Behold, Apple’s best of 2020 [Cult of Mac Magazine 378]

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Apple picks the year's winners.
Apple picks the year's winners.
Cover: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

It’s December, so it’s time to brace yourself for the annual onslaught of “best of” recommendations. Cupertino came out of the gate early this week, crowning its favorite 15 apps and games of the year.

Separately, the company also highlighted the biggest hits on Apple Music, diced in a variety of ways, as well as the best podcasts, books and audiobooks of 2020. And, like last year, Apple Music users can check out their own personal hit lists. Take a look at your Replay 2020 playlist for insight into what you streamed with abandon during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Get the lowdown in this week’s free edition of Cult of Mac Magazine. It’s loaded with the week’s top Apple news, plus plenty of how-tos for iPhone, HomePod and Mac users.

We’ve also got reviews of three new Apple TV+ shows this week: astonishing nature docuseries Earth at Night in Color, uplifting kids show Stillwater and Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special.

All I want for Christmas is Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special on Apple TV+ [Review]

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Apple TV+
Festive fierceness incoming.
Photo: Apple

Let’s be honest, you already know whether you’re going to watch Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special on Apple TV+.

This isn’t an early Apple Silicon Mac where you need to read up on whether the transition to a new chip architecture has worked before making your purchasing decision. You either heard the words “Mariah” and “Christmas special” and thought “that’s an easy skip,” or immediately set about making space on your calendar to enjoy it in all its festive fierceness.

Nothing I write here is going to change your mind on either of these polarized takes. But, for the record, I enjoyed the show, which premiered today on Apple TV+.

Get a sneak preview of Mariah Carey’s Apple TV+ Christmas special

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Christmas special
All she wants for Christmas is for you to subscribe to Apple TV+.
Photo: Apple TV+

Mariah Carey is doing her bit to make this holiday season a bit more festive — courtesy of an upcoming Christmas special for Apple TV+. And she’s bringing a whole lot of friends with her.

In a sneak preview posted on Twitter with the message “One week to go,” Carey showed what we can expect from the upcoming Magical Christmas Special, arriving on Apple TV+ December 4.

Alongside Mariah, it will include appearances by (deep breath) Tiffany Haddish, Billy Eichner, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Snoop Dogg, Jermaine Dupri, Misty Copeland, and plenty of others.