Apple Activation Lock: Security feature or recycling roadblock?

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Activation Lock on iPad and iPhone
Activation Lock is apparently a surprisingly controversial security feature.
Photo: Apple

An editorial by an iFixit employee condemns Activation Lock, a security feature of iPhones and recent Macs because it makes these computers hard to recycle.

But Walt Mossberg, well-known journalist formerly of the Wall Street Journal, calls the editorial “outrageous.”

Why Apple’s Thanksgiving Day Challenge could change your life

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Are you up to the challenge this Thanksgiving?
Are you up to the challenge this Thanksgiving?
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Apple is sending us mixed messages this Thanksgiving. On the one hand, it’s encouraging Apple Watch owners to get active with the Thanksgiving Day Challenge 2019. But on the other hand, it’s serving up new episodes of Apple TV+ shows a day early, so we can collapse onto the couch with full stomachs and do nothing all day.

If the couch sounds more tempting than a chilly November workout, you should think again. If you accept Apple’s Thanksgiving Day Challenge, it could be the most important workout you do all year.

Why ‘sexist’ Apple Card is Cupertino’s worst nightmare

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Sexist Apple Card accusations are tech's latest example of biased algorithms
Apple Card was meant to be the solution, not part of the problem.
Photo: Apple

Cupertino pitched Apple Card as the greatest credit card in history. Instead, the card generated negative PR based on accusations that the algorithm used to decide credit limits is discriminatory.

Even Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak complained about the supposedly sexist algorithm. Woz said he received 10 times more credit than his wife, despite sharing bank accounts and assets. Here’s how Apple became the latest tech giant to be accused of algorithmic bias — and what that means.

Pebbled leather iPhone case offers stylish protection with a vintage vibe [Review]

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Woolnut leather iPhone Pro case: Style and substance.
Woolnut's sleek leather iPhone Pro case adds a touch of old-school class.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

Sorry, cows: I love leather iPhone cases. They add a layer of warmth on top of the iPhone’s cold metal-and-glass construction that can’t be beat. And, unlike most thermoplastic polyurethane cases, a good leather case looks sophisticated and, dare I say it, grownup.

Woolnut’s leather iPhone 11 Pro case takes things a step further, adding a pebbled look that reminds me of vintage gear from the ’60s. It’s so freaking manly I can almost smell the English Leather and Old Spice.

The secret to Apple’s sales success [Live from Cupertino book excerpt]

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All great presentations begin with a Sharpie and then a Mac. A
All great presentations begin with a Sharpie (and then a Mac).
Photo: Michael Hageloh

Excerpted from Live from Cupertino: How Apple Used Words, Music, and Performance to Build the World’s Best Sales Machine by Michael Hageloh and Tim Vandehey.

Prologue: What were once devices are now habits

When I set out to write this book, one of my goals was to see if I could insult fifty million people in one sentence. Here goes. Years ago, before I was excommunicated from New York City and became a resident of Texas (a state so backward that someone in our town once asked my wife and me if being Jewish was like being Catholic), I lived in Florida, which is so appealing to the unbalanced that when I took the “Florida Challenge” (where you google “Florida man” and your birthday to see what kind of headlines pop up) for April 24, the first result read, “Florida man kisses venomous snake and is immediately bitten on the lips.”

Mission accomplished. Now, let’s move on.

You might never get to buy this amazing iPad keyboard [Review]

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Sentis Libra iPad keyboard with trackpad
An iPad Pro with Sentis Libra attached could be mistaken for a MacBook.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Sentis Libra gives an iPad Pro a keyboard and trackpad, allowing it to act as both a tablet and a laptop — something no MacBook can do.

However, rival keyboard maker Brydge accuses Sentis of using its patented design. Cult of Mac has both a Libra prototype and the most recent Brydge Pro, and we compare the two and let everyone judge whether the accusations made against this device stand up.

The Libra is undoubtedly great, including a highly-functional trackpad. So the real question is, who deserves credit for the design?

Why can’t you turn off Personal Hotspot in iOS 13?

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Personal hotspot
No, not that kind of hot spot.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

iOS 13 isn’t just about exciting new bugs. Apple did a lot of cleaning up and moving things around in its latest mobile operating system. One big, behind-the-scenes feature change comes in the iPhone’s Personal Hotspot. You can no longer turn it off. Or rather, you haven’t been able to turn it off for a while now. It’s just that iOS 13 finally makes it explicit.

However, this doesn’t mean your iPhone will constantly broadcast its hotspot status, or that it will run down your battery. In fact, this feature is now easier to understand, and more sensibly described, than ever. Here’s what the Personal Hotspot changes in iOS 13 mean.

We may be waiting until 2020 for new iPad Pro, 16-inch MacBook

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Apple Smart Keyboard Folio turns the 2018 iPad Pro into a notebook.
Cross a new iPad Pro off your Christmas list.
Photo: Apple

You could be waiting longer than anticipated to get your hands on Apple’s next-generation iPad Pro. One trusted analyst says the refresh will arrive in early 2020 with the iPhone SE 2, while the 16-inch MacBook Pro will come even later.

This could mean that October Apple event we’ve all been waiting for won’t happen after all.

Awesome stand gives Apple Watch the retro Game Boy look [Review]

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Elago-W5-Front
Give your Apple Watch a vintage Game Boy vibe.
Photo: Adel Neal/Cult of Mac

Every Apple Watch deserves a good charging stand. The W5 from Elago takes you back in time with a one-of-a-kind design that resembles an iconic handheld gaming console.

Made from high-quality silicone, it’s simple, sturdy and surprisingly affordable. It’s also compatible with every Apple Watch ever made. Here’s why we think the Elago W5 charging stand is a great way to spend $19.