First iPhone XS and XS Max reviews: Great phone, but not revolutionary

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iPhone Xs Max
This is what we've been waiting for.
Photo: Apple

Early reviews for the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max have already come in and while most of the people that have tested the new device are impresssed, this years models aren’t as big a leap as the iPhone X.

Testers are raving about the camera, A12 processor, big display and faster LTE. The new phones are truly impressive, but if you have an iPhone that came out in the last two years, you might want to see what the experts are saying first.

How to use Apple’s new Shortcuts app

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A shortcut.
A shortcut.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Shortcuts is Apple’s new automation app for iOS 12. It integrates with Siri and lets you build all kinds of amazing automated workflows, from shutting your house down when you go to sleep, to downloading videos from YouTube and saving the them to iCloud.

Shortcuts is really just the new name for Workflow, an iOS automation app that Apple bought a year or so back. Let’s take a look at what Apple has put in Shortcuts.

Apple finally adds multiple timers to HomePod

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I sent the HomePod back, so I will keep using the single photo I took until somebody stops me.
HomePod got a brief shout-out during Apple's media event.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

HomePod is finally adding one of the most used features found on the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices: multiple timers.

In his wrap-up to today’s Apple media event, which primarily focused on the new iPhones and Apple Watch, Tim Cook took a second to remind us that the HomePod is alive and kicking. And getting a couple of handy new features, too.

Cult of Mac Magazine: Everything we think we know about this year’s iPhones, and more!

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Cover
In this week's Cult of Mac Magazine: Apple is set to unleash its newest iPhones on the world in just a couple weeks and based on the rumors, these will be the most lust-worthy phones to ever come out of Cupertino.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

In this week’s Cult of Mac Magazine: Apple is set to unleash its newest iPhones on the world in just a couple weeks and based on the rumors, these will be the most lust-worthy phones to ever come out of Cupertino.

Not only will the 2018 iPhone lineup include the biggest iPhone display Apple’s ever made, it will also be more colorful and more expensive than ever. We’ve been keeping our pulse on all the rumors leading up to Apple’s big September 12 unveiling and have a pretty solid idea on what’s coming through the pipeline.

You’ll find that top story and much more. Get your free subscription to Cult of Mac Magazine from iTunes. Or read on for this week’s top stories.

Shortcuts for iOS 12 adds iCloud syncing

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Sharecuts
Control your smart home devices with Siri Shortcuts.
Photo: Apple

Apple came out with a new beta for its Shortcuts app that will be released to the public as part of iOS 12 and in the latest build, you can finally take advantage of iCloud syncing.

This is the fourth beta build of Shortcuts and it contains some pretty major changes that make it even more useful for iPhone and iPad users.

Siri is the best way to search photos on your iPhone

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search photos with siri
Hey Siri, show me photos of melons.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Siri is useless for a lot of things, but when it works, it can be a real timesaver. For instance, you can use Siri to search for photos in your iPhone or iPad photo library. Say something like, “Hey Siri, show me photos of clowns,” and it’ll do just that, opening the Photos app, switching to the search tab, and entering the search term “clowns” for you.

Even if you’re sitting looking at the search tab in the Photos app already, Siri is still way easier to use for search than manually tapping something into the search field, deleting the previous search, and typing a new one.

And that’s just the beginning.

Apple drops yet another batch of iOS 12 and macOS Mojave betas

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Photos app
The new and improved Photos app on iOS 12.
Photo: Apple

iOS and macOS developers received a fresh batch of new beta updates from Apple this morning as the company prepares to launch its new software this fall. And the general public got a new iOS beta too.

macOS Mojave beta 9 and iOS 12 beta 11 can be downloaded from the Apple developer center immediately. The updates bringing a host of bug fixes and performance improvements to the iPhone and Mac.

Apple seeks hotshot editor to make Siri great again

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Siri
Apple wants to evolve Siri into a distinct, recognizable character.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Siri is about to get a huge upgrade in the way it answers users questions and searches.

In a new job listing posted today, Apple says it is seeking a writer and editor who can help evolve Siri from one of the most-criticized digital assistants into a “distinct, recognizable character.”

How to use your iPhone when the screen is broken

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broken iPhone screen
So sad, but maybe not a complete disaster.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

This week, a friend visited me, and the screen of her iPhone is cracked so badly that it barely registers a touch. I saw her struggle to even take a photo, and realized she didn’t know the volume-button trick.

Then we saw a little girl drop an iPhone onto the cobbled street outside a restaurant, while the owner (and uncle or family friend) looked on. The screen shattered, and the poor girl was distraught. That’s when I decided to write this guide to using your iPhone with a cracked screen.

Siri may soon recognize different voices

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Siri may soon be able to identify your voice and give personalized responses.
Siri may soon be able to identify your voice and give personalized responses.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple engineers are preparing for the day Siri can reliably recognize voices. They’re working on how this digital assistant will respond to requests from multiple users.

This issue became important with the release of Apple’s HomePod earlier this year, as smartspeaker are used in shared spaces.