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Edifier AirPlay 2 smart speaker looks good and sounds better [Review] ★★★★☆

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This handsome speaker offers high-quality sound at an attractive price.★★★★☆
This handsome speaker offers high-quality sound at an attractive price.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

If you’re looking for quality audio at an affordable price, you can certainly do much worse than Edifier products. The Chinese company consistently comes across with great value, and that’s the case with the Edifier MS50A powered wireless smart speaker.

The company sent me one of the handsome, wood-paneled speakers to test out. Though it’s not the smartest smart speaker on the block, it looks and sounds great for the price. I’ll get into more detail below.

What to expect from HomePod 2

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HomePod in China
If you're in the market for a smart speaker, here's what you need to know about the HomePod 2.
Photo: Apple

A replacement for the original, full-size HomePod is reportedly in development. The smart speaker is expected to provide better audio performance than the current HomePod mini.

And it might debut as early as fall 2022.

What could be in store for the return of the big HomePod?

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The big HomePod could be back soon. But how pricey and how functional will it be?
The beloved big HomePod could be back soon. But how pricey and how functional will it be?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple plans to produce an updated version of the HomePod as soon as the fourth quarter of 2022 or the first quarter of 2023, supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Friday.

As reliable as Kuo can be, little other information exists beyond speculation. But that’s part of the fun.

A lot of folks are jonesing for an Apple smart speaker that goes beyond the HomePod mini. The original HomePod, while much more expensive, earned a great reputation for sound quality before Apple killed it in 2021. So naturally, Apple fans are interested in a successor, possibly with new features.

HomePod mini’s new color options are available to order now

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HomePod mini breaks out in a burst of colors
HomePod mini will soon debut in three new colors: orange, yellow, and blue. That’s in addition to white and space gray.
Photo: Apple

Apple today confirmed that its new color options for HomePod mini are now available to order in a small number of markets, including the U.S., Canada and Mexico. They will roll out in more territories, including the U.K., later this month.

HomePod mini is still priced at $99 in yellow, orange, and blue. The new color options are functionally identical to the earlier white and space gray models, with no internal alterations to the device.

HomePod mini’s new color options could hit US next week, Europe later

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HomePod mini breaks out in a burst of colors
Get yours in orange, yellow or blue.
Photo: Apple

HomePod mini’s new color options, which were introduced during Apple’s big MacBook Pro event on October 18, will go on sale in the U.S. next week, according to a new report. Fans in Europe will have to wait a little longer.

The new color options include orange, yellow and blue. Aside from the fresh lick of paint, however, the new smart speakers are identical to the original.

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.