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.

iPadOS shuts up all those ‘not a real computer’ claims [Opinion]

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With iPadOS, you're one step closer to replacing your Mac with an iPad.
With iPadOS, you're one step closer to replacing your Mac with an iPad.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

iOS 13 is pretty great on the iPhone, but the real deal is iPadOS 13. With the new operating system, Apple split its tablet and phone platforms for the first time since the launch of the original iPad, and the tablet went in a whole new direction. iPadOS is still iOS, but now there are contextual menus, multiple windows for apps, a home screen that isn’t just a blown-up iPhone home screen, and a proper web browser. You can even plug in mice and USB hard drives.

Apple managed a fine balancing act here. If you update to iPadOS 13 and don’t really think about it, then everything (mostly) works the same, with just extra speed and polish. But if you want to dig in, you will find a whole new computer just below the surface.

Why Series 5 might be my first Apple Watch

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Apple-Watch-Series-5-colors
Finally.
Photo: Apple

The Apple Watch has been around for almost four and a half years, and I’m just about to (maybe) buy my first one. This isn’t a new habit. I held off the iPhone for five years, until I could get a decent cellular data plan without a contract, and I’m still using an old iMac as my only Mac, 10 years after buying it.

So what is it about the Apple Watch 5 that finally makes it attractive? Well, there’s one obvious answer — and one reason that’s a lot less obvious.

3D Touch disappears, and that’s great for people who love it [Opinion]

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ipad 3d touch
Without the sacrifice of 3D Touch, this wouldn't be possible on iPad.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

I love 3D Touch. I use it all the time. It’s one of the handiest shortcuts on the iPhone. And now, with the iPhone 11, it’s gone. But I don’t care. Why? Because Haptic Touch is almost as good. Even better, thanks to Apple’s switch to Haptic Touch, you can use all those 3D Touch features on the iPad.

U1-based Apple Tag could be the biggest thing since Apple Watch

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apple tag
Tiles, which are nothing like the Apple Tag at all.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

What happened to the Apple Tag? Rumors pointed toward an imminent launch for Apple’s tracking-tile competitor, and what better place to announce it than along with new iPhones? But the iPhone 11 event came and went without the Tag.

Will we still see an Apple Tag this fall? I hope so, because it could be Cupertino’s most important product since the Apple Watch.

Apple TV+’s $5 pricing lays the smackdown on Netflix and Disney [Opinion]

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Apple TV+
Apple fires a $4.99 shot across the bow of rival streaming companies.
Photo: Apple

It’s rare that the take-home message from an Apple keynote is, “Wow, that’s far more affordable than I expected.” But that’s exactly the reaction Apple prompted when it revealed the $5-a-month price tag for its new Apple TV+ streaming service.

In one fell swoop, Apple just threw down the gauntlet to its streaming rivals. Your move, Netflix!

Latest canceled Apple TV+ show might be bad omen [Opinion]

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Apple TV+ could be ahead of Hulu, Disney+ in U.S. subscribers
Tim Cook reportedly wants to make Apple TV+ shows aspirational in tone.
Photo: Apple

Cupertino’s costly decision to cancel an Apple TV+ series starring Richard Gere due to the show’s darker tone is the latest bit of evidence that Apple wants only family-friendly fare for its upcoming streaming video service.

A diet of uplifting, positive messages is certainly laudable. But that sort of high-minded approach could pose a major challenge for Apple. Should fans be worried?

Apple should totally make an all-screen iPhone SE [Opinion]

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all-screen iphone 5
Who wouldn't want an all-screen iPhone SE?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Years ago, somebody dropped my old iPhone 5, and the screen exploded into a crazed sheet of splinters. Yesterday I finally “fixed” it by sticking a glass screen protector over the whole mess. It still looks terrible, but at least now I can use it without glass shards lodging in my fingertips.

And, now that I can handle the phone again, I realize that I love it. And it got me thinking. Why doesn’t Apple make a phone sized like the old iPhone 5, or iPhone SE, only with an edge-to-edge screen like the iPhones X?

Why massive Apple TV+ budget is a genius strategy

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CEO Tim Cook before a picture of actors, directors, and producers of Apple TV+ original shows.
Spending big on star power for Apple TV+ is really smart.
Photo: Apple

On the surface, Cupertino’s decision to spend massive piles of money on its upcoming Apple TV+ streaming service seems crazy.

Is this a company with too much money being suckered? Is it a huge display of hubris (as some say of Apple Park)? Or is it, just possibly, a clever strategy that could win Apple the streaming war?

Here’s why I think that third answer is the correct one. Dig a little deeper, and Apple’s spending spree looks nothing short of brilliant.

Siri eavesdropping controversy underlines why Apple must be more transparent [Opinion]

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Siri
Apple backed down after a privacy backlash this week.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple wants you to know that, at least for now, it has stopped listening to Siri queries made by users. It’s the right move to make. But it’s the unnecessary result of a backlash Apple brought upon itself.

The Siri eavesdropping controversy perfectly illustrates why Apple needs to be more transparent with users — even if that means sacrificing some ease of use.