Apple in 2017: A year of epic proportions

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Apple year in review 2017
Did any company have a better 2017 than Apple?
Image: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac's 2017 Apple year in review 2017 was a pretty damn good year for the world’s most profitable tech company.

Apple did much more than rake in more cash than any company this year. Cupertino also pushed out its most impressive product lineup ever, laid the groundwork for the future of augmented reality, moved into a new spaceship campus, battled other tech giants and got tossed into the political spotlight.

Apple dominated the tech scene in 2017 more than any other company. Here’s a recap of some of the year’s most memorable Apple moments.

Samsung’s first Bixby speaker will take on HomePod in early 2018

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HomePod
Apple's smart speaker will arrived early next year.
Photo: Apple

Samsung wants to take on Apple’s HomePod with its own smart speaker, which could arrive as soon as the first half of 2018, a new report claims.

Like Apple, the Samsung smart speaker will reportedly focus on high-end audio quality, as well as functioning as a hub for controlling smart home devices. The smart speaker will reportedly be based around Bixby, the Samsung AI assistant introduced this year for the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ handsets.

Siri could soon whisper back when you need quiet

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whisper pic
"Psssst, Siri!"
Photo: Evan Long/Flickr CC

Apple is exploring new ways to make Siri smarter — and one of them involves letting Siri know when you want to keep the noise level low by whispering.

According to a patent application published this week, Apple is interested in, “a digital assistant that is capable of detecting a whispered speech input and providing a whispered speech response.” That could be useful in scenarios such as protecting your privacy, while still letting you use its speech capabilities, or settings where high volume levels are prohibited.

These are all the things Spotlight can find on your iPhone and iPad

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spotlight
A picture of a light, to illustrate Spotlight search.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Spotlight is Apple’s search technology for Mac and iOS, and it can help you find almost anything. Not just stuff on your iPhone, either. Spotlight can also help you find nearby places, look up words in a dictionary, and even do currency and unit conversions, all from one search box. Let’s take a look at everything Spotlight can do on your iPhone or iPad.

Apple confirms it bought Shazam

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Shazam
Shazam, an essential iPhone app for years, just got better.
Photo: Shazam

Apple is allegedly in talks to buy Shazam

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Shazam
Shazam, an essential iPhone app for years, just got better.
Photo: Shazam

Apple is adding another key weapon to its war chest in the battle against Spotify, based on a new report that claims the company plans to acquire the app Shazam.

The popular app helps users identify any song, TV show or movie in seconds just by listening to it via a smartphone’s microphone. iOS integrated Siri with Shazam a few years ago, but it appears that Apple’s looking to bring the entire operation in-house.

Apple earnings call live blog: How high can AAPL fly?

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Apple earnings
Apple's Q4 2017 earnings are expected to be hot.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is set to unveil its last earnings report of 2017, and it’s expected to be one of the company’s biggest Q4 results ever.

Wall Street analysts are eager to see how many iPhones Apple sold during the quarter, which included a few days of iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus sales at the end. Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri will be hopping on the call with investors at 2 p.m. Pacific today. Naturally, we’ll be here live-blogging all the action.

Come join the fun:

Leaked HomePod sounds are absolutely delightful

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Apple's new HomePod smart speaker is ready to rock your house.
HomePod will launch in December, but supplies will be constrained.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s latest firmware for the unreleased HomePod revealed a new set of sounds that the smart speaker will use to indicate various user interactions.

The new tones for the Siri-powered speaker sound different from the ones leaked in a previous firmware build. They also serve different purposes. While the sounds are simple, they are quite lovely — and worthy of a $350 speaker.

Take a listen: