Save $600 on MacBook, $430 on iPad Pro [Deals & Steals]

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MacBook lineup
Don’t pay full price for a 12-inch MacBook.
Photo: Apple

B&H Photo has slashed $600 off the newest 12-inch MacBook. You can now pick up the rose gold model with an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD for just $999 — down from $1,599.

That’s just one of the awesome offers you’ll find in today’s Deals & Steals roundup. There’s also $150 off the newest MacBook Air, a whopping $430 off the 10.5-inch iPad, and refurbished iPad mini 4 units for under $300.

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.

Please, Apple, sort out your product naming nightmare [Opinion]

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Jumbled letters
Apple's new iPads underline its problem with product naming.
Photo: Lucille Pine/Flickr CC

As thrilling as new Apple devices are, this week’s surprise hardware updates really screwed the pooch on one important front: product naming.

The “new” iPad Air and iPad mini join a lineup of tablets with a variety of features and price points that will boggle the minds of even the most ardent Apple fanatics.

How did Apple’s naming strategy go so far off the rails? For the sake of the average customer, Cupertino’s once-brilliant branding needs to kick into gear. Because right now, the toxic hellstew of Apple product names is utterly confusing.

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iPhone survey
I wanted a Galaxy S10, but I'm stuck with iPhone.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac