Anker

Dual 5K displays and giant DIY desk distinguish this rig [Setups]

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MacBook Pro setup
Cleaned, reorganized and beautifully underlit, this MacBook Pro and Studio Display rig is ready for work in the new year.
Photo: dominicmannphoto@Reddit.com

People often compare LG’s UltraFine 5K display to Apple’s Studio Display because they’re directly comparable, with the same size and resolution. But rarely do you find the two in the same setup. That makes today’s dual MacBook Pro and dual 5K display setup something of a rarity.

That, along with the rarely seen Wacom drawing tablet and the truly massive DIY desk, fashioned from a kitchen countertop and mechanized legs.

Best and worst of 2023: The CultCast’s year-end wrap

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Best and worst of 2023: The CultCast episode 627 year-end wrap.
Let's go out with a bang, shall we?
Image: Cult of Mac

This week on Cult of Mac’s podcast: Since Apple and the rest of the civilized world is taking a holiday break, we’re spending the majority of the show on our final picks for the best and worst of 2023.

Also on The CultCast:

  • The U.S. ban on the import and sales of Apple Watch takes another weird twist.
  • Former Apple design chief Jony Ive lures another former colleague away from Cupertino. This time, the goal is to build AI hardware for OpenAI.
  • Amazon Prime Video’s plan to add commercials is a major bummer.

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.

Software engineer defends Apple’s pricey Studio Display [Setups]

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Computer setup with M2 Pro MacBook Pro and Studio Display
Software engineer says his Studio Display's 60Hz refresh rate doesn't bother him (much).
Photo: OK_Cobbler_806@Reddit.com

A software engineer drives a Studio Display with an M2 Pro MacBook Pro in their enviable computer setup. And while some folks questioned the use of Apple’s pricey 5K display because of its relatively low refresh rate, the setup’s user praised the monitor highly.

Check out the advice the engineer got about setup improvements and see all their gear in the list below.

MagSafe miracle: First Qi2 chargers arrive by Christmas

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Apple’s MagSafe fuels new Qi2 wireless charging standard
Qi2 is MagSafe for iPhone and Android.
Photo: WPC/Cult of Mac

The Wireless Power Consortium promised Wednesday that the first chargers using the emerging Qi2 standard will be on the market in time for the holiday season.

Qi2 unifies wireless charging for iPhone and Android, bringing the advantages of Apple’s MagSafe to rival handsets.

Does iPhone 15 Pro’s Action button really need this fix? [The CultCast]

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Is the iPhone 15 Pro
We love the iPhone 15 Pro's Action button just as it is, but hey ... upgrade away!
Image: Cult of Mac

This week on Cult of Mac’s podcast: An iOS 17 update supposedly will stop the iPhone 15 Pro’s Action button from triggering in your pocket, at least in certain circumstances. Is this really a problem that needs fixing?

Also on The CultCast:

  • When it comes to upcoming Macs and Apple Watch, this week’s no news sounds like very bad news indeed.
  • Apple’s Vision Pro headset seems to be straining the necks of some pencil-necked geeks.
  • For this week’s Under Review segment, I’ve got a unique-looking charger and Erfon and Griffin bring very different sorts of cameras to the podcast’s version of show and tell.

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.

Get juice off-the-grid with Anker’s potent new power stations

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The new C1000 comes in handy for outdoor and indoor (power outage) adventures.
The new C1000 comes in handy for outdoor and indoor (power outage) adventures.
Photo: Anker

Two new Anker Solix portable power stations give you power for camping, home-backup and other off-the-grid power needs, the company said last week at IFA 2023 in Berlin, Germany.

Anker unveiled Anker Solix C1000 Portable Power Station and Anker Solix F3800 Portable Power Station at the show.

Raft of new Anker Qi2 chargers joins MagSafe-for-all parade

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An upcoming Anker MagGo Qi2 power bank features a display on the side, plus a kickstand.
An upcoming Anker MagGo Qi2 power bank features a display on the side, plus a kickstand.
Photo: Anker

Just ahead of iPhone 15’s release, a squad of Anker charging accessories featuring Qi2 wireless charging — like MagSafe, but for everyone — rolled out at IFA Berlin, the company said Thursday.

New and updated products include MagGo magnetic chargers, power stations and banks with Qi2, plus updated USB-C Nano chargers and more.

The new Qi2 spec is said to work with upcoming iPhone 15 series handsets at 15W of fast-charging power without MagSafe certification.

Slash $50 off power bank perfect for blackouts and camping

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Anker's portable power bank has a light and 60,000mAh battery capacity to charge your devices.
Anker's portable power bank has a light and 60,000mAh battery capacity to charge your devices.
Photo: Anker

You may not want to lug around a full-on generator for the occasional camping trip or brief power outage, but wouldn’t it be cool to have a powerful little one to provide light and keep your gadgets going?

That’s the Anker 548 Power Bank PowerCore Reserve Portable Charger. And you can get $50 off the regular price right now on Amazon.

