Cavalier Maverick may be the most stylish smart speaker yet [Review]

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Cavalier
Feast your eyes on this beauty!
Photo: Cavalier

Boasting superior sound quality and a high-quality finish that ditches metal and plastic for distressed leather and fabrics, Cavalier Maverick is one of the best smart speakers we’ve tried.

It’s a third-party Amazon Alexa, offering the same functionality as an Echo, but in a far more premium package. And with a pretty neat mobile twist, too.

HomePod sales reportedly hit 3 million units in U.S.

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I sent the HomePod back, so I will keep using the single photo I took until somebody stops me.
HomePod sales are "small but meaningful," according to a new report.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The smart speaker contest may be a two-horse race between the Amazon Echo and Google Home, but Apple’s HomePod is starting to carve out a share as well.

According to new research from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, the total smart speaker market has now reached 50 million units in the United States. Among the installed base of U.S. devices, Amazon has 70 percent, Google has 24 percent and Apple has 6 percent.

HomePod will never become the iPhone of smart speakers

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The HomePod -- a beautiful body with the brain of an idiot.
Doomed to remain a minor player? We'll see.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The smart speaker install base will approach 100 million units by the end of 2018 — but Apple will make up only a tiny piece of the market.

At least, that’s according to analysts at Canalys, who forecast how things are shaping up for the various Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod devices currently winding their way into kitchens and living rooms around the world. Their take home message? That, unless something big changes, Apple is kinda screwed!

5 ways HomePod could catch up with its rivals

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HomePod Close Up
We like the HomePod. We just think there's a lot more Apple could do with it.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The iPhone dominates smartphone sales charts. The iPad is so ubiquitous that, for many, its name is a catch-all term for any tablet. The Mac is the most desirable computer out there. But the HomePod? Not so much.

According to figures released this week, Apple’s smart speaker made up just a tiny 6 percent share of all smart speaker shipments for the first quarter of 2018. What is Apple doing wrong? And what could it do to turn things around? Here are five suggestions for HomePod improvements we’d like to see.

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.

HomePod first-day sales topped all smart speakers (except Echo Dot)

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Siri display
HomePod calls are coming.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s new HomePod is one of the best-selling smart speakers ever, according to new sales data from The NPD Group.

Not only is the HomePod killing it, but Apple’s new AirPods and Beats headphones are dominating the market so well they reportedly account for 44 percent of all dollar sales for headphones in 2017.

Everything you need to know about HomePod

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HomePod news, HomePod reviews and HomePod how-tos
The HomePod may be the best speaker you can buy for under $85,000.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s HomePod arrives in homes today. It’s already sold out online, but if you’re lucky you might still snap one up in an Apple store. And you probably should, because the HomePod looks to be just about the best small speaker you can buy — in terms of musical performance, anyway.

If you want to find out how to set up and get the best of your new HomePod, or if you want to read a bit more before deciding whether to get one, you’re in the right place. Below you’ll find all our HomePod coverage: how-tos, reviews, tips and opinions.

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.