.
Apple vs. Microsoft was one of the biggest tech battles of the 1990s.
Photo: Brian Turner/Flickr CC/Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

February 14: Today in Apple history: Intel and Microsoft face lawsuit for stealing Apple code February 14, 1995: Apple Computer extends a lawsuit against developer San Francisco Canyon Company to include Microsoft and Intel. The lawsuit concerns allegedly stolen Apple code that’s used to improve Microsoft’s Video for Windows technology.

The lawsuit comes to a head with Apple threatening a multibillion-dollar lawsuit against Microsoft. Meanwhile, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates threatens to cancel Office for Mac.

Protect your iPad with a colorful and practical Laut Huex Folio

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It comes in a nice array of colors.
It comes in a nice array of colors.
Photo: Laut

It’s wonderful how slim and light iPads are, including the capable 11-inch iPad Pro and 10.9-inch iPad Air. But while it may be tempting to carry yours around without any sort of case, it’s risky.

So you might consider a slim and lightweight case and stand that protects your tablet and adds a splash of color — like the Laut Huex Folio Case with Pencil Holder. You can get one at a good price in the Cult of Mac Store.

Apple tests AI software to transform images into video

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Apple tests Keyframer, AI software to transform images into video
Keyframer is only a research project, but it confirms that Apple is hard at work on LLM-based AI software.
Screenshot: Apple

The latest demonstration of Apple’s AI expertise is Keyframer, software that turns an image into a video based on natural language instructions.

It offers an early glimpse at the type of AI tools that might come bundled into future versions of macOS or iOS.

How to let other people see what you see in Vision Pro

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Apple TV showing a screen mirrored Vision Pro with the Explore Mars app
Let other people see what you’re seeing. (Featuring the Explore Mars app.)
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

It’s possible to share your screen in your Vision Pro so that other people can see what you’re seeing, too. This is especially helpful in Vision Pro Guest Mode, to help you guide newbies through the unfamiliar headset.

Vision Pro is an exciting new product, but it can be isolating. The incredible experiences it enables aren’t social. However, you can AirPlay your screen to a nearby Apple TV, iPad, Mac or iPhone.

Here’s how.

How to fix eye and hand tracking on Vision Pro

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Man sitting on a couch with a Vision Pro making a pinch gesture with his fingers
You won’t be smiling when your Vision Pro refuses to follow your eyes correctly.
Photo: Apple

You can easily fix Apple Vision Pro eye tracking and hand tracking if your headset starts to act up. You’ll want to follow the steps below if the device stops accurately tracking your gaze or your hand gestures.

As you probably know, hand tracking and eye tracking are essential to using Vision Pro. When they don’t work as well as possible, it’s incredibly frustrating. I know, because sometimes the headset’s sensors have a hard time tracking my eyes up and down. It’s like using an iPad stylus on a touchscreen that’s slightly uncalibrated.

The quick methods below can fix some Vision Pro eye- and hand-tracking problems for you.  You can approach trigger a reset three different ways — by pressing a button on the headset, going into Settings or asking Siri for help — all with the same ultimate result. (In my experience, this is one situation in which Siri excels.)

Mark Zuckerberg says Quest 3 is better than Vision Pro

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Vision Pro sitting on a desk
Zuckerberg has thoughts on the Vision Pro.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his company’s mixed-reality headset beats Vision Pro in almost every way, despite the fact that it costs far less than Apple’s device. In a short video posted Tuesday on Instagram, Zuckerberg called the Meta Quest headset the “better product, period.”

While he praised the Vision Pro’s high-resolution displays, he said he thinks Apple made a lot of compromises on its $3,499 headset.

AI travel app sets you up with cheap flights, hotels and rental cars for life

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Take $30 off this AI travel app to get cheap flights and more for life.
Save on flights, hotels and more with $30 off OneAir, a top travel app.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Airfare is getting more expensive, and those prices won’t improve during peak travel times. With one of the best AI flight scanners on the market, and exclusive prenegotiated travel deals, OneAir’s Elite plan stands apart from the pack. It’s an AI travel app that can help you save on flights, hotels and rental cars for life.

And thanks to a limited-time sale, you can get a lifetime membership to OneAIr Elite for just $79.97. That’s an 89% discount off the regular price of $790.

