Get a colorful HomeKit smart bulb for just $27 [Deals & Steals]

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Koogeek WiFi Smart LED light bulb E26
Jump on the HomeKit bandwagon.
Photo: Koogeek

Amazon’s daily deal on Koogeek HomeKit smart bulbs means you can get colorfully creative for just $27. And if you want to stick it to your ISP, you can do it the smart way by snagging a cable modem for just $45.

Those are today’s hottest new buys in our Deals & Steals roundup. However, you also can find big ongoing discounts on Apple gear like MacBooks, iMacs, iPads, Apple Watches and HomePods. Time to get saving before these deals disappear!

Smart speaker market doubles in a year, but HomePod remains a bit player

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The HomePod -- a beautiful body with the brain of an idiot.
HomePod still lags behind its Google and Amazon rivals in sales.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

As the smart speaker market continues to pick up, Apple’s HomePod still lags behind devices from Amazon and Google. Both companies benefit from being earlier movers — and from offering products at a cheaper price point.

That’s the takeaway from a new report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners that describes holiday trends for HomePod, Amazon Echo and Google Home.

HomePod in China turns Siri into a storyteller

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HomePod in China
Siri and HomePod will oblige children in China when they ask for a story.
Photo: Apple

HomePod has a feature that is only available in China and could prove popular with busy parents and the kid who just wants to hear a story.

Apple’s version of a smart speaker made its debut in China and Hong Kong on Jan. 18 with the ability to command “Siri, tell me a story.”

Apple stops you playing different music on iPhone and HomePod

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HomePod market share
Will you upgrade to a family plan?
Photo: Apple

If you want to stream different tracks on different devices from Apple Music, you’ll need two subscriptions. It was previously possible to listen to one track on your iPhone while enjoying another on HomePod in a different room, but not anymore.

Apple says this was a bug — not a feature — and it has finally been fixed.

HomePod is finally launching in China this week

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The HomePod -- a beautiful body with the brain of an idiot.
HomePod launched in the U.S. a year ago.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The HomePod smart speaker is finally launching in China, Apple’s second-most important market. Having previously been teased on Apple’s China website for early 2019, the company revealed over the weekend that HomePod will go on sale on Friday, January 18.

It launched in the U.S. back in February 2018, and has since expanded to the U.K., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, and Spain.

Sonos will add Google Assistant to its speakers this year

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Sonos supports AirPlay2
Sonos speakers connect to over 80 streaming services.
Photo: Sonos

CES 2019 bug Sonos is about to add a new weapon to its smart speakers that will help make it even more competitive against Apple’s HomePod.

The company revealed today that it plans to bring Google Assistant to its smart speakers later this year. Beta testing for the new feature has already begun, allowing Google’s Siri-competitor to be the main voice input on some Sonos speaker models.

Top 5 tech trends of 2018 [Year in Review]

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Top 5 tech trends of 2018 [Year in Review]
We take a look at what really changed for Apple and other tech companies in 2018.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac Year in Review 2018: Top 5 tech trends of 2018 Growing concerns about how much companies are spying on us tops our list of the most significant tech trends of 2018. Also on the list are some big changes in applications, a trend in phone design, and a new type of device that became nearly ubiquitous. 

As the new year begins, let’s take a look back at what changed for Apple and the tech world over the past 12 months.

Ranking all the major hardware Apple released in 2018 [Year in Review]

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Year in Review Every Apple Product 2018
What was your favorite device Apple released this year?
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac Year in Review 2018 It’s been one heck of a busy year for Apple, and we’ve got the devices to prove it! Truth be told, despite Apple’s shrinking share price, this has been one of the company’s best years in a while for hardware.

What was the cream of the 2018 Apple crop? Here’s how we rank Apple’s major new product launches for 2018.

The 10 best Apple ads of 2018 [Year in Review]

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Year in Review Best Apple ads 2018

Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac Year in Review 2018: best Apple ads of 2018 The past 12 months have been one of the busiest ever for Apple’s video team.

Apple churned out more than 120 ads and other videos in 2018, unleashing some of its most memorable commercials in years.

After hours of watching all of Apple’s 2018 ads, we rounded up the 10 absolute best, some of which you probably haven’t even seen yet. Get ready to relive all the good times!