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M1 MacBook Air and iPad Air help make a music studio [Setups]


Warning, jazz joke ahead:
Warning, jazz joke ahead: "Remember to always practice safe Sax," quipped a Redditor.
Photo: madeitinthewild@Reddit.com

Redditor madeitinthewild makes beautiful music up in Canada. Or he makes music, anyway. Jazz music. You can tell by the assortment of saxophones next to his M1 MacBook Air- and iPad Air 4-based mini music studio. That, and he said so.

“Remember to always practice safe Sax,” came the obligatory jazz-joke comment.

“No way I live on the edge,” replied madeitinthewild, kinda true to his Reddit handle.

How Apple uses US Customs and Border Protection to bust bogus AirPods


Not exactly authentic AirPods.
Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

When you think about the types of items typically seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, you might picture contraband like drugs or weapons. You probably don’t imagine knockoff AirPods as a target.

In fact, bogus earbuds are a big deal. Customs and Border Protection seized “roughly 360,000 counterfeit wireless headphones with a retail value of $62.2 million” since October, according to a story in The Information, citing previously unreported government data.

Apple is one several predominantly larger companies that work with Customs officers to help weed out copycat products upon their entry into the United States. And the counterfeit goods are not necessarily packaged to look exactly like actual Apple products. Here’s how it works.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak says it’s ‘time to recognize’ right to repair


Steve Wozniak
Woz disagrees with Apple on Right to Repair.
Photo: The DEMO Conference/Flickr CC

Steve Wozniak may be the co-founder of Apple, but that doesn’t mean that he’s always in lockstep with the company’s policies or opinions. One area of difference appears to be on the topic of right to repair.

While Apple lobbyists helped shoot down multiple right to repair proposals, Woz seems extremely receptive to the topic.

Responding to a Cameo request from right to repair advocate Louis Rossmann, Woz said “it’s time to recognize the right to repair more fully.” He continued that he believes “companies inhibit it because it gives the companies power [and] control over everything.”

Think you’re productive? Go split-screen ultrawide +1 on the side [Setups]


If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to info+setups@cultofmac.com. Please provide a detailed list of your equipment. Tell us what you like or dislike about your setup, and fill us in on any special touches or challenges.
If you would like to see your setup featured on Cult of Mac, send some high-res pictures to info+setups@cultofmac.com. Please provide a detailed list of your equipment. Tell us what you like or dislike about your setup, and fill us in on any special touches or challenges.
Photo: randomo_redditor@Reddit

Randomo_redditor runs her MacBook Pro and iPad with a monstrously wide Dell monitor, at 49 inches. But even that curved showstopper fails to provide enough real estate for all she does. So she added a 27-inch Dell display in portrait mode on the side.

Now she can fit everything on the screens. And we do mean everything. Randomo already made the most of her widescreen by using an app to split the screen into thirds, for different uses.

Apple thinks antitrust reform could create ‘race to the bottom’ for security


Apple says proposed antitrust regulation would endanger consumer privacy.
Photo: Apple

Apple thinks five pieces of antitrust reform legislation could undermine innovation and competition in tech, as well as creating a “race to the bottom” for security and privacy. Apple laid out its concerns in a letter sent ahead of Wednesday’s meeting of the House Judiciary Committee to discuss the proposed laws.

The letter — sent to chairmen Jerrold Nadler and David Cicilline, and ranking members Jim Jordan and Ken Buck — lays out Apple’s arguments for why the government needs to reconsider the five bills.

Letter Rooms is a canstfiat jumbled-word game for iOS


Letter Rooms
A vrey fun wrod gmae to snik yuor tteeh itno.
Photo: Klemens Strasser

Looking for a fun brain-teaser this weekend? Look no further than Letter Rooms, a letter-jumblingly fun word game created by award-winning developer Klemens Strasser, maker of Subwords, Asymmetric and Elementary Minute.

The new $1.99 anagram-based game boasts more than 200 puzzles, broken down into a dozen topics — including animals, sports, pop culture, and more. What better way to dust off your mind after lockdown?

watchOS 8 adds new Mindfulness app and Portrait watch face


watchOS introduces a new Portrait mode watch face with depth effect
watchOS introduces a new Portrait mode watch face with depth effect
Photo: Apple

We got our first glimpse of the OS that will be gracing everyone’s wrists this fall when Apple showed off watchOS 8 during Monday’s WWDC keynote.

This update looks like more of an evolution than a revolution. Text editing gets a little easier.  And we’ll get various small enhancements for the apps we already know and love, like photo sharing and a redesigned Music app.

Apple’s twice-dead AirPower charging mat project is alive. Again.


