HomePod sold 1.6 million units over the holidays

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

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker experienced 45 percent growth in the holiday quarter, according to new figures. Strategy Analytics’ report suggests that Apple sold 1.6 million HomePod speakers over the three month period.

Those numbers still put it firmly behind market leaders like Amazon and Google. Nonetheless, they show that Apple is continuing to benefit from the explosion of interest in smart speakers.

HomePod in China turns Siri into a storyteller

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HomePod in China
Siri and HomePod will oblige children in China when they ask for a story.
Photo: Apple

HomePod has a feature that is only available in China and could prove popular with busy parents and the kid who just wants to hear a story.

Apple’s version of a smart speaker made its debut in China and Hong Kong on Jan. 18 with the ability to command “Siri, tell me a story.”

Google Home tops Siri and HomePod in smart speaker test

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HomePod market share
Will you upgrade to a family plan?
Photo: Apple

Apple may have been late to the smart speaker game but its HomePod is showing signs it could one day outperform them all.

But only if Apple gives Siri the power.

In Loup Ventures annual smart speaker comparisons, Google Assistant understood all 800 questions and answered nearly 88 percent of them correctly. In its first Loup Ventures test, the HomePod with Siri at the helm misunderstood just three questions and managed to answer correctly nearly 75 percent of its queries.

Why HomePod’s ‘Hey Siri’ will blow you away

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Siri speaker
The HomePod's ability to hear at full volume is one of the most impressive feats.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple pulled back the curtain on some of the most complicated features of its HomePod smart speaker this morning with a new blog post that details the machine learning tech that goes into its ‘Hey Siri’ detection.

One of the biggest challenges with making a smart speaker is not only figuring out what to listen for but also what sounds to discard in the process. Apple’s engineers have come up with a number of interesting methods to make Siri work even when you’re blasting tunes our of the HomePod’s speakers.

Spotify’s Apple Watch app arrives with minimal features

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Apple Watch
This is the new Spotify app for Apple Watch.
Photo: Spotify

The world’s largest paid music streaming service is finally landing on Apple Watch.

Spotify finally revealed its first app for the Apple Watch today that will give wearers the ability to play, pause and skip songs from their wrist. The first version is a bit limited in features, but Spotify is teasing some cool new options that will be coming down the pipeline real soon.

Facebook’s creepy speaker cam could boost HomePod

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A cheaper version of the HomePod could drop below the $200 mark.
Apple should establish its smart speakers as the anti-Facebook.
Photo: Apple

Facebook’s new Portal smart speaker, an Echo Show rival that’s designed for video chat, sounds like a privacy nightmare straight out of Black Mirror.

But you know who could benefit from concerns about Mark Zuckerberg’s smart camera? Apple — and specifically the HomePod. Here’s why.

HomePod kills where it matters most: making money

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Siri Lights
Apple is in business to make a profit, and HomePod sales are bringing in more revenue than any of its rivals.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Weak HomePod sales caused it to fall off of the list of top 5 smartspeakers during the second quarter of this year. But there’s a very important metric where this product is beating all its rivals.

And it’s a category where Apple excels: making money.

These new HomePod rivals are even pricier than Apple’s smartspeaker

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This Bose smartspeaker costs more than the HomePod, built not nearly as much as an upcoming Harman Kardon model.
This Bose smartspeaker costs more than the HomePod, built not nearly as much as an upcoming Harman Kardon model.
Photo: Bose

Apple’s HomePod smartspeaker has struggled at least partly because of its high price. Well, Bose doesn’t see a problem because it just unveiled an even pricier option. And Harman Kardon will bring out one twice as expensive.

The Bose smartspeaker uses Alexa, while Harman Kardon turned to Google Assistant. Both these voice control systems are widely regarded as a more capable than Apple’s Siri.

Cavalier Maverick may be the most stylish smart speaker yet [Review]

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Cavalier
Feast your eyes on this beauty!
Photo: Cavalier

Boasting superior sound quality and a high-quality finish that ditches metal and plastic for distressed leather and fabrics, Cavalier Maverick is one of the best smart speakers we’ve tried.

It’s a third-party Amazon Alexa, offering the same functionality as an Echo, but in a far more premium package. And with a pretty neat mobile twist, too.