Peek inside the lab that perfected HomePod audio

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It took Apple six years to create the HomePod.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s quest to build the perfect sounding speaker could also give a huge boost to audio quality on future iPhones, iPads and Macs.

To promote the launch of its new HomePod speaker, Apple gave journalists a behind-the-scenes look inside the custom audio lab it built to fine-tune every aspect of HomePod’s sound. Not only did Apple one of the best audio teams in the world, but it also gave them tools no company in the world can match.

HomePod meta review: Superb sound, stupid Siri

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The HomePod was a no-show in 2017.
HomePod is finally here.
Photo: Apple

In the first reviews for Apple’s new HomePod speaker, everyone totally raves about the smart speaker’s pristine sound quality. Siri, on the other hand, doesn’t sound so brilliant.

Apple seeded a few review units to major outlets ahead of this Friday’s HomePod launch. The embargo lifted this morning, and the early reviews reveal a few surprising tidbits about the HomePod.

Here’s what people are saying:

Apple’s Maps Are Getting Better All The Time, According To List

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Everyone knows that Apple’s maps suck, right? After all, they were pretty poor at launch, and anything to do with Apple never changes: Apple gear is overpriced ($330 for an iPad!), Apple should license its OS (Android is open! And winning!). Etc.

Except that maps have gotten a lot better in the intervening months. The app mightn’t have gotten an update, but arguably its the same old app that used to use Google maps anyway. But the software and map tiles behind the scenes? Oh boy.

The Loop Is My Favorite iPod Nano Wristband To Date [Review]

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The Loop is a sleek, stylish, and lightweight iPod nano wristband.
The Loop is a sleek, stylish, and lightweight iPod nano wristband.

The Loop is a silicone wristband for the sixth-generation iPod nano that promises to turn your device in a “high end timepiece.” Its sleek, stylish design does away with the unnecessary bulk and aims to showcase your iPod nano rather than drawing attention away from it.

Once fitted, the Loop provides full access to your iPod’s headphone jack, dock connector, volume buttons, and sleep/wake switch. It features a stainless steel buckle that won’t perish up against your sweaty wrist, and it comes in a selection of colors. But best of all, it only costs $19.99.

What does that price say about the Loop’s design and build quality?