HomePod glitter bomb punishes porch pirates


Glitter bomb
Mark Rober wants thieves to think twice before swiping packages off a porch.
Screenshot: Mark Rober/YouTube

Mark Rober already served the citizens of planet Earth by helping build the Curiosity rover currently roaming Mars. Now add holiday hero to his engineering credentials.

The ex-NASA engineer designed a series of revenge-bait packages that looked like HomePods — but showered unsuspecting thieves with glitter and deadly doses of fart spray.

How to play Apple Music on your Amazon Echo


Amazon Alexa
The Echo finally plays nice with Apple Music.
Photo: Amazon

Amazon’s Alexa speakers can finally connect to your Apple Music account.

Support for Apple Music on the Amazon Echo was rolled out today, giving iPhone and iPad owners the option to pump out their favorite jams without signing up for an Apple Music competitor like Spotify Premium.

Getting the new Apple Music integration up and running is ridiculously easy, but we’ll walk you through the entire process.

Apple Music subscribers get holiday discount on HomePod


I sent the HomePod back, so I will keep using the single photo I took until somebody stops me.
The HomePod could be yours for a bit less this festive season.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple is offering promo codes to Apple Music customers, giving them money off the HomePod smart speaker in time for the holidays.

So far, users in the U.K. have reported receiving the offer for 50 British pounds ($63) off the full price of a HomePod. The offer runs through December 16, giving would-be purchasers until the end of the week to take advantage. It’s not clear how many markets Apple will offer the discount in.

Why HomePod’s ‘Hey Siri’ will blow you away


Siri speaker
The HomePod's ability to hear at full volume is one of the most impressive feats.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple pulled back the curtain on some of the most complicated features of its HomePod smart speaker this morning with a new blog post that details the machine learning tech that goes into its ‘Hey Siri’ detection.

One of the biggest challenges with making a smart speaker is not only figuring out what to listen for but also what sounds to discard in the process. Apple’s engineers have come up with a number of interesting methods to make Siri work even when you’re blasting tunes our of the HomePod’s speakers.

Apple is now selling refurbished HomePods


The HomePod -- a beautiful body with the brain of an idiot.
The HomePod -- a beautiful body with the brain of an idiot.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Getting your hands on Apple’s HomePod smart speaker just got a little bit more affordable.

Apple’s online store is now selling refurbished HomePod units for $299. This is the first time the HomePod has been added to the refurbished store since the speaker first went on sale in February.

Spotify’s Apple Watch app arrives with minimal features


Apple Watch
This is the new Spotify app for Apple Watch.
Photo: Spotify

The world’s largest paid music streaming service is finally landing on Apple Watch.

Spotify finally revealed its first app for the Apple Watch today that will give wearers the ability to play, pause and skip songs from their wrist. The first version is a bit limited in features, but Spotify is teasing some cool new options that will be coming down the pipeline real soon.

Tim Cook’s Madrid vist highlights HomePod launch in Spain


Apple's CEO and Spanish singer Rosalía take a selfie with Madrid Apple employees.
Apple's CEO and Spanish singer Rosalía take a selfie with Madrid Apple employees.
Photo: Tim Cook

The Apple CEO’s tour of Europe continued today with a visit to sunny Spain. He’s there to promote tomorrow’s launch of the HomePod in the country. He’s also talking up the release of the iPhone XR, which will debut around the world on Friday.

Echo sells better but HomePod sells smarter


HomePod market share
HomePod's premium price gives Apple an advantage when it comes to smart speaker revenues.
Photo: Apple

Amazon’s line up of Echo speakers accounts for 63 percent of all smart speakers in use, while Apple’s late-to-market offering, the HomePod, has just a 4 percent share of the market.

While the results of a quarterly consumer survey, published today in a report by Strategy Analytics, seem daunting for Apple, the numbers reflect only one side of the story.

Firmware update adds AirPlay 2 support to Libratone ZIPP speakers


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.