Apple is now selling refurbished HomePods

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The HomePod -- a beautiful body with the brain of an idiot.
The HomePod -- a beautiful body with the brain of an idiot.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Getting your hands on Apple’s HomePod smart speaker just got a little bit more affordable.

Apple’s online store is now selling refurbished HomePod units for $299. This is the first time the HomePod has been added to the refurbished store since the speaker first went on sale in February.

Facebook wants to put a camera in your living room

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Facebook Portal
Portal is Facebook's answer to the Echo Show.
Photo: Facebook

Do you trust Facebook to put a camera and microphone in your living room? If not, you’ll want to avoid Portal, its new smart displays focused on video chat.

Portal and Portal Plus make it easy to keep in touch with friends and family when you can’t see them face-to-face in real life. They can also play music, stream video, and do anything Amazon Alexa can do.

This HAL 9000 replica is ready to lock your pod bay door

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HAL 9000
The HAL 9000 Command Console looks just like the original.
Photo: Master Replicas Group

Fans of 2001: A Space Odyssey can now get their very own replica of HAL 9000, the iconic and murderous robot from Stanley Kubrick’s seminal film.

Master Replicas Group has created a new smart speaker that looks just like HAL 9000 and it uses voice controls and Bluetooth to become the control center for your smart house.

Take a look:

Sonos busts out new Beam sound bar, plus AirPlay 2 support

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sonos beam
Sonos Beam is sleek but packs a punch.
Photo: Sonos

Sonos is making a power play to take over your living room with its latest smart speaker called Sonos Beam.

Beam is a new sound bar that is smaller than Sonos’ Playbar and Playbase, but it also packs some new features like a five-microphone array and it plays well with Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and of course, Siri.

Watch out HomePod, this thing looks amazing:

Facebook delays smart speaker until October

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HomePod
Facebook's HomePod rival could arrive in six months.
Photo: Apple

Facebook’s smart speaker will reportedly launch in October, a new report claims. The social media giant’s entry into the AI speaker market already home to Apple’s HomePod, Amazon’s Echo and Google Home was allegedly delayed several months as a result of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

As a result, Facebook has cut its 2018 order volume by around 20 percent, although orders for 2019 will remain unchanged.

HomePod inventories pile up after early demand dies quickly

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Apple HomePod volume controls
HomePod sales are already suffering.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple has been forced to cut HomePod orders as inventories continue to build up in its retail stores, according to a new report.

The $349 speaker enjoyed a promising start when it made its debut in February, but demand has fallen quickly as smart speaker shoppers turn to more affordable options from the likes of Amazon.

HomePod vs. Sonos One: Which should you buy?

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Smart speakers
Similar size, similar price, which should you buy?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

HomePod’s arrival makes the smart speaker market even more confusing for the average consumer. Amazon and Google are dominating right now, but HomePod’s closest rival is actually the Sonos One.

It’s in a similar price range, it’s about the same size, and both speakers focus on sound quality above everything else. I’ve now spent over three weeks with both the HomePod and the Sonos One to help you figure out which one you should buy.

Check out our comparison video below.

HomePod first-day sales topped all smart speakers (except Echo Dot)

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Siri display
HomePod calls are coming.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s new HomePod is one of the best-selling smart speakers ever, according to new sales data from The NPD Group.

Not only is the HomePod killing it, but Apple’s new AirPods and Beats headphones are dominating the market so well they reportedly account for 44 percent of all dollar sales for headphones in 2017.