Anker unveils Prime lineup of 8 powerful multi-device chargers

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The new Anker Prime chargers handle charging multiple devices with less clutter.
The new Anker Prime chargers handle charging multiple devices with less clutter.
Photo: Anker

Anker rolled out eight new chargers Tuesday, including a 240-watt USB-C charger and a 250-watt power bank for fast-charging multiple devices.

The company said its new high-speed, multi-port chargers take good advantage of gallium nitride, aka GaN, technology, referring to efficient power transfer, compact design and active heat reduction.

Top 5 Prime Day deals Cult of Mac readers snatched up

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A group of happy Amazon Prime Day customers celebrating their savings on Apple gear
Prime Day savings make even affordable gear that much more enticing.
AI image: Midjourney/Cult of Mac

You people apparently love your trackers. The Momax Tracking Tag — an affordable AirTag alternative that uses Apple’s Find My network — topped the list of items purchased by Cult of Mac readers during Amazon’s Prime Day event this week. And AirTags themselves didn’t come in far behind.

What else proved popular with our readers? Here’s the list — and some of these deals are still available!

MagGo grip does triple duty for iPhone [Review] ★★★★

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Slap the Anker 620 MagGo Phone Grip on any metal surface and it becomes a mount for your MagSafe iPhone.★★★★
Slap the Anker 620 MagGo Phone Grip on any metal surface and it becomes a mount for your MagSafe iPhone.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

Anker’s recently released 620 MagGo Phone Grip is one of those simple products that just does what it says it does. It’s not any sort of big, fancy deal. It’s just good. And what it does so well is help you mount, carry or prop up your MagSafe iPhone in lots of convenient places.

The small grip, which looks sort of like an oversized pretend wristwatch, is a good get for $20, too. The company sent me one to try out.

New Soundcore earbuds jack up noise cancellation, drop price

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The new Soundcore Liberty 4 NC wireless earbuds claim to reduce noise by 98.5%.
The new Soundcore Liberty 4 NC wireless earbuds claim to reduce noise by 98.5%.
Photo: Soundcore

Anker’s Soundcore brand offers competitive noise-cancelling wireless earbuds, including Liberty 4, released in fall 2022. Now it plans to roll out its “all-new best noise-cancelling earbuds,” Liberty 4 NC, for a surprisingly low $100 (with an early-bird offer to pay just $80).

And the new buds claim an impressive 60 hours of battery life, too. Top features and low pricing like that might make Apple nervous over its AirPods line of earbuds.

MacBook Pro rig enters beta mode following WWDC23 [Setups]

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You can see a StandBy Mode from the iOS 17 beta on the iPhone's display, which looks like a digital clock.
You can see a StandBy Mode from the iOS 17 beta on the iPhone's display, which looks like a digital clock.
Photo: Dj-Ken@Reddit.com

This year, WWDC delivered an avalanche of new hardware as well as the usual major planned software releases — and the latter is already showing up in computer setups while the hardware hasn’t shipped yet.

Today’s featured setup may be all about its MacBook Pro, iPad and fine external monitor, but you can’t miss the brand-new, unreleased functionality showing up on another screen on display in the photograph.

Mount iPhone anywhere with new Anker MagGo Grip

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The Anker 620 MagGo Grip can mount your MagSafe iPhone in many places.
The Anker 620 MagGo Grip can mount your MagSafe iPhone in many places.
Photo: Anker

Anker introduced its new 620 MagGo Grip for iPhone this week, encouraging you to use the magnetic gadget to mount your handset anywhere so you can multitask.

The device is a handheld grip, a wall mount and a stand for MagSafe iPhones all in one. Not bad for a $20 item.

Anker’s newest power bank is a steal right now

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At just over $22 for a limited time, this power bank is a good deal.
At just over $22 for a limited time, this power bank is a good deal.

Anker unveiled its newest and lowest-priced magnetic power bank Monday. And a 30% off launch discount makes the new 321 MagGo Battery PowerCore 5K an even better deal. See below for details.

Update: This deal has expired. Nevertheless, the power bank is only $31.99, which is a third of the cost of Apple’s own version.

Slick new Soundcore hi-fi speaker sports spatial audio

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The new speaker has a stainless steel grille and an aluminum handle.
The new speaker has a stainless steel grille and an aluminum handle.
Photo: Soundcore

Soundcore unveiled its elegant new Motion X600 Portable High Fidelity Speaker Monday. The compact speaker offers hi-res, spatial audio in a handsome package with a metal grille and a choice of gray, green or blue colors.

When it becomes available in early May, it’ll go for $200. But you can get an early-bird discount. See below.

New Anker MagGo fast-charges iPhone plus AirPods and Apple Watch

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The Anker 737 MagGo MagSafe charger comes with a USB-C adapter and cable.
The Anker 737 MagGo MagSafe charger comes with a USB-C adapter and cable.
Photo: Anker

Anker rolled out its latest 15W MagSafe charging stand Tuesday, introducing the 3-in-1 Anker 737 MagGo Charger. It adopts a triangular shape, juicing up iPhones at a full 15W and AirPods and Apple Watch at 5W apiece.

This follows the company’s first 3-in-1 MagSafe fast-charging stand, the Anker Cube, released in October 2022.

