Phil Schiller says all of Face ID’s competitors ‘stink’

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Phil Schiller answers some of our biggest questions about Apple products.
Phil Schiller says iPhone X will dictate the direction of smartphones for the next decade.
Photo: Apple

Apple marketing guru Phil Schiller has heard the haters saying the iPhone X wasn’t the first smartphone to get facial recognition. But according to Schiller, that doesn’t matter at all.

“They all stink,” says Schiller in a new interview discussing Apple’s new facial recognition feature. The wide-ranging interview touches on everything from AirPods to virtual reality, but what sets Face ID apart is what got Schiller the most excited.

Foxconn will be assembling Apple’s HomePod speaker for 2018

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Apple's new HomePod smart speaker is ready to rock your house.
HomePod's delay will help Amazon.
Photo: Apple

Foxconn is joining the HomePod supply chain to help assemble Apple’s delayed smart speakers, a new report claims.

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. — to use Foxconn’s full name — is currently the sole manufacturer of Apple’s iPhone X. However, despite the massive demand for that device, various manufacturing issues with the iPhone X recently caused Foxconn to report its biggest decline in profits in nearly a decade.

That evidently isn’t putting it off working with Apple, however.

I made my own smart HomePod speaker, and it’s awesome

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iPod Hi-Fi
The iPod Hi-Fi has aged well. Initially a dud, it's now a collectors' piece. And it sounds great.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Last week’s crushing news that Apple’s HomePod won’t be available for Christmas was a blow to some.

But I shrugged it off.

That’s because I made my own HomePod smart speaker. It cost me about $60 and sounds absolutely great.

7 biggest takeaways from Apple’s record Q4 earnings

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Will Apple reach its own targets for Q2?
AAPL shares are on the rise.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple surprised investors with its best Q4 earnings report ever today. The outrageous numbers dispelled doubts about the iPhone-maker’s strategy — and pushed Apple closer to becoming the world’s first trillion-dollar company.

With the launch of the iPhone X just hours away, Apple CEO Tim Cook had a lot to be happy about during the earnings call with investors. Analysts quizzed Cook and Apple CFO Luca Maestri on everything from iPhone 8 sales to how Apple plans to monetize its augmented reality efforts.

Here’s what we found out:

Leaked HomePod sounds are absolutely delightful

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Apple's new HomePod smart speaker is ready to rock your house.
HomePod will launch in December, but supplies will be constrained.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s latest firmware for the unreleased HomePod revealed a new set of sounds that the smart speaker will use to indicate various user interactions.

The new tones for the Siri-powered speaker sound different from the ones leaked in a previous firmware build. They also serve different purposes. While the sounds are simple, they are quite lovely — and worthy of a $350 speaker.

Take a listen:

Blast and Megablast bring Alexa to UE’s portable speakers

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With Alexa baked in, UE's new Blast speaker will be right at home in the kitchen.
With Alexa baked in, UE's new Blast speaker will be right at home in the kitchen.
Photo: Ultimate Ears

SAN FRANCISCO — Ultimate Ears’ punchy portable speakers just got smart. The new Blast and Megablast speakers bring built-in support for Alexa, Amazon’s voice-operated smart assistant.

Bringing the always-listening, voice-operated helper to a battery-powered speaker proved “nontrivial,” said Benjamin Falk, principal software product manager at UE, during a demo of the new speakers.