HomePod is finally on its way to Japan

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HomePod market share
It will be on sale “this summer.”
Photo: Apple

Apple is gearing up to launch HomePod in Japan — more than two years after the device got its first unveiling.

Smart speaker shoppers will be able to pick one up in the coming weeks for 32,800 yen (approx. $301). HomePod will then be available in a total of 11 countries.

Amazon buys mesh Wi-Fi router maker Eero

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eero
Eero monitors things like network throughput and interference, adjusting itself automatically.
Photo: Leander Kahney / Cult of Mac

Right when Apple has decided to get out of the router business, one of its biggest competitors is ready to jump in.

Amazon revealed today that it reached an agreement to acquire mesh Wi-Fi router maker Eero, giving the online retailer another powerful tool in its effort to dominate the smart home market.

Amazon’s Drop In basically turns Apple FaceTime bug into a feature [Opinion]

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facebook eavesdropping microphone
Smart speakers are microphones that other people can listen to.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You know the Apple FaceTime bug that everyone’s going crazy about? It’s a huge screwup, for sure, but at least we know it’s just a bug. Being able to call someone and eavesdrop on their conversations without them knowing is clearly a privacy nightmare, which is why Apple disabled Group FaceTime until it can issue a proper fix.

Amazon, on the other hand, offers silent eavesdropping as a feature for its Echo speakers. It’s called Drop In, and if you’ve enabled it, you should probably turn it off.

Apple Music will come to third-party Alexa speakers

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Ask Alexa to manage your appointments for you.
Look out for Apple Music on other Alexa speakers soon.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple Music will make its way to third-party Alexa speakers eventually, Amazon has confirmed.

The streaming service finally joined Alexa earlier this week — you may have gotten an announcement notification on your iPhone — but it’s currently available only on Amazon’s own Echo devices.

How to play Apple Music on your Amazon Echo

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Amazon Alexa
The Echo finally plays nice with Apple Music.
Photo: Amazon

Amazon’s Alexa speakers can finally connect to your Apple Music account.

Support for Apple Music on the Amazon Echo was rolled out today, giving iPhone and iPad owners the option to pump out their favorite jams without signing up for an Apple Music competitor like Spotify Premium.

Getting the new Apple Music integration up and running is ridiculously easy, but we’ll walk you through the entire process.

Amazon rolls out better (and wackier) new Echo products

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microwave
Amazon's new microwave is super smart.
Photo: Amazon

Amazon hosted its annual “secret” event this morning in Seattle where the company unleashed a tidal wave of new Alexa-powered Echo products that are designed to take on pretty much every major tech company in the world.

From its new microwave to a pricey new subwoofer, Amazon has a new product for pretty much everybody at every price point. The event was so action-packed it was hard to keep up with the catalog of new options, but we’ve rounded them all up so you can figure out what Alexa products you should splurge on next.

Check out all these new goodies:

Amazon slashes a whopping $100 off Echo Show for Prime Day

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This is the best deal yet on Amazon Echo Show.
This is the best deal yet on Amazon Echo Show.
Photo: Amazon

Echo Show is Amazon’s finest Alexa device. It not only answers your queries, plays your music, and controls your smart devices like every other Echo speaker, but it also has a 7-inch touchscreen and built-in camera that let you do so much more.

It’s usually priced at $229, but from now through Prime Day on July 16, Amazon has slashed a whopping $100 off its price tag.