Amazon’s Echo Dot Kids Edition gives parents complete control

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Echo Dot Kids
Echo Dot is now child-friendly.
Photo: Amazon

Now your little ones can get to know Alexa with the new Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition.

It’s just like a regular Echo Dot, but it comes inside a colorful protective case and a one-year subscribtion to the “FreeTime Unlimited” service that gives parents complete control over content. You’ll have to pay a premium for those extra features, though.

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.

Cult of Mac Magazine: Google’s Pixel 2 vs. new iPhones and more!

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cover
In this week's Cult of Mac Magazine, we show you how Google's Pixel lineup compares to iPhone 8 and the upcoming iPhone X, and much more!
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Can Google convince iPhone fans to jump ship for the new Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL?We show how Google’s Pixel lineup compares to iPhone 8 and the upcoming iPhone X.

In this week’s Cult of Mac Magazine, you’ll find that story and more. Check out the serious internal upgrades packed into iPhone 8 Plus, and Google’s new mini speaker. We’ve got some great Mac apps for photo editors, a roundup of the best chargers and stands for Apple Watch Series 3 and a review of the iconic Speidel Twist-O-Flex band. Get your free subscription to Cult of Mac Magazine from iTunes. Or read on for this week’s top stories.

Spotify job listings hint at hardware ambitions

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mighty-spotify-streaming-player
Could Spotify make a modern iPod?
Photo: Mighty Audio

Apple’s biggest competition in the music streaming business may be preparing to become a hardware rival, too.

Jobs listings posted by Spotify indicate the company is planning to make a hardware play. Spotify says it’s working on a “category defining product,” but based on what the company compares it to, Apple might not have much to worry about.

Samsung nearly tops Apple in J.D. Power smartphone rankings

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Samsung
The exploding Note 7 didn't hurt Samsung's status.
Photo: Jim Merithew / Cult of Mac

The gap between Apple and Samsung is narrower than it has ever been, according to J.D. Power’s 2017 smartphone satisfaction rankings that have the iPhone-maker in the lead by just one point.

Apple took the number one spot with a total score of 840. Meanwhile Samsung somehow crept up to the second spot with 839 points, even though it had a disastrous last half of 2016 with the exploding Note 7 fiasco.

Amazon may soon launch an Alexa-powered security camera

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This could be Amazon's next big product.
This could be Amazon's next big product.
Photo: AFTVnews

Amazon’s next Alexa product won’t just be able to listen to you. It can watch your every move.

Leaked images of a new home security camera created by Amazon hit the internet today, giving us our first glimpse of what the company’s Dropcam competitor will look like.

Amazon’s Alexa is a big hit — and a huge money drain

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Connect the Amazon Echo Dot to your existing speaker system, and you bingo! -- your speakers just got smarts.
Expensive things come in small packages. From an R&D perspective, at least.
Photo: Leander Kahney / Cult of Mac

Amazon’s Alexa devices were some of the most exciting tech products of 2016, and immediately there were rumors that Apple was planning to follow suit with a standalone Siri — possibly even with the addition of facial recognition tech.

A new report, however, claims that despite its popularity, Alexa has been a massive money drain on Amazon so far. In 2016 alone, it lost Amazon $330 million, and this figure is set to rise to $600 million-plus this year.

With new hardware trio, Google makes major play for your home

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google home speaker
Google Home is taking on the Amazon Echo.
Photo: Google

Not only does Google want to replace your iPhone with a Pixel, the search giant revealed today that it plans to invade homes with three new products that directly compete with offerings from Apple and Amazon.

During an event in San Francisco today, Google unveiled a new Wi-Fi router, an improved Chromecast and a new Google Home device that’s a lot like Amazon’s Echo smart speaker, only it’s powered by Google Assistant.