HomePod meta review: Superb sound, stupid Siri

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The HomePod was a no-show in 2017.
HomePod is finally here.
Photo: Apple

In the first reviews for Apple’s new HomePod speaker, everyone totally raves about the smart speaker’s pristine sound quality. Siri, on the other hand, doesn’t sound so brilliant.

Apple seeded a few review units to major outlets ahead of this Friday’s HomePod launch. The embargo lifted this morning, and the early reviews reveal a few surprising tidbits about the HomePod.

Here’s what people are saying:

Price tag on iPhone 8 will likely start at $999

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face tracking
Facial recognition could be the next big thing on iPhone.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Getting your hands on Apple’s next generation iPhone won’t be cheap.

According to the latest report from the New York Times, the iPhone 8’s price tag will start out at a whopping $999, making it the most expensive smartphone Apple’s ever introduced.

Apple yanks The New York Times apps in China

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Tim Cook meets with Apple Store employees in China.
Apple's relationship with China is complicated.
Photo: Apple

Apple Pay can now score you big holiday discounts

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Lululemon and other retailers are offering Apple Pay deals.
Lululemon and other retailers are offering Apple Pay deals.
Photo: Apple

Looking to get the best deals on gifts this holiday season? Apple Pay may be the answer.

Apple has created a new promotion for Apple Pay on the Mac that gives shoppers tons of discounts at top retailers when you use Apple Pay. Shops like Adidas, Lululemon, Casper and Vacatia have teamed up with Apple on the promotion. And there’s more to come.

Here’s are the deals you can get:

Were damning anecdotes about Amazon workplace fair?

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A newspaper story that alleges brutal workplace conditions at Amazon has been the talk of the web.
A newspaper story that alleges brutal workplace conditions at Amazon has been the talk of the web.
Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web

In the news business, a story that has legs stays in our heads, conversations and spins off follow-up headlines. Such was this week’s major newspaper expose describing Amazon as a hellish pressure cooker where employees cry at their desks.

Not everyone agreed with The New York Times piece that drew this conclusion after interviews with more than 100 current and former workers. Now even a Times editor is questioning whether the story was fair.

Jeff Bezos dismisses claims that Amazon is an evil employer

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Jeff Bezos says The New York Times painted an inaccurate picture of life at Amazon.
Jeff Bezos says The New York Times painted an inaccurate picture of life at Amazon.
Photo: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr CC

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wouldn’t want to toil in the dehumanizing hellhole described in a recent report about work conditions at his company. In a memo to employees responding to the allegations, Bezos painted a picture of caring Amazonians who are “fun” and “brilliant” and “helping to invent the future, and laughing along the way.”

He also said anybody who gets treated badly by Amazon should snitch to HR — or email him directly to air their grievances.

New York Times profile of Tim Cook hints at iWatch plans

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Apple sure seems a friendlier place these days. But at what cost?
"Aw shucks, me?"

The New York Times featured a fascinating profile of Tim Cook on Sunday, describing his leadership style at Apple — including his role in product development, his efforts to grow the Apple brand, and his “quiet” approach to design. The profile also features a couple of neat insights that may have bearing on Apple’s eagerly-awaited iWatch development.