Latest MacBook Pro blows away its predecessors

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2019 MacBook Pro
The 2019 MacBook Pro is the first with an 8-core processor, giving it better performance running complex software.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s marketing for the recently-announced 2019 MacBook Pro emphasizes how much faster it than last year’s model, and now a benchmark score may confirm that this macOS laptop is almost 30 percent speedier.

iOS 12.4 beta 1 arrives with Apple Card support

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Apple Card
By design, Apple Card helps customers understand and track their spending.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s work on iOS 12 isn’t quite done just yet.

Even though WWDC 2019 and the debut of iOS 13 is less than a month away, Apple is out with its first beta of iOS 12.4 today. The new beta comes less than a week after Apple released iOS 12.3 to the public, bringing the new Apple TV app to the masses along with tons of bug fixes and performance improvements for iPhone and iPad.

Apple Lisa documentary will tell the story of Cupertino’s most important ‘flop’

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Apple prototypes
In retrospect, the Lisa was pretty darn important for Apple.
Photo: CNBC

A new documentary called Before Macintosh: The Apple Lisa promises to tell the story of one of Apple’s most important flops.

Directed by computer historian (and Apple collector) David Greelish, the movie will feature interviews with key players in the machine’s development. It also will place the Lisa in its proper context — as one of the most influential computers of all time.

Apple’s earning report by the numbers

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Apple financial results on an iPad Pro
A dive into Apple’s most recent financial results shows what’s really happening with the company.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Taking a close look at Apple’s financial results during the first three months of this year in hard numbers shows how the company is changing. Services are getting more important to its bottom line, and so are iPads. While iPhone is still a big part of Apple’s business, it’s not as significant as it used to be.

Check out these charts that demonstrate with a glance how the changes play out.

Incredible watchOS 6 concept packs more new features than you can handle

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watchOS 6 could be jam packed with new stuff.
watchOS 6 could be jam packed with new stuff.
Photo: Jake Sworski

The grand unveiling of watchOS 6 is a little more than a month away. Leaked details on watchOS 6 have been pretty scarce in the lead up to WWDC 2019, but that hasn’t stopped concept designer Jake Sworski from coming up with a plethora of feature ideas that will take Apple Watch to the next level.

In his latest watchOS 6 concept, Sworski and his friends have dreamed up tons of big and little features that would add more information to Apple Watch. New watch faces, sleep tracking, activity ring advancements and more are all there. If Apple puts even half of these features in watchOS 6 we’ll be totally blown away.

Take a look at all these great ideas:

How to make music with an iPad and a ‘classic’ Swedish synth

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These two will make beautiful music together.
A perfect music-making combo.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

At first glance, the decade-old OP-1 synthesizer from Swedish musical instrument makers Teenage Engineering looks about as standalone as it gets.

The tiny device couples a short, piano-style keyboard with a screen. And it contains a drum machine, several synthesizers, a sampler, a handful of sequencers, a virtual four-track tape recorder and even an FM radio. You can create entire tracks on it with no other gear, or you can hook it up to electric guitars and microphones and bring the outside world in.

But it also pairs surprisingly well with an iPad. You can record audio back and forth, but things go much deeper than that. You also can use the OP-1’s hardware keyboard to play instruments on the iPad, and use iPad MIDI apps to control the synthesizers on the OP-1.

Making music with an iPad and a synth

If you own both pieces of gear already, hopefully this how-to will give you some new ideas about making music with an iPad. But if you only own an iPad, this in-depth article will provide tips for using your tablet with other music gear.

And if you know nothing about the OP-1, or about Teenage Engineering’s work in general, you’ll learn why the company is kind of the Apple of the synth world. Teenage Engineering is known for its incredible interface design — and for having a quirky personality similar to 1984-era Apple, when the brand-new Mac was making waves.

A brief history of Steve Jobs’ automated factory at NeXT [Cook book leftovers]

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Inside Next Factory in Fremont
In 1990, Steve Jobs built another highly-automated factory, where robots did almost all of the assembly of NeXT computers.
Photo: Terrence McCarthy, used with permission.

Tim Cook book outtakes

This post was going to be part of my new book, Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level, but was cut for length or continuity. Over the next week or so, we will be publishing several more sections that were cut, focusing mostly on Apple’s manufacturing operations.

This is Part 2 of a two-part section on Apple’s misadventures in manufacturing. Part I is here.

Steve Jobs carried his dream of end-to-end control over manufacturing to NeXT, the company that Jobs founded after being booted out of Apple in 1985. It was here that he learned a tough lesson about manufacturing: that sometimes it’s more trouble than it is worth. Or, perhaps more kindly, that great manufacturing capabilities mean nothing if you don’t have a product people want to buy.

Why Apple was right to scrap AirPower [Opinion]

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AirPower
AirPower wasn't ready and Apple was right to kill it.
Photo: Apple

Let me be among the first to thank Apple for killing the wireless charging pad known as AirPower.

While tech commentators try to rank this failure against other doomed Apple products, I feel grateful that Cupertino pulled the plug. AirPower, an ambitious attempt to use multiple coils to charge an iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods, was a public health hazard.

How Apple’s TV service can stand out in a crowded market

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The Apple TV app is expected to be the hub of this company’s streaming video service.
The Apple TV app is expected to be the hub of this company’s streaming video service.
Photo: Apple

Apple is undoubtedly going to throw its hat into the streaming TV markets during a big press event on Monday, where its service will have to compete against dozens of rivals, some household names.

Although the announcement is still a few days away, we already know quite a bit about how Apple will try to make its offering stand out.