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Diagnose your charging woes with Plugable’s tiny power meter [Review]

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Plugable USBC-VAmeter3 review
The Plugable USBC-VAmeter3 tests the quality of the connections between your computers and chargers and other peripherals.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Your MacBook isn’t charging right and you can’t figure it where the problem is? Plugable’s USBC-VAmeter3 can help. Connect it to the power cable running to your Mac, iPad or iPhone to see the voltage, wattage and amperage.

I’m no electrical engineer, but I tested this miniature power meter. I found it both useful and kind of fun.

Colorful canvas bands a strong, stylish fit for Apple Watch [Review]

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Monowear-Urban-Canvas-Apple-Watch-1
Canvas doesn't have to be dull.
Photo: Adel Neal/Cult of Mac

Monowear’s gorgeous Urban Canvas bands are a terrific match for Apple Watch. They’re nicely priced at just $38, and they come in a range of great color options that go well with almost anything.

Here’s why they’re some of the toughest and most surprising Apple Watch bands I’ve worn to date.

Todd Haynes’ Velvet Underground doc for Apple TV+ is a hit at Cannes

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Discover how an unsuccessful rock band went on to become hugely influential in the Velvet Underground documentary on Apple TV+.
Discover how an unsuccessful rock band went on to become hugely influential in the Velvet Underground documentary on Apple TV+.
Photo: Apple

Director Todd Haynes’ first foray into documentary filmmaking, The Velvet Underground, got rave reviews after its world premiere Wednesday at the Cannes Film Festival. And that bodes well for the music doc’s debut on Apple TV+ and in theaters on October 15.

Central Park season 2 will bore you with the worst of Broadway [Apple TV+ review]

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Central Park season 2 review: Can things really get worse?
Can things really get worse in season 2? Of course they can.
Photo: Apple TV+

Central Park, the Apple TV+ animated musical about a family living and caring for the titular New York park, returns for more arbitrary, up-with-people high-jinks in its second season.

Nothing brings out the worst impulses in a writer’s room like encouragement. And the second season of the show — created by Bob’s Burgers duo Nora Smith and Loren Bouchard along with Josh Gad (Frozen) — is aggressively larger and more precious than the first. If it’s not your thing, you’ll be looking for the nearest open window.

The Mosquito Coast season finale will leave you desperate for more [Apple TV+ review]

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The Mosquito Coast review season finale: Where will the Fox family go next season?
Where will the Fox family go next season? We can't wait to find out.
Photo: Apple TV+

The Mosquito Coast, the bold Apple TV+ potboiler about a family on the run from the law, wraps up its impressive first season this week with the end of the road — a few roads actually — in sight.

It’s a gripping finale that will leave you breathlessly waiting for the show’s just-announced second season.

Zagg Pro Keys offers quality iPad keyboard case at affordable price [Review]

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Zagg Pro Keys review: Quality iPad keyboard case at affordable price
Turn your iPad into a laptop — one that can survive a 6-foot fall — with the Zagg Pro Keys.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Zagg Pro Keys wraps a range of iPad models in a very protective case, and includes a removable keyboard that makes the tablet even more productive. It’s a full-featured accessory that comes at a relatively low cost.

I used the Pro Keys with my work/personal iPad for several days. Here’s what I found out.

How to fix a frozen MacBook Pro Touch Bar without rebooting

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How to fix a frozen MacBook Pro Touch Bar
Restart your Touch Bar in an instant.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Whatever your opinion may be on the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar, there’s no denying it comes in handy from time to time. Except when it freezes — which can be a common occurrence — and then it’s no use at all.

You might reboot your MacBook Pro to get its Touch Bar working again when this happens. But there is a quicker, much less disruptive fix. Here’s how to restart your Touch Bar without rebooting your Mac.

This leather iPhone 12 Pro Max case won’t leave you feeling blue [Review]

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Woolnut iPhone 12 Pro Max leather case review: Blue to the max!
Woolnut's leather iPhone 12 case takes blue to the max.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

Woolnut’s slim leather cases look fantastic enough that you might not mourn covering up your beautiful iPhone. And when I put a blue one on my ridiculously huge iPhone 12 Pro Max, it did more than provide an acceptably luxurious layer of protection.

