HomePod is finally on its way to Japan

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HomePod market share
It will be on sale “this summer.”
Photo: Apple

Apple is gearing up to launch HomePod in Japan — more than two years after the device got its first unveiling.

Smart speaker shoppers will be able to pick one up in the coming weeks for 32,800 yen (approx. $301). HomePod will then be available in a total of 11 countries.

Apple’s ‘two spiritual soulmates’ have left the building

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Walter-Isaacson-Jony-Ive
Without Jobs and Ive, Apple can’t design, Isaacson says.
Photo: CNBC

Walter Isaacson says Apple has lost “these two spiritual soulmates who just lived and breathed the beauty of products.”

The Steve Jobs biographer believes the company still know how to execute, but that it has missed out on a number of opportunities for exciting new products — including an Apple TV set.

Apple still struggling to make a sound in Europe’s 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.
Google and Amazon continue to lead.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

There’s a new challenger to the smart speaker throne — and, no, it’s not Apple’s HomePod.

According to the latest data from IDC, in Europe Google has overtaken Amazon as the market leader in smart speakers. Google Home devices accounted for 45.1% of shipped smart speakers in the region in Q1. That beats Amazon’s 41.8%. Apple’s HomePod doesn’t even even get a mention.

iOS 13 beta and HomePod lets you ask Siri to play radio

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iPhone FM radio chips
"Hey Siri, play BBC Radio One."
Photo: Alan Levine/Flickr CC

The ability to use Siri to listen to live radio stations is up and running for HomePod users, along with people running the latest iOS 13 beta.

Apple announced the feature at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, boasting support for iHeartRadio, TuneIn and Radio.com streaming radio. That means users can access more than 100,000 different stations using Apple’s AI assistant.

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.
Bag your new iPad Air for even less.
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!