Cheaper HomePod, improved AirPods could arrive in 2020

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airpods
Apple could finally bring noise cancellation to AirPods.
Photo: Ste Smith/ Cult of Mac

A more affordable version of the struggling HomePod smart speaker will debut next year, according to a generally reliable source. Apple is also reportedly going to introduce AirPods with noise cancellation in 2020.

Both are products that consumers have been asking for.

AirPods won’t escape Trump’s tariffs this time

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Bluetooth in iOS 11
Apple will have to pay import taxes on AirPods starting next month.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Not all Apple devices will escape the taxes being levied next month on goods imported from China. The Trump Administration decided to delay tariffs on iPhone, iPad and Mac, but other popular products will still get slapped with a 10% import tax, including Apple Watch, AirPods and HomePod

Spotify might finally get Siri support with iOS 13

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Spotify Premium update October 2018
Apple and Spotify might declare a truce.
Photo: Spotify

Apple might be ready to agree to a truce with Spotify that would allow iOS users to control the rival music streaming service with Siri.

iPhone users have been unable to use Siri and Spotify together even though you can do it with Apple Music. Reports of the negotiations come as Apple is facing more intense scrutiny for anti-trust practices, with Spotify being one of the loudest dissenting voices.

Save on iMac, iPhone, iPad and more! [Deals & Steals]

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iMac
Get a whopping $700 off the 5K iMac.
Photo: Apple

B&H Photo’s big discount on the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display is now even bigger. This super-speedy model is now down $700 for a limited time — and it’s just one of the awesome offers in today’s Deals & Steals roundup.

You can also bag an unlocked iPhone for under $205, an Amazon Echo Show for under $60, and the Netgear Orbi whole home Wi-Fi mesh system for under $200. Plus, you can save $17.50 on the stunning Twelve South HiRise stand for MacBook.

Amazon’s next Echo could challenge HomePod on audio quality

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I sent the HomePod back, so I will keep using the single photo I took until somebody stops me.
An Amazon Echo for audiophiles? Yes please!
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Amazon’s Echo is annihilating Apple’s HomePod when it comes to smart speaker sales. But Jeff Bezos’ retail giant clearly knows a great idea when it sees one.

According to a new report, Amazon is developing a new Echo device that will measure up more favorably to Apple’s audiophile HomePod.

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.

Apple’s ‘two spiritual soulmates’ have left the building

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Walter-Isaacson-Jony-Ive
Without Jobs and Ive, Apple can’t design, Isaacson says.
Photo: CNBC

Walter Isaacson says Apple has lost “these two spiritual soulmates who just lived and breathed the beauty of products.”

The Steve Jobs biographer believes the company still know how to execute, but that it has missed out on a number of opportunities for exciting new products — including an Apple TV set.