Amazon unleashes 5 new Echo products with crazy price tags

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Amazon Echo Plus
Amazon's new Echo devices are ready to invade your home.
Photo: Amazon

Amazon revealed not one, not two, not three, not four, but five Echo-based products at a huge event today at its headquarters in Seattle.

The wave of gadgets, which also included a new TV dongle, is ready to take on Apple’s HomePod speaker and Apple TV 4K with some pretty impressive features. Even more impressive, though, are their incredibly low price tags. It makes you wonder how Apple possibly can compete.

Here’s all the stuff Amazon just revealed.

Apple promises it won’t store or sell your HomePod data

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Phil Schiller gives the world a sneak peek at the HomePod during WWDC 2017.
Apple will continue to protect your privacy with HomePod.
Photo: Apple

Apple has confirmed that it won’t store or sell any data collected by its HomePod smart speaker.

HomePod won’t send anything to Apple’s servers until a user activates it with the “Hey Siri” command. Apple encrypts any information received after that point. The data gets encrypted and sent using an anonymous ID.

Samsung will fight HomePod with Bixby smart speaker

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Phil Schiller gives the world a sneak peek at the HomePod during WWDC 2017.
Apple will continue to protect your privacy with HomePod.
Photo: Apple

There isn’t an Apple product Samsung doesn’t have an answer to, so it’s not surprising to hear the South Korean company is developing its own HomePod rival.

It will be powered by Bixby, the Galaxy S8’s new virtual assistant, but it’s likely to be a while before it’s ready to hit the market.

We talk iPhone’s 8 big price hike and our favorite HomeKit smart lights on The CultCast

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It's time to make the iPhone exciting again.
It's time to make the iPhone exciting again.
Photo: @YSR50

This week, on The CultCast: rumors point to a big iPhone 8 price hike. What’s the max you would pay? Plus: Intel makes a huge move to push Thunderbolt into the mainstream; Ikea about to drop tons of great HomeKit gadgets on us; DJI’s Spark selfie drone is a compact powerhouse; we’ll tell you about our favorite smart lights; and we’ll tell you about the weird and whacky gadgets we’re reviewing in an all-new Under Review!

Our thanks to Blue Apron for supporting this episode. Blue Apron makes it easy to cook delicious meals at home. Get your first three meals free at BlueApron.com/CultCast.

New MacBook Pros as WWDC? Don’t miss this week’s CultCast!

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Are you ready for Apple to make Macs
Are you ready for Apple to make Macs "pro" again?
Photo: Cult of Mac

This week, on The CultCast: new MacBook Pros at WWDC? Insiders say yes! We’ll tell you all we know. Plus: why future Macs might get much faster CPUs; Apple makes a big move to bring manufacturing back to the US; and we’ll wrap up with 5 weird and whacky facts about the new Apple Park campus.

Our thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode. It’s simple to accept Apple Pay and sell your wares with your very own Squarespace.com website. Enter offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10% off any hosting plan.

Apple’s new Siri speaker could be revealed at WWDC

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Ask Alexa to manage your appointments for you.
Ask Alexa to manage your appointments for you.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple could unveil its new smart speaker powered by Siri at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, according to new claims.

Earlier this week, we heard the company is currently in the process of finalizing the design of its first standalone Siri device, which is expected to take on the Amazon Echo. Now we have an idea what it might look like and when it could be revealed.

The Apple Watch business is way bigger than you think

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apple watch bands
Apple Watch Series 3 needs to be special.
Photo: Apple

Apple Watch gets a lot of stick for being a “me-too” product, and people who don’t see the need for a smartwatch assume the business is a bust. There’s this crazy perception that Apple Watch is just not selling — but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The Apple Watch, alongside other Apple wearables, is now raking in billions of dollars every year. The business is huge. So huge, in fact, that it would be a Fortune 500 company all by itself, outselling supposed smash hits like Microsoft’s Surface tablets and the Amazon Echo.

Here’s why Apple Watch isn’t the flop you think it is.

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

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Samsung is making a last ditch effort to avoid paying Apple.
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.