Get spatial audio on the cheap with Creative’s new headphones and earbuds


Creative Zen SXFI headphones and earbuds
Creative brings spatial audio to its new buds and cans using proprietary technology.
Photo: Creative Technology

Creative Technology’s new Creative Zen Hybrid SXFI over-hear headphones and Creative Zen Air SXFI true wireless stereo (TWS) earbuds offer an immersive, three-dimensional soundscape through Super X-Fi technology, the company said.

That’s another way of saying “spatial audio.” And both noise-canceling devices are affordable. Now available for preorder, the cans list for $99.99 and the buds go for $79.99.

Your bedside table deserves this 3-in-1 charging station [Review] ★★★★


ESR Qi2 3-in-1 charging station★★★★
ESR's Qi2 3-in-1 charging station can wirelessly fast charge your iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods.
Photo: Rajesh Pandey/Cult of Mac

A multidevice charger like the ESR Qi2 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Station is a must-have, especially if you own an iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods. A 3-in-1 charger removes the hassle of dealing with multiple power bricks and cables, which occupy unwanted desk space and power sockets.

ESR recently launched its Qi2 3-in-1 wireless charging station, which stands out for its Qi2 support and detachable Apple Watch charger. Its small footprint, sturdy design and welcome extras make it a solid contender for a prime spot on your nightstand.

Assassin’s Creed Mirage sneaks onto iPhone and iPad


'Assassin’s Creed Mirage' sneaks onto iPhone
The console-quality game Assassin’s Creed Mirage is ready to play on iPhone and iPad.
Image: Ubisoft

The long wait for the port of Assassin’s Creed Mirage playable on iPhone 15 Pro models and top-tier iPads just ended. It is in the App Store now.

This is the latest example of AAA, console-quality games being brought to Apple devices to demonstrate their gaming capabilities.

How to block contacts from calling, texting and emailing


Make Like A Lego And Get Blocked
Here are all the details on how to block a number on iPhone.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Spam calls and text messages seem absolutely relentless these days — you’ll want to know how to block a number on your iPhone to keep your sanity. Luckily, it’s easy. There are a variety of ways you can stop unwanted calls. You can block an incoming phone call or text message. And you can send unknown callers directly to Live Voicemail.

If you’re blocking a person in your contacts list, it doesn’t matter which app you block them from — Messages, Phone, Contacts, Mail, Settings — they will be blocked everywhere. Here’s how to block calls from unknown numbers on iPhone and generally keep spammers at bay.

Pump up the volume at your next BBQ with this Sony Bluetooth speaker [60% off]


Save 60% on a portable Sony Bluetooth speaker.
This portable Bluetooth speaker from Sony pumps out amazing audio.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Prepare to experience excellent audio with the Sony XE300 portable Bluetooth speaker. It features Sony’s unique Line-Shape Diffuser technology, which spreads sound evenly across a wide area. The innovative tech lets the speaker produce room-filling audio without sacrificing clarity.

It’s a high-end speaker that’s about the size of a tallboy, and it’s on sale now for just $79.99 (regularly $199.99). If you want to cruise through the summer with your favorite tunes blasting, you don’t want to miss this new, open-box deal.

Apple’s newest Macs and iPads ship with hidden Thread radio


Apple Magic Keyboard for M4 iPad Pro
Apple could be future-proofing its Macs and iPads with this move.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

iPhone 15 Pro and 2nd gen HomePod are not the only Apple devices to ship with a Thread router. The company has secretly shipped all its recent iPad and Mac models with the smart home radio as well.

Unlike on the iPhones though, the Thread router is not active. This could explain why Apple has not advertised its inclusion in the specs page of its new Macs and iPads.

iPhone’s standard warranty no longer covers hairline display cracks


Apple wants you to pay for hairline crack repairs now.
Photo: Laurenz Heymann/Unsplash

Apple just made a major change to its standard warranty terms for the iPhone and Apple Watch. Going forward, the company will no longer cover a single hairline crack under its warranty.

Instead, users must pay for the repair or claim accidental damage under their AppleCare plan.

Apple’s market cap passes $3 trillion … but so does Nvidia’s [Updated]


Apple money cash
Apple is again valued at over $3 trillion, but chip-maker Nvidia is now worth even more than that.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple had a great day in the stock market on Wednesday, with its market capitalization once again surpassing the $3 trillion mark. But chip-maker Nvidia had an even better day and passed Apple’s market cap for the first time ever.

The result is that Apple, which spent years as the world’s most valuable publicly traded company, is now in third place.

UPDATE June 6: The funny part about stocks is they go up and down. The market capitalization of both Apple and Nvidia dropped below $3 trillion on Thursday. But NVDA dropped even more so AAPL is once again the second most valuable publicly traded company behind Microsoft.

What do the Apple Watch buttons do? Click, double-click and hold.


