This is what it’s like to control the HomePod

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The HomePod was a no-show in 2017.
HomePod's launch could be right around the corner.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s HomePod speaker has once again leaked new information about its self ahead of its launch, including how you’ll manage its settings once you finally get one.

Screenshots from HomePod testers in France have leaked out online showing the different settings options you’ll be able to choose from in the HomePod iOS app.

How to hook up a USB audio device to your Mac

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mackie-blackjack
Mackie's Blackjack works equally well with iOS and Mac.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you want to listen to music on your Mac, you either suffer its built-in speakers, or you plug a speaker into the headphone jack. But what if you want to get sound into you Mac? Or you have some fancy speakers hooked up to a fancy mixer, and the little headphone output doesn’t cut it, quality-wise? Then you should switch to USB. And don’t worry — you won’t have to install drivers, or any of the other crap that makes PC use so painful. In fact, using a USB audio interface is as easy as plugging in a pair of headphones, only better.

iRig Keys IO is all you need to make music on iOS and Mac

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irig keys on a beach
Totally practical.
Photo: IK Multimedia

IK Multimedia’s new iRig Keys is the single perfect accessory for an iOS musician. It combines everything you need into one box, but not in a Homer’s Car kind of way. It’s more like the iPhone itself, which managed to combine a computer with a camera with a mini touch-sensitive movie screen into something better than a mere collection of parts.

Roland’s new audio recorder works with iPhone and Apple Watch

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roland r-07
Tiny, and made to work with the iPhone and the Apple Watch.
Photo: Roland

CES 2018 bugYou iPhone is pretty handy for making quick audio recordings. Many musicians use the Voice Memos app, and some have upgraded to Music Memos. Unfortunately, the quality of the recordings from those apps isn’t good enough for actual music making.

For a start, it’s not stereo. Second, the iPhone’s mics are fine, but nowhere near as good as even a cheap external microphone. But using your iPhone to record is so convenient. Roland’s R-07 is a pocket audio recorder that works either alone or in tandem with your iPhone. It gives you the quality of a proper recorder with stereo mics — and the convenience of an iPhone app.

Boss’ smart wireless guitar amp is designed to work with your iPhone

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Boss katana air
Look ma, no wires.
Photo: Boss

CES 2018 bugThe Boss Katana Air looks like the ultimate living room amp for guitar players. It looks cool, it runs off mains power or AA batteries, and it features a wireless dongle that plugs into your guitar and means you never need to trail a cable across the room ever again. It even has a companion iOS app so you can tweak all the settings not available from the knobs and buttons on top of the amp.

Jimmy Iovine might be leaving Apple

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Beats Music's Jimmy Iovine, Tim Cook, Dr. Dre, and Eddy Cue at Apple HQ
Beats Music's Jimmy Iovine, Tim Cook, Dr. Dre, and Eddy Cue at Apple HQ

Music industry legend and Apple Music boss Jimmy Iovine is planning to leave Apple later this year.

According to reports, Iovine is set to leave Apple in August this year after joining the company in 2014 as part of Apple’s acquisition of Beats.

This tiny cube connects your iPhone to guitars and microphones

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iTrack One Pre
The iTrack One Pre won't slide off your desk.
Photo: Focusrite

Focusrite’s iTrack One Pre might be the ultimate portable recording gadget for musicians. It’s a little cube that fits in a pocket, but that packs in connections for a microphone and a guitar, as well as a port for charging the iPad or iPhone you connect to. It can even supply Phantom Power to a microphone, and has it’s own gain (“volume,” kinda) knob.

Fusion Guitar packs an iPhone dock and speakers

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fusion guitar
With the Fusion Guitar, you too can sit in a chilly, graffiti-covered street and smile.
Photo: Fusion Guitars

What would happen if you took an electric guitar, made it as thick as an acoustic guitar, and stuffed the extra space not with boring old air, but with speakers and an electronic brain that works with your iPhone?

Then, you might put in a cutout on the guitar top to hold that iPhone, and a rechargeable battery to power it all. If you did all that, then you’d have invented the Fusion Guitar.

Nail the guitar sound of any song with Tonebridge

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tonebridge bass
Even bass players can use Tonebridge.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iPad has many, many amazing effects apps for making music, and several high-level apps just for emulating guitar amplifiers and effects pedals. But what if you just want to plug in and play a song, and have your guitar sound just like the one on the record? That’s exactly what Tonebridge is for. Under the hood, this simulator app is as powerful as the others, but it’s way, way simpler to use.

Whereas most apps present a range or virtual pedals and amps, Tonebridge is based around songs. You fire it up, plug in your guitar, and search for the song you want to play. The app loads up the sound of the song, and you can play along. The app is impressive, nailing the tomes of pretty much any song you ask for, without any tweaking necessary.

But now, with the latest Tonebridge release, you can also dig in to the settings that used to sit behind the scenes. Let’s take a look.