Google’s got a new challenge for Apple Music

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YouTube Music
Google Play Music is reportedly merging with YouTube Music.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

In the streaming music battle, the competition is between Spotify and Apple Music. Google Play Music is barely a blip, with 4 percent of the U.S. market.

But the situation is more complex than that. Google’s YouTube video service actually dominates streaming music, though it isn’t supposed to be in that business at all.

According to unconfirmed reports, Google plan is to merge its music service with another, and also turn millions of free YouTube listeners into paying customers.

Pick a side in Avengers: Infinity War with new OtterBox iPhone cases

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Avengers: Infinity War iPhone cases
Choose your favorite hero, or villain, from Avengers: Infinity War.
Photo: OtterBox

In case you’ve been living in a cave in Wakanda, tomorrow is the premiere of Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War movie. Super-fans can celebrate with new Avengers iPhone cases from OtterBox.

These feature characters from Marvel’s highly anticipated movie, including Iron Man, Black Panther, Captain America and Thanos. Plus, there’s one that combines multiple images from this blockbuster superhero team-up flick.

How to record Apple TV on your Mac, wirelessly

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record Apple TV quicktime
QuickTime Player can record all kinds of things.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Today we’re going to learn how to record a movie that’s playing on your Apple TV direct to your Mac, with no wires required, no weird hacks, and not even any third-party software. The tools are all built into every Mac that ships. To record a movie off the “screen” of your Apple TV, you’re going to use Apple’s QuickTime app, and one of its lesser-known but super-powerful features.

DAW Cassette makes your music sound like it was recorded on tape

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daw cassette
You wouldn't leave your iPhone in the sun like this.
Photo: Jure Cuhalev/Flickr CC

There’s little that’s more hipster than an audio cassette. Its sound is far from perfect, it’s impractical, and — most important of all — it is easy to see that you’re using one. But that doesn’t mean that tapes were all bad. Lo-fi cassette decks actually add some rather pleasant audio artifacts to audio.

So what? Well, now you don’t need to lug around a Walkman and a bag of tapes to enjoy the retro sound of audio cassettes, because there’s a) an iOS audio plugin and b) a website that will tape-ify any track you like.

Putin’s mug and missile give iPhone that Cold War feel

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Caviar
There is now a nuclear option when shopping for an iPhone.
Photo: Caviar

A Cold War is all about rhetoric and saber-rattling. A Russian company named Caviar
is taking advantage of growing tension between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union with a patriotic iPhone celebrating President Vladimir Putin and the country’s newest cruise missile.

It’s called “Putin Ultimatum.”

Apple’s HomePod miscalculation will haunt the company for years

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homepod
Apple's premium pricing strategy for the first-generation HomePod may keep it from ever being really successful.
Photo: Apple

The fact that the HomePod isn’t selling well means that Apple has probably missed its chance to ever be a significant part of the smart speaker market, according to analysts from Deutsche Bank.

Sales of inexpensive rival devices are exploding, while Apple’s very pricy offering sits on the shelf. That may lock customers into non-Apple solutions.

Is this the year Apple fixes its broken iPhone naming strategy?

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iphone glitch
iPhone naming is all kinds of broken these days.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple could be about to change the way it names successive generations of iPhone. The aim would be to simplify a naming pattern that has become increasingly unwieldy in the past few years.

It’s about time — although that doesn’t mean a new iPhone naming system will necessarily make things any less confusing. Here’s why.

Capture notes quickly with Drafts [50 Essential iOS Apps #5]

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writing in Drafts for iPad
Drafts is where writing starts, before moving on to it's final destination.
Photo: Ian Fuchs\Cult of Mac

50 Essential iOS Apps: Drafts 5 note taking and writing app While there are dozens of note-taking and writing apps available on iOS, few strike the balance of rich features and simple design the way Drafts does. Whether you’re looking for a quick way to digitally jot down a passing thought, take notes in a meeting, or store an address or phone number, the Drafts app makes it easy to quickly capture text before taking action.

Amazon’s Echo Dot Kids Edition gives parents complete control

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Echo Dot Kids
Echo Dot is now child-friendly.
Photo: Amazon

Now your little ones can get to know Alexa with the new Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition.

It’s just like a regular Echo Dot, but it comes inside a colorful protective case and a one-year subscribtion to the “FreeTime Unlimited” service that gives parents complete control over content. You’ll have to pay a premium for those extra features, though.