Aggressive smart speaker pricing could hurt HomePod sales

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HomePod
Apple's rivals are figuratively or even literally giving their smart speakers away.
Photo: Apple

Amazon and Google’s aggressive pricing of smart speakers could hurt Apple’s HomePod, claim analysts.

A new report notes that both Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Google Home family of devices were so heavily discounted over the holidays that they likely lost their companies a few dollars per unit. This is in sharp contrast with the kind of pricing that Apple plans for its $349 device, when it goes on sale in early 2018.

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.

I made my own smart HomePod speaker, and it’s awesome

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iPod Hi-Fi
The iPod Hi-Fi has aged well. Initially a dud, it's now a collectors' piece. And it sounds great.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Last week’s crushing news that Apple’s HomePod won’t be available for Christmas was a blow to some.

But I shrugged it off.

That’s because I made my own HomePod smart speaker. It cost me about $60 and sounds absolutely great.

Some lucky folks already have their own HomePods

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New HomePod
Yep, consider us jealous!
Photo: Themrlinc/Instagram CC

The HomePod won’t ship until later this year, but two posts on social media show that people working on the device are already testing them in their homes.

One Twitter user has shared an image taken in Menlo Park, CA, depicting a Control Center screen, complete with HomePod icon. Another user, this time on Instagram, posted a black and white photo of a HomePod in what looks like his or her kitchen in Shanghai, China.

tvOS 11 beta includes references to unannounced 4K Apple TV

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apple tv and siri remote
A new Apple TV is on the horizon.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

References to a new Apple TV device have been discovered in the latest beta for tvOS 11, which could indicate that the new set top box is close to a possible launch.

Developers have been combing through the files in tvOS 11 beta 7 after Apple released it this morning it alongside new iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra betas. While the beta doesn’t come with any major new features, one developer discovered it contains some hints about the long-rumored 4K Apple TV.

HomePod software reveals new details of Apple’s smart speaker

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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

The launch of Apple’s new HomePod speaker isn’t slated until the very end of 2017, but after digging into the software that powers the new device, one developer has revealed a number of features fans can expect.

Notorious iOS sleuth Steve Troughton Smith has done some serious research into HomePod and discovered that it’s basically like another iOS device only it doesn’t have a big screen. That could open HomePod up to some exciting capabilities in the future.

Samsung has no interest in taking on HomePod

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HomePod
Samsung doesn't want to fight HomePod... yet.
Photo: Apple

Samsung currently has no plans to take on HomePod with a smart speaker of its own.

Recent rumors have claimed the South Korean company is working on a standalone Bixby device, but a source familiar with its plans says the market is too small to be profitable.