Do lackluster sales mean HomePod’s doomed? Catch the discussion on The CultCast

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X-ray view of HomePod
Is HomePod nearing its end, or just getting started?
Photo: Apple

This week on The CultCast: HomePod sales are already stumbling — is it doomed? Plus: Face ID could replace passwords on your favorite websites; the death of Touch ID scheduled for this fall; and our hands-on reviews of an $80 tech-packed coffee cup, a beautiful new HomeKit smart lock, and the all-new Mavic Air drone.

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 percent off any hosting plan.

Face ID could replace passwords on your favorite websites

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Facial Recognition
We dream of a day in which biometrics replace passcodes.
Photo: Apple

Face ID could become even more useful thanks to a newly launched Web Authentication standard, which could replace regular web passcodes with biometric identification. This is via an API created by the FIDO Alliance and W3C. It allows users to access any online service in a browser through password-free FIDO Authentication.

While Apple already allows Face ID to autofill usernames and passcodes on iOS, this could go one step further by replacing the passcode altogether. This would make it a more secure option.

2018 iPhone production starts early to bring Face ID to the masses

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Face ID iPhone X
Face ID will be on all three of Apple's new iPhones this year.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

All three of Apple’s proposed iPhone models for 2018 will reportedly include 3D sensing tech for augmented reality and Face ID — which means that Apple has its work cut out producing all of them.

As a result of last year’s 3D sensor production issues, it’s therefore getting started on manufacturing earlier this year, with trial production set to kick off as early as the second quarter of 2018.

iPad Pro X concept wows with edge-to-edge design

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iPad Pro X
A concept iPad Pro X drawing shows an all-screen design, dual cameras.
Photo: Martin Hajek

Here’s what an iPad Pro with an iPhone X-style, edge-to-edge display might look like. Concept designer Martin Hajek combined the rumored iOS tablet with the logo for Apple’s next developer conference. (That’s where we might get our first actual glimpse of the device.)

iPhone is two years ahead of its rivals in one important way

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Face ID
Face ID will remain an Apple exclusive until 2019.
Photo: Apple

While the iPhone is still my pick for the world’s best smartphone, there’s no doubt that some of Apple’s rivals have done a good job of catching up in certain areas.

One place they’re unlikely to match Apple any time soon? Face ID, claims a new report. The reason? Because Apple has bought up so much of the 3D sensing component capacity from manufacturers that Android rivals are stuck two years behind. Ouch!

Face ID unlocks mayhem in new iPhone X ad

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A9F357BE-3F1B-4359-A9E3-0BD4E4582E74
Face ID irl would be ahmazing!
Photo: Apple

Face ID completely changes the way users interact with their iPhone, but imagine if every physical lock could be opened with just a glance.

In Apple’s newest iPhone X ad, the powers of Face ID get unleashed on the real world after a high school girl discovers (or imagines?) she has the power to open anything with her face.

Watch the mayhem unfold:

Nixing the Home button could bring 11-inch iPad

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11-inch iPad Rumored
An 11-inch iPad would fit between the company’s current 12.9- and 10.5-inch models.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple continues to improve the iPad Pro design, with a nearly bezel-less version reportedly in development. This could mean an 11-inch iPad the same overall size as the company’s current 10.5-inch tablet.

This will supposedly be the first iPad with Apple’s Face ID as the technology expands beyond the iPhone X.

Apple might drop new iPad Pro with Face ID in June

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bezel free
Prepare for an all-new iPad Pro.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple will deliver a revamped iPad Pro during the June quarter of this year, according to a new report.

Inspired by the iPhone X, the device is expected to have significantly slimmer bezels and Face ID, and could make up for weaker-than-expected demand for Apple’s latest smartphones. Apple could also be planning a smaller, more affordable version of HomePod.