How Apple tricks our brains into accepting high prices

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This genius psychological tactic makes Apple's high prices seem totally reasonable.
This genius psychological tactic makes Apple's high prices seem totally reasonable.
Photo: meo/Pexels CC

During the WWDC 2019 keynote, most of Apple’s latest creations drew enthusiastic applause, with one notable exception. The price of Apple’s new Pro Display XDR elicited a somewhat cooler response. But considering just how expensive the monitor is, the fact that it got any applause at all was pretty remarkable.

This is not the first time Apple has had to convince us to pony up for an eye-watering sticker price. Cupertino pulls from a well-established playbook for its keynotes, often employing behavioral science techniques to help soften the blow. (To our brains at least, if not to our wallets).

Get half off a Smart Keyboard, $470 off Mac mini [Deals & Steals]

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The new 2019 iPad Air, with its 10.5-inch screen, works with Apple's existing Smart Keyboard.
It's just $79.50 today!
Photo: Apple

Apple’s own Smart Keyboard is one of the best keyboards you can buy for iPad. It snaps on in an instant, doesn’t require pairing, and never needs charging. It’s even better when it’s half price. Get yours today for just $79.50.

That’s just one of the awesome offers in today’s Deals & Steals roundup. You can also save a whopping $470 on the Mac mini, and $600 on the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display. Plus, you can get the Netgear Orbi while home Wi-Fi system for under $200.

China overtakes U.S. as world’s biggest smart speaker market

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I sent the HomePod back, so I will keep using the single photo I took until somebody stops me.
Are you a smart speaker user?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

China has overtaken the U.S. as the world’s biggest smart speaker market. According to new figures from Canalys, the Chinese market grew nearly 500% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2019.

Approximately 10.6 million units shipped in China over the quarter, compared to 5 million in the U.S. This means that China is now 51% of the global global smart speaker market. The U.S., on the other hand, comes in second place at just 24%.

Get awesome deals on iPads, from entry-level to pro [Deals & Steals]

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The 11-inch iPad Pro is a total screamer.
Even if you don't need all the power of this iPad Pro, you can still save loads of cash.
Photo: Apple

Amazon is serving up sweet deals on iPads right now. You can grab the latest entry-level model for just $249. Or, if you can’t put that sweet 11-inch iPad Pro out of your mind, you can make the purchase price a lot less painful with today’s $300 discounts.

Also in today’s Deals & Steals roundup: Inexpensive HomeKit-compatible light bulbs and amazing deals on wireless chargers and USB-C cables!

Smart speaker installed base could top 200 million this year

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HomePod Volume Controls
Perhaps a rising tide of smart speaker sales will help HomePod.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The number of smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo and Apple’s HomePod in use around the world is expected to keep growing strongly for years to come. It could pass 200 million in 2019, and pass 500 million in 2023.

Analysts from Canalys indicate the installed base of these devices is now surpassing the number of smartwatches in use. And smart speakers could even outnumber tablets before the end of 2021, they say.

We talk an all-new MacBook Pro, the return of MagSafe, and inside Apple’s megafactories, on The CultCast

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CultCast 383
Reports say a redesigned MacBook Pro is on the way...

This week on The CultCast: Apple’s readying a totally redesigned MacBook Pro with next-gen display! We discuss. Plus: Apple’s working on the next generation of MagSafe! Thank the gods. And we take a fascinating look at the unbelievable scale and size of Apple’s megafactories, from a bonus chapter of Leander’s new book, Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level.

Our thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode. Easily create a beautiful website all by yourself, at Squarespace.com/cultcast. Use offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain..

HomePod will ‘gain traction’ in booming smart speaker market

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I sent the HomePod back, so I will keep using the single photo I took until somebody stops me.
HomePod is part of a growing product category.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The smart speaker market continues to explode — and Apple’s expected to carve out an ever-growing piece of it.

According to a new report published by IDC, the global smart speaker market will grow 26.9 percent in 2019. In total, the research firm thinks that 832.7 million total smart speakers will ship this year.

$80 off Apple Watch and bargain accessories [Deals & Steals]

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watchOS 5 Face
Apple Watch Series 3 has never been cheaper.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Best Buy has again slashed the price of Apple Watch Series 3 to just $199, matching the best discount we’ve seen on this model so far. That price applies to the 38mm version with GPS, which usually costs $279. And it’s just one of the awesome offers in today’s Deals & Steals roundup.

We also have some massive discounts on great computer peripherals from Logitech, and 63 percent off the SanDisk iXpand flash drive for iPhone and iPad. Plus, you can pick up a 9-in-1 lens kit that will help you step up your smartphone photography for under $16.