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Episodes

Home of the most recent episodes of The CultCast including links to topics discussed and coupons from our beloved sponsors.

305: How HomeKit got SUPERCHARGED in iOS 11 💪🏼

Chris C.

Photo:  Cult of Mac

Photo:  Cult of Mac

On The Cult Cast:

Live in the home of the future, today! We’ll tell you how with iOS 11’s huge improvements in the Home app and HomeKit. Plus: there’s a new Apple ID phishing scam you need to know about; there’s been a disappointing development with Apple’s AR glasses; we have to talk about the hundreds of new emoji coming at you in iOS 11.1; and we’ve got a svelte iPhone 8 case, a MacBook Pro sleeve made from real sheep, and a new power brick that’ll charge your MacBook, iPhone, Nintendo Switch—EVERYTHING—in an all new under review.


This episode supported by:


  • CultCloth will keep your iPhone 7, Apple Watch, Mac and iPad sparkling clean, and for a limited time you can use code CULTCAST to score a free CleanCloth with any order at CultCloth.co.


  • The Cult of Mac Watch Store has the best straps in the biz! Save 20% off any order with code CultCast at checkout.


  • We also want to give Kevin MacLeod at Incompetech.com a thanks for the great music you hear on today’s show.


On the show this week:

@erfon / Erfon's YouTube Channel / @bst3r / Buster on Instagram / @lkahney / @thecultcast


The BEST subreddit you are going to read, ALL week long! thecultcast.reddit.com




Why you shouldn’t trust Apple ID prompts in third-party apps

  • A savvy developer named Felix Krause has discovered it is shockingly easy for an iOS app developer to phish your Apple ID and password with a fake authentication prompt that looks exactly the a real one.
  • He posted pictures of a real and fake prompt this week and they look identical.
  • Worse, developers can add this code after their app has been approved by Apple.
  • How to tell the difference:
    • The app will close and the popup will disappear with it. This means it was a phishing attempt.
    • The app and popup remain on screen. This means it is a genuine system dialog and can be trusted.

Apple is now selling its latest MacBook Pro at a discount

  • Apple has updated its online Apple store to start offering refurbished 15-inch MacBook Pro models with Touch Bar, marking the first time this year’s Touch Bar-equipped models have been available to buy refurbished.
  • Apple typically sells refurbished models for around 15 percent off the full retail price

Apple CEO Tim Cook: Technology Doesn't Exist to do AR Smart Glasses 'In a Quality Way’

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook recently sat down for a wide ranging interview with The Independent
  • When questioned about the topic, he said the technology to create a pair of augmented reality smart glasses "in a quality way" does not exist today.
  • "But today I can tell you the technology itself doesn't exist to do that in a quality way. The display technology required, as well as putting enough stuff around your face - there's huge challenges with that.
  • "The field of view, the quality of the display itself, it's not there yet.”
  • "We want to be the best and give people a great experience," he said. "But now anything you would see on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with. Nor do I think the vast majority of people would be satisfied.”

Apple drops iOS 11.1 beta 2 with dozens new emoji

  • Apple unleashed hundreds of new emoji on developers today with the release of iOS 11.1 beta 2.
  • The new emoji also have new faces, clothes, sports, food, dinosaurs and other mystical characters.
  • Monocle face
  • Mind blow face
  • Mer-people
  • Wizards
  • Draculas
  • Chinese food takeout container
  • Elves, fairies, genie
  • Dinosaurs

