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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Morgan Stanley thinks Apple TV+ could have 136 million subs by 2025
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.

Apple AR is already here, and you’re probably wearing it right now [Opinion]

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Apple AR already surrounds us.
Apple’s AR already surrounds us.
Photo: Drew Graham/Unsplash

“Apple is all-in on augmented reality. But where will it lead?” That’s a pretty standard view of Apple’s experiments with visual AR, aka overlaying virtual objects onto the real world, via the iPhone’s camera and screen.

But Apple is already providing a fully immersive AR overlay onto the real world, to millions of users — only it isn’t using a screen. AirPods are augmented reality. They are also a part of a new computing paradigm that Apple snuck into the world without telling anybody. This paradigm currently consists of AirPods, iPhone, Apple Watch and the HomePod. And it is as discreet and low-key as it is important.

The iPad Pro is the best and worst iPad I’ve ever owned [Opinion]

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3D Touch shortcuts now work on the iPad.
My iPad Pro has been nothing but trouble.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The 2018 iPad Pro is an incredible machine. It’s powerful. It has a screen so good that it’s hard to look at anything else after seeing it. Face ID was made for the iPad, and is way more suited to a tablet than a phone. And the physical design is beautiful. It’s thin, the bezels are small enough not to notice, and the iPad Pro’s USB-C port is far more useful than I imagined.

And yet this is the worst iPad I have ever used. It has been buggy. It can’t do basic tasks with any consistency. Audio drops out. And until I updated to iOS 13, the screen would freeze a few times a day.

Oh, and once I bent it without even realizing.

4 reasons I’m disappointed with the iPhone 11 [Opinion]

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iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max
The iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max are excellent, but there’s still room for improvement.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

There’s a lot to like in the new iPhone 11 series, but there are reasons to be disappointed, too. Some features that should be a part of any handset released in 2019 are missing, and a few rumored improvements didn’t appear.

Here are four ways the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro models fell short of the mark.

The problem with Apple Arcade? It’s just not that special [Opinion]

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Apple-Arcade
Can Arcade ever become the service Apple promised?
Photo: Apple

Apple Arcade’s slate of more than 100 games for $4.99 a month looks like one of the best deals in gaming at first glance. But Apple’s new game subscription service fails to live up to the expectations of many iPhone and iPad owners.

That’s not because the games are bad. Or because there are hidden fees we weren’t expecting. It’s because Cupertino billed Apple Arcade as something special … and it just isn’t.