Samsung preps rivals for Apple Watch and HomePod

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Samsung Watch and Samsung Home go up against Apple equivalents.
Samsung Galaxy Watch and Galaxy Home go up against Apple equivalents.
Photo: Samsung

Along with its newest smartphone, Samsung just unveiled two more products designed to take on some of Apple’s. The Galaxy Watch isn’t the Korean company’s first Apple Watch competitor, but this is the first time it’s unveiled a HomePod rival.

Apple dominates smartwatch sales, so Samsung faces an uphill battle. Amazon has the lead in smartspeakers though, and Apple has shown it’s not an easy market to break into.

HomePod sales reportedly hit 3 million units in U.S.

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I sent the HomePod back, so I will keep using the single photo I took until somebody stops me.
HomePod sales are "small but meaningful," according to a new report.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The smart speaker contest may be a two-horse race between the Amazon Echo and Google Home, but Apple’s HomePod is starting to carve out a share as well.

According to new research from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, the total smart speaker market has now reached 50 million units in the United States. Among the installed base of U.S. devices, Amazon has 70 percent, Google has 24 percent and Apple has 6 percent.

Apple Music ad turns DJ Khaled’s toddler son into a star

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DJ Khaled
Family and business with DJ Khaled and son, Asahd
Photo: Apple/YouTube

Apple and DJ Khaled made a commercial of true cross-promotion genius. Khaled gets to plug his latest single No Brainer by plugging Apple Music. Siri, HomePod and iPhone X also each get a turn to shine.

But stealing the minute-and-half show was Khaled’s toddler son, Asahd, who, with help from the voice of comedian Kevin Hart, is caught with an iPhone X in a highchair nagging his attorney to aggressively negotiate for more money.

HomePod voice calling feature confirmed in iOS 12 beta 5

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Siri display
HomePod calls are coming.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

HomePod’s rumored voice calling feature has been all but confirmed in iOS 12 beta 5.

A new “Personal Requests” setup screen now displays an additional icon where the Phone app will sit, and reads “make phone calls” in its list of abilities. It indicates HomePod users will be able to initiate calls for the first time when iOS 12 makes its public debut this fall.

2018 MacBook Pro performance, after the patch, on The CultCast

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CultCast MacBook Pro
Just how good is the 2018 MacBook Pro after Apple's patch?
Photo: Apple

This week on The CultCast: Apple has issued a patch that significantly increases performance for all 2018 MacBook Pros, but there’s one glaring problem it doesn’t fix…. We talk benchmarks and real-world performance. Plus, we take a peek at the new HomePod features from iOS 12 beta, and we wrap up with your emails!

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

Apple will answer HomePod owners’ burning questions during live Q&A

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Apple will provide HomePod tech support at a special online event in a few days. Get your questions ready.
Apple will provide HomePod tech support at a special online event in a few days. Get your questions ready.
Photo: Apple

The HomePod is a new product and Apple wants to be sure owners of this smartspeaker are getting all the benefits. That’s why the company scheduled a live chat with HomePod specialists for later this week. It’s open to anyone with questions.

A lot of people get tech support on their electronics from friends, but the $349 HomePod is struggling to compete against the much cheaper Amazon Echo, so many users probably don’t know someone else with this device.

HomePod update will bring phone calls, voicemail, multiple timers

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HomePod
Apple is working to make HomePod even smarter.
Photo: Apple

HomePod is expected to get even smarter this fall when Apple rolls out a big software update.

A new report claims the $349 device will be able to handle phone calls, retrieve your voicemail, and run multiple timers. It could also give you the ability to search for songs by using their lyrics, and to translate languages.