iPhone dependence is killing Apple Watch. Here’s how Cupertino could fix it.

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It’s time to cut the cable and set Apple Watch free
It’s time to cut the cable and set Apple Watch free
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

For activity tracking, fitness and notifications, Apple Watch is pretty awesome, and these days, that’s all most people use it for. Which is a shame.

When it launched back in 2015, Apple had a much bigger vision: a wearable computing platform supporting a rich and varied ecosystem of apps. Like an iPhone strapped to your wrist. But the reality has turned out to be rather different. Instagram is just the latest of a series of high profile apps to desert the platform. So what’s up?

I believe Apple Watch’s dependence on iPhone is holding it back, and the time has come for Cupertino to set its smartwatch free. In this, the third and final part of my wish list of watchOS 5 features, I’ll focus on how I hope Apple will improve setup, apps and iCloud to create a badass stand-alone device.

How Apple Watch could shape up for fitness at WWDC [Mockups]

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It’s about time Apple Watch got a Workout buddy
It’s about time Apple Watch got a Workout buddy
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

When it comes to fitness apps on Apple Watch, sometimes it feels like Cupertino is running before it can walk. Fancy new features like Heart Rate Recovery are very welcome, but a few of the basics remain missing.

Apple could make major strides when it releases watchOS 5. So in the second of three posts about the future of watchOS, I’ll focus on five essential fitness features I’m hoping we’ll see at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

What to expect from WWDC 2018

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Mockup WWDC
What might Tim Cook announce at this years WWDC keynote?
Photo: Apple

What’s next for Apple? We’ll find out in June, when the company hosts devs from around the world at the Worldwide Developers Conference 2018.

Every year, the event gives Cupertino execs a chance to show off Apple’s new software and hardware. It’s a chance for outsiders to get a direct look at what’s in the Apple product pipeline. In the video below, we round up all the latest WWDC 2018 rumors to give you a heads-up about what’s on the horizon.

The watchOS improvements I want to see at WWDC [Mockups]

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How Apple could give watchOS a tune-up
How Apple could give watchOS a tune-up.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

In the three short years since Apple Watch debuted, Cupertino has massively improved its smartwatch. Remember the early days, when Glances took ages to load, only to show out-of-date information? When the Fitness app refused to stay in the foreground during a workout? Or when the side button launched a doodling app?

Since the launch, Apple has rolled out big upgrades to watchOS every year at its Worldwide Developers Conference. But there is still loads more that could be done to really unleash Apple Watch’s full potential.

With this year’s WWDC confirmed for June, here’s my wish list of the all the new watchOS stuff I’m hoping will be announced in San Jose, California. It’s a pretty long list, so I’ve broken it down into three separate posts, starting with usability. In followup posts, I’ll focus on fitness, apps and setup.

What to expect from Apple’s big ‘field trip’ event

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What to expect from Apple education event 2018.
Get ready to get schooled!
Image: Apple

Apple will take a field trip out of Silicon Valley to host its first major event of 2018 tomorrow. Instead of focusing on iPhones and Apple Watches, this Apple keynote will be all about education and creativity.

Rumors have been swirling for months that new MacBook Airs and an updated, inexpensive iPad could arrive this spring. We might see those, but Apple probably has a couple other surprises in store that you haven’t heard of.

Apple will not provide a livestream of the event, but Cult of Mac will be in attendance. Joins us Tuesday morning for our liveblog of everything that’s going down at the event. In the meantime, here’s our handy guide to what to expect.

Fortnite on iOS will totally blow your mind

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Fortnite iPhone X
Here’s what you’ll get in Battle Royale.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

My plan to get to bed early last night was ruined when Epic Games dropped a Fortnite Battle Royale invite in my inbox. I had been itching to play it since I signed up for early access on Monday, so I ignored my body’s desperate calls for sleep and dived right in.

I had already played Fortnite on PlayStation 4 and PC, so I had a good idea of what to expect with the mobile version. Epic promised it would deliver exactly the same experience. But I had no idea what the game would look like, or if it would even be worth playing with touch controls.

I was blown away. Here are my first impressions of Fortnite on iOS.

Check out these amazing, creative iPhone home screens

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iPhone home screen gallery
It doesn't get much more minimal than this.
Photo: Dan Rubin/Twitter

It’s not like you can ever find the app you’re looking for on your various home screens anyway, so why not do something fancy with those icons instead? Like, making your home screen an expression of your inner chakra, man. Or getting in tune with the color harmonies of the universe or whatever.

Whatever hippie crap you’re using to justify it, the results can be amazing. And who knows — if you arrange your home screens by color, then maybe you’ll actually end up finding things faster.

Galaxy S9 vs. iPhone: Did Samsung beat Apple’s best?

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Galaxy S9
Does the Galaxy S9 have what it takes to take on iPhone X?
Photo: Samsung

Samsung’s Galaxy S8 series, with its edge-to-edge display and features like iris scanning, offered smartphone buyers a refreshing alternative to an all-too familiar iPhone experience in early 2017. Now the Galaxy S9 is here and things are a little different.

The iPhone isn’t boring anymore. With an edge-to-edge display of its own, as well as Face ID, dual cameras, and the incredible A11 Bionic chip, iPhone X has made Apple the smartphone maker to beat once again. Does the Galaxy S9 have what it takes?

Check out our in-depth comparison to find out which is better.

5 ways Apple will rule Mobile World Congress (without even showing up)

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Everyone who is anyone in mobile (except Apple) will be at Mobile World Congress 2018.
Everyone who is anyone in mobile (except Apple) will be there.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Mobile World Congress 2018 When the entire mobile phone industry heads to Barcelona next week for Mobile World Congress 2018, there will be one notable absence: Apple.

Cupertino doesn’t do trade shows. Not even really big ones like MWC. Yet, despite its absence from the massive Spanish trade show, Apple’s influence will loom large over Barcelona’s beautiful horizons.

Here are five things Apple fans should look out for at MWC next week.

Everything you need to know about HomePod

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HomePod news, HomePod reviews and HomePod how-tos
The HomePod may be the best speaker you can buy for under $85,000.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s HomePod arrives in homes today. It’s already sold out online, but if you’re lucky you might still snap one up in an Apple store. And you probably should, because the HomePod looks to be just about the best small speaker you can buy — in terms of musical performance, anyway.

If you want to find out how to set up and get the best of your new HomePod, or if you want to read a bit more before deciding whether to get one, you’re in the right place. Below you’ll find all our HomePod coverage: how-tos, reviews, tips and opinions.