Read Cult of Mac’s latest posts on Universal:

Indie record labels say Apple’s Spatial Audio payment plan will hurt them


Spatial Audio
Spatial Audio from Dolby Atmos technology creates surround-sound.
Photo: Apple

Independent record labels say Apple’s recent promise to pay 10% more for Dolby Atmos tracks in Spatial Audio will take money away from them and give it to major labels and their stars, according to a new report Friday.

“It’s literally going to take the money out of independent labels and their artists, to benefit the biggest companies in the marketplace,” said a senior executive at one of the bigger independent record companies.

Universal will sell digital movies just weeks after their theatrical debut


Some analysts think Apple should snap up a movie studio. Bad idea!
Or you could watch them from the comfort of your own home.
Photo: Naoya Fujii/Flickr CC

A new deal means that movie fans won’t be waiting as long to see Universal Pictures movies pop up for sale on iTunes and other digital platforms after their theatrical debut.

According to a Wall Street Journal article, an agreement between theater chain AMC Entertainment and Universal means that the theatrical exclusivity window will be cut from 75 days to just 17 days. This means certain titles will be available after just 2.5 weeks after they first arrived in theaters.

Apple signs cut-rate streaming deal with Warner Music Group


Grab the latest update from the Play Store now.
Photo: Apple

Apple has reportedly signed its first major music streaming deal since launching Apple Music in 2015.

Sources “familiar with the matter” say it has signed a new, cut-rate agreement with Warner Music Group, and is on the verge of reaching a similar deal with Sony Music Entertainment.

Grab these top iPhone accessories for less than $20 [Deals]


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From rugged mobile mounts to keychain Lightning chargers, these are some of the top iPhone accessories for under $20.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

iPhones are great, but to get the most out of them you’ve got to have the right accessories. But when you’ve already dropped coin for a new phone, it’s hard to think about shelling out even more cash. So we’ve rounded up some of the best iPhone peripherals you can get for under 20 bucks. That includes a tough but flexible mini tripod, and a set of keychain-sized Lightning cables. Plus, we have a set of premium Bluetooth earbuds, and a device to turn any iPhone into a universal remote. Read on for more details:

Master iOS 11, unblock streaming content, and more [Week’s Best Deals]


Best Deals of the Week

Seems every week there’s something new and exciting arriving at the Cult of Mac Store. This week is no exception, with a deals that include a lesson bundle in iOS 11, ahead of its fall release. There’s also a tool for bypassing geo-restrictions on streaming content, a universal remote for the Bluetooth age, and a wireless charging system for Apple Watch. Everything is discounted by massive margins, some by more than 95 percent. Read on for more:

Spotify may block free users from listening to new music


You won't have to listen to music you don't like.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Spotify users who aren’t paying $9.99 a month for a Premium subscription could be prevented from listening to the hottest tracks.

A new report claims the Swedish music streaming company is nearing new deals with major music labels, which stipulate that top releases will initially be available only to paying users.

Sony backs out of Steve Jobs movie, but don’t worry!


A case of art imitating life: Steve Jobs was cast out of Apple in 1985, and now the Jobs movie has been thrown out by Sony. Photo: Ben Stanfield/Flickr CC
Photo: Ben Stanfield/Flickr CC

Just as Steve Jobs had to go through some frustrating years of failure before returning to Apple to turn in around, so too is the Aaron Sorkin Jobs biopic experiencing its fair share of setbacks.

Following the recent news that Christian Bale has, err, bailed on the project, now Hollywood magazine Deadline is reporting that the movie is being put into turnaround by its studio, Sony Pictures. Turnaround refers to a deal whereby the rights to a particular movie are sold from one studio to another in exchange for the cost of development, plus interest.

Exactly why the film is supposedly being dropped by Sony isn’t known, particularly since the Sony-owned Columbia Pictures did so well both critically and commercially from Sorkin’s previous true tech drama, in 2010’s The Social Network. It may, however, have something to do with schedules.

5 classic Universal monster movies you’ll love and 4 you should run away from


Universal has a lock on classic monster films, but will the new action-adventure ones be as good as the originals? Photo: Universal Studios
Universal has a lock on monster films, but will the new action-adventure ones be as "classic" as the originals? Photo: Universal Studios

Now that Universal Studios has decided to go the Marvel route and create its own cinematic universe built around its classic monsters like Frankenstein and The Wolf Man, we thought it might be a good time to reach back into the archives and re-watch the originals.

As the new Universal monster movies will likely be more action-adventure-oriented, it’s good to look back to see what made the original features so great, and which of the old oeuvre were just stinky cash-grabs meant to pad the studio’s bottom line.

