Time and location triggers make Shortcuts far more useful in iOS 13

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Shortcuts iOS 13
This is Shortcuts in iOS 13. It looks great.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple’s Shortcuts app is already great, but in iOS 13 it gets even better. You can still create simple or complex workflows to do all kinds of tasks, from downloading YouTube videos or setting a quick meditation timer to resizing a whole folder of photos. But until now, you had to trigger those shortcuts manually.

In iOS 13, your iPhone or iPad can run a shortcut at a preset time or when you arrive at a specific location. This is huge.

Apple hires smart lock CEO to help make its smart home dreams a reality

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HomeKit
Apple's HomeKit platform could get a big boost in 2019.
Photo: Texas Instruments

Apple has secured the expertise of Sam Jadallah, former CEO of smart lock company Otto, to head up its smart home initiatives.

Combined with Apple’s recent acquisition of voice-enabled tech company Pullstring, it’s a sure sign that Apple wants to up its game in home automation.

Amazon buys mesh Wi-Fi router maker Eero

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eero
Eero monitors things like network throughput and interference, adjusting itself automatically.
Photo: Leander Kahney / Cult of Mac

Right when Apple has decided to get out of the router business, one of its biggest competitors is ready to jump in.

Amazon revealed today that it reached an agreement to acquire mesh Wi-Fi router maker Eero, giving the online retailer another powerful tool in its effort to dominate the smart home market.

HomeKit geofencing may soon gain pinpoint accuracy

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Works with Homekit
HomeKit accessories could know to group themselves together based on exactly where they are.
Photo: Apple

Instead of you having to tell your HomeKit devices that they should work together, Apple wants its home-automation system to know when items are close to each other. The goal is to greatly simplify both setup and daily usage of HomeKit gear.

40 reasons to love the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar [Cult of Mac Magazine No. 280]

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You can learn to love the MacBook Pro Touch Bar.
These 40 tips will make you love the Touch Bar (if you don't already).
Cover: Graham Bower/Marty Cortinas/Cult of Mac

Some people love the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar. Other people absolutely hate it. Bottom line is that the thin OLED strip can work wonders — if you use it right!

Get our top 40 tips for making the most of the Touch Bar in this week’s free issue of Cult of Mac Magazine. Get it now from iTunes — hey, the price is right! — or keep reading for the week’s best Apple news, reviews and how-tos.

First HomeKit-enabled video doorbell gets launch date

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The industrial finish on the ProLine HomeKit video doorbell looks gorgeous.
The industrial finish on the ProLine video doorbell looks gorgeous.
Photo: Robin Telecom Development

The first HomeKit-compatible video doorbell finally has a launch date in the USA, giving iPhone lovers an alternative to Amazon’s Ring doorbell and Nest Cam from Google.

Robin Telecom Development — a tech hardware company from the Netherlands — revealed today that its ProLine Doorbell will launch in over 50 countries on January 31, but people in the USA and Canada will have to wait until February 28.

Finally! Apple’s bringing HomeKit to your favorite TVs and gadgets, this week on The CultCast

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CultCast 370 Lisa
You'll soon be able to control your favorite TVs and gadgets right from your iPhone.
Photo: @YSR50

This week on The CultCast: Smart window blinds, smart plugs, smart lights, smart locks and now … the best televisions on the market. Apple just revealed big moves to bring HomeKit to all your favorite gadgets, and Cupertino is just getting started. In 2019, the smart HomeKit devices we’ve always wanted finally arrive. Plus: Tim Cook just let it slip — Apple’s got new services lined up for release this year, but what could they be? We think we might just know.

Our thanks to LinkedIn for supporting this episode. A business is only as strong as its people, and every hire matters. Head to LinkedIn.com/cultcast and get a $50 credit toward your first job post.

Control Ikea’s new blinds with HomeKit

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Ikea’s new blinds work with your iPhone via homekit.
Ikea’s new blinds work with your iPhone via HomeKit or a dedicated app.
Photo: Ikea

Too lazy to get up and close the drapes? Then you need Ikea’s new HomeKit-enabled blinds, Kadrilj and Fyrtur. These new powered blinds have already launched in Germany, and can be integrated with your home hub, your Alexa, or your Google Assistant.