With this thing, your iPhone 15 Pro can go nearly naked

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Nomad Magnetic Leather Case Back for iPhone 15 Pro:Pro Max
It's sort of like going halfway from case to caseless.
Photo: Nomad

When I first saw Nomad’s brand-new Magnetic Leather Back for the iPhone 15 Pro series, I thought, what is this, like a thong for iPhone?

Well, it’s what its name describes, a partial case. And it’s for those who wish their handset was naked, but they can’t bring themselves to strip it completely.

Aliens don’t quit: Invasion rages on with season 3 on Apple TV+

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Sci-fi drama
Maybe this time we'll get a sense of who's actually winning this battle.
Photo: Apple

Sci-fi drama Invasion will return for a third season, Apple TV+ said Tuesday. Apparently, it’s going to take at least 30 episodes — 10 per season — to declare an outcome to mankind’s desperate global battle with alien invaders. (Or maybe more, with a fourth season, if the war drags on.)

The streamer said production on the season three of Invasion will start before the end of February.

Get Speidel’s soft silicone Scrub Band for Apple Watch for just $6

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Speidel's Matching Scrub Band for Apple Watch is just $5.99 for a limited time.
Speidel's Matching Scrub Band for Apple Watch is just $5.99 for a limited time.
Photo: Cult of Mac Store

Speidel makes all sorts of watch bands and straps — including a wide range of bands for Apple Watch. Little did we know there’s one made for medical workers, as in doctors and nurses. It’s the Speidel Matching Scrub Band for Apple Watch, and it’s on sale in the Cult of Mac Store for just $5.99, or 70% off the regular price.

You don’t need to work in health care to grab one. But if you like the looks of these colorful and inexpensive silicone Apple Watch bands, you should act fast — once they’re gone, they’re gone.

Today in Apple history: Mac mania sweeps magazine racks

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The Macintosh? It'll never catch on!
The Macintosh? It'll never catch on!
Image: Cult of Mac/Ste Smith

February 13: Today in Apple history: Mac mania sweeps magazine racks February 13, 1984: The original Mac’s launch generates enormous excitement from the tech press, as epitomized by an InfoWorld cover story about the Macintosh 128K.

The wave of coverage comes a few weeks after the January 24 release of the Macintosh. But when the press blitz finally arrives, it becomes clear the Mac looks like a hit.

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.

M2 Mac mini gets sweet $100 off

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Mac-mini-isometric-1536x1152-2
Get good deals on M2 Mac mini desktop machines at Amazon.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

If you need a compact PC to replace your existing machine, there’s no better buy than the Mac mini. And with Amazon taking $100 off the machine in its latest M2 Mac mini deal, Apple’s cheapest Mac provides even more value for money.

Thanks to the discount, the M2 Mac mini with 256GB costs $499. After a similar $100 discount, the 512GB variant is available for $699.

EU won’t force iMessage to work with WhatsApp, rival messaging apps

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iMessage messaging
The EU won't require Apple to make dramatic changes to iMessage, the iPhone's messaging app.
Photo: Cee Ayes/Unsplash

The European Commission decided not to require Apple to further break down its barriers between iMessage and rival messaging services.

It would seem Apple’s decision to add RCS support helped persuade the European regulator that no additional changes are necessary.

How to update Vision Pro software (and try visionOS betas if you dare)

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Vision Pro software update screen in a mountaintop environment
With Vision Pro, you can install software updates from a blissful mountaintop.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Whether to add new features or squash bugs, Apple releases Vision Pro updates from time to time. (The latest one, visionOS 1.0.3, arrived Monday. It eliminates a major headache that plagued Vision Pro owners who forgot their devices’ passcodes.) Luckily, downloading and installing visionOS updates is easy once you know how.

In fact, installing Vision Pro software updates proves very similar to the process for updating an iPhone, iPad or Mac. We’ll show you how it’s done — and also how to get visionOS beta updates. If you want to take a chance on betas, you can test upcoming Vision Pro features before they officially arrive.

Transmit any audio to AirPods for less than $40

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Make audio output from any device wireless with this $39.99 transmitter.
Enjoy wireless audio from any source with this easy-to-use Bluetooth transmitter/receiver.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Those of us who switched to Bluetooth headphones did so because of the freedom they provide — but how free are you, really? Without a Bluetooth transmitter and receiver, you’re still limited to listening from your iPhone, Mac, iPad and other Bluetooth-compatible devices. And that rules out a lot of audio options.

