Add old-world charm to your iPhone with an Oakywood wooden case [Review]

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Oakywood Wooden iPhone Case review
Oakywood makes cases Norm Abram would be proud to own.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

An iPhone doesn’t have to look coldly technological. Oakywood cases add cherry or walnut to your phone, giving it a more natural appearance. And the cases add shock resistance to Apple’s handset.

I enjoyed wrapping my iPhone 12 in an Oakywood bumper case. Here’s why.

First iPad with mini-LED display, AirPods 3 expected for early 2021

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iPad Air could get mini-LED in 2021
LCD's days are numbered.
Photo: Apple

Apple will introduce its first iPad with a mini-LED display and refreshed AirPods in the first half of 2021, according to one reliable analyst.

Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities predicts the iPad will be one of six Apple products that will get mini-LED screens next year. Others include iPad Pro, iMac Pro, and MacBook Pro.

You’ll want to open Bruce Springsteen’s Letter to You again and again [Apple TV+ review]

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Bruce Springsteen's Letter To You review: Upcoming Apple TV+ documentary offers a moving look at the songwriter's life and music.
The upcoming Apple TV+ documentary offers a moving look at Bruce Springsteen's life and music.
Photo: Apple TV+

Just in time for election day, America’s real president makes a stump speech that’s part biography and part self-mythologizing letter to an equally mythic version of the state he calls home. Bruce Springsteen’s Letter to You, like a lot of the Boss’ later albums, isn’t exactly groundbreaking or inventive. However, there’s a good reason his homespun coastal Americana never goes out of fashion. Nobody gets America like Springsteen.

Upcoming Apple TV+ documentary Bruce Springsteen’s Letter to You showcases the songs on his 20th album. While it won’t tell you anything you didn’t already suspect, you will find an incalculable kind of value in the songwriter’s company.

This wireless charger will disinfect your iPhone [Review]

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The Mophie UV Sanitizer With Wireless Charging can blast your iPhone with germ-killing ultraviolet light.
This wireless charger can blast your iPhone with germ-killing ultraviolet light.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

With a recent study showing the virus that causes COVID-19 can live up to 28 days on glass and stainless steel, it might be time to double down on your disinfectant efforts. Remind me again what iPhones are made of … oh, yeah, glass and metal. Yikes!

One easy way to sanitize your iPhone and other small items is to use a device like the Mophie UV Sanitizer with a built-in wireless charger. While the company doesn’t specifically claim that the device kills COVID-19 dead, another recent study showed definitively that ultraviolet light can kill the potentially deadly virus.

At some point, “better safe than sorry” comes into play.

Little Buddy case keeps iPads safe around clumsy kids

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Little Buddy case for iPad
No more shattered screens!
Photo: Laut

Every parent knows that one of the most effective ways to appease an unhappy child is to hand them an iPad. And with the brilliant Little Buddy case from Laut, it’s finally safe to do so.

The Little Buddy’s lightweight yet rugged design, made from impact-resistant EVA foam, makes an iPad easy to carry around, and prevents it from shattering into pieces when it inevitably gets dropped.

It’s compatible with a wide range of iPad models, and it’s a bargain at under $35.

Why you should add a second screen to your iPhone

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Connect your iPhone to a second screen for fun... and maybe even productivity.
Connect a big screen to your iPhone to watch movies and play games. And maybe even be productive.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Your iPhone is already one of the most useful things you own, but it can do even more if you hook it to a large second screen. Making the connection simply requires an adapter, and doing so opens up quite a few entertainment — and even some productivity — options.

iOS and iPhone are surprisingly powerful, and are being held back by the small display. Here’s what you get with a bigger one.

Tiny WeMo smart plug makes trying HomeKit so easy [Review]

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Belkin Wemo WiFi Smart Plug review
The Wemo WiFi Smart Plug can be your ticket to easy home automation.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Home automation is convenient and even kind of fun. And a smart plug is the easiest way to get started. The redesigned Wemo WiFi Smart Plug from Belkin lets you find out if you really want to be able to control your lights or other appliances from your iPhone, without making a big investment.

A couple of weeks of testing this pint-size HomeKit accessory went into this review. Here’s what I found out.

Get more productive with Vissles’ attractive portable display [Review]

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Vissles-M review
Easily expand your working space, or enjoy a movie on a larger display, with the Vissles-M.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

A portable monitor makes you more productive on the go. And the 15.6-inch Vissles-M is a thin and lightweight LCD screen that easily connects to a Mac or iPad Pro through its USB-C port.

I tested this affordable external display in a variety of conditions, and used it for both for work and fun. Here’s how it held up.

Ted Lasso’s heart is too big to bench [Apple TV+ review]

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Jason Sudeikis is the titular Ted Lasso
Jason Sudeikis is the titular Ted Lasso in the mostly winning comedy series.
Photo: Apple TV

Created for a diverting if not particularly funny web short, Jason Sudeikis‘ clueless coach Ted Lasso now has his own Apple TV+ series. The question is: Is there enough meat on the bones of the premise to support a comedy series?

Like the NBC Sports promos that spawned the character, Ted Lasso is about an American coaching football in England — and being sorta kinda unfit for the demands. Fish-out-of-water, culture-clash comedies are as old as film comedy itself. And there’s certainly potential in the idea of an old-fashioned Southern gentleman dropped into tough-as-nails, hyper-masculine soccer culture. But ultimately, the high-concept stuff isn’t what works in Ted Lasso’s favor. You must get past the show’s premise to get to the good part.