Apple Music is now more affordable for those who agree not to use buttons. A new “Voice Plan,” unveiled Monday during Apple’s big “Unleashed” event, lets you access the entire Apple Music catalog using only your voice for just $4.99 a month.
That’s half the price of a regular Apple Music subscription — and it might just be ideal for HomePod users.
Apple reportedly hired Afrooz Family as its new head of software development for the HomePod. He’s supposedly been tasked with making the smart speaker a stronger rival for Amazon’s and Google’s products.
That would be something of a turnaround for the product.
This week on Cult of Mac’s podcast: The early reviews are in — let’s talk about the best and worst parts of iPhone 13, 13 Pro and the iPad mini. Plus: Apple is prepping yet another great feature coming soon to your HomePod — it ain’t dead yet, baby!
Apple’s newest HomePod beta, issued alongside the iOS and iPadOS 15.1 betas on Tuesday, brings back lossless audio and Dolby Atmos support. Both features can be enabled from inside the Home app, but only if you have an invite.
Apple has been working to bring its newest audio features to HomePod speakers for a while now. It first began testing them shortly after WWDC 2021 in June when the third HomePod 15 beta was made available to testers.
Apple’s original HomePod, the big smart speaker that predated the HomePod mini, lasted less than three years on the market. It never became a hit for the Cupertino tech giant. But a new design concept from a Swiss outfit imagines it coming back in two new forms.
Netflix has begun rolling out Spatial Audio support. This lets the streaming service offer a surround sound-like experience but without all the speakers. Currently, it requires AirPods Pro or AirPods Max but that’ll change soon.
And Netflix beat out Apple TV in offering the feature.
Dolby Atmos (spatial audio) and lossless music are on their way to HomePod and HomePod mini. Both features are available for testing in Apple’s latest HomePod 15 beta, rolled out to registered developers on Thursday.
Apple TV engineers say “there isn’t much optimism” over the company’s weak living room hardware strategy, but there plans to change it with new devices, according to a new report from one reliable reporter.
Cupertino is still planning a combined Apple TV, HomePod and FaceTime camera — but it is not expected to appear until “around 2023.”
HomePod shipments in the United States increased 180% year-on-year in the last quarter, eclipsing the growth of smart speaker makers Amazon and Google during the period, market intelligence firm Omdia reports.
While Apple still lags behind the other two companies on shipments, it is looking more competitive than it has at any point in the history of the HomePod so far. That’s particularly impressive when considering that this was a rough three-month period for smart speakers in the US, whose growth is stalling.