Cheaper HomePod, improved AirPods could arrive in 2020

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airpods
Apple could finally bring noise cancellation to AirPods.
Photo: Ste Smith/ Cult of Mac

A more affordable version of the struggling HomePod smart speaker will debut next year, according to a generally reliable source. Apple is also reportedly going to introduce AirPods with noise cancellation in 2020.

Both are products that consumers have been asking for.

British Airways snaps up 15,000 iPhone XR units for cabin crew

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British-Airways-iPhone-XR
Probably should have waited a few weeks.
Photo: British Airways

Imagine buying a brand new iPhone just weeks before Apple introduces an upgrade. Now imagine buying 15,000. That’s exactly what British Airways has done for all its cabin crew members.

The handsets are being pre-loaded with apps that can be used to “offer a more personalized service,” BA says. It’s part of a £6.5 billion plan to step up customer support over the next five years.

Spotify now matches Apple Music’s 3-month free trial

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Spotify app now playing screen
The offer applies to any Premium plan.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Spotify is now matching Apple Music’s generous three-month free trial for new subscribers.

The offer is available to eligible individual and student users who sign up for any Spotify Premium plan, starting today. It will be extended to support Duo and Family Plans in the coming months.

You can now pre-order Powerbeats Pro in new colors

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Powerbeats Pro Moss 1
Headphones will ship August 30.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s acclaimed Powerbeats Pro wireless headphones are now available to pre-order in ivory, moss, and navy color options. Previously, they were only available in black.

The wireless headphones retail for $249.95. They will start shipping August 30, and will arrive in Apple Stores on that same day as well.

Tim Cook has Trump on speed dial

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Donald Trump speaks to supporters at an immigration policy speech at the Phoenix Convention Center in Arizona.
Tim Cook has no problem picking up the iPhone to call President Trump.
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr CC

President Donald Trump and Tim Apple, err, Tim Cook are BFFs. Well, according to Trump at least.

Describing Cook as a “great executive,” Trump says the Apple CEO isn’t afraid to pick up the phone and call whenever there’s something on his mind. “He calls me, and others don’t,” Trump said, comparing Cook to other execs.

Samsung’s #greendontcare GIFs are the weirdest Apple diss ever

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Samsung's GIF
A look at some of Samsung's Apple-dissing GIFs.
Photo: Samsung

Samsung seems pretty triggered (as the kids say) by people dissing its green Android text message bubbles, compared to the blue bubbles of Apple’s iMessages. So much so, in fact, that it’s created a whole bunch of animated GIFs to, err… do something?

The GIFs portray scenes like a green snake eating blue bubbles and a creepy green salamander being inappropriately touchy-feely with a distressed blue bubble. Hey, it probably sounded hilarious when it was described in the team meeting!

Sync your to-do’s across all your devices [Deals]

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Toodledo Plus
Make each of your devices a partner instead of an obstruction to your productivity.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Technology is supposed to make us more productive, but it can also be a mighty distraction. That’s especially true when it comes to our cell phones. But with this multi-device productivity tool, you can make each of your devices a window onto your tasks and to-do lists.

Court backs ex-Apple engineer who says he was left off inventors’ list

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Find my iPhone
Inventor worked on "Find My iPhone," among other features.
Photo: Apple

The ex-Apple engineer who claims he helped invent “Find My iPhone” and other features has beaten Apple in a preliminary court hearing.

Apple lost its bid to dismiss the former employee’s lawsuit earlier this week. The suit claims Apple left him off a list of five patents on which he was a rightful co-inventor. Along with “Find My iPhone,” Darren Eastman also notably worked on Passbook, the electronic ticketing system.

2019 iPhone to bring tougher glass, even better Face ID

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iPhone 11 R and 11 Max on fence post
The 2019 iPhone refresh may not be so boring after all.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

This year’s iPhone refresh will introduce new “shatter-resistance technology” and even better Face ID, according to a new report.

It is claimed users will be able to unlock Apple’s next-generation handsets from multiple angles — like when they’re lying flat on a table — thanks to a new Face ID sensor with a wider field of view.