How to make music with an iPad and a ‘classic’ Swedish synth

By

These two will make beautiful music together.
A perfect music-making combo.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

At first glance, the decade-old OP-1 synthesizer from Swedish musical instrument makers Teenage Engineering looks about as standalone as it gets.

The tiny device couples a short, piano-style keyboard with a screen. And it contains a drum machine, several synthesizers, a sampler, a handful of sequencers, a virtual four-track tape recorder and even an FM radio. You can create entire tracks on it with no other gear, or you can hook it up to electric guitars and microphones and bring the outside world in.

But it also pairs surprisingly well with an iPad. You can record audio back and forth, but things go much deeper than that. You also can use the OP-1’s hardware keyboard to play instruments on the iPad, and use iPad MIDI apps to control the synthesizers on the OP-1.

Making music with an iPad and a synth

If you own both pieces of gear already, hopefully this how-to will give you some new ideas about making music with an iPad. But if you only own an iPad, this in-depth article will provide tips for using your tablet with other music gear.

And if you know nothing about the OP-1, or about Teenage Engineering’s work in general, you’ll learn why the company is kind of the Apple of the synth world. Teenage Engineering is known for its incredible interface design — and for having a quirky personality similar to 1984-era Apple, when the brand-new Mac was making waves.

Best wireless iPhone chargers now that AirPower is dead

By

Wireless chargers
Wireless chargers are easy to use and look stylish in any room.
Photo: Mophie

Owners of late-model iPhones (starting with iPhone 8) can stash all their old Lightning cables in a desk drawer and start charging their phone more easily with a wireless charger. Instead of sticking a wire into your phone and attaching it to a power adapter, you just place the phone on a small charger pad — or on a stand-up charging pad — and you’re good to go.

Now that Apple officially killed off its AirPower charging mat, it’s time to take the plunge and get yourself a third-party wireless charger. And if you’ve got one of those newfangled AirPods wireless charging cases, a charging pad is even more essential to your setup.

Here are our recommendations for best wireless chargers.

Best USB-C accessories for Macs and iOS devices

By

Anker PowerCore+ 20100 USB-C
USB-C battery packs, chargers, hard drives, cables and hubs will future-proof newer Macs.
Photo: Anker

USB Type C — it’s no longer a novelty but an emerging connectivity standard for Apple products. As a newer, more powerful variation of the same USB we all know and love (well, kinda), USB-C features higher power and faster data transfer than its predecessors via a smaller connector.

While older USB Type A and B were a great gift for Mac users — few mourned the passing of ADB and SCSI — USB is often finicky. Just plugging in an old-school USB cable can prove challenging, since you must position the connector just so for it to slide smoothly into the port. That often means several tries to achieve the proper angle and orientation.

Those obstacles disappear with USB-C because, in addition to its smaller size, it is designed to be reversible — with no up or down orientation, just like a Lightning cable — and the cables can have the same type of connector on both ends.