Why the iPod touch is still totally relevant

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It's a repair manual! The iPod touch can be anything.
It's a repair manual! The iPod touch can be anything.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iPod touch exists to be used by waiters, warehouse staff, delivery persons, and anyone else whose employer wants them to use an iOS device as a handheld on-the-job computer. That’s why it just got an update, and it’s probably why it hasn’t — and never will — change size or shape. It is a utility computer. Making it an all-screen, buttonless iPhone-lite is pointless. Adding Touch ID is equally useless when it is used by multiple people.

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t also a great device for everyone else. If you need a utility iOS computer, then you should buy it. Musicians are one great example of potential users. Let’s see why the iPod Touch is still great.

Is News+ the future of journalism? [Opinion]

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Can News+ succeed where Newsstand failed?
Can News+ succeed where Newsstand failed?
Photo: Takeshita Toyooka/Flickr CC

Apple is here to save the magazine and newspaper industry. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Back in 2011, Apple’s Newsstand made the same promise.

Newsstand was a kind of odd hybrid app/folder, and you could subscribe to individual magazines. Some were specially designed to work on the then-new iPad, and others were repurposed PDFs. Publishers thought it would prop up their failing print sales, but it did nothing of the sort.

Will Apple News+ be any different?

Five iPad Pro myths, debunked

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IPad Pro one week review
The new iPad Pro is Apple’s best ever portable computer.
Photo: Andrea Nepori

I love the new iPad Pro, but if you’re planning on buying one, you may be misinformed. There’s a lot of nonsense about Apple’s best portable computer ever all over the internet, and today we’ll set some of it straight. Here are five iPad Pro myths that just aren’t true.

5 reasons I regret getting a 2018 iPad Pro [Review]

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IPad Pro Apple Pencil Smart Keyboard Folio
Do the drawbacks of the 2018 iPad Pro outweigh its advantages?
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

The latest iPad Pro includes the most significant changes Apple has made to its tablets in years. There’s USB-C instead of Lightning, Face ID instead of Touch ID, and the device is more portable.  In some ways it’s better than a MacBook.

But that’s not to say Apple got everything right. The 2018 iPad Pro has problems noticeable enough to leave me questioning whether I made the right decision buying one.

Why I wish I’d bought the iPhone XR instead of the iPhone XS

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iPhone X-R-llent.
iPhone X-R-llent.
Photo: Apple

The iPhone XS might be Apple’s best phone yet, but the iPhone XR will probably be Cupertino’s best-seller ever. It could even beat out the record-breaking iPhone 6, which proved so successful it skewed Apple’s sales numbers for years after its launch.

Why? Because the XR is cooler, cheaper and bigger than the top-of-the line iPhone XS, and nobody who buys it will care about the other differences. I almost wish I’d waited and bought one of these instead of the iPhone XS.

HomePod is still hopeless, and it’s (mostly) Siri’s fault

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I sent the HomePod back, so I will keep using the single photo I took until somebody stops me.
I sent the HomePod back, so I will keep using the single photo I took until somebody stops me.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

HomePods went on sale in Europe this week, and I ordered one. It arrived the very next day. I tried it out, and then sent it back to Apple the day after that. Why? Because it’s a half-finished product. Siri is just as glitchy and annoying on HomePod as elsewhere. It doesn’t work properly with a Mac. And it’s not even a very good speaker.

How iOS 12’s smartest features put users firmly back in control

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Time for bed screen time downtime
Time for bed. iOS 12 lets you choose who can disturb you.
Photo: Apple

WWDC 2018 bug Cult of Mac Maybe the most important new feature of iOS 12 is something that helps you to do less with your iPhone, not more.

If any other company had introduced Screen Time, the new system-wide toolset for limiting phone distractions, then it would (rightly) be dismissed as a gimmick, a sop to the increasing worries about phone addiction. But as is typical of Apple, Screen Time looks like it took a lot of work to get just right.

Screen Time may seem to be about combatting app addiction, and reducing the amount of time “wasted” on your iPhone. However, taken together with the new Do Not Disturb settings in iOS 12, it’s more about putting users back in control of their iPhones.

iOS 11 Drag and Drop is great, but not for everything

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drag drop iOS 11 dock
Drag-and-drop is a great. way to get things done, but not the only way.
Photo: Cult of Mac

iOS 11’s biggest new feature, for iPad users at least, is drag-and-drop support, which goes way beyond just letting you drag a file or snippet of text between apps. I’ve been using iOS 11 since the first beta last summer, and while drag-and-drop was neat, it didn’t really come into its own until third-party apps started supporting it.

Two things have surprised me. One: How useful drag-and-drop is inside a single app (which works on iPhone, too). And two: How bad drag-and-drop is for certain tasks.

The iPhone X camera is like a photo studio in your pocket

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iPhone x camera
iPhone still dominates Flickr uploads.
Photo: Apple

Just calling the cameras in the iPhone X and the iPhone 8 plus “cameras” is like mistaking the iPhone itself for a phone. The combination of hardware and software in these new machines could better be likened to a movie FX or photography studio in the extent of their capabilities. The standout feature on these new iPhone X camera is Portrait Lighting, and today I want to take a look at why it’s so amazing.

iOS 11 turns the iPad into a legit Mac replacement

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iPad iOS 11
iOS 11 for iPad might be Apple's biggest new product this year.
Photo: Apple

Updated 27 June, 2017: This post now includes details about the iOS 11 public beta.

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote this June was so packed that even two-and-a-half hours didn’t seem like enough time. And yet the biggest announcement wasn’t new hardware, or a new app. It was an update.

Specifically, the iOS 11 update for the iPad, which turns Apple’s tablet from little more than a big iPhone into a full-featured touchscreen PC. In one go, Apple showed that it is still full-steam behind the iPad, and that a desktop-class touchscreen computer doesn’t have to actually run a desktop OS, like Microsoft’s Surface.