HomePod smart speaker had a great quarter in the US

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HomePod mini
The HomePod mini likely had a lot to do with it.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

HomePod shipments in the United States increased 180% year-on-year in the last quarter, eclipsing the growth of smart speaker makers Amazon and Google during the period, market intelligence firm Omdia reports.

While Apple still lags behind the other two companies on shipments, it is looking more competitive than it has at any point in the history of the HomePod so far. That’s particularly impressive when considering that this was a rough three-month period for smart speakers in the US, whose growth is stalling.

Pint-size Sonos Roam speaker goes anywhere your iPhone does

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Pint-size Sonos Roam speaker goes anywhere your iPhone does
Sonos Roam connects to your Apple devices over more than Bluetooth.
Photo: Sonos

The Sonos Roam is a new high-end smart speaker with support for Apple AirPlay 2, so it plays nicely with iPhone or other Apple computers.

The tubular accessory weights in just under a pound, but Sonos says, “precision-engineered acoustics deliver the clarity, depth, and fullness you would expect from a much larger speaker.”

Siri activated by ‘a city’ or ‘OK, Jerry’ reveals study of false wake words

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Siri Lights
Accidental wake words affects all the major smart assistants.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

“Hey Siri” can be inadvertently activated by other wake words including “A city,” “Hey Jerry,” and more, reveal researchers from Germany’s Ruhr-Universität Bochum and the Bochum Max Planck Institute.

Siri’s far from the only voice assistant with a weakness when it comes to false triggers, however. The study compiled a list of over 1,000 words that can accidentally activate different A.I. assistants.

Apple shipped 2.6 million HomePods during all-important holiday quarter

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Apple debuts HomePod in India at its cheapest price yet
HomePod is still a bit player in the smart speaker market.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple sold just 2.6 million HomePods into the retail channel worldwide in the last three months of 2020, a new report claims. While that is up from the 1.6 million units it shipped the same quarter a year earlier, it’s still a fraction of the total shipped by market leader Amazon.

“The price is still very high,” David Watkins, director at Strategy Analytics, told Cult of Mac. “That closes the door to a huge swathe of potential customers.”

These Vizio smart speakers are affordable Sonos alternatives [Deals]

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Vizio Main
These portable speakers sport awesome audio quality and a sleek design perfect for enjoying tunes and shows on the go.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

If you’re on the hunt for a good portable speaker, look no further than this pair from Vizio. Each is a solid, sleek wireless speaker with great features and eye-catching design. Even better, they’re both discounted by more than half, so you can get them for a song.

HomePod will get smarter (and more chill) this fall

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HomePod speaker
HomePod is getting some nifty new features.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple didn’t mention HomePod during yesterday’s iPhone 11 event — but it certainly didn’t forget about it, either.

Following the keynote, Apple quietly updated HomePod’s webpage. In doing so, it added exciting details about improvements being lined up for Apple’s smart speaker this fall.