8 great tricks for the 2018 iPad Pro

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Your new iPad pro has some neat tricks up its sleeves.
Your new iPad pro has some neat tricks up its sleeves.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

How’s that new iPad Pro? I love mine, apart from the short USB-C cable that won’t stretch to my desk while I’m working. You’ve probably been scouring the web for tips and trick to get more out of your new beast. Well, you’re in luck, because we’ve been doing the same, and gathered all the 2018 iPad Pro tips together here, in one place.

Shortcuts 2.1 adds new weather and timer actions

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Set a timer with the new Shortcuts v2.1.
Set a timer with the new Shortcuts v2.1.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Amidst the flurry of iPad and Mac news yesterday, Apple also released the latest version of Shortcuts, the super-cool iOS automation app. The big news is the addition of seven new actions for checking the weather, setting timers and measurement conversions. Let’s take a look at Shortcuts 2.1.

Siri Shortcuts make their way into popular apps

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Shortcuts app from iOS 12
The Shortcuts app lets you create your own voice commands, but increasing numbers of third-party apps have Siri Shortcuts built in.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

A highlight of iOS 12 is Siri shortcuts, a way to activate frequently-used tasks with voice commands. Software developers can do this too, and today Apple highlighted some popular applications that have embraced Siri.

Increasing numbers of apps have Shortcuts built in, giving users access to special functions with the voice commands of their choice.

Taking the new Apple Watch Series 4 on vacation [Review]

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Mickey Mouse Disney Apple Watch Series 4
The Apple Watch Series 4 made a vacation to Disney World more convenient.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

In 2015, I purchased my wife a stainless steel Apple Watch (series 0) for her birthday. Since then, she’s used it to track hundreds of workouts, reply to thousands of texts, and triage countless notifications. She’s also told me nearly every day for the past year that she hates it and it never works right.

While that might be a bit of an exaggeration, she has a point. The original Apple Watch is slow and unresponsive. Plus, some features have become frustratingly unreliable (looking at you, Siri).

This year, we decided to upgrade her Apple Watch in time for our family vacation to Disney World. It was the perfect opportunity to test Apple’s magical wrist communicator at the most magical place on Earth.

Today in Apple history: iPhone 4s opens for Siri-ous preorders

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iPhone 4s
The iPhone 4s was the last iPhone Steve Jobs directly worked on.
Photo: Apple

October 7: Today in Apple history: iPhone 4s preorders begin and they are Siri-ous October 7, 2011: Two days after the death of Steve Jobs, Apple opens preorders for its next-gen iPhone 4s.

The last iPhone that Jobs worked on directly, the 4s boasts a speedier A5 chip, improved 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video recording, and — most significantly — Apple’s new AI virtual assistant, Siri.

Today in Apple history: Siri debuts on iPhone 4s

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Siri
Siri had first been predicted by Apple back in the late 1980s.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

October 4: Today in Apple history: Siri debuts on iPhone 4s October 4, 2011: With the unveiling of the new iPhone 4s, Apple introduces the world to Siri.

A groundbreaking example of AI in action, Siri’s debut is the culmination of a long-term dream at Apple. The accomplishment was first predicted in the 1980s, and fulfilled almost down to the exact month.

Pro Tip: Make Siri STFU for once

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Tell Siri to put a sock in it mute siri
Tell Siri to put a sock in it.
Photo: murielle29/Flickr CC

Pro Tip Cult of Mac bug Despite its many flaws, Siri is still useful for lots of tasks: Setting a coffee timer, adding a reminder, looking up a fact. But what I almost never want is Siri’s voice feedback.

Usually I’m looking at my iPhone when I use Siri, and I don’t use Hey Siri ever. What I want is to ask Siri a question, and have it answer, without all the usual smart-mouthed nonsense. Thankfully, there’s one setting that does just that: Mute Siri.

How to create your first Siri Shortcut

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Using shortcuts is easy, once you know how it works.
Using Shortcuts is easy, once you know how it works.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Shortcuts is the hot new feature of iOS 12. The Shortcuts app lets you automate some crazy stuff, for instance this shortcut that activates the iPhone’s camera and sends an SMS if the cops pull you over. Thanks to Apple’s terminology, Shortcuts is a little confusing. Is it an automation tool? Does it have something to do with Siri? Why would you use it?

We’ll answer these questions, and then build an awesome shortcut so you can see how the app works.