Best gifts for Mac fans [Gift Guide 2018]

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Mac gift guide 2018
Buying for a Mac fan? Start here!
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

We’ve shown you the best gifts for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch users, but what if the person you’re buying for is a long-time Apple fan whose first love was the Mac? Then you should start your shopping right here!

Gift guide 2018 bugThis guide is filled with awesome accessories and gadgets that every Mac addict will enjoy. We’ve handpicked only the best — things we’ve used, reviewed, and would recommend — so that you can be sure your hard-earned cash is being well spent.

Check out our gift guide selections for Mac users below.

2018 MacBook Pro owners complain of crackling speakers

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Apple MacBook Pro keyboard
How’s the sound on your 2018 MacBook Pro?
Photo: Apple

Apple’s latest MacBook Pro lineup has bigger and better speakers than previous machines, but some users haven’t been enjoying improved sound.

Instead, they hear crackling when they play music or watch videos. The issue appears to be affecting both 13- and 15-inch devices, and it’s not yet clear what’s causing it.

Fender Bluetooth speaker looks like a 1950s tweed-covered guitar amp

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Fender Tweed Monterey
This, believe it or not, is a Bluetooth speaker.
Photo: Fender

This is Fender’s new Tweed Monterey. No, it’s not a tweed-covered guitar amp from the 1950s, although it certainly looks just like one. It is, in fact, the sweetest-looking Bluetooth speaker I’ve ever seen. It might not be the most practical, most portable or even best sounding Bluetooth speaker around. But if you want people to think you play guitar, this is the perfect accessory for your fake sleeve tattoos.

HomePod is still hopeless, and it’s (mostly) Siri’s fault

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I sent the HomePod back, so I will keep using the single photo I took until somebody stops me.
I sent the HomePod back, so I will keep using the single photo I took until somebody stops me.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

HomePods went on sale in Europe this week, and I ordered one. It arrived the very next day. I tried it out, and then sent it back to Apple the day after that. Why? Because it’s a half-finished product. Siri is just as glitchy and annoying on HomePod as elsewhere. It doesn’t work properly with a Mac. And it’s not even a very good speaker.

Forget HomePod — check out Ikea’s amazing new home speaker

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eneby ikea speaker
The Eneby is $300 less than a HomePod, and it's not like Siri works properly anyway.
Photo: Ikea

Ikea’s new Eneby speaker may not pack the smarts of a HomePod or an Amazon Echo, but it’s great-looking and it’s pretty cheap. The new range of Ikea Bluetooth speakers starts at $49. If all you want is a nice, easy speaker for the living room, kitchen, or even the backyard, you should take a look.

How to make your iPhone speakers louder [Quick Tips]

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Tweak this iOS setting to make iPhone speakers louder. (Works with iPad and iPod, too!)
Tweak this setting to make your iPhone speakers louder. (Works with iPad and iPod, too!)
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple improves the speakers in iPhones, iPads and iPods with each release — usually making them louder than the previous generation. Still, people constantly complain that iPhones are not loud enough.

In our latest Quick Tips video, I’ll show you a super-easy way to boost those tiny speakers. Check out the video below to see how to make iPhone speakers louder!

Everything you need to know about HomePod

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HomePod news, HomePod reviews and HomePod how-tos
The HomePod may be the best speaker you can buy for under $85,000.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple’s HomePod arrives in homes today. It’s already sold out online, but if you’re lucky you might still snap one up in an Apple store. And you probably should, because the HomePod looks to be just about the best small speaker you can buy — in terms of musical performance, anyway.

If you want to find out how to set up and get the best of your new HomePod, or if you want to read a bit more before deciding whether to get one, you’re in the right place. Below you’ll find all our HomePod coverage: how-tos, reviews, tips and opinions.

These are the touch gestures you can use with HomePod

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homepod
HomePod likes to be touched.
Photo: Apple/Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The HomePod’s fancy gimmick is that you can use Siri to control it. Even when the music is loud enough to get your neighbors banging on the walls, Siri can hear you thanks to the six microphones’ ability to ignore the sound from the speakers. But touch is always faster than talk, so a quick tap on the top of the HomePod will often be better than trying to get Siri to understand you.

Boss’ smart wireless guitar amp is designed to work with your iPhone

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Boss katana air
Look ma, no wires.
Photo: Boss

CES 2018 bugThe Boss Katana Air looks like the ultimate living room amp for guitar players. It looks cool, it runs off mains power or AA batteries, and it features a wireless dongle that plugs into your guitar and means you never need to trail a cable across the room ever again. It even has a companion iOS app so you can tweak all the settings not available from the knobs and buttons on top of the amp.

The best iPhone accessories

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iPhone accessories
Accessories can make your iPhone easier to use.
Photo: Twelve South

The iPhone comes in such a simple form that you could think of it as the core brain of a larger system. If you need to go underwater, you can get a case for that. If you want to turn it into a satnav for your bike or stroller, you can do that, too (see below).

The iPhone accessory market is huge, and there is a gadget or gizmo for almost anything. Here are some of our favorite iPhone accessories, for the new iPhone X as well as for older iPhones.