What do the buttons do?
The buttons on the Apple Watch switch apps, activate Apple Pay, open Siri and more.
Image: Apple/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

What do the buttons on the Apple Watch do? The Apple Watch borrows a lot from the iPhone, but the biggest difference between the two devices comes down to the way their buttons work. They do different things whether you click, double-click or hold them down.

In watchOS 10, Apple changed a lot of these features. The software update added a new Widgets view, assigned Control Center to the side button, and changed what double-clicking the Digital Crown does. (For older devices, consult our article about what Apple Watch buttons do in watchOS 9.)

Here’s a guide to the buttons on the Apple Watch.

Wake up to a sleek, mirrored LED alarm clock for less than $20


Make the morning stylish with this LED alarm clock and mirror combo.
Get this multifunctional mirror and alarm clock for less than $20.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

The iPhone’s StandBy feature is great and all. But anyone who has fumbled around in the dark to turn off their iPhone alarm knows the importance of a good, solid alarm clock. In terms of design and functionality, this LED alarm clock is a keeper. Its mirrored LED screen and futuristic design make it look like something from a sci-fi flick.

With this large-format clock, you’ll know at a glance what time it is and when to wake up. You can now grab this stylish and functional LED alarm clock for only $19.97 (regularly $32).

Vision Pro could launch outside the U.S. in mid-June


Apple Vision Pro while watching video
Vision Pro probably won't be a U.S. exclusive for much longer.
Screenshot: Apple

Those in Europe and Asia eager to get an Apple Vision Pro supposedly won’t have to wait much longer. Consumers in more than half a dozen countries will reportedly be able to buy the AR/VR headset in about a week.

The product launched in the U.S. this winter, but an announcement of broader availability isn’t expected until June 10 at WWDC24.

iPhone and Apple Watch refurbs sale brings great bargains [Updated]


iPhones and Apple Watches sale - iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini
Both iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini are on sale.
Photo: Apple

For all the late adopters out there, Amazon bargain site Woot! just launched an iPhones and Apple Watches sale on great (but not new) gear that runs through June 11 at 10 p.m. Pacific. It’s your chance to grab refurbished models at great prices.

“iHad an iPhone but iLost it and now iSad,” the sale page quips. If that’s you, just replace it with something affordable.

And take note, fans of the discontinued iPhone mini — you can get one below. And for others, don’t miss that stainless steel Apple Watch 8. Don’t dally, though. Some of the deals already sold out!

Today in Apple history: The revolutionary Apple II goes on sale


Apple II
Did you own an original Apple II?
Photo: Computer History Museum

June 5 Today in Apple history June 5, 1977: The first Apple II, the personal computer that will put Cupertino on the map, goes on sale.

Previously shown off to a few thousand rabid fans at the West Coast Computer Faire, the Apple II’s arrival means the masses can finally get their hands on the breakthrough machine.  A base unit costs $1,298 — the equivalent of more than $6,700 in 2024 money.

Apple Watch tracks down stolen luggage when airline can’t


Apple Watch tracks stolen luggage
Yep, another case solved by Apple location apps.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

In a surprising incident at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, an Apple Watch played a pivotal role in helping a determined passenger track down her stolen luggage when Spirit Airlines couldn’t.

You expect this sort of thing from AirTag, a dedicated tracker. But this time, an Apple Watch and the Find My network came to the rescue.

Crown this mechanical keyboard ‘customization king’ [Setups]


Keychron custom mechanical keyboard
This shot from Keychron shows the Q2 QMK Custom Mechanical Keyboard.
Photo: Keychron

Some people are happy typing away on quiet membrane keyboards like Apple’s Magic Keyboard. Others are obsessed with pimping out their clickity-clackety mechanical keebs with the exact key caps, switches and design flourishes they prefer. Today’s M3 Pro MacBook Pro setup goes for the latter style with a Keychron Q2 custom mechanical keyboard.

It’s an excellent, moderately affordable option in a crowded market.

Nervous iPhone users won’t have to use Apple’s new AI features


No Apple AI
Apple users could be able to skip the new AI features coming to iPhone and Mac.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple will add an AI chatbot powered by OpenAI to iPhone and Mac, according to an unconfirmed report. But users of these devices won’t be forced to use it.

And that goes for more than the chatbot. Apparently, Apple will give users the option to pass on all the upcoming artificial intelligence features. The company plans to showcase its big AI push at its Worldwide Developers Conference next week.

These transparent Bluetooth earbuds cost less than $40


Save 33% on transparent wireless earbuds with a charging display case.
The trendy see-through design extends to the affordable earbuds' charging case. And they come in five colors!
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

These transparent earbuds look cool. But they’re also packed with fantastic features that make them a great for any music lover, busy professional or techie. On sale for just $39.99 (regularly $59.99), these sleek earbuds feature Bluetooth 5.3 with enhanced data rate capabilities, aka EDR. This technology offers faster pairing and a more stable connection, which can let you enjoy a more seamless audio streaming experience and crystal-clear calls.