You can beat the Bluetooth blues with the Mymanu Link. This simple but universally handy gadget lets you connect to anything with an audio output jack. Then you can transmit that audio to your wireless earbuds or any Bluetooth speaker. And for a limited time, you can get your hands on a Mymanu Link for less than $40.

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.

AirPods airplane adapter makes in-flight entertainment sound great

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Elevate your connections with a $46 Bluetooth transmitter and receiver.
Use your AirPods to hear the plane's in-flight movies with this inexpensive Bluetooth transmitter and receiver.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Even in 2024, most in-flight entertainment systems don’t offer Bluetooth connections. Without an AirPods airplane adapter, you can’t pop in your favorite earbuds and enjoy your choice of the airline’s featured movies, TV shows and music in a glorious state of noise-cancellation-induced bliss. Instead, you need to bring an additional pair of wired headphones or use (or purchase) a crappy pair on the plane.

If using random earbuds that don’t sound good and/or continuously fall out seems unappealing to you, you’re not alone. That’s why this Eve II Bluetooth Transmitter and Receiver is such a useful device for travelers. Perfect for any upcoming air travel, it’s on sale now for only $45.99 (regularly $59).

visionOS update eliminates a major headache

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Clicking top button on Vision Pro
visionOS 1.0.3 is ready to squash Vision Pro bugs.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Apple released visionOS 1.0.3 to users of the Vision Pro on Monday. It’s the first to go out since the launch, and is primarily a bug-fix patch.

That said, the new version deals with a problem that previously sent some users to an Apple retail store looking for technical assistance.

Studio Display hits all-time low price

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$300 off Studio Display
Right now you can get any version of Studio Display for $300 off at Best Buy.
Photo: Apple

On Monday you can find every model of Apple’s popular but pricey midrange monitor on sale at Best Buy and get $300 off Studio Display. That makes for the lowest price yet on the standard glass version with a tilt-adjustable stand. And it’s one of the best deals you’ll find on the more-expensive Nano-texture glass versions, even with the height-adjustable stand.

Audio engineer touts Apple’s ‘most stylish computer’ ever [Setups]

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iMac Pro audio recording and mastering setup
An iMac Pro from 2017 is core to this audio recording and mastering setup.
Photo: Wanderedabit@Reddit.com

Before Apple’s powerful but sub-Mac Pro-level desktop Mac Studio even existed, there was iMac Pro. We don’t see the premium all-in-one desktop computer in the wild often compared to regular iMacs, but it clearly still has its fans.

Today’s featured user, who records and masters audio in a home studio, refuses to give up his 7-year-old iMac Pro until absolutely necessary. Because it’s still great. And for some people, it could be a great bargain on the used market (check out a few options in the gear list below).

Shopping online with Apple Cash is about to get a whole lot easier

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Shopping online with Apple Cash is about to get a whole lot easier
Apple Wallet will soon be able to turn Apple Cash into a virtual debit card.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple Cash will soon give shoppers everything they need to make purchases online. Starting with iOS 17.4, a debit card number can be created for the financial service, along with the usual associated details.

This will be a boon for those who depend on the digital payment system, especially teenagers.

Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs wins posthumous Grammy

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Cue
Steve Jobs' death caused an outpouring of support.
Photo: Grammys

February 12: Today in Apple history February 12, 2012: Months after his untimely death, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is honored with a Special Merit Grammy Award in recognition of his contributions to the field of music with the iPod and iTunes Music Store.

Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services, collects the Grammy on behalf of Jobs’ family and “everyone at Apple.”

Rip DVDs with this lightning-fast Mac app

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Rip DVDs on Mac into digital versions with this $31.97 tool.
Put old DVDs on your Mac in minutes with this $31.97 ripper.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Still got a stack of DVDs gathering dust in the garage? Far too many of us throw them away or dump them at the thrift store, assuming it’ll be too much of a timesuck to convert them to digital format. If you’re using default Mac software, you’re probably right — but not if you’re using a great Mac DVD ripper.

With a license to MacX DVD Ripper Pro, you can put that old video on your digital screen for good with surprising speed. Plus, you can even improve upon the original — all for less than $32 through February 18.