Google steps up fight against iPhone by ripping off more Apple features

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Google rips off iPhone features
Spatial audio, unlock with Wear OS, and more on the way.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Google plans to make its latest Pixel and Wear OS devices more compelling alternatives to iPhone and Apple Watch by ripping off some of Cupertino’s most popular software features — including spatial audio and AirDrop.

The Android-maker revealed the long list of improvements, which will span all of Google’s software platforms as well as Windows, this week at the CES trade show in Las Vegas. Here’s what you can expect if you plan to ditch your Apple devices and swap sides.

AirPods 3 are the best earbuds in Apple’s lineup [Review]

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AirPods 3 with Funko
With AirPods 3, Apple proves it can create a magical experience, even in a tiny package.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

AirPods are arguably one of Apple’s most popular products. Over the last five years, the wireless earbuds have become so common that it’s hard to go anywhere without seeing someone wearing them.

And now, with the third-generation AirPods, Apple has improved them in almost every way. That makes the latest AirPods one of the best, if not the best, all-around earbuds you can get.

Hands-on: AirPods 3 sound great thanks to lots of trickle-down tech [Review]

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AirPods 3 on messy desk
Everything about AirPods 3 is better.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

The new AirPods 3 are marvelous little earbuds. They sound fantastic, are dead easy to set up and use, and the wireless charging case is a godsend.

Compared to their predecessors, Apple greatly improved just about everything — and they are well worth their $179 price tag.

AirPods 3 review roundup: Sounds great!

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AirPods 3
The new AirPods are resistant to both sweat and water, with an IPX4 rating for both the earbuds and the case.
Photo: Apple

The first wave of AirPods 3 reviews just came out, and they’re full of good news for those considering Apple’s latest truly wireless earbuds. Sound quality draws praise, as does battery life. But reviewers don’t seem as happy about the lack of active noise cancellation. And some would have preferred silicone ear tips.

Read on for reviewers’ specific comments about AirPods 3.

Lossless audio and Dolby Atmos return to HomePod in 15.1 beta

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Apple Music lossless audio coming to HomePod, HomePod mini
But you need an invite to get it.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s newest HomePod beta, issued alongside the iOS and iPadOS 15.1 betas on Tuesday, brings back lossless audio and Dolby Atmos support. Both features can be enabled from inside the Home app, but only if you have an invite.

Apple has been working to bring its newest audio features to HomePod speakers for a while now. It first began testing them shortly after WWDC 2021 in June when the third HomePod 15 beta was made available to testers.

Netflix gets more immersive with Spatial Audio support

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Spatial audio for Apple TV in tvOS 15
Netflix beats Apple TV to the punch.
Photo: Apple

Netflix has begun rolling out Spatial Audio support. This lets the streaming service offer a surround sound-like experience but without all the speakers. Currently, it requires AirPods Pro or AirPods Max but that’ll change soon.

And Netflix beat out Apple TV in offering the feature.