An overpowered gas arm is ready to launch this MacBook Pro [Setups]

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The bass player running this rig said the mount's gas arm is a little over-eager.
The bass player running this rig said the mount's gas arm is a little over-eager.
Photo: stephotosthings@Reddit.com

We recently talked about what a boon to computer setups stands and mounts usually are — but not when they cause problems. Today’s featured M1 MacBook Pro setup is an interesting example. The bass player who runs it said the gas-powered arm of the mount where the laptop sits is so hair-trigger it can “randomly launch it into the air.”

That’s not ideal when you have $2,000 laptop not designed for flight. The user also has a PC laptop for work, a massive 4K display and a compact mechanical keyboard and badass speakers we haven’t seen elsewhere.

Power up 2 gadgets with Anker’s tiny new Nano 3

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A tiny charger that can push 20W+ to two devices is pretty potent.
A tiny charger that can push 20W+ to two devices is pretty potent.
Photo: Anker

Anker introduced a new potent-but-weenie little GaN charger to it lineup Wednesday, the Anker 47W Nano 3. It packs more power than the company’s 30W Nano chargers, adds a most-welcome second USB-C port and comes in three colors.

And it also comes with a 15% off launch discount — $34 instead of the regular $40, a savings of $6.

Developer makes mobile apps with blazing-fast M1 MacBook Pro [Setups]

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All those smartphones are for testing apps using different OS versions and screen sizes.
All those smartphones are for testing apps using different OS versions and screen sizes.
Photo: iSapozhnik@Reddit.com

It’s always nice to hear from professionals relying on Apple gear and finding it meets or even exceeds their expectations. That’s a good indicator that Cupertino is going in the right direction.

Today’s featured computer setup shows that enthusiasm. A mobile app developer offers high praise for his M1 MacBook Pro. And his stacked displays and raft of AV gear aren’t bad, either. Let’s take a look.

Top 5 affordable ANC earbuds of 2022

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Soundcore A40 wireless ANC earbuds sound great, but their noise cancellation is epic.
Soundcore A40 wireless ANC earbuds sound great, but their noise cancellation is epic.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

I’ve reviewed quite a few active noise-canceling wireless earbuds for Cult of Mac, including the magnificent new second-gen AirPods Pro. And while the high quality and excellent features of Apple’s updated ANC buds make them a favorite as well as a benchmark, there are great alternative earbuds that do a nice job for a much lower cost.

What follows isn’t a “top 5 in the world” list, which would be an assortment of mostly super-pricey earbuds. It’s my favorite earbuds among those I’ve reviewed in the past year or so, mostly focused on high-value products, considering the quality you get for the cost.

Apple now sells Anker charger, Mophie power bank and Twelve South iPad stand

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Anker's Cube charges up to three devices at one and reverts to a small cube for storing or traveling.
Anker's Cube charges up to three devices at one and reverts to a small cube for storing or traveling.
Photo: Apple

If you like buying popular third-party accessories straight from Apple, take heart. The Cupertino tech giant added three new products to its online store Friday from Anker, Mophie and Twelve South.

They are the new Anker 3-in-1 Cube MagSafe charger, the Mophie Powerstation Plus 10K power bank and the Twelve South Hoverbar Tower for iPad floor stand.

Did you know your office walls need pegboards? They do. [Setups]

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This setup just added an LG UltraFine display, but it's the pegboards everybody's raving about.
This setup just added an LG UltraFine display, but it's the pegboards behind it everybody's raving about.
Photo: gRAYmatter05@Reddit.com

Sometimes the hero of a computer setup isn’t the computer itself. And it may not be a slick external display or other peripherals, either. In today’s featured MacBook Pro setup, a newly added LG UltraFine display gets some attention, but the real star is something a bit more pedestrian mounted on the wall behind it.

Pegboards may have no world-changing technology built into them, but they can radically change your setup for the better as an inventive storage and charging solution.

New Soundcore flagship ANC earbuds beat AirPods to monitoring heart rate

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The new Soundcore Liberty 4 wireless ANC earbuds feature heart-rate tracking.
The new Soundcore Liberty 4 wireless ANC earbuds feature heart-rate tracking.
Photo: Soundcore by Anker

Soundcore rolled out its new flagship Liberty 4 wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation (ANC) on Friday with some upgrades.

And one of those upgrades might get under Apple’s skin a little bit. That would be heart rate monitoring via an in-ear sensor, which has so far failed to materialize in Apple’s AirPods line despite persistent rumors.

Get Anker’s ‘industry first’ plant-based charging cables and new Nano charger in matching colors

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Anker's new bio-cables and Nano 3 charger come in a variety of colors.
Anker's new bio-cables and Nano 3 charger come in a variety of colors.
Photo: Anker

With the iPhone 14 series imminent, Anker rolled out its tiny new Nano 3 wall charger Tuesday along with an “industry-first” set of eco-friendly, bio-based charging cables.

The gallium nitride-based Nano 3 is even smaller than before and packs 30W of power. But the real headliner may be the two sizes of plant-based USB-C charging cables for USB-C and Lighting devices.

And you can get the charger and cables in a choice of fanciful matching colors and at 10% off for two weeks, Anker said.