It actually made my phone feel better.

Rugged and colorful GoDonut securely props up handsets and tablets [Review]

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GoDonut review
The GoDonut handset and tablet stand has a clever design. It’s also about as rugged as one could hope for.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

GoDonut is a tough, portable stand that’s compatible with a wide range of handsets and small tablets. It can be used in landscape or portrait, and offers multiple viewing angle. Plus, it’s colorful and fun.

I tested GoDonut with iPhone and iPad. And other devices, too. Here’s why I like it. And why I don’t.

Elago MagSafe-compatible charging tray beautifully organizes your desk [Review]

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Elago Charging Tray for MagSafe review
Combine the Elago Charging Tray with an Apple MagSafe puck for an organized desk or nightstand.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Slip an Apple MagSafe puck into the Elago Charging Tray to create an iPhone 12 charger with a built-in tray. The combination quickly powers up your handset while also helping to organize your desk or nightstand.

The accessory has been beside my bed for several weeks. Here’s why I like it.

Belkin’s stylish MagSafe stand quickly powers up iPhone 12 and AirPods [Review]

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Belkin Boost↑Charge Pro 2-in-1 Wireless Charger Stand with MagSafe review
Belkin Boost↑Charge Pro 2-in-1 Wireless Charger Stand makes your iPhone ready to use hands free, and it quickly juices up the handset with MagSafe.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Belkin Boost↑Charge Pro 2-in-1 Wireless Charger Stand with MagSafe holds your iPhone 12 up so it’s ready for FaceTime calls or just checking email. And it powers up the handset twice as fast as traditional wireless chargers. Plus, it comes with a built-in AirPods charger.

I put this stylish iPhone accessory to the test. Here’s how it performed in the real world.

You’re always ready to play with OtterBox’s protective Xbox controller case [Review]

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OtterBox Gaming Carry Case review
OtterBox Gaming Carry Case provides solid protection for your Xbox controller.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Slip your Xbox controller into the OtterBox Gaming Carry Case to protect it when gaming on the go. There’s a built-in phone stand so you can play anywhere, and the case makes room for OtterBox’s new phone mount.

I’ve used this Xbox controller case for several weeks. Here’s why I like it.

Engineering student 3D-prints workstation components [Setups]

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Vincent Belotti's setup includes 3D-printed elements and Nintendo-inspired decorations.
This setup includes 3D-printed elements and Nintendo-inspired decorations.
Photo: Vincent Belotti

Vincent Belotti, a mechanical engineering student at Farmingdale State College on Long Island, New York, has a colorful setup — and we’re not just talking about his screensaver. He 3D-prints some of the components in it himself, and he can’t get enough decor related to his favorite games.

3D printing as a hobby

As an engineering student, Belotti has made 3D printing into a hobby. He uses his MacBook Pro to model and slice prints that become components to enhance his setup. They include an Apple Watch dock, shown on the right side of his desk in these photos, and 3D figurines on the shelf above his monitor.

These affordable cases protect iPhone 12 against almost anything

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SwitchEasy case for iPhone 12
Prices start at just $14.99.
Photo: SwitchEasy

iPhone 12 may be Apple’s prettiest smartphone to date, so you’ll probably want to keep it looking that way by protecting its glass and metal frame. Do it with a brilliant new case from SwitchEasy.

SwitchEasy’s new lineup is available today from the Cult of Mac Store, with prices starting at under $15. It includes super-slim skins that keep things thin, and rugged cases that protect against almost anything.

Shield your iPhone with great cases, protectors and stands at 20% off

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Laut iPhone 12 cases
Check out Laut's new iPhone 12 lineup today.
Photo: Laut

The Cult of Mac Store’s big January sale is in full swing, offering big discounts of up to 72% on must-have accessories. We’re now expanding it by adding all products from Laut, which are now available at 20% off the usual price.

You’ll find iPhone cases and screen protectors, stands for all your Apple devices, and lots more. Bag yours before the sale ends!

