Why Apple’s HomePod is poised to bomb

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Will Apple's HomePod smart speaker be DOA?
Will the HomePod be DOA?
Image: Martin Hajek/Flickr CC

HomePod, the first new Apple product of 2018, is about to arrive. And as a huge Apple fanboy, I couldn’t care less.

Apple’s been hyping its smart speaker ever since unveiling the device last June at the Worldwide Developers Conference. And yet HomePod has failed to really excite fans (except through leaks that gave us early details about the iPhone X). Apple bills HomePod as a powerful speaker that packs Siri to take your listening experience to an all-new level. But with its Feb. 9 release just weeks away, HomePod is looking more like Apple’s next big bomb.

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 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.

watchOS 5 concept brings extra info to Apple Watch

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Apple Watch
Apple Watch needs some of these tweaks.
Photo: Matt Birchler

WWDC 2018 is six months away but it’s not too early to start dreaming of new watchOS software.

Concept designer Matt Birchler has created a detailed look at some incredible features he thinks Apple should add to the Apple Watch. Some of the ideas like always-on watch faces seem like no-brainers for future updates, but Birchler also has some ideas on how to pack more useful information on the watch face.

Take a closer look:

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.

This smoke detector can also run Siri and be an AirPlay 2 speaker

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smoke detector
That's one versatile alarm.
Photo: First Alert

CES 2018 bug Want a smoke detector that can double as a premium HomeKit-enabled smart speaker? Of course you do, and smoke detector company First Alert is here to help.

Debuting at CES 2018, First Alert’s Onelink Safe & Sound smoke and carbon monoxide alarm is an in-ceiling device that could save your life. But it also can be utilized as an entertainment system, with support for Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Google Assistant AI voice assistants.

We could be waiting another 4-6 weeks for HomePod

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HomePod
Apple's smart speaker was originally scheduled for the holidays.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s eagerly anticipated HomePod smart speaker will launch in the next four to six weeks, claim tech analysts at the research firm GBH Insights.

The artificial intelligence-infused smart speaker, powered by Siri, was originally supposed to launch in December 2017. However, with just weeks to go, Apple wound up delaying the launch until an unspecified time in early 2018, saying that “we need a little more time before it’s ready for our customers.”