| Cult of Mac

What could be in store for the return of the big HomePod?

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The big HomePod could be back soon. But how pricey and how functional will it be?
The beloved big HomePod could be back soon. But how pricey and how functional will it be?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple plans to roll out an updated version of the original (big) HomePod as soon as the fourth quarter of 2022 or the first quarter of 2023, supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Friday.

As reliable as Kuo can be, little other information exists beyond speculation. But that’s part of the fun.

A lot of folks are jonesing for an Apple smart speaker beyond the HomePod mini, with the great reputation for sound quality the original HomePod enjoyed and the possible new ways it could function.

Discreet new Sonos voice assistant will work with Apple Music

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Sonos Voice will give you a new way to talk to your Sonos speakers.
Sonos Voice will give you a new way to talk to your Sonos speakers.
Photo: Sonos

Smart speaker maker Sonos will soon deploy its own voice assistant, similar to Apple’s Siri. It will let you play and control music on the company’s products, according to a new report.

The new voice assistant, “Sonos Voice,” will work with Apple Music and a handful of other services.

Siri is the least attractive part of Garmin’s new Venu 2 Plus smartwatch

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With new voice assistant access, you can get a lot done on your wrist with Garmin's new Venu 2 Plus GPS smartwatch.
With new voice assistant access, you can get a lot done on your wrist with Garmin's new Venu 2 Plus GPS smartwatch.
Photo: Garmin

Fitness tracker company Garmin showed a new version of its Venu 2 Plus GPS smartwatch at CES 2022 — and this one let’s you talk to Apple’s voice-activated assistant, Siri. If you’re into that sort of thing.

Or, if you’re among the many folks who seem to prefer other helpers on their devices, you could talk to Google Assistant or Samsung’s Bixby. Previous Garmin smartwatches didn’t allow that. Plus the Venu 2 Plus works with both iOS and Android devices, Garmin said.

Siri activated by ‘a city’ or ‘OK, Jerry’ reveals study of false wake words

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Siri Lights
Accidental wake words affects all the major smart assistants.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

“Hey Siri” can be inadvertently activated by other wake words including “A city,” “Hey Jerry,” and more, reveal researchers from Germany’s Ruhr-Universität Bochum and the Bochum Max Planck Institute.

Siri’s far from the only voice assistant with a weakness when it comes to false triggers, however. The study compiled a list of over 1,000 words that can accidentally activate different A.I. assistants.

Meross HomeKit-compatible smart plug adds home automation on the cheap

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Meross Smart WiFi Plug Mini comes in 2-packs
The Meross Smart WiFi Plug Mini can be controlled or scheduled through Apple’s Home app.
Photo: Meross

A HomeKit-compatible smart plug is an easy way to try home automation. And the Meross Smart WiFi Plug Mini is an especially inexpensive option. It enables a lamp or other simple electrical device to be remotely controlled from an iPhone using Siri voice commands.

Marshall’s tiny new smart speaker will blast you with huge sound

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marshall
This stylish little box packs big sound.
Photo: Zound Industries

One of the most iconic brands in rock ‘n’ roll amplification is ready to give Apple’s HomePod some fresh competition.

Zound Industries unveiled its newest portable speaker today, the Marshall Uxbridge Voice. It comes with Bluetooth and Spotify Connect, plus you can control it with your voice using Alexa. Best of all, though, this thing is really freaking loud.

Marshall brings active noise cancellation and USB-C to over-the-ear headphones

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Marshall
These are some of the best looking headphones we've seen.
Photo: Marshall

Marshall’s best over-the-ear headphones finally gained active noise cancellation (ANC) with a big update that pushes the vintage-inspired cans into the modern age.

The new Monitor II ANC headphones were revealed by Marshall this morning and along with adding ANC to put them on par with AirPods Pro, the headphones also have a nifty multi-directional control knob that lets you easily control music and phone functions without touching your phone.