| Cult of Mac

Affordable new Xbox streaming device could mean trouble for Apple TV

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Pretty soon Xbox gaming and media streaming may not require a console.
Pretty soon Xbox gaming and media streaming may not require a console.
Photo: Microsoft

Microsoft confirmed Friday it’s developing a low-cost streaming device that would allow users to play Xbox games and stream media without needing a full console. That could directly compete with Apple TV.

Meanwhile, Apple’s product — sometimes criticized as overpriced — may see a less-expensive iteration later this year, according to analysts.

This clip-on controller is the secret to better iPhone gaming [Review]

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Backbone One for iPhone review: Clever clip-on game controller
The Backbone One for iPhone takes your gaming to the next level.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Clip the Backbone One to your iPhone to get the physical buttons and sticks you’ve been missing. It has a lot in common with an Xbox controller, while being designed specifically for iPhone gaming. And a Lightning connector makes hookups easy.

I spent many hours testing the Backbone One. Here’s why I completely love it, especially for cloud gaming.

Klipsch brings the brawn with new desktop speaker set

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Klipsch's new ProMedia Heritage 2.1 speaker set has a groovy 1970s look.
Klipsch's new ProMedia Heritage 2.1 speaker set has a groovy 1970s look.
Photo: Klipsch

Klipsch likes to draw on it lengthy history when it rolls out new speakers, and the ProMedia Heritage 2.1 Multimedia Speaker System is no different. But the fabric-covered speakers and subwoofer, designed to recall the company’s Heresy speakers from the 1970s, also pack 220 watts of peak power.

That’ll blow the room away, whether you’re cranking tunes, enjoying your home theater or playing games.

Unreal Engine’s free Core game creation tool comes to macOS and iOS

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Core is a game-development tool previously limited to PCs.
Core is a game-development tool previously limited to PCs.
Photo: Manticore Games

Core is a free tool for creating games that runs on Unreal Engine, which is only available on PC. But as part of its one-year anniversary, developer Manticore Games said Friday that Core is coming to macOS and iOS in summer 2022.

When Mac, iPhone and iPad get Core, gamers will be able to cross-play between versions with Windows gamers, Manticore said. And developers can start playing with Core for iOS on Friday.

Elgato’s new video capture card handles variable refresh rates

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If you're looking to capture smooth gameplay footage, Elgato's new card might be for you.
If you're looking to capture smooth gameplay footage, Elgato's new card might be for you.
Photo: Elgato

Recently acquired by gaming maven Corsair, Elgato rolled out a new USB-C-based capture card on Wednesday called the HD60 X. It’s an upgrade to the HD60 S+ capture card, popular with gamers and content creators. The new one’s biggest addition is the ability to smoothly capture and record video footage with variable refresh rates.

And it works with M1 Macs, Windows machines and popular streaming tools and gaming consoles.

Apple puts iPhone game controller on the drawing board

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Apple puts iPhone game controller on the drawing board
It’s undeniable: Apple is at least considering an iPhone game controller. And one for iPad, too.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple is showing interest in making a clip-on iPhone or iPad game controller. It filed a patent application for various permutations of exactly that sort of accessory on Thursday.

This would be a new product category for the company. But it could be a boon for Apple Arcade subscribers.

JBL has a new party in a box and lots of other big plans for your ears

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The JBL PartyBox Encore is a 100W speaker with a Lightshow and two microphones.
The JBL PartyBox Encore is a 100W speaker with a Lightshow and two microphones.
Photo: JBL

Every year Samsung subsidiary JBL rolls out a tempting raft of updated or new audio products at CES, but you can’t get them right away. CES 2022, held in Las Vegas earlier this month, was no different. The company showed its new JBL PartyBox Encore and a slew of other Bluetooth speakers, earbuds and headphones. We’ll round them up below. Some are coming in spring and others in summer.

Razer’s colorful cooling fan keeps iPhone cool when the gaming gets hot

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Razer Phone Cooler Chroma keeps iPhone cool when the gaming gets hot
The Razer Phone Cooler Chroma blows away the heat that can build up during long gaming sessions.
Photo: Razer

The Razer Phone Cooler Chroma is a fan designed to cool smartphones that heat up when playing demanding games. And it has colorful LEDs to make it look even cooler.

An iPhone version uses MagSafe. There’s also one for handsets without built-in magnets.