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:

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.

The hype is real, HomePod is incredible … catch our discussion on The CultCast

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X-ray view of HomePod
Is HomePod nearing its end, or just getting started?
Photo: Apple

Friends, HomePod is even better than the hype! It’s one of the best products Apple’s ever made. Don’t miss our discussion on The CultCast. Plus: HomePod versus the rivals; the big HomePod flaw you need to know about (one Apple is trying to downplay); how Apple plans to revamp its future software; and, is another new Apple product on the horizon? We think so, and we’ll tell you what it is.

Our thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode. It’s simple to accept Apple Pay and sell your wares with your very own Squarespace.com website. Enter offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10% off any hosting plan.

HomePod unboxing video: First look at Apple’s smart speaker

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HomePod HomeKit Unboxing
Check out Apple's new HomePod in action.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

After months of delays, Apple’s HomePod is finally available in Apple Stores today. Before we get to the reviews, comparisons and tips, with our latest video we give you a tour of what’s in the box, show you how easy it is to set up, show it off in action and my first impressions.

Check the video out below.

All the best gadgets of 2017, this week on The CultCast

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CultCast
We've spent all year reviewing gadgets and we're ready to reveal our favorites.
Photo: Apple

This week on The CultCast, we reveal not five, not 10, but 18 of the best gadgets of the year! Plus: The Amazon Prime Video is finally available for your Apple TV, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about iOS 11’s new Apple Pay Cash feature.

Our thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode. It’s simple to accept Apple Pay and sell your wares with your very own Squarespace.com website. Enter offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10% off any hosting plan.

Sonos speakers will support AirPlay 2 next year

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Sonos supports AirPlay2

Photo: Sonos

Sonos’ new voice-activated Sonos One smart speaker will work with Amazon’s Alexa assistant when it ships later this month, and will add support for Apple’s new AirPlay 2 streaming protocol next year.

The new smart speaker, which will ship Oct. 24, places an emphasis on high-end audio. With its $199 price point and promised compatibility with multiple platforms, it should put pressure on Apple’s upcoming HomePod, which costs nearly twice as much.