Echo

How to opt out of Amazon’s mass wireless sharing plans

By

How to opt out of Amazon Sidewalk
You have until June 8.
Image: Cult of Mac

Amazon plans to combine every Echo speaker and Ring security camera in the United States into a shared “mesh network” to ensure devices stay online even when disconnected from their owners’ home Wi-Fi connection.

The system, called Amazon Sidewalk, faced scrutiny over the lack of transparency with regard to its rollout. Many people also express concerns about the potential privacy issues it could raise.

Not interested in taking part? Here’s how to opt out of Amazon Sidewalk before it goes live on June 8.

Get smart Fire TV sets from just $99.99 in early Prime Day deal

By

Amazon Fire TV set
Save up to $120!
Photo: Amazon

This year’s Amazon Prime Day kicks off on June 21, but as usual, Amazon is offering some deals well in advance. For a limited time only, Prime subscribers can bag smart Fire TV sets from as little as $99.99.

Get yours before they’re gone to save up to $120!

This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items.

Time magazine picks 3 Apple products as best gadgets of the decade

By

quotes on Apple
iPad obviously makes the list (but Apple Pencil doesn't).
Photo: Apple

Time magazine’s pick of the “10 best gadgets of the 2010s” is out, and perhaps unsurprisingly, three of them are Apple products.

iPad, Apple Watch, and AirPods were all chosen as some of the “most important and influential gadgets” of the decade. Other products include the Nintendo Switch, Tesla Model S, and the Amazon Echo.

Apple steps up smart home fight against Amazon and Google

By

The HomePod -- a beautiful body with the brain of an idiot.
Apple wants to make a bigger mark on your home.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple is ramping up its smart home efforts in a bid to better compete against Amazon and Google, according to a new report.

Cupertino is said to be hiring for a team that will be focused on revamping HomeKit software and devices. It also wants to encourage more third-party manufacturers to support its platform.

Amazon aims for Apple with 15 surprising new products

By

EchoStudio
Amazon fired shots at the HomePod, AirPods, CarPlay and more today.
Photo: Amazon

Amazon is ready to push Alexa into every single corner of your life with a new wave of Echo products unveiled this morning.

Armed with 15 new products, Amazon is ready to challenge Apple like never before. The company even introduced some bold new products, like new smart glasses and a smart ring — wearables that give you 24/7 access to Alexa wherever you go. While Apple’s iPhone 11 keynote featured zero mentions of Siri, Amazon’s yearly product keynote put Alexa’s might on full display.

HomePod is finally on its way to Japan

By

HomePod market share
The new HomePod could offer a neat new feature.
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

By

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]

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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

By

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.

Amazon’s Echo Dot Kids Edition gives parents complete control

By

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 inventories pile up after early demand dies quickly

By

Apple HomePod volume controls
HomePod sales are already suffering.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple has been forced to cut HomePod orders as inventories continue to build up in its retail stores, according to a new report.

The $349 speaker enjoyed a promising start when it made its debut in February, but demand has fallen quickly as smart speaker shoppers turn to more affordable options from the likes of Amazon.

Over half a billion devices now ‘actively’ use Siri

By

Siri
Siri usage is climbing rapidly.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Siri is now “actively” used on more than half a billion devices, Apple has revealed. The virtual assistant, which will be used to control HomePod, has been attracting users at a rapid rate despite falling behind its competitors in features and accuracy.

Amazon unleashes 5 new Echo products with crazy price tags

By

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

By

Phil Schiller gives the world a sneak peek at the HomePod during WWDC 2017.
We'd love to see Apple lavish some more attention on the 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

By

Phil Schiller gives the world a sneak peek at the HomePod during WWDC 2017.
We'd love to see Apple lavish some more attention on the 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.