Newton, Bias Amp 2, Overcast privacy, and other amazing apps of the week

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Awesome Apps
'Appy weekend.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

This week we look at the amazing new Bias Amp 2 for guitarists, which looks just awful on the big-screen iPad Pro, we see how the Newton email app has banished the “sent” mail folder, we check out the new privacy features in the Overcast podcast app, and find out how to duplicate our entire Instagram history on our own microblog.

This microcasting app is the easiest way to podcast on iPhone

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podcast on iPhone with microcast wavelength app
Microcasting is the new mouth-tweeting. Or something.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Did you ever fancy making a podcast, but as soon as you considered the logistics, your eyes crossed, and you felt suddenly sleepy? But what if creating and publishing a podcast was as easy as squeezing out a Tweet? That’s where Wavelength comes in. Wavelength is a brand new app that lets you record, edit, and publish your short podcast — or microcast — in record time. It can even add your podcast feed to the Apple Podcast Directory, so anyone can easily find and subscribe to your microcast. Here’s how to podcast on iPhone.

This mic boom doesn’t care if you shake the room

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Blue Designs compass mic boom
Imagine how professional you'll look with this on your desk.
Photo: Blue Designs

Podcasters, musicians, and haters of annoying noises rejoice. Blue Designs has come up with the Compass, a microphone boom that keeps your mic fixed right over your desk, your computer, your countertop, or even your ghetto ironing-board podcasting desk. Paired with Blue’s Radius shock mount, you need never worry about mic noise ever again.

20 HomePod tips you need to know

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The HomePod is a lot smarter than you might think. Just take a look at these tips!
The HomePod is a smarter speaker than you might think.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The HomePod takes a lot of flak for being the dumbest smart speaker around, but it can do more than you might think. In today’s video, I’ll show you 20 HomePod tips you need to know.

(Just a quick heads-up: I’m going to be saying “Hey Siri” a few times in this video.)

Sodes is the simplest podcast player, like, ever

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sodes podcast app
A brilliant, simple podcast app.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Does your podcast player app have too many options? Do you spend more time curating playlists than actually listening? Is it a struggle to add a new podcast, or just listen to the latest episode of a favorite? Then you may appreciate Sodes, an ultra-simple new podcast app from minimalist app developer Jared Sinclair.

How to use the Siri news podcast feature

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siri
Siri can now play news podcasts for you, just like olden-day radio.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Thanks to an iOS upgrade, a simple question — “Hey, Siri, what’s the news today?” — will now play you an NPR podcast. It’s just like turning on the radio in the morning to catch up on events, only you don’t have to use sucky radio. Here’s how to use Siri News.

Apple surprises devs with fifth iOS 11.2.5 beta

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iOS 11
Apple just released a new iOS beta.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

It took Apple nearly no time to go from beta 4 to beta 5 on the latest update for iOS 11 that’s currently in development.

Developers were surprised to receive iOS 11.2.5 beta 5 this morning, just two days after Apple released the last beta build full of bug fixes and performance improvements for the iPhone and iPad.

Apple highlights its best apps, games, movies, and music of the year

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best of the year
Apple has released its 'best of' list for 2017.
Photo: Apple

Apple has released its yearly “Best of” list, highlighting its picks for the top apps, games, albums, movies, podcasts, books, and TV shows — just in time for your holiday purchasing!

As is always the case, the lists combine Apple’s own hand-curated picks and popularity-driven charts, based on purchases in Apple’s various services such as iTunes, the App Store, iBooks Store, and Apple Music.

Apple buys startup that makes podcasts searchable

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Podcasts 1
Apple wants to make its Podcasts service even better.
Photo: Pop Up Archive

Apple has acquired Pop Up Archive, an online platform that builds tools for transcribing audio files and making them searchable.

One of the startup’s most significant tools is a podcast search engine called Audiosear.ch, which closed its doors November 28. The service issued “Buzz Scores” for podcasts, based on their charting on iTunes and reviews.