Cult of Mac Magazine: HomePod is still hopeless, and it’s (mostly) Siri’s fault

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Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

In this week’s Cult of Mac Magazine: HomePods went on sale in Europe this week, and I ordered one. It arrived the very next day. I tried it out, and then sent it back to Apple the day after that. Why? Because it’s a half-finished product. Siri is just as glitchy and annoying on HomePod as elsewhere. It doesn’t work properly with a Mac.

You’ll find that story and more in this issue. Get your free subscription to Cult of Mac Magazine from iTunes. Or read on for this week’s top stories.

Cult of Mac Magazine, Issue 250

homepodHomePod is still hopeless, and it’s (mostly) Siri’s fault
HomePods went on sale in Europe this week, and I ordered one. It arrived the very next day. I tried it out, and then sent it back to Apple the day after that. Why? Because it’s a half-finished product. Siri is just as glitchy and annoying on HomePod as elsewhere. It doesn’t work properly with a Mac. And it’s not even a very good speaker.

fWhat’s new in iOS 12 beta 2?
Two weeks after the initial — and surprisingly solid — beta of iOS 12, comes the second update. iOS 12 beta 2 has tweaked the operating system in several places, mostly in Screen Time, which was quite sparse in the first round. Let’s take a look at what’s changed.

AirPower arrives in Sept. after design problems solved
Apple will finally deliver its AirPower charger in September after solving “a series of technical hurdles,” according to a new report. Overheating is one problem company engineers have had to contend with. Another is AirPower’s complex circuitry, which is necessary to allow compatible devices to be placed anywhere on the mat for charging.

We can finally announce the lucky winner of our Apple HomePod giveaway.Control HomePod’s up-next queue from iPhone
Siri on HomePod is acceptable for quickly playing an album or a playlist, or even for adding a track to the existing up-next queue. But what if you want to switch the order of some songs in that queue, or delete tracks?

iangeHow to install custom fonts on iPhone or iPad
Most of use just use the fonts that come supplied with the iOS apps we use every day. If you use Pages, you get a ton of built-in typeface options. But what if you use a notes app by a smaller developer that hasn’t licensed a bunch of fonts for their app? What if you have a favorite font, or even a font you designed yourself, that you want to use on your iPhone or iPad?

dStay focused on writing with iA Writer
There are dozens of ways to write on iOS. Apple’s own Notes app offers a simple writing platform, while Pages allows for elaborate documents – complete with pictures. While both are good for certain tasks, more serious writers typically want something a little different. iA Writer offers more while doing less, making it the perfect text editor app.

timeSave 97% on powerful project-planning app
Getting through a big project takes lots of planning, and improvising along the way. In our digital age, there’s no reason to be shuffling papers or scrawling notes on the wall. So if you’ve got a big task to plan, this app is a great place to start.

widuoFire up Apple Watch & iPhone with WiDuo
For lovers of versatility, and Apple gear, I bring you a two-in-one charging solution for iPhone and Apple Watch. Who doesn’t enjoy a twofer? The WiDuo by Wiplabs is a beautifully minimalist charging pad that provides up to 20 percent faster charging that many of its wireless competitors. And, it’s cute and sleek to boot.

watchpopThese nylon bands throw Apple Watch for a loop
If you’ve got a hankering for one of Apple’s Sport Loops for Apple Watch, we’ve got a fantastic alternative that costs 10 bucks less and features a new design element to Apple’s version. Enter the Watchpop Loop for Apple Watch, German-company Bluestein’s stylish answer to those seeking the look and performance of Apple’s Sports Loop. Watchpop’s version has all the same bells and whistles, yet offers a fun line of colorways flanked by colored edging.

cultcastThe sad state of the Mac
This week on The CultCast: It’s been over a year since Apple has updated virtually any of their Macs. Just what in the heck in going on? We discuss. Plus: why all your online purchases will soon be taxed; Instagram takes on YouTube with new IGTV app; and MoviePass is about to change for the worse, AGAIN.