Sonos headphones will face off against Beats (and maybe Apple)

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sonos beam
Sonos is ready to bust out of the house.
Photo: Sonos

Apple’s Beats lineup of headphones could soon face some new competition from one of the HomePod’s biggest rivals.

Sonos is allegedly planning to create a set of premium headphones. Development for the over-the-ear buds is reportedly in the early stages, but they could launch by next year and offer some features rivals can’t.

Sonos will add Google Assistant to its speakers this year

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Sonos supports AirPlay2
Sonos speakers connect to over 80 streaming services.
Photo: Sonos

CES 2019 bug Sonos is about to add a new weapon to its smart speakers that will help make it even more competitive against Apple’s HomePod.

The company revealed today that it plans to bring Google Assistant to its smart speakers later this year. Beta testing for the new feature has already begun, allowing Google’s Siri-competitor to be the main voice input on some Sonos speaker models.

Catch our favorite gadgets of 2018, this week on The CultCast

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iPhone XS CultCast
It's gadgets galore on this week's CultCast.
Photo: Thanks, @YSR50!

Cult of Mac Year in Review 2018 This week on The CultCast: It’s all our favorite gadgets of 2018! Well, not all, but lots of them. We didn’t have time to get through them all but we tried real hard. Plus: Apple is finally gearing up to overhaul the AMD GPUs in the Mac lineup. And the legit way to purchase a base iMac Pro for just $3,900.

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

Sonos Amp gives old audio systems a brain boost

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Sonos Amp
The new Amp is twice as powerful as the the old one.
Photo: Sonos

Got a bass-bumping home audio system but also got serious smart-speaker envy? The new Sonos Amp is here to save your old speakers by integrating them into Sonos’ ecosystem and adding a few new tricks along the way.

Sonos unveiled the new amp this morning which is the successor to the company’s Connect:Amp. While it’s not something more normal consumers will buy, it could help Sonos become a mainstay in serious audio systems created by professional installers.

Take a look:

Sonos speakers just got smarter with AirPlay 2 upgrade

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Sonos supports AirPlay2
Sonos speakers connect to over 80 streaming services.
Photo: Sonos

Sonos is opening its speakers to a new world of listening experiences today with the addition of AirPlay 2.

The smart speaker company teased AirPlay 2 support last month during the introduction of its Beam speaker. Now, just over a month after Apple added AirPlay 2 as part of iOS 11.4, Sonos is the first third-party speaker company to dive head first into the new tech. And the company added a few tricks your HomePod can’t match.

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.