| Cult of Mac

Full-on ‘Dark Mode’ brings creativity into focus [Setups]

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The setup proper in
The setup proper in "Dark Mode." Atmospheric, eh? It's a space dedicated to creativity, but it also helps with focus.
Photo: Chris Denbow

Photographer and writer Chris Denbow puts an interesting twist on his computer setup. He credits its “Dark Mode” — which is obvious in the photographs of the desk and the room, but extends to the machines and the software he uses — for boosting his focus and creativity. He said the dark theme gives him a “space dedicated to creativity.”

“Introducing ‘Dark Mode,’ a minimal, monochromatic home office/workspace that helps eliminate distractions, [and] allows focus and productivity,” Denbow told Cult of Mac.

Sony pushes comfort with its new lightweight LinkBuds S earbuds

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Sony's new lightweight LinkBuds S with ANC cost $199.99.
Sony's new lightweight LinkBuds S with ANC cost $199.99.
Photo: Sony

Sony brought out its latest earbuds with active noise cancellation (ANC) Wednesday, the $199.99 LinkBuds S. The consumer electronics giant appears to be going for “Goldilocks” buds here, fitting a super-lightweight option for comfortable, long-term wear just below its flagship WF-1000XM4 ANC earbuds in both price and quality level.

Sony makes its flagship over-ear headphones even better

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The new Sony flagship cans improve on their predecessors and cost about $50 more.
The new Sony flagship cans improve on their predecessors and cost about $50 more.
Photo: Sony

Few would dispute that Sony’s flagship wireless WH-1000XM4 active noise-canceling (ANC) headphones have been among the best on the market since they came out in August 2020. But Sony has improved upon them, offering its fifth-generation WH-1000XM5 headphones on Thursday.

The redesigned cans flaunt several impressive improvements over the previous model, making the XM5s an even worthier competitor to AirPods Max and other premium headphones.

Leak of Sony’s next flagship headphones shows sleek design, longer battery life

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Sony's next top headphones may have a sleek new design.
Sony's next top headphones may have a sleek new design.
Photo: Nils Ahrensmeier/TechnikNews

Sony’s WH-1000XM4 over-ear noise-cancelling wireless headphones are considered one of the best sets of cans in the business. Now a new leak shows what may be in store for the audio giant’s next version, the WH-1000XM5, in terms of a sleek new design and key specs.

Next Macs and iPhones: Whose bump will be bigger? [The CultCast]

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CultCast 541: M2 Macs and iPhone 14: Which gets a bigger bump? The CultCast episode 541
Looks like 2022 is gonna be bumpin'!
Image: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

This week on Cult of Mac’s podcast: It sounds like Apple is planning nearly a dozen new Macs with a next-gen M2 processor. The question is, just how big of a speed bump will that new chip bring? And then there’s iPhone 14, which sounds like it might come with a very big bump indeed — and not the kind you might be hoping for.

Also on The CultCast:

  • The original HomePod never ceases to surprise.
  • iPhone 14 could be the ultimate smartphone for narcissists.
  • Apple might be prepping an ingenious hybrid device to take over your living room.
  • When you’re tired of wearing earbuds, you’ve got options. Very strange options.

Listen to this week’s episode of The CultCast in the Podcasts app or your favorite podcast app. (Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review if you like what you hear.) Or watch the video livestream, embedded below.

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Sony rolls out new Walkmans for audiophiles. The cheap one is $1,600.

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Sony's new Walkman models for 2022 are for audiophiles.
Sony's new Walkman models for 2022 are for audiophiles.
Photo: Sony

Following up on high-end Walkman models released several years ago, Sony recently introduced two new Walkman digital audio players it reportedly plans to start selling in April for $1,600 and at least $3,200.

The pricier one is gold-plated. Just thought you should know, in case you were already reaching for your incredibly fat wallet.

Drool-worthy gear: Former PC gamer goes all-in on Mac conversion [Setups]

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You don't see two Pro Display XDRs in one setup very often.
You don't see two Pro Display XDRs in one setup very often.
Photo: UncreativeWhale@Reddit.com

When a software engineering manager who works from home decided to leave PC gaming behind, he went all-in on his Mac conversion. In part he did it for work. He slings a lot of native code for macOS in building HR recruitment software. But, working and playing from home full time, in part he did it for himself.

So why wouldn’t he buy a super-tricked out 16-inch M1 Max MacBook Pro, not one but two Apple Pro Display XDRs and pretty much top-shelf everything else?

Would you pay $178 for Sony’s strange new earbuds?

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The new Sony LinkBuds feature an unusual, perhaps even unique, open design.
The new Sony LinkBuds feature an unusual, perhaps even unique, open design.
Photo: Sony

For some time now, the wireless earbud market has grown toward the bursting point, with all sorts of options for active noise canceling buds with wireless charging, long battery life, solid waterproofing and other features for prices between $75 and $150.

But if you’re sick and tired of paying less for more, Sony has something new for you. You can pay $178 for earbuds without ANC or wireless charging, plus pedestrian battery life and minimal waterproofing. Meet the all-new Sony LinkBuds Truly Wireless Earbuds!

What do you get for that price? Sony’s reputation, plus an interesting new compact, lightweight, open-style design that might work great for at least some people.

Before and after: Out with (some of) the old, in with (the best of) the new [Setups]

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In the after photo, a new LG 4K monitor replaces the Cinema Display.
In the after photo, a new LG 4K monitor replaces the Cinema Display, among other key changes.
Photo: jonyoungmusic@Reddit.com

When you spend a third or more of your waking hours all but chained to a computer setup, you might as well make it a pleasant place to spend time. That’s what most of Cult of Mac‘s Setups coverage is all about, really — glorifying both the high-tech performance and the stylish comfort that ease your enslavement to whatever it is you do with tech.

Today’s 14-inch M1 Pro MacBook Pro-based featured setup shows a “before and after” transition. Musician and Salesforce consultant Jon Young said a revamp of his wife’s “nicer and more spacious” work area inspired his changes. “Mine just has more gadgets lol,” he said.

Say cheese: Albert Einstein, Dr. Fauci and RBG welcome new M1 Pro MacBook [Setups]

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That's not just any webcam perched above the monitor.
That's not just any webcam perched above the monitor.
Photo: PunctiliousCasuist@Reddit.com

On Fridays it’s fun to focus on computer setups with entertaining features whenever possible. Sometimes it’s seriously vintage gear. Or it could be wacky decor. Once in a while, an exotic location pops up. Today we found one where a brand new M1 Pro MacBook meets a kooky crew of bobbleheads and other figures under a really over-the-top camera rig used as a webcam.