CES 2021

Is the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar a goner? [Cult of Mac Magazine 384]

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The next-gen MacBook Pros might add a bunch of cool features. But they also might lack a Touch Bar.
The next-gen MacBook Pros might add a bunch of cool features. But they also might lack a Touch Bar.
Cover: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

From CES product unveilings to juicy rumors, this week suffered zero shortage of new for Apple fans. You’ll find the cream of the crop in this week’s issue of Cult of Mac Magazine. As always, it’s free — and it’s ready for consumption on your iOS device of choice.

I don’t want to slow you down on your way to the week’s top news stories. But if you use Safari (and you really should), don’t miss our new series of how-tos on getting the most out of Apple’s web browser. Those Safari Pro Tips are in the mag as well.

Or you can get it all, plus our reviews of the new Apple TV+ seasons of Servant and Dickinson, in your browser at the links below.

New MagicMount puts MagSafe to work in the car

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Scosche MagicMount MSC is a mount, not a charger.
The Scosche MagicMount MSC holds the Apple MagSafe charger in your car.
Photo: Scosche

CES 2021 bug Take your Apple MagSafe on the go with the Scosche MagicMount MSC. Designed for in-car use, this mount comes in versions that attach to air vents, cup holders or windows.

The company also used CES 2021 to unveil fresh PowerVolt USB-C car and wall chargers.

Anker’s clever wireless power bank clings to iPhone 12 with magnets

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Anker Magnetic Wireless Power Bank doesn’t support MagSafe.
The Anker Magnetic Wireless Power Bank attaches to an iPhone 12 when needed, but is easily removable.
Photo: Anker

CES 2021 bugAnker’s latest external battery uses magnets to attach itself to an iPhone 12 for wireless charging. It enables the handset to juice up while it’s being used on the move.

The accessory maker also unveiled at CES 2021 a 3-in-1 wireless charger with an removable 10,000 mAh battery.

Plugable 7-in-1 USB-C hub promises top-tier performance on a budget

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Plugable USBC-7IN1E promises high quality for a low price.
Plugable’s USB-C adapter offers plenty of ports. All of which can be used at the same time.
Photo: Plugable

CES 2021 bugPlugable freely admits its new 7-in-1 USB-C hub for Mac or iPad is entering a crowded market. But the accessory maker promises its new USBC-7IN1E multiport adapter stands out from cheap competitors with better hardware.

Nevertheless, the cost is just $30.

Satechi iPhone 12 charging stand also juices up AirPods

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Satechi Aluminum 2-in-1 Magnetic Wireless Charging Stand was unveiled at CES 2021.
The Satechi Aluminum 2-in-1 Magnetic Wireless Charging Stand looks great on a night stand.
Photo: Satechi

CES 2021 bugSatechi on Tuesday took the wraps off an aluminum stand that makes use of the magnets Apple built into the iPhone 12. It elevates the handset while charging it, making the screen easier to see. The stand also includes an AirPods charger.

Prototype wearable supposedly can monitor blood sugar noninvasively

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Quantum
It might look like an Apple Watch, but it reportedly does something no Apple Watch can do.
Photo: Quantum Operation Inc.

CES 2021 bug A new device shown off at CES may look like an Apple Watch knockoff, but its maker says it can do something Cupertino’s wearable can’t: accurately and noninvasively measure a person’s blood sugar level.

Japanese manufacturer Quantum Operation says its prototype employs a miniature spectrometer to scan blood in the wrist for biomarkers that reveal glucose levels. The user supposedly just puts on the smartwatch and activates the monitoring with a touch. After 20 seconds, the wearer receives the blood sugar data on the device’s screen.

Puffco’s psychedelic promo video will give you a contact high

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The Peak Pro clip doesn't look like your typical tech promo video.
The Peak Pro clip doesn't look like your typical tech promo video.
Photo: Puffco

CES 2021 bug Loaded with psychedelic visuals and insect-eye product shots, Puffco’s promo video for its upcoming Peak Pro vaporizer will get your head spinning.

The super-chill dabbers in the high-concept one-minute video all look like they’re doing their thing in darkened rooms at their own private raves. The Peak Pro’s pulsating lights and a pulsing soundtrack add to the mood.

Kensington’s brilliant StudioDock adds USB-C hub to iPad desk stand

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The Kensington StudioDock was named a CES 2021 Innovation Awards Honoree.
Kensington StudioDock could be the iPad productivity tool you’re looking for.
Photo: Kensington

CES 2021 bugThe Kensington StudioDock turns an iPad into a desktop. The tablet magnetically attaches to the stand, and then a USB-C connection brings access to a range of ports, including HDMI, Ethernet, USB-A, and more. Plus, there are wireless chargers for iPhone and AirPods built in.