Inside iOS 11: HomeKit gains multi-person geofencing, conditional triggers

  • HomeKit and the Home app will boggle your gourd. They’re WAY more powerful now that in iOS 10.
  • Multi-person geofencing. Actions can be triggered when one person comes or goes, or when a group of people in the same HomeKit group does.
    • Turn on lights when first person gets home
    • Turn off heat when last person leaves
  • Support for conditional triggers
    • Lighting will come on with someone comes home, but only after sunset
    • AC will turn on when someone comes home, but only if the temperature is above a threshold that you set.
  • Airplay 2 speakers are now supported, so you could set your speakers to start playing music in the morning or when you get home.
  • Time-based event triggers (i.e. turn the lights off at 5:30, or turn them on 30 minutes after sunrise)
  • Day of the week reoccurrence, so you can set things differently for different days of the way, or on the weekends
  • Home occupancy gate (i.e. only run something if you’re at home)
  • Timers (auto off after 1-60 minutes) Now you can control sprinklers, faucets, and Airplay 2 speakers in addition to:
  • security devices
  • garage doors
  • fans
  • lights
  • outlets
  • air purifiers
  • locks
  • humidifiers
  • doorbells
  • cameras
  • air conditioners
  • window shades
  • and thermostats
  • Finally, Apple is really pushing for better adoption of HomeKit; manufacturers can now add HomeKit compatibility to their non-HomeKit accessories due to Apple’s relaxed licensing terms. Vendors are no longer required to use a dedicated encryption chip—all HomeKit authorization can go through software, which means Nest could add HomeKit compatibility with a software update.

Under review

Woolnut laptop sleeve

Mophie Powerstation USB-C XXL

Spigen Liquid Air Armor iPhone 8 Plus

304: Steve Job’s greatest product

Chris C.

Photo:  Jonathan Mak

Photo:  Jonathan Mak

On The Cult Cast:

A company unlike any other, some say Steve Job’s greatest product was Apple itself, but how have they fared in the 6 years since his passing? Leander shares the cold hard facts. Plus: Leander’s long soliloquy about his new love, the 4K Apple TV; an iOS 11 software trick doubles your iPhone storage; and we’ll wrap up our favorite minimalist cases for your iPhone 7, 8, and X.


This episode supported by:


  • Build a beautiful, responsive website quick at Squarespace.com. Enter offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10% off. Squarespace—Build it Beautiful.


  • CultCloth will keep your iPhone 7, Apple Watch, Mac and iPad sparkling clean, and for a limited time you can use code CULTCAST to score a free CleanCloth with any order at CultCloth.co.


  • The Cult of Mac Watch Store has the best straps in the biz! Save 20% off any order with code CultCast at checkout.


  • We also want to give Kevin MacLeod at Incompetech.com a thanks for the great music you hear on today’s show.


On the show this week:

@erfon / Erfon's YouTube Channel / @bst3r / Buster on Instagram / @lkahney / @thecultcast


The BEST subreddit you are going to read, ALL week long! thecultcast.reddit.com




Photos and videos shot in iOS 11's HEIF/HEVC format are literally now half the size they were in iOS10’s JPG/H.264 formats

Catch our CultCast 300 live celebration show on Tuesday, October 10th at 12PM PT!

9 beautifully minimalist cases for your iPhone 8 & 8 Plus (and 7/7Plus)

Google's Pixel Buds translation will change the world

  • Google announced all sorts of stuff yesterday
  • Pixel 2, a smart speaker called the Max to compete with the HomePod
  • But at the very end of their key, Google introduced the Pixel Buds, wireless headphones designed for use with the company's new Pixel 2 handset. Once paired, you can tap the right earphone then issue a command.
  • If you say, "Help me speak Japanese" and then start speaking in English, the Pixel’s speakers will output your translated words as you speak them. The other party's reply into the phone will then play into your ear through the Pixel Buds in English.
  • 40 languages are currently supported, and the translation works in real time with virtually no lag.

Apple TV 4K is almost picture-perfect [Review]

  • Apple’s newest set-top box pulls out all the stops to be the best on the field. It’s packing incredibly powerful new hardware that leaves competitors in the dust, and a much-improved tvOS platform that is years ahead of its rivals.
  • Remote. Not much has changed for the Siri Remote, either, which is a shame — it’s still wretched. It looks almost identical this year, except there’s now a white ridge around the Menu button.
  • Speed. Thanks to an A10X Fusion processor — the same one you’ll find in the latest iPad Pro — Apple TV 4K is pretty fast. It’s by far the most powerful set-top box on the market, and that’s not just for 4K video.
  • 4K HDR video is sharp, colorful and full of contrast and detail. The screensavers especially are spectacular and detailed. Shot in 4K, the screensavers were downgraded for the old AppleTV. On the 4K box they appear in all their trippy, hypnotic detail.
  • One thing you won’t be able to enjoy in 4K HDR, however, is YouTube. That’s because Apple doesn’t support the VP9 video format that YouTube serves up — it doesn’t work on macOS or iOS, either — so the best you’ll get is 1080p.

