The best Christmas apps for iOS

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The Best Christmas Apps for iOS
Our 5 favorite apps for making the most of the holiday season.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

The holidays are officially upon us. That means family time, festive celebrations, joyous music and an overabundance of delicious food. To help get you through the holidays, we compiled a list of the best iOS apps to make the most of the season.

Whether you’re looking for a way to provide some entertainment for the kids, hosting friends or family, or just want a way to spread some festive cheer, we’ve got your tree trimmed, so to speak.

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App store
Netflix leads the pack with $790.2 million raked in during 2018.
Photo: Apple

Sirius XM plans to buy Pandora for $3.5 billion

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Pandora is finally catching up.
Pandora is about to become part of Sirius XM.
Photo: Pandora

Two of the biggest companies in the music business are teaming up to try to better take on Spotify and Apple Music.

Sirius XM revealed today that it plans to acquire the music streaming service Pandora in a $3.5 billion all-stock deal. The merger is far from a done deal though and according to a report, Pandora will have the opportunity to find a better deal from another company.

Sonos speakers just got smarter with AirPlay 2 upgrade

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Sonos supports AirPlay2
Sonos speakers connect to over 80 streaming services.
Photo: Sonos

Sonos is opening its speakers to a new world of listening experiences today with the addition of AirPlay 2.

The smart speaker company teased AirPlay 2 support last month during the introduction of its Beam speaker. Now, just over a month after Apple added AirPlay 2 as part of iOS 11.4, Sonos is the first third-party speaker company to dive head first into the new tech. And the company added a few tricks your HomePod can’t match.

Pandora copies Spotify and Apple with $15 Family plan

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Pandora
Pandora's new plan lets up to six users listen to ad-free music.
Photo: Pandora

With around 5.18 million paying subscribers, Pandora is around one-tenth the size of Apple Music, which recently announced 50 million active users. But that’s not stopping it from doing its best to compete.

In order to compete with giants like Apple Music and Spotify, Pandora is matching their pricing with a $15-per-month Premium Family plan. The monthly subscription grants up to six family members access to the service with no ads, plus superior audio quality compared to Pandora’s free tier.

Spotify is finally going public

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Spotify
The Spotify IPO is finally here.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple Music’s biggest competition is about to get an influx of Wall Street cash.

Spotify finally filed documents for an initial public offering, after rumors of going public had been floating around for years. According to reports, the company could be worth as much as much as $23 billion, but it’s still not profitable.

Spotify’s new app is a Pandora copycat

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Spotify Stations
Stations are coming to Spotify.
Photo: Spotify

Spotify is testing a new tool to up the competition with Apple Music by stealing a key feature from one of the oldest companies in the streaming game: Pandora.

Stations, a new stand-alone app from Spotify, launched on the Google Play Store in Australia this week allowing users to listen to curated stations without any type of manual controls.

Spotify is finally making moves to go public

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Spotify
Want some Spotify stock with your subscription?
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple Music’s biggest competitor is about to become a publicly traded company.

In an effort to finally become profitable, Spotify has reportedly filed IPO documents confidentially with the SEC and the stock could be available to the public soon.

Lack of cash could kill Jay-Z’s Tidal music service next year

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Jay Z
Jay Z's got 99 problems, and Apple Music is one.
Photo: Flickr/NRK P3

One of Apple’s biggest competitors in the music streaming business is about to bite the dust.

Tidal, the music streaming service owned by Jay-Z, is allegedly facing some serious money problems. According to a new report, user growth has stalled too making the company’s cash problems even worse.

Apple Music streams will get more weight on Billboard charts in 2018

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Music Browse iPhone 7
Apple Music is about to have a bigger impact on music charts.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Billboard is making big changes to the way it measures the hottest songs in the country — and that’s great news for Apple Music.

Streams from paid subscription services like Apple Music and Amazon Music Unlimited will gain influence on the charts starting in 2018, according to Billboard, which revealed its changes today.