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The specs check out on new MacBook Pro and Mac mini [The CultCast]

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We're talking the many pros and a couple of cons about the brand-new MacBook Pro Mac mini and HomePod models Apple just released.
We're talking the many pros and a couple of cons about the brand-new MacBook Pro Mac mini and HomePod models Apple just released.
Image: Cult of Mac

This week on Cult of Mac’s podcast: The first reviews and early benchmarks reveal impressive performance boosts from the new MacBook Pro and Mac mini. We’re talking the pros and cons of upgrading — including one very important “buyer beware” scenario.

Also on The CultCast:

  • What’s new in iOS 16.3, iPadOS 16.3 and macOS Ventura 13.2? We walk through the updates.
  • A great giveaway from Goldenerre, maker of fine Apple Watch bands.
  • Our beloved old-school HomePods just got some upgrades — including one Erfon’s been dreaming of for years.

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.

What to check before you power on an old Macintosh

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An unexpected find in this room was a Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh.
Hold up, you don’t want to ruin a rare Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh — take some precautions first.
Photo: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

When you pick up a classic Macintosh (or a vintage computer of any kind) that hasn’t been used in a while, you need to check it out before plugging it in and turning it on. Capacitors on old motherboards fail and leak over time; you DO NOT want to run power to a computer if this has happened; you could easily fry the motherboard.

Collecting old computers is a lot of fun. You can use old versions of Mac OS in emulators online, but it’s nothing compared to the experience of setting up a heavy machine on your desk, hearing the fans and disk drives whir to life and watching a fuzzy CRT display fade in from black. If you’re new to this (rather expensive) hobby, you can also check out my earlier piece on how to get started — what to look for, what to watch out for and where to shop.

So, you are the new custodian of a classic computer. What should you do before you power it on for the first time?

Slim new hub adds the ports a MacBook needs

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Slim new hub adds the ports a MacBook needs
Make your MacBook more useful, not bulky.
Photo: Satechi

The Satechi Pro Hub Slim connects plugs directly into the side of a MacBook to greatly expand the range of ports available to the user while adding minimal bulk. It’s slim enough for Apple’s latest notebooks.

There’s nevertheless room for HDMI, two full-size USB-A ports, memory card readers and more.

M1 iMac is cheaper than even after a massive $200 discount

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New M1 iMac
Save big on Apple's 2021 iMac.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s entry-level M1 iMac is down to its lowest price of $1,099.99 after a massive $200 discount. The machine carries an MSRP of $1,299.

You can get a similar $200 discount on the 8-core M1 variant, dropping its price to $1,299.99 after a $200 off.

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No, Apple isn’t spying on the files in your Mac

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MacBook Pro with cryptographic nonsense on the display
Is Apple spying on your private files? Betteridge’s Law prevails once again.
Photo: mikemacmarketing/Wikimedia Commons

Claims that Apple is phoning home to analyze every image on your Mac have been proven false. Jeffrey Paul, security researcher and consultant, claimed early last week that his Mac was sending small bits of data to Apple every time he clicked on an image on his computer.

After Paul’s claims caused a bit of a stir, researchers got to the bottom of what was actually happening. Not only did they conclude the network activity was innocent — it was caused by a bug that’s already been patched in the latest macOS update.

How to remove duplicate photos on iPhone, iPad and Mac

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Get rid of all those copies
Find and delete copies of your photos on your iPhone.
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

You could have dozens of copies of the same images in your Photos library, taking up space on your phone and in your iCloud account. Luckily, Apple offers an easy-to-use little tool that lets you find duplicate photos and delete the copies, all right from the Photos app.

These types of duplicate images can accumulate more quickly than you might expect. They arise if you make a copy of a photo to edit, if you screenshot a photo to bump it to the top of your Camera Roll, or if you save the same image out of Messages twice by accident. In fact, I found a bunch of duplicates in my own carefully curated library.

It’s a surprisingly sophisticated feature that took Apple engineers a fair amount of smarts to cook up (more on that later). Here’s how to use Apple’s duplicate image remover and get rid of all those unnecessary files.

Entry-level 2023 Mac mini and MacBook Pros use significantly slower SSDs

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M2 Mac mini with slow SSD graphics
M1 Mac mini is better than the M2 Mac mini in this department.
Graphics: Rajesh/Apple

Apple’s new entry-level M2 Mac mini and 2023 MacBook Pros ship with significantly slower SSDs than their predecessors. This could negatively impact read/write-intensive workflows.

The slowdown is because Apple uses a single flash chip solution on the 2023 models. For comparison, the M1 Mac mini and 2021 MacBook Pros used two flash chips.

Today in Apple history: Apple ships the first Mac

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Apple lays out the strengths of the revolutionary Macintosh 128K in an original Mac ad.
Apple lays out the strengths of the revolutionary Macintosh 128K.
Photo: Apple

January 24: Today in Apple history: Apple ships the first Mac January 24, 1984: Apple ships its first Mac, the mighty Macintosh 128K.

Bringing a mouse and graphical user interface to the masses, and heralded by an acclaimed Super Bowl commercial that’s still talked about today, the first-gen Mac will quickly become one of the most important personal computers ever released.

2023 MacBook Pro and Mac mini hit Apple store shelves

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2023 MacBook Pro and Mac mini hit Apple store shelves
The wait is over for the 2023 MacBook Pro and 2023 Mac mini.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Customers around the world are now receiving the first shipments of the 2023 MacBook Pro and Mac mini. The latest Macs are also now in Apple stores.

The new macOS models can also be ordered today for quick delivery — no lengthy wait times.

Should you buy the new MacBook Pro or Mac mini?

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Should you upgrade?
Should you upgrade to the new MacBook Pro, Mac mini or HomePod?
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

The new Mac mini and the high-end MacBook Pro are the first Macs to receive Apple’s powerful new M2 Pro and Max chips. But should you upgrade to the new MacBook Pro (or Mac mini) or not?

That depends on what Mac you already have. Our charts and video will walk you through the decision-making process if you’re considering buying a new Mac. (Bonus: We also break down the pros and cons of the new HomePod versus the original and the HomePod mini.)