Our favorite iPhone 8/8Plus cases

303: Face ID is a Triumph of Machine Learning

Chris C.

Photo:  Apple

Photo:  Apple

On The Cult Cast:

Why iPhone X’s Face ID is an astounding accomplishment! Plus: the new and notable features in macOS High Sierra; Bill Gates finally ditches his Windows Phone; Leander’s writing a new Tim Cook book; Erfon talks about the best 4K television money can buy; and we’ll tell you what we like and don’t about the gadgets we’re reviewing in an all-new under review!


This episode supported by:


  • Audible, the home of over 150,000 audio books from practically every genre in existence. Grab Leander’s book, Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products, for FREE with a 30-day Audible trial. The book is yours to keep even if you decide not to keep your Audible subscription. Get started at audible.com/cultcast.


  • CultCloth will keep your iPhone 7, Apple Watch, Mac and iPad sparkling clean, and for a limited time you can use code CULTCAST to score a free CleanCloth with any order at CultCloth.co.


  • The Cult of Mac Watch Store has the best straps in the biz! Save 20% off any order with code CultCast at checkout.


  • We also want to give Kevin MacLeod at Incompetech.com a thanks for the great music you hear on today’s show.


On the show this week:

@erfon / @bst3r / @lkahney / Buster on Instagram / @thecultcast


The BEST subreddit you are going to read, ALL week long! thecultcast.reddit.com




Catch our CultCast live show on Monday, Oct 2nd at 12PM!

Bill Gates ditches Windows Mobile, but not for iPhone 8

  • Bill Gates just got himself a brand new smartphone, and it isn’t an iPhone 8
  • The Microsoft co-founder has ditched Windows Mobile for Android. Despite getting closer to Steve Jobs before he died in 2011, Gates still has no interest in using iOS.
  • further pressed about the possibility of using iOS instead, Gates responded, “Nope. No iPhone.”

Apple TV is finally back on Amazon

  • Getting your hands on the new Apple TV 4K though Amazon won’t be easy though. The page for Apple’s newest set-top box shows that there are no units in stock. It appears that Amazon is only offering the 64GB model priced at $199.
  • Putting Apple TV back on its digital shelves is a bit unexpected but is likely related to Apple TV finally gaining an Amazon Prime Video app. The service still hasn’t launched on Apple TV yet but is expected to debut at some point this fall.

Apple’s Face ID is a Triumph of Machine Learning Technology

  • Data scientist Abdul Dremali is leading research & development in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Big Data at the AndPlus Innovation Lab, and he’s very impressed with Face ID.

