Apple’s $200 HomePod might carry Beats brand

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A cheaper version of the HomePod could drop below the $200 mark.
The rumored inexpensive HomePod might not be called a HomePod. It could be a Beats smartspeaker instead.
Photo: Apple

Rumors indicate Apple’s working on a cheaper version of the HomePod. And now there’s a new wrinkle: this device might be sold under the Beats brand name.

This would let the HomePod name stand as a premier product, while still allowing Apple to make a more affordable smartspeaker.

‘Holy iPad’ plays important role in royal wedding

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A royal wedding is a traditional affair, but an iPad still made an appearance.
A royal wedding is a traditional affair, but an iPad still made an appearance at the nuptials for the Duke and Dutchess of Sussex.
Screencap: CBS

It would be going too far to say that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wouldn’t be married today if it weren’t for an iPad. But one of Apple’s tablets did have an important role to play in the royal wedding.

Bishop Michael Curry delivered a sermon halfway through the ceremony. The good prelate read from notes displayed on his trusty iPad during his address. 

Apple v Samsung $1B patent lawsuit in the hands of a jury

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Apple and Samsung return to court
There's no doubt the design of the Galaxy S copies the iPhone. A jury will soon rule on damages in the Apple v Samsung patent lawsuit.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

The decade-long Apple v Samsung patent-infringement trial is nearing its end.  A jury is expected to announce on Monday whether the premier Android maker owes Apple $1 billion for copying the iPhone’s design.

Developers Union wants free trials for all iOS apps

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iPhone App Store
A new group of iPhone developers wants Apple to offer lime-limited free trials for everything in the App Store.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Four coders have come together to found The Developers Union, whose primary principle is “people who create great software should be able to make a living doing it.”

The group’s first cause is asking Apple to allow free trials for everything in the App Store. The union has plans to advocate for additional changes in the future.

iPad robot helps hospitalized girl graduate with classmates

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iPad robot helps teen attend her high school graduation.
An iPad graduated from high school... no wait, a high school girl graduated via iPad.
Screencap: CBS News

When a high school girl couldn’t attend her high school graduation, a iPad-based robot allowed her to virtually collect her diploma.

Cynthia Pettway was hospitalized last week, but the iPad on wheels filled in for her, even wearing a graduation cap and gown.

HomePod captures measly 6 percent of smartspeaker market

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Siri Lights
Siri's dumb-as-a-squirrel performance helped hold HomePod sales down to just 600,000 in Q1.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

iPhone sells like gangbusters. iPad is at the top of the tablet market. But the HomePod is a very different story. Apple’s smartspeaker earned just a small share of the world market in the first quarter of this year, according to a market research firm.

No surprise, Amazon enjoys the largest piece of the pie. But it doesn’t dominate this market the way it used to.

iOS 11.4 beta 6 released just three days after beta 5

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iOS 11.3 Beta
After not making the cut in the last update, Messages on iCloud will be a big addition in iOS 11.4
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple took the very unusual move of releasing a second iOS 11.4 beta this week. The fifth version of the developer beta came out on Monday, and its replacement debuted today.

This could mean good things for the imminent launch of this iPhone and iPad operating system update to the general public, or it could be a bad sign.

Apple can finally replace batteries in older MacBook Pro models

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MacBook Pro
Replacements for a 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro battery from five years ago are available with no waiting.
Photo: Apple

Apple ran short on a very vital part of the Mid 2012 and Early 2013 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display for over a year. But it now reportedly has plenty of batteries for these models in stock once again.

For months, Apple had been forced to waive the fee on battery replacements on these older models because customers were having to wait so long for the part to become available. 

OnePlus 6 has a notch because it just makes sense

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Although the OnePlus 6 has a screen cutout like the iPhone X, it's not a copycat.
Although the OnePlus 6 has a screen cutout like the iPhone X, it's not a copycat.
Photo: OnePlus

OnePlus isn’t as well known as Samsung, but its Android devices have a following. Its newly-announced flagship has a screen cutout, which will cause many people to call the OnePlus 6 an iPhone X clone.  

But Apple didn’t put the “notch” in its device for esthetics. There’s good reason for it. And that’s the same reason it’s in the OnePlus 6, as well as other Android devices with the same feature expected later this year.

Caviar’s solar-powered iPhone X Tesla costs a paltry $4,600

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iPhone X Tesla
The iPhone X Tesla is solar powered, with gold trim. Each is hand delivered to its buyer.
Photo: Caviar Globsl

Russian luxury brand Caviar just launched the iPhone X Tesla, a solar-powered version of Apple’s flagship device. Parts are gilded in gold, and the whole deal costs 284,000 ₽ ($4600) for a 64GB version.

It’s a device any Russian oligarch would be proud to own.