HomePod sounds great, but you’re locked in [Review]

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Apple HomePod volume controls
The HomePod is Apple's first step into the smart speaker arena, but does it emerge victorious?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

There are boatloads of smart speakers out there, but nothing quite like HomePod.

Like many Apple products that came before it, HomePod is here to revolutionize an industry. It’s certainly not first to market, but Cupertino’s plan is to make all HomePod competitors insignificant. The new Apple smart speaker uses cutting-edge technology that delivers outstanding sound quality to do just that.

You can’t buy another speaker of this kind for $349. That price tag is not exactly cheap, but if you love music, HomePod should be at the top of your shopping list.

HomePod unboxing video: First look at Apple’s smart speaker

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HomePod HomeKit Unboxing
Check out Apple's new HomePod in action.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

After months of delays, Apple’s HomePod is finally available in Apple Stores today. Before we get to the reviews, comparisons and tips, with our latest video we give you a tour of what’s in the box, show you how easy it is to set up, show it off in action and my first impressions.

Check the video out below.

This shotgun-style microphone is perfect for YouTube shooters [Review]

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The Rode NTG4+ microphone makes our YouTube videos sound super-crispy.
The Rode NTG4+ microphone makes our YouTube videos sound super-crispy.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Since I started running Cult of Mac‘s YouTube channel, I’ve been striving for the best visuals and audio possible. Compare our latest videos with some of our earlier ones, and you should see improvements across the board.

I’ve always neglected audio, but I’ve learned over time that sound proves vital to crafting quality videos. With that in mind, I recently tried out the Rode NTG4+ microphone. Now it’s part of my essential kit for creating videos.

Check out my video review below.

Easily convert Live Photos into GIFs in iOS 11 [Quick Tips]

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iPhone X Live Photos

Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Live Photos are great. They can capture special moments in a way that some pictures just can’t. The little movie clips that play when you force-touch a Live Photo can show the joy or wonder of the image. But therein lies the problem. They’re basically video clips embedded into photos, which makes sharing them to non-iOS users a nightmare.

A plethora of apps can convert Live Photos into GIFs or a standard video clip, but iOS 11 makes it even easier. Check out our video below to see how to quickly convert a Live Photo into a GIF.

Everything new in iOS 11.3 beta 1

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iOS 11.3 Beta 1
iOS 11.3 Beta 1 adds Messages on iCloud, new Animojis and more.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s latest update for developers, iOS 11.3 beta 1, brings plenty of new features and tweaks. It’s available now. And while it’s just the first of many likely betas to come before the iOS 11.3 release this spring, it offers a glimpse of the future.

Check out our latest video to see all the latest changes in action.

Awesome Apple Watch tricks to get the most out of your wearable

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Apple Watch Series 3
Make the most of your Apple Watch with these handy tips.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The Apple Watch truly became a useful device with the release of the Series 3. LTE connectivity, more accurate heart rate monitoring, and faster hardware make the Apple Watch a joy to use.

With all the features and functions Apple advertises, there are still plenty of hidden tips and tricks for users to discover. Check out seven of my favorites in our latest video:

5 awesome cases to keep your iPhone X safe and stylish

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iPhone X case roundup
Looking for a new case for your iPhone X? We've got you covered.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

At $1,000, the iPhone X is as expensive as it is attractive. That’s not so great should the worst happen, since replacing the screen alone will cost around $300.

Since I’ve had mine, it’s practically lived in a case. In today’s video, I’m sharing some of my favorite iPhone X cases so far — ranging from the stylish to the extra-durable. Check them out below.

What to expect from Apple in 2018

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iPhone plus model next to iPhone X
Could we see a iPhone X Plus this year?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

We’re only five days into the new year and I’m personally already itching to see what Apple has planned for this year.

While 2017 was a disappointment of a year in general, Apple released some brilliant products. But what better way to get excited about the year than rounding up all of the rumors for what to expect this year.

A month with iPhone X can’t cool our lust

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iPhone X laying down
Is the iPhone X still a joy after a month of use?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

It’s been about a month since the release of the iPhone X and I’ve been using it every day as my daily driver. We’ve already reviewed it, and even pointed out its flaws, but I wanted to do a follow-up video to cover everything that’s changed for me personally and all the discoveries I’ve made using Apple’s latest flagship.

Check out the video below.

Why the iPhone X needs its notch

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iPhone X notch
The "notch" is not a problem.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Ever since Apple unveiled the iPhone X, naysayers have been complaining about “the notch.” But in today’s video, I’m going to do my best to convince you that the controversial cutout at the top of the iPhone X screen is totally not an issue.

Here’s why I think the iPhone X actually needs the notch.