macOS High Sierra is now available to the public

  • Apple unleashed its huge update for the Mac this morning bringing a host of new features and UI changes to desktops after months of beta testing. Most of the update contains under-the-hood changes the makes machines faster and more stable, but there are plenty of new additions to love.
  • macOS High Sierra brings support for the new Apple File System to the Mac. Apple added it to iOS devices last year. AFS’ 64-bit architecture is more secure, with built-in encryption, crash protection and simplified data backups.
  • Safari is one of the biggest benefactors from the macOS High Sierra update. Apple claims its now the world’s fastest browser, with an 80% speed advantage over Google Chrome
  • Mail received some improved search functions tied to the update to Spotlight. You can also use a new Split View mode too that lets you write emails while keeping tabs on your inbox.
  • The Photos app also got some big updates. There’s now better facial recognition and some new editing tools that make it a more capable photo editor. Notes got a new pin feature to keep your most important notes to the top of the list where you’ll be able to find them easier. The app also has support for tables now.
  • Last Thursday, six ad industry groups penned an open letter criticizing Apple’s upcoming Safari feature, saying the decision to incorporate such technology into a web browser is heavy-handed and “bad for consumer choice and bad for the ad-supported online content and services.”
  • Today, Apple responded to the missive in a statement to The Loop.
  • “Apple believes that people have a right to privacy - Safari was the first browser to block third party cookies by default and Intelligent Tracking Prevention is a more advanced method for protecting user privacy,” Apple said. “Ad tracking technology has become so pervasive that it is possible for ad tracking companies to recreate the majority of a person’s web browsing history. This information is collected without permission and is used for ad re-targeting, which is how ads follow people around the Internet. The new Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature detects and eliminates cookies and other data used for this cross-site tracking, which means it helps keep a person’s browsing private. The feature does not block ads or interfere with legitimate tracking on the sites that people actually click on and visit. Cookies for sites that you interact with function as designed, and ads placed by web publishers will appear normally.”

Apple’s Face ID white paper is not nearly as boring as it sounds

Under Review

302: Why you should get the iPhone 8 (but probably won’t)

Chris C.

Photo:  Apple

Photo:  Apple

On The Cult Cast:

iPhone 8 reviews are in! We’ll tell you what everyone loves Apple’s newest phone, and why you should get one (but probably won’t). Plus: we round up the reviews for Apple Watch series 3, and argue over which model is best. And stick around for what we don’t like about iPhone X; Apple’s A11 chip hits a surprising benchmark; tests show iPhone 8 wireless charging is abysmally slow; Apple quietly hikes their iDevice prices; and we’ll tell you all the best AR apps you need to try.


This episode supported by:


  • Build a beautiful, responsive website quick at Squarespace.com. Enter offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10% off. Squarespace—Build it Beautiful.


  • CultCloth will keep your iPhone 7, Apple Watch, Mac and iPad sparkling clean, and for a limited time you can use code CULTCAST to score a free CleanCloth with any order at CultCloth.co.


  • Check out the Cult of Mac  Watch store for a curated selection of our favorite straps, all available for prices far less than you’d expect. Save 20% off any order with code CultCast at checkout.


  • We also want to give Kevin MacLeod at Incompetech.com a thanks for the great music you hear on today’s show.


On the show this week:

@erfon / @bst3r / @lkahney / Buster on Instagram / @thecultcast


The BEST subreddit you are going to read, ALL week long! thecultcast.reddit.com




Historical first? New iPhones fail to sell out

  • For the first time since the launch of the iPhone in 2007, the company’s latest models failed to immediately sell out.
  • More than 12 hours after pre-orders opened this morning, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus remain generally available for pickup at Apple stores next Friday,
  • Shipping time is currently 3 business days

iPhone X’s Face ID will only recognize one person

  • When the new biometric security features makes its debut this November, it will support just one user, Apple has confirmed. If anyone else uses your device, they’ll have to enter the passcode.

Apple silently raises iPad Pro prices

  • Changes made to the online Apple store show that the 10.5-inch iPad Pro models with WiFi only are now $50 more expensive each. Before yesterday’s keynote, the 256GB and 512GB units cost $749 and $949. Now they’re priced at $799 and $999.
  • iPhone prices have also been hiked up.
  • The cellular models for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro also got a price increase
  • Nothing has changed about the products.
  • iPhone prices have also been hiked
    • iPhone 7 32GB - $649
    • iPhone 7 Plus 32GB - $769
    • iPhone 8 64GB - $699
    • iPhone 8 Plus 64GB - $799

Adding wireless charging to your AirPods will cost $69

  • Apple’s new Wireless Charging Case for AirPods will go on sale this December, according to a report out of Europe, which sites Apple Switzerland. The device is expected to cost $69, which is the same amount you’ll pay to replace a standard case if you lose it.
  • Apple reportedly has no plans to sell AirPods with the Wireless Charging Case, so it will be available as an optional accessory.

The best ARKit apps to try on iPhone and iPad