AirPower cancelled.
Alive? Dead? Maybe not even Tim Cook knows for sure.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

What does Apple’s oft-discussed, never-shipped AirPower charging pad have in common with Baron Samedi, the voodoo priest from the 1973 James Bond movie Live and Let Die? Two things predominantly: 1) People think they’re folklore until they actually appear, and 2) They seemingly can’t die.

That’s right: After dodging death more times than Evel Knievel, a new Bloomberg report claims that AirPower is back on. Again. Or, at the very least, the project still has a heartbeat.

Next Mac mini refresh could bring slimmer design, faster ‘M1X’ chip


M1X Mac mini concept
It could look a little like this.
Concept: Front Page Tech

Apple’s next Mac mini refresh could prove even more exciting than the last, thanks to a slimmer chassis design and a faster “M1X” chipset, according to a reliable leaker.

The machine is expected to be offered as a more powerful alternative to the existing M1 Mac mini, which is already faster than most Intel-powered Apple computers, but not a complete replacement.

AssistiveTouch lets users control Apple Watch by clenching a fist


AssistiveTouch lets users control Apple Watch by clenching their fists.
AssistiveTouch lets users control Apple Watch by clenching their fists.
Photo: Apple

Apple plans to release software updates this year that will make its devices far easier to use for people with mobility, vision, hearing and cognitive disabilities.

The features include AssistiveTouch for Apple Watch, which offers astonishing new ways for people with limited mobility to control the smartwatch without tapping its screen. The new feature uses Apple Watch’s array of sensors to interpret the wearer’s movement into interactions.

Cupertino showcased AssistiveTouch for Apple Watch — which lets users maneuver a cursor on the wearable’s screen simply by clenching their fist and pinching their fingers together, among other things — in a remarkable video. (We embedded the video below — definitely watch it.)

But AssistiveTouch for Apple Watch is just the beginning of Apple’s latest big push into accessibility.

50% smaller Face ID sensor could shrink iPhone 13 notch


This concept image shows how the iPhone 13 notch might shrink.
Are you fed up with the iPhone notch?
Artists concept: Cult of Mac

Apple could shrink this year’s iPhone “notch” thanks to a 40% to 50% smaller VCSEL chip in the Face ID sensor, Digitimes reported Friday. According to the report, the smaller die size could show up as soon as the “new iPhone and iPad devices to be rolled out later in 2021.”

Only a tiny proportion of iOS users let apps track them


App Tracking Transparency will be part of iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5 and tvOS 14.5. It’s already showing up in betas.
App Tracking Transparency is here -- and users seem to be responding.
Graphic: Cult of Mac

Apple’s new App Tracking Transparency feature looks surprisingly popular with users — and potentially devastating to advertising. According to analysis by Flurry, just 4% of U.S. users allow apps to track them when given a choice.

The new privacy feature, rolled out in iOS 14.5 in late April, requires developers to ask for permission to use Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers tag to track users’ movements across websites and third-party apps. Flurry’s stats indicate a massive 96 out of 100 users in the United States denied that permission.

Apple shines in hugely successful quarter


Apple earnings call 2Q 2021: Apple racks up another impressive quarter.
Apple racks up another impressive quarter.
Photo: Razvan Chisu/Unsplash CC

The first three months of 2021 brought a flood of revenue for Apple, up 54% from last year. And profits, too. The company had a successful quarter all around, with double-digit growth in iPhone, Mac, iPad, wearables and services revenue.

A shining star in the results was iPhone revenue, which increased by a whopping 65%. But other product categories increased by even higher percentages.

2021 iPad Pro boasts M1 processor, beautiful mini-LED display


2021 iPad Pro still comes in a 12.9- and 11-inch versions.
2021 iPad Pro makes huge strides forward in its processor, screen, port, storage and RAM.
Photo: Apple

The 2021 iPad Pro is built around an Apple M1 processor that brings a tremendous speed boost.  And the USB-C has been upgraded with Thunderbolt, leading to faster connections to external drives. Plus, there’s a version with 5G.

But the latest top-tier iPadOS tablet more than fast — it looks great too. The 12.9-inch version includes a mini-LED display that both improves the look and uses less power.

Apple saves 861,000 tons of precious metals by ditching iPhone chargers


iPhone 12 box
Miss power chargers from your iPhone box? The environment doesn't.
Photo: Marco Verch/Flickr CC

Apple has saved 861,000 metric tons of copper, tin, and zinc ore by removing power adapters from iPhones, starting last year. That’s one of the tidbits from Apple’s factoid-studded Environmental Progress Report, released Friday.

It showcases how Apple is working toward its efforts of achieving net carbon neutrality across its whole supply chain by 2030. As Apple notes, that includes “How [an Apple product is] designed, how it’s made, how it’s shipped, how it’s used, [and] how it’s recycled.”

