HomePod sold 1.6 million units over the holidays

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The HomePod is a lot smarter than you might think. Just take a look at these tips!
HomePod is Apple's take on the smart speaker.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker experienced 45 percent growth in the holiday quarter, according to new figures. Strategy Analytics’ report suggests that Apple sold 1.6 million HomePod speakers over the three month period.

Those numbers still put it firmly behind market leaders like Amazon and Google. Nonetheless, they show that Apple is continuing to benefit from the explosion of interest in smart speakers.

Take control of your Apple Pencil 2

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Like everything else, the new Apple Pencil is better.
Like everything else, the new Apple Pencil is better.
Photo: Andrea Nepori

The Apple Pencil 2 is way better than version 1.0. It’s always charged. It’s always there on the side of your iPad, ready to use. And now that it supports tap gestures, it’s also a lot more powerful. But it doesn’t stop there.

Check out these excellent Apple Pencil 2 tips and tricks to take your Apple stylus usage to the next level.

iPhones are about to get interesting again [Opinion]

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TCL folding phone designs
These are just some of the possible designs a folding iPhone might use.
Photo: TCL/Cnet

Apple picked a design for the iPhone more than a decade ago and has gradually improved it with each successive model. But that‘s all over and done. We have no idea what the 2020 iPhone will look like. Literally no clue

That’s because the era of foldable displays is about to kick off, and they are going to bring profound changes to phones of all types.

iPhone discounts ease Apple’s pain in China only briefly

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China iPhone sales
Apple CEO Tim Cook meets with Apple Store employees in China.
Photo: Apple

Temporary price cuts in China offered only a temporary boost in iPhone sales, according to industry analysts watching how Apple would follow up dismal year-end figures in the depressed Chinese smartphone market.

To start 2019, Apple revealed unexpected revenue shortfalls, blaming it mostly on a sharp drop in demand for iPhones in China.

Triqtraq turns your iPhone into an amazing groovebox [Review]

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Triqtraq is almost too much fun.
Triqtraq is almost too much fun.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

A week or so back, I took a long trip, and I figured I’d make some music on the journey. I wanted an app that would be simple to use, but powerful enough to get some real expression into these musical sketches. Plus, I wanted something called parameter locks, which I’ll explain below.

I quickly narrowed in on Triqtraq. It’s not a new app, but it’s so good you should check it out ASAP.

iPhone SE returns — grab one before they disappear

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iPhone SE
Bag a bargain iPhone SE before it's too late!
Photo: Sam Mills/Cult of Mac

The iPhone SE is making a rare appearance on Apple’s clearance page. This discontinued model was already inexpensive, and it’s available now for $100 or $150 less than the usual price, depending on the model.

But don’t dither; it’s likely to sell out again quickly.

Save on MacBook Air, Mac mini and various smart gadgets [Deals & Steals]

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The late-2018 MacBook Air with Retina display.
That upgraded MacBook Air display looks simply stunning.
Photo: Apple

The latest MacBook Air brought serious upgrades, and now you can get it for a serious discount. And if you’re looking for something smaller, you can grab the latest Mac mini at a decent price — or go old-school and get a previous model for less than $400.

Elsewhere in today’s Deals & Steals roundup, you’ll find great buys on a wireless iPhone charger and a HomeKit weather sensor. Or dabble in the dark side with hot sales on cool gadgets from Apple competitors like Google, Amazon and Ring. 

Control devices with a wave of your hand using this sci-fi ring

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Litho
Litho is an input device for the real world.
Photo: Litho

Ever wish you could control your smart home devices without reaching for your iPhone? A new finger-worn controller is trying to make that a reality and it could be a total gamechanger for ARKit apps.

Litho, a small controller you wear on two fingers, gives wearers the ability to control iPhone connected devices by pointing, swiping and taping. It also doubles as a controller for AR apps so you don’t have to keep tapping on the screen.

Prepare to be amazed:

iOS 12.2 beta 3 brings changes to Apple News, TV remote app and Group FaceTime fix

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animoji
The new animoji of iOS 12.2.
Photo: Apple

Apple just released the third beta build of iOS 12.2 to developers this morning, bringing a bunch of fixes and new features to the iPhone and iPad.

iOS 12.2 beta 3 arrived just over two weeks after developers received the last build. There are also new betas out for tvOS 12.2 and watchOS 5.2 to go with the macOS 10.4.4 beta that came out yesterday.