iPad Pro is a Swiss Army knife, not a surgeon’s scalpel [Opinion]

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The iPad Pro is the perfect tool for many people.
The iPad Pro is the perfect tool for many people.
Photo: DP Spender/Cult of Mac

By DP Spender

The launch of the new 2020 iPad Pro brought a plethora of articles from tech journalists asking, “Is this Apple’s laptop replacement?” That question is so open-ended, it might as well be an infinite loop. It’s like asking a toolmaker, “Is your new hammer a suitable replacement for last year’s wrench?”

It is in many ways a pointless question — and one that in my opinion totally misses the point. The question should be, “Does the 2020 iPad Pro get your job done?” To which my answer is yes, but then so did the 2018 model.

What’s the point of drag and drop on the iPad?

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Even the Magic Mouse combines touch, drag and drop better than the iPad.
Even the Magic Mouse combines touch, drag and drop better than the iPad.
Photo: Harpal Singh/Unsplash

The iPad added drag and drop in iOS 11. We’re now on the third version of iOS to support this potentially super-useful feature, and yet it still doesn’t work. Third-party app support remains spotty and inconsistent. And, worse, drag and drop doesn’t work properly even in some of Apple’s own apps.

What’s going on?

The Patriots are the Apple of football [Opinion]

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The Patriots aren't doomed, and neither is Apple.
The Patriots aren't doomed, and neither is Apple.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Imagine an organization that’s loved by its devoted, cultlike followers, but despised by haters. The close working relationship between its mercurial leader and one of the greatest talents in the field led to an unprecedented run of success. Even the occasional “-gate” style controversy failed to dent its success. But despite all this, analysts still question its long-term viability.

I’m referring, of course, to the New England Patriots. They may not be in the NFL playoffs this year, but people just can’t stop talking about the Pats. Kinda like the way everyone talked about Apple at CES last week, even though it barely attended.

Love them or hate them, the Patriots are the Apple of football.

Sidecar is the closest we’ll get to a touchscreen Mac, and it’s good enough [Opinion]

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Ableton on Mac and iPad.
Ableton on Mac and iPad.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

We will never see a touchscreen Mac. Apple has made this clear over and over. Whenever one of its executives is asked about a touchscreen Mac in an interview, the answer is always the same: macOS is for trackpads, and iPadOS for is for touch. Combining them would compromise both.

I agree. While I do catch myself tapping the Mac’s screen from time to time, there’s no way I’d want the Mac redesigned for touch. For one thing, you’d lose all the accuracy of the mouse, because clicking targets would have to be big enough for your fingers. But it doesn’t matter, because Apple has already made a touch option for the Mac. It’s Sidecar, and it’s amazing.

Why the new MacBook Pro will be my first new Mac in 6 years

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macbookpro
To be honest, I’d buy any MacBook as long as it didn’t have that broken butterfly keyboard.
Photo: Apple

The new 16-inch MacBook Pro launched yesterday, and by all accounts, it’s fantastic. But it arrives at a time when the MacBook (Pro or otherwise) is no longer the default choice for a portable Apple computer. Regular readers will know that several Cult of Mac writers use an iPad Pro as their main machine. Killian, Ed, Ian and I all ditched the Mac awhile ago in favor of iOS.

And I haven’t bought a Mac since 2013. It was a MacBook Air that has since moved on. The only Mac I still own is a 2010 iMac. And yet I have already ordered the new MacBook Pro. Why? What changed?

Why Apple needs outside help to create hit products [Opinion]

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Apple’s first AR headset could launch in 2022, AR glasses in 2023
Apple may need a little help polishing its glasses
Concept: Taeyeon Kim

Recent rumors suggest that Apple is leaning on another company to help develop its highly anticipated augmented reality headset. At first, I thought that sounded crazy. Apple Glasses look set to be the company’s biggest new product launch since Apple Watch. Surely Cupertino would keep development of something that important in-house?

But when you look back over Apple’s history of joint ventures, it starts to make more sense. Apple tends to partner with third-parties in very specific circumstances — and Cupertino knows exactly what it’s doing.

The MacBook is a disaster. Can Apple fix it?

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Macbook problems
The Mac is in serious trouble. Can Apple fix things before it’s too late?
Photo: Ales Nesetril/Unsplash

Despite the endless disappointments with iPadOS 13, there’s still no way I’d switch to a MacBook right now. MacBooks (and MacBook Pros) were always the gold (or aluminum?) standard for laptops — reliable, well-designed and long-lasting. Reviewers would even recommend that PC users buy a Mac and install Windows on it via Boot Camp. But today, MacBooks problems abound.

Apple’s laptops are a sorry bunch. And it’s not just the troublesome butterfly keyboard. Every week, I read tweets and blog posts about freelancers and employees of big companies alike losing valuable time as their MacBooks go back for repair for the third or fourth time. So what is happening? What are the biggest problems with today’s MacBooks? And can these MacBook problems be fixed?

The AirPods Pro fix almost everything wrong with the originals [Opinion]

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AR AirPods Pro
Even AR AirPods Pro look great!
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Here’s a short list of things that are wrong with regular AirPods:

  • They don’t fit in the ears properly.
  • They don’t seal out environmental noise.
  • Those grilles get gunked up with earwax really easily.
  • They lack a volume control.

The new AirPods Pro fix all of these problems, apart from the last point on the list. And to be honest, it’s so easy to change the volume by squeezing your iPhone through your pocket, or by using an Apple Watch, that the lack of a volume control isn’t that big of a deal.

The original AirPods (and the faster, updated version) might be the most-loved new Apple product in recent years, and the AirPods Pro improve on them in almost every way. So, are the AirPods Pro perfect? Maybe …

First damning Apple TV+ reviews indicate an alarming lack of vision [Opinion]

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Apple TV+ could have 26 million paying subs by 2025; 2.6 million currently
Just what is the vision behind Apple TV+?
Photo: Apple

The first Apple TV+ reviews are out — and, broadly speaking, they’re not great. Critics generally slammed the marquee shows on the Apple TV+ slate. Anyone wanting to pull together a movie poster with positive pull-quotes would need to do some serious wading through bile to emerge with choice excerpts.

That’s a shame. And while it might seem easy to write off the bad reviews — based on the just the first few episodes of four shows, all shown to critics prior to the service’s launch — the poor reception might suggest deep-seated problems for Apple TV+. It sounds like a service that suffers from a lack of vision.