Firmware update adds AirPlay 2 support to Libratone ZIPP speakers

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WWDC 2017 AirPlay 2 device makers
Craig Federighi highlights speaker makers adding AirPlay 2 support at WWDC 2017
Photo: Apple

At WWDC 2017, Apple announced speaker support for the Home app, powered by an update to AirPlay. While introducing Airplay 2, they highlighted several speaker makers that would add support for the new protocol. Nearly a year later, iOS 11.4 finally launched with support for the updated wireless audio protocol.

As of today – 4 months after becoming available in iOS – speaker manufacturer Libratone has made good on their AirPlay 2 promise.

Facebook’s creepy speaker cam could boost HomePod

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A cheaper version of the HomePod could drop below the $200 mark.
Apple should establish its smart speakers as the anti-Facebook.
Photo: Apple

Facebook’s new Portal smart speaker, an Echo Show rival that’s designed for video chat, sounds like a privacy nightmare straight out of Black Mirror.

But you know who could benefit from concerns about Mark Zuckerberg’s smart camera? Apple — and specifically the HomePod. Here’s why.

HomePod kills where it matters most: making money

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Siri Lights
Apple is in business to make a profit, and HomePod sales are bringing in more revenue than any of its rivals.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Weak HomePod sales caused it to fall off of the list of top 5 smartspeakers during the second quarter of this year. But there’s a very important metric where this product is beating all its rivals.

And it’s a category where Apple excels: making money.

Trump tariffs are about to hit Apple fans where it hurts

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tariffs
President Trump and Apple CEO Tim Cook don't see eye-to-eye on any of the Trump tarrifs.
Photos: White House/Apple

President Trump reportedly ordered tariffs on $200 billion more Chinese goods yesterday. After these were first proposed several weeks ago, Apple warned that they’ll likely increase the cost of many of its products.

The list of affected devices includes some of Apple’s most popular offerings.

Apple finally adds multiple timers to HomePod

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I sent the HomePod back, so I will keep using the single photo I took until somebody stops me.
HomePod got a brief shout-out during Apple's media event.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

HomePod is finally adding one of the most used features found on the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices: multiple timers.

In his wrap-up to today’s Apple media event, which primarily focused on the new iPhones and Apple Watch, Tim Cook took a second to remind us that the HomePod is alive and kicking. And getting a couple of handy new features, too.

Trump tariffs may jack up Apple Watch prices by 20%

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Yeah, we're pretty incredulous about your ideas, too, Mr. Trump.
Thanks Donald!
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr CC

Trump’s latest round of proposed tariffs will negatively impact Apple’s revenues but according to some numbers crunched by an Apple analyst, investors shouldn’t worry about the company’s profits being hit too hard.

Apple revealed last week that some of the proposed tariffs would hurt the profitability of Apple Watch, AirPods, HomePod and Apple Pencil. Price increases would be passed on to consumers, however, it probably won’t be more than a 20% jump.

Trump’s tariffs would make Apple gear more expensive

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Donald Trump speaks to supporters at an immigration policy speech at the Phoenix Convention Center in Arizona.
Trump's trade war with China will hit consumers' wallets the hardest.
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr CC

President Trump’s latest list of proposed tariffs on products manufactured in China would have a negative impact on some of Apple’s most popular products.

In a letter sent to the U.S. Trade Representative, Apple says the Apple Watch, AirPods and Apple Pencil would be caught in the crossfire of Trump’s escalating trade war with China. And regular consumers stand to lose the most.

These new HomePod rivals are even pricier than Apple’s smartspeaker

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This Bose smartspeaker costs more than the HomePod, built not nearly as much as an upcoming Harman Kardon model.
This Bose smartspeaker costs more than the HomePod, built not nearly as much as an upcoming Harman Kardon model.
Photo: Bose

Apple’s HomePod smartspeaker has struggled at least partly because of its high price. Well, Bose doesn’t see a problem because it just unveiled an even pricier option. And Harman Kardon will bring out one twice as expensive.

The Bose smartspeaker uses Alexa, while Harman Kardon turned to Google Assistant. Both these voice control systems are widely regarded as a more capable than Apple’s Siri.

Don’t expect new AirPods or HomePod until 2019

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airpods
The wait for AirPods 2 could stretch out over a year.
Photo: Ste Smith/ Cult of Mac

New iPhones and iPads are coming this fall, but some Apple products reportedly won’t be refreshed so soon. New versions of this company’s smartspeaker and wireless headphones might not be out until 2019.

And the wait for AirPods 2 could be much longer than many are hoping.

Cavalier Maverick may be the most stylish smart speaker yet [Review]

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Cavalier
Feast your eyes on this beauty!
Photo: Cavalier

Boasting superior sound quality and a high-quality finish that ditches metal and plastic for distressed leather and fabrics, Cavalier Maverick is one of the best smart speakers we’ve tried.

It’s a third-party Amazon Alexa, offering the same functionality as an Echo, but in a far more premium package. And with a pretty neat mobile twist, too.