With that, let’s get into the best and worst of the genre.

Protect Your Smart Devices From The Elements With A Waterproof Case [Deals]


CoM - Splashproof-01

If you’ve been looking for a case for your smartphone but don’t want to get caught with one that becomes obsolete when you eventually upgrade, then Cult of Mac Deals has an offer that’s going to sound very appealing.

Now you can “splash-proof” any device with this case for only $9 – a savings of 77% – and have a case that is as versatile as it is protective.

Hey, Chillax! HeartMath Wants To Help You Fight Anxiety With Your iDevice



It’s taken three years, but HeartMath has finally responded, in the form of a major redesign, to the concerns we (and probably other critics) voiced over their original emWave stress-management gadget.

Where the emWave required plugging in to a USB port and cost $300, their new Inner Balance system works with pretty much any 30-pin iDevice and sells for just $99.

Gorgeous Check The Weather App Is Now Compatible With iPad & iPad Mini



I’ll never understand why the iPad doesn’t ship with the default iOS weather app, and that goes double for the iPad mini, which is even more portable than it’s bigger sibling. Consequently, I’m always on the look-out for good iPad-centric weather apps.

I’m delighted to see, then, that my favorite iPhone Weather app, Check The Weather, has now been updated to a universal version, keeping all of the swipe-friendly charm and navigation chops of the iPhone version, but elegantly blowing it up to the larger display.

Downcast Adds Location-Based Auto-Refresh



Downcast, my favorite podcatching app, has added a rather handy new feature with its latest update. Now it can automatically check for new podcasts when you arrive in a certain location. This clever use of iOS’ geofencing tech was first used by Instagram to grab unread articles, but now works for podcasts, too.

iTunes Movies From Universal Studios Now Available On iCloud


Movies from Universal, like 'Repo Men', are now available to re-download from iCloud.
Movies from Universal, like 'Repo Men', are now available to re-download from iCloud.

When Apple announced that it was bringing movies and TV shows purchased in the iTunes Store to iCloud, every major production house was onboard except Universal and Fox. Due to licensing conflicts with HBO, Universal and Fox were not able to offer video content in iCloud initially. HBO later said that it would be loosening its grip on the studios to allow for licensing agreements with Apple.

It now appears that Universal Studios has been able to start offering its movies in the iTunes Store for re-download in iCloud.

HBO Working To Make Universal And Fox Studios Content Available In iCloud


Screen Shot 2012-03-07 at 3.29.20 PM

Apple announced that movies are now available for download in iCloud last week at its iPad event. You can now view and re-download video content purchased from the iTunes Store on any authorized device, including the iPhone and iPad.

While nearly all the major Hollywood studios were onboard at the time, Universal and Fox studios hadn’t been able to close a deal with Apple for iCloud availability due to licensing conflicts with HBO. According to a spokesperson for the company, HBO is loosening its restrictions on the studios to let Apple have access to more content, specifically Universal and Fox.

You Can Now Use iCloud To Re-Download Movies And TV Shows



Apple has noted that iCloud can now be used to re-download movies and TV shows that have been purchased from the iTunes Store. During today’s keynote, it was revealed that the third-gen Apple TV would support 1080p HD video, and Apple gave its iTunes video catalog a 1080p facelift to match. On top of that, iCloud will now let you access your purchased video content on all of your devices as many times as you want.

The new feature is welcomed, but there are a couple major Hollywood studios that have not made their content available on iCloud. Universal and Fox haven’t been able to ink a deal with Apple yet.

InstaMatch, An Instagram Memory Game


Unbelievably, Instamatch makes the memory card game non-boring
Unbelievably, Instamatch makes the memory card game non-boring

Are you a fan of Instagram? Of course you are. And are you also a fan of those frustrating memory games where you have to flip over cards and match the pictures? I thought not. But if you are — you freak, you — then InstaMatch might be right up your alley.

This Awesome Accessory Turns an iPhone Into a Fully Functional Microscope



We’ve seen some truly great accessories for the iPhone this year and the SkyLight should should certainly be counted among them. The SkyLight is a sleek, easy to use adapter that can connect an iPhone to a microscope. In an effort to overcome the global shortage in trained healthcare workers, SkyLight’s creators hope to connect doctors and nurses to patients in developing nations and rural areas.

By holding an iPhone steady over the eyepiece where an image is formed, SkyLight makes it incredibly easy to take pictures and video through the microscope. Once recorded, the pictures and videos are then saved on the phone and can be emailed to doctors, shared on social media sites, or saved for later use. Another interesting idea is that with the use of FaceTime doctors can examine samples remotely and provide immediate feedback.