Brilliant MacBook Pro concept packs in the features we want


This 14-inch MacBook Pro concept is by Renders by Ian
A new 14-inch MacBook Pro concept is based on leaks about this upcoming macOS laptop.
Concept: Ian Zelbo/Renders by Ian

A 14-inch MacBook Pro reportedly will join Apple’s product lineup, and a concept artist merged all the rumors into a design that might hit store shelves later in 2021.

It includes more ports than any MacBook in years, but even important is what’s missing: the Touch Bar and most of the screen bezels.

New Star Trek and NBA games lead major Apple Arcade expansion


Apple Arcade
The 11 original games that just debuted on Apple Arcade cover a wide range of genres.
Graphic : Cult of Mac

Apple made a huge push for its gaming service on Friday, launching 11 original games. These cover a range of genres, from NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition to Star Trek: Legends. And Fantasian from the creator of the Final Fantasy series also launched in Apple Arcade. Plus many, many more.

Apple’s AR headset could weigh half as much as rivals’


Apple could take on the likes of Oculus with a VR headset as early as 2022.
Ming-Chi Kuo has the inside track on Apple's AR headset.
Photo: Minh Pham/Unsplash CC

Apple’s augmented reality/mixed reality headset reportedly will weigh less than 150 grams. That’s about half the weight of current VR headsets, suggesting that Cupertino plans to make its debut AR/MR headset more streamlined than competitors. (What a surprise!)

Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities made this prediction in a new note to clients, seen by Cult of Mac.

Go old-school with iPhone icons inspired by 1984 Macintosh


The iPhone and Macintosh can be friends
Wax nostalgic for the 1984 Macintosh with a set of iOS icons and wallpapers inspired by Steve Jobs’ pet project.
Photo: Ben Vessey

Take your iPhone back to Apple’s roots with a set of replacement iOS icons inspired by early Macintosh computers. Keep the links to your 2021 applications on your iPhone, but sub in icons that have the look of the first Mac’s 72 dpi screen thanks to the iOS (Old School) collection from designer Ben Vessey.

Apple accuses former employee of leaking trade secrets to the press


Apple Glass concept from the Hacker 34.
VR glasses is one of the secret projects that a former Apple employee might have leaked to the press.
Concept: the Hacker 34

Apple filed a lawsuit against Simon Lancaster on Thursday, accusing the former employee of leaking company secrets to the media.

He worked at Apple as a materials engineer for over 11 years, helping to design upcoming products. That gave him access to information not publicly available. Apple alleges he traded that info for personal gain.

Apple reportedly plans March 16 event with new iPad Pro, iPad mini and AirTags


Apple plans March 16 event with new iPad Pro, iPad mini and AirTags
Expect big and little iPad models at the Apple March event.
Artists Concept: Cult of Mac

iPad fans should mark March 16 on their calendars. Apple will reportedly unveil faster iPad Pro models, a significantly redesigned iPad mini and AirTags item-location trackers at an event on that date.

Previous leaks already spilled many details about these upcoming devices. Now Korea’s Economic Daily News reports that Apple will take the wraps off these products on March 16. This is expected to be a virtual event broadcast to the public.

Apple Maps will let drivers report accidents, speed traps and other hazards


Apple Maps adds accident reporting in iOS 14.5
Apple Maps in iOS 14.5 will let users report hazards to fellow motorists.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple Maps will start collecting crowd-sourced accident reports when iOS 14.5 is released. The beta version already lets users test sharing the locations of accidents, speed traps and other hazards.

This is hardly cutting edge, of course. Google Waze has included the feature for years.

iOS 14.5 bypasses Face ID, unlocks iPhones with Apple Watch [Updated]


iOS 14.5 beta 1 lets
iOS 14.5 beta 1 lets Apple Watch wearers unlock their iPhone without Face ID.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple has a solution for the hassle of unlocking an iPhone while wearing a face mask. iOS 14.5 beta 1, which was seeded to beta testers in the general public on Thursday, enables users to unlock their iPhone when their Apple Watch is nearby.

Plus, there are other new features. And this wasn’t the only fresh beta introduced. The first pre-release versions of iPadOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4 are also available for the public and developers to begin testing.

iOS 14.4 brings improvements to QR codes and Bluetooth audio


iOS 14.4 debuted to the general public on Tuesday.
iOS 14.4 isn’t a substantial update, but it does include new features.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple released iOS 14.4 to the general public on Tuesday, along with the iPad equivalent. According to their developer, these allow users to scan smaller QR codes, and to classify their various Bluetooth devices so audio notifications can be routed correctly.

It also closes a security hole that hackers might have actually used to break into iPhones.