Apple wants to bring Apple TV+ to China


Apple may simplify its TV app for users by the end of the year.
Apple is looking at ways to bring Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade to China.
Photo: Apple

Apple held talks with China Mobile in 2023 to bring Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade to China. If the two parties agree, Apple will gain access to over 200 million of China Mobile’s broadband and TV customers.

It is unclear whether Apple and China Mobile are still in talks and have reached an agreement.

How to find your lost Apple TV remote with your iPhone


Screenshot of an iPhone feature that lets you find a lost Apple TV remote. The phrase
A modern solution to an age-old problem.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Whether it’s wedged between the cushions or kicked far under the couch, a handy-dandy feature in iOS 17 and tvOS 17 lets you find your lost Apple TV remote using your iPhone.

Sure, you can take the L and simply use your iPhone or Apple Watch to control your Apple TV. But I like having the physical remote on hand, too.

The mind races when one imagines how many hours of human life might have been saved if everyone had this feature 30 years ago. Let me show you how to find your AWOL Apple TV remote with your iPhone.

This 6-in-1 multiple charging cable can charge practically anything


InCharge X Max multiple charging cable.
Upgrade your charging game with a big discount on the incredibly capable inCharge X Max cable.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

iPhone, iPad, MacBook, AirPods … the more Apple gear we collect, the more important is it to have a multiple-charging cable. The inCharge X Max — a six-in-one cable with Lightning, USB-C and more — cuts down on the clutter in your bag with its compact design and multiple connections.

As the Cult of Mac review of the inCharge X says, these cables are “adaptable enough to enable almost any type of Apple device to get power from almost any charger.” And for a limited time, you can get one of these multi-tip cables at a new low price: just $19.97 with code INCHARGE.

Fight over blood oxygen feature cuts into Apple Watch sales


Apple Watch Shock
A patent fight over the pulse oximeter inside the Apple Watch hurt sales of the wearable.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch shipments dropped almost 20% year over year in the first quarter of 2024. Market analysts blame some of the decline on Apple being temporarily forced to halt sales of its most recent wearables in a patent dispute over blood oxygen monitoring in units sold in the United States.

AirPods sales also declined in Q1 2024 but for a different reason.

Last chance: Save whopping 40% on this sweet silicone Apple Watch band [Updated]


The closure mechanism of MagEasy's magnetic silicone Apple watch band.
The closure mechanism of MagEasy's magnetic silicone Apple watch band.
Photo: MagEasy

Last chance: Save a whopping 40% on SwitchEasy’s great Skin Silicone Magnetic Apple Watch Band. For just $17.99 (regularly $29.99), you can get a great-looking magnetic band that’s super comfortable and great for the office or the gym. But hurry: The sale ends soon.

The Skin Silicone band is a great example of a comfortable, stylish, durable and easy-to-adjust band. We gave it four-and-a-half stars in our hands-on review. The magnetic closure keeps it secure on your wrist, while getting it on or off is a snap. And the soft silicone feels great.

It’s a hot seller, and we have it on sale exclusively for Cult of Mac readers.

Trailer shows Land of Women not safe from gun-toting killers


Land of women trailer
In one scene, the mom asks for wine because she doesn't want to "die sober."
Photo: Apple TV+

Vineyards in rural northern Spain might not be far enough away from murderous New York City loan sharks for safety, judging by the Land of Women trailer Apple TV+ dropped Tuesday.

The six-episode dramatic-comedy series starring Eva Longoria debuts on Apple TV+ June 26. And it looks pretty fun.

Though cool, Apple Pencil Pro could be overkill for many iPad users [Review] ★★★★★


A photo of the new Apple stylus on an iPad illustrates this Apple Pencil Pro review.★★★★★
Apple Pencil Pro is brilliant for artists, but what about people who simply want to take notes?
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple Pencil Pro is the latest and greatest iPad stylus coming out of Cupertino. It adds a new “squeeze” gesture, an internal gyroscope, haptic feedback and Find My support. I’m not a digital artist, so for this iPad Pencil review, I tested the stylus by writing notes, entering text with Scribble and doing moderate editing of photographs.

Plenty of artists have reviewed the new accessory, so my goal was to answer the question, “Does a typical iPad user need Apple Pencil Pro?” Or would a cheaper alternative suffice?

Today in Apple history: Mac clone-maker peaks before a dizzying decline


Power Computing clone Macs sounded like a good idea at first.
Power Computing's clone Macs were built for speed.
Photo: Antnik

June 4: Today in Apple history: Mac clone-maker Power Computing peaks, begins rapid decline June 4, 1997: Mac clone-maker Power Computing hits its high point — but it’s also the beginning of the end.

The company’s top exec reaches an agreement with Apple CEO Gil Amelio concerning the forthcoming Mac OS 8. The deal allows the company to start making moves toward an IPO as the fastest-growing PC company of the decade. Things don’t turn out very well, though.