Rejoice, audiophiles: Apple Music lossless audio is coming to HomePod, HomePod mini

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Apple Music lossless audio coming to HomePod, HomePod mini
HomePod and HomePod mini will be able to take advantage of a significant improvement coming to Apple Music.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Apple smart speakers will be able to play Apple Music’s lossless audio after an upcoming software update. Both HomePod and HomePod mini will get support for the high-quality audio format, according to Apple.

This is good news for HomePod owners who may have been feeling disgruntled about being left out of a signature new Apple Music feature.

HomePod 14.2.1 software update fixes bugs

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HomePod Software Version 14.2.1 is out.
HomePod owners can install an update to Software Version 14.2.1.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Both sizes of Apple’s smart speaker got an update to HomePod Software Version 14.2.1 on Monday. The new system software promises just general improvements. It’s not yet known if that includes squashing a reported bug in Wi-Fi connectivity for the HomePod mini.

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.

AirPods won’t escape Trump’s tariffs this time

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Bluetooth in iOS 11
Apple will have to pay import taxes on AirPods starting next month.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Not all Apple devices will escape the taxes being levied next month on goods imported from China. The Trump Administration decided to delay tariffs on iPhone, iPad and Mac, but other popular products will still get slapped with a 10% import tax, including Apple Watch, AirPods and HomePod

Smart speaker installed base could top 200 million this year

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HomePod Volume Controls
Perhaps a rising tide of smart speaker sales will help HomePod.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The number of smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo and Apple’s HomePod in use around the world is expected to keep growing strongly for years to come. It could pass 200 million in 2019, and pass 500 million in 2023.

Analysts from Canalys indicate the installed base of these devices is now surpassing the number of smartwatches in use. And smart speakers could even outnumber tablets before the end of 2021, they say.

Top 5 tech trends of 2018 [Year in Review]

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Top 5 tech trends of 2018 [Year in Review]
We take a look at what really changed for Apple and other tech companies in 2018.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac Year in Review 2018: Top 5 tech trends of 2018 Growing concerns about how much companies are spying on us tops our list of the most significant tech trends of 2018. Also on the list are some big changes in applications, a trend in phone design, and a new type of device that became nearly ubiquitous. 

As the new year begins, let’s take a look back at what changed for Apple and the tech world over the past 12 months.

Tim Cook’s Madrid vist highlights HomePod launch in Spain

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Apple's CEO and Spanish singer Rosalía take a selfie with Madrid Apple employees.
Apple's CEO and Spanish singer Rosalía take a selfie with Madrid Apple employees.
Photo: Tim Cook

The Apple CEO’s tour of Europe continued today with a visit to sunny Spain. He’s there to promote tomorrow’s launch of the HomePod in the country. He’s also talking up the release of the iPhone XR, which will debut around the world on Friday.