M1 MacBook Air is an instant classic [Review]

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MacBook Air M1 2020
Apple's new M1 chip makes this ultraportable laptop ultra-fantastic.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

I just opened more than 650 tabs in Safari on a new M1 MacBook Air. I would have opened more, but I got bored.

Meanwhile, in the background, the machine is downloading Photoshop and the Microsoft 360 suite, and I can see in Activity Monitor that it’s processing thousands of iCloud photos while also indexing the hard drive.

Despite this, the machine is as fleet as a greyhound. I started working on a Photoshop project while checking email, keeping an eye on TweetDeck and, of course, clicking around all those open Safari tabs. The MacBook Air is just humming. I’ve never seen anything like it.

All the things we didn’t get at Apple’s ‘Hi, Speed’ event

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Hi, Speed event image with wishlist in background
Apple's "Hi, Speed" event offered up some nice updates to the iPhone 12 and HomePod, but left some boxes on the wishlist unchecked.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

It happens before every Apple event. The rumor mill, tech blogs (hello), and iPhone-obsessed nerds pin every hope, dream and desire on the next version of Apple’s devices.

More often than not, those desires are dashed, pushing those wants off to another event. While Apple’s iPhone 12 event showed the steps the company is taking toward iterating on its most popular device, there were also some things left on the wish list.

Today in Apple history: Apple acquires the company behind Touch ID

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Touch ID
Touch ID was a massive step forward for Apple.
Photo: Apple

July 28: Today in Apple history: Apple acquires AuthenTec, the company behind Touch ID July 28, 2012: Apple buys biometrics company AuthenTec, acquiring the technology that will power future authentication and secure payments initiatives.

With a price tag of $356 million, the deal gives Apple the right to use AuthenTec hardware, software and patents. In the short term, Apple engineers start working to build Touch ID sensors into the iPhone 5s. Longer-term, AuthenTec’s mobile wallet tech paves the way for Apple Pay.

How to lock down Facebook Messenger with Face ID or Touch ID

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Add Face ID or Touch ID to Facebook Messenger for maximum security.
Take this simple precaution to keep your chats private.
Photo: Lewis Wallace/Cult of Mac

Facebook Messenger’s new App Lock feature lets you add an extra layer of security to the popular chat app. iPhone and iPad users can switch on Face ID or Touch ID so they never need to worry about anybody seeing their messages.

The previously rumored feature, which Facebook rolled out for iOS devices Wednesday, is easy to enable. Plus, you can tweak a setting to make sure App Lock works ideally for you. Here’s all you need to do to turn on Face ID or Touch ID for Facebook Messenger.

Get ready to log into websites with Face ID or Touch ID

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Use Face ID or Touch ID to log into websites with Safari.
Logging in to websites is about to get easier for Apple users.
Screenshot: Apple

WWDC 2020 Safari users soon will be able to securely log into websites using Face ID and Touch ID. The new feature, which Apple is rolling out in iOS 14, iPadOS 14 and macOS Big Sur, should take away one of the most irritating things about using the web — remembering, and then typing in, user names and complicated passwords.

On websites that support the feature, users can opt in to use Apple’s biometric ID systems, making that irritating login dance a thing of the past.

We talk next-gen AirPods and the return of Touch ID, on The CultCast

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CultCast 442: AirPods with health sensors
Can you handle some hot, hot beta action?
Image: The CultCast

This week on The CultCast: The next generation of AirPods might be incoming! We’ll tell you what we know. Plus, Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro are likely coming to iPad, along with Mini LED and Touch ID … under the screen. This could be the new Touch ID tech we’ve been waiting for. And stay tuned to hear how to listen to YouTube music in the background, without paying for YouTube Red. It’s a hot tip, and it’s coming your way.

Our thanks to Netgear for supporting this episode. The Orbi WiFi 6 router gives you ultra-fast speeds and wider coverage throughout your home – it’s the biggest revolution in Wi-Fi ever. Check it out today at Netgear.com/bestwifi.