The stand is impressive enough to be named a CES 2021 Innovation Awards Honoree.

New OtterBox clip joins iPhone to Xbox controller for on-the-go gaming

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OtterBox, known for rugged phone cases, branched out to the gaming market.
Cheery people use the OtterBox Mobile Gaming Clip and the Gaming Carry Case.
Photo: OtterBox

CES 2021 bugOtterBox, known for rugged phone cases, branched out to the gaming market. Its newly announced Mobile Gaming Clip attaches a smartphone to an Xbox Wireless Controller.

The company also unveiled the Otterbox Easy Grip Controller Shell, which brings extra protection to an Xbox controller. And more gaming accessories, too. All at CES 2021.

Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug lets you extend HomeKit to your yard

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Lutron Caseta Outdoor Plug takes HomeKit outside.
Think of all the ways HomeKit can enhance your outdoor living space.
Photo: Lutron

CES 2021 bug Lutron is taking its top-notch HomeKit smart plug outside. The upcoming Caséta Outdoor Smart Plug is a beefy-looking, iP-65-rated AC outlet that’s built to take all the abuse Mother Nature can dish out.

Designed to give you control over things like outdoor lighting and pumps, it’s smart enough that it can adjust your timers when daylight saving time arrives.

“It’s essentially weatherproof, dirtproof and sunproof,” said Matt Swatsky, Lutron’s vice president of residential mid-market business, in a press release Monday. “A homeowner can now enjoy all the benefits of a Caséta system for their outside spaces.”

OWC portable SSD is so tough it survived a trip into space

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OWC Envoy Pro FX was unveiled at CES 2021.
The OWC Envoy Pro FX portable SSD is designed for the urban jungle or a chaotic movie set.
Photo: OWC

CES 2021 bugThe Envoy Pro FX is a 2 terabyte SSD that’s “built like a tank” according to OWC, its maker. The solid state drive is compatible with Mac, iPad, and many other devices. Plus, it can transfer data at up to 2800 MB/s.

Monday is the kickoff of CES 2021, so OWC also took the wraps off an updated version of its travel USB-C multi-port adapter.

Belkin MagSafe charger juices up both iPhone 12 and AirPods

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Belkin BoostCharge Pro 2-in-1 Wireless Charger Stand with MagSafe is a lot of name.
Easily make FaceTime calls with Belkin’s new charging stand that supports the iPhone 12 series’ MagSafe system.
Photo: Belkin

CES 2021 bugThe Belkin Boost↑Charge Pro 2-in-1 Wireless Charger Stand with MagSafe uses magnets to hold an iPhone 12 up where it can be more easily seen. And it includes a pad for AirPods cases that support wireless charging.

In addition, Belkin also unveiled the SoundForm Freedom True Wireless Earbuds on Monday, the first day of CES 2021. These truly wireless headphones offer environmental noise cancellation and 8 hours of playback.

Power 5 devices at once with Satechi Dock5 charging station

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Satechi Dock5 Multi-Device Charging Station launched at CES 2021.
The Satechi Dock5 Multi-Device Charging Station provides a place to put your phones and tablets while they charge.
Photo: Satechi

CES 2021 bugThe Satechi Dock5 Multi-Device Charging Station is designed for homes with lots of electronics that need juicing up. It boasts multiple USB-C and USB-A ports, slots to hold four phones, tablets or other gadgets while they charge, as well as a single wireless charging pad.

It was unveiled at CES 2021, which kicked off Monday.

You can trust us: Apple debuts 2 privacy themed ads at CES

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Face ID
Apple keeps all your Face ID data private.
Photo: Apple

CES 2021 bug Apple has launched a couple of eye-catching ads to coincide with the first day of the virtual CES. Both ads focus on Apple’s privacy oriented stance to technologies like Face ID and Apple Pay. This includes carrying out processing on the device and not sharing information with Apple.

The short ads feature some neat Saul Bass-style typographic animation in an effort to make the topic of user privacy and not sharing data compelling and digestible. Check them out below.

Upcoming iOS app will use Face ID for head- and eye-tracking

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Eyeware Beam
Coming soon to iPhone and iPad.
Photo: Eyeware Beam

CES 2021 bug Eyeware Beam, an iOS app that uses the iPhone’s TrueDepth camera setup as a peripheral for eye-tracking or head-tracking on the PC, is among the offerings at this year’s CES.

The annual tech convention, which runs today through Thursday, is a virtual event this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That won’t stop startups and big electronics companies from showing off some seriously impressive tech, however.