Monowear’s new leather band for Apple Watch is its best yet [Review]

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Monowear Deployant Leather band for Apple Watch
A great leather band that does away with fiddly buckles.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Thanks to a wonderfully simple quick-release clasp, Monowear’s new Deployant Reserve band for Apple Watch is ideal for anyone who despises traditional buckles. It’s made from genuine leather that’s wonderfully soft, and like all Monowear products, it’s also nicely priced.

Here’s our full review.

Bucardo Sport Apple Watch band plays as hard as you do [Review]

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Bucardo Sport Apple Watch band review
The Bucardo Sport is a Apple Watch band ready to hit the court when you are.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch is meant to be worn while exercising, and the Bucardo Sport is a Watch band created with athletes in mind. But it also looks great for everyday use.

The sporty Apple Watch band comes in a range of colors, and it’s made of performance fabric. Find out what it’s like to wear.

HiRise Wireless charger is a useful work of art [Review]

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HiRise Wireless review
The HiRise Wireless matches the iPhone design perfectly.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The HiRise Wireless manages a rare feat: it’s both useful and attractive. This charger holds your iPhone up at an angle where the screen can be easily seen. And a removable core allows this accessory to be used while traveling. Just as importantly, the base unit would look at home on any CEO’s desk.

Find out if this is the wireless charger you’ve been looking for in our hands-on review — and bag yours for 20% less in the Cult of Mac Store’s Black Friday sale.

Optimize your new iPhone experience with these expert setup tips

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iPhone Xs
Get your new iPhone set up the right way.
Photo: Apple

For many people, iPhone 12 will be radically different from previous iPhone models. Despite this, the iPhone setup process hasn’t changed much. However, while you might find yourself on familiar ground, there are still plenty of little things you really ought to do before you fire up your new phone for the first time (or pretty soon thereafter).

Let’s take a look at all the things you can do to get your iPhone set up exactly how you want it.

Minix USB-C hub couples 4 useful ports with 480GB of storage [Review]

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Minix Neo Storage Plus review
Minix Neo Storage Plus could be the only accessory your MacBook or iPad needs.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Minix Neo Storage Plus handles two jobs. It’s a multiport USB-C adapter, adding USB-A, HDMI and Ethernet to Mac or iPad. And this accessory is also an SSD, bringing 480GB of storage.

We tested all the features of this multifunction hub. Here’s how it stands up to real-world use.

Little Voice has a mechanical heart and an auto-tuned soul [Apple TV+ review]

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Sean Teale and Brittany O'Grady star in the contrived musical romance Little Voice.
Sean Teale and Brittany O'Grady star in musical romance Little Voice.
Photo: Apple TV+

The latest lightweight Apple TV+ crowdpleaser comes from producer J.J. Abrams, songwriter Sara Bareilles and writer Jessie Nelson. Little Voice, which debuts on Apple’s streaming service on July 10, hits every single beat you expect — and none you don’t.

There’s little chance you won’t experience precisely the emotional journey and reaction you’re anticipating just from looking at the show’s promotional materials.

If you wanna watch a scrappy, model-beautiful singer finally find her voice with help from a supportive and kooky family of zany outsiders, and then live her dream of being a star, then yeah, come on in.

Connect your Mac and TV at 5G speeds with Hyper Mirror

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Hyper Mirror includes a transmitter and a receiver.
Hyper Mirror plugs into a computer and wirelessly streams video to a TV.
Photo: Hyper

There’s no need to string HDMI cables between your Mac and TV with Hyper Mirror. This accessory streams video with the mmWave technology normally found in 5G networks.

Connect a computer to an external display with no wires or additional software. A Wi-Fi network also isn’t necessary.

Apple gets it ‘write’ with Scribble on iPadOS

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Scribble is the most significant new feature in iPadOS 14
Apple’s Scribble handwriting-recognition system makes iPad styli more useful.
Photo: Apple

WWDC 2020 Apple finally brought handwriting recognition to iPad. With Scribble built in iPadOS 14, it’s possible to enter text simply by drawing on the screen.

My testing with the first version shows its an amazing feature. But one with room for improvement.