It wasn’t all big hardware news at Apple’s Spring Loaded event. As a warmup to the cavalcade of major rollouts, Apple CEO Tim Cook spun through announcements of a new Apple Card Family service, a revamped Podcasts app that includes premium subscriptions, and a snazzy new iPhone color that Prince would have loved—yes, it’s purple.
If the batteries in your first- or second-generation AirPods are suffering from massively reduced battery life, you don’t have to pay full price for a new set (and throw away the old ones). For half the cost, Podswap will exchange your expired ones for a set of refurbished, genuine Apple AirPods with new batteries.
The Apple Arcade subscription game service is struggling to catch on, so Apple is adding a slew of classic board games and App Store hits to lure in subscribers.
Apple has announced that it is discontinuing the original HomePod to focus on the HomePod mini. The company will continue to service and support the HomePod, and it will remain available while supplies last.
You would pay dearly for Apple’s AirPods Max headphones, which at $549 exceed the cost of rival products by $200 or more. But Julio Ojeda-Zapata came away impressed with their stylishness, ruggedness, audio quality, active noise cancellation, design flourishes, and integration with Apple’s ecosystem. They have flaws, but none are deal-breakers.
Looking for a way to work out at home during the pandemic? Adam Engst tried the Stealth Core Trainer, which enables you to do dynamic planks while using your body as a game controller for playing simple video games on your iPhone.
Apple announced the HomePod mini, a smaller, less expensive, and more rounded version of its two-year-old HomePod. The expanded speaker line has little in the way of groundbreaking features as it competes with speakers from Amazon and Google, but at least it’s now more affordable.
If you’re skittish about visiting a public library during a pandemic, ask about electronic borrowing you can do from home. Many US libraries provide digital versions of books, comics, and magazines, plus music downloads and streaming video options. Julio Ojeda-Zapata examines all the likely choices.
Five years after its launch, Beats 1 is being redubbed Apple Music 1, and Apple is adding two more radio stations for hits from the past and country music.
If you subscribe to the Apple TV+ premium service, you can also now sign up for a special bundle of CBS All Access and Showtime for half of the usual price.
Through a series of circumstances, Adam Engst ended up with both a pair of AirPods and a pair of AirPods Pro. When free to choose one or the other at any time, which did he pick? The answer—and what he recommends—might surprise you.
If you’re regretting not being able to hold an in-person celebration for a birthday, graduation, retirement, or other special occasion, check out the online service Kudoboard. It provides a multimedia version of the greeting card that’s passed around and signed by a group.
In response to and in support of the protests surrounding the killing of George Floyd, Apple dedicated the Apple Music user interface to a statement in solidarity with Black communities, curated a collection of movies addressing racism in Apple TV, and published an open letter from Tim Cook.
At long last, Spotify has removed the restriction that prevented subscribers from adding more than 10,000 tracks to their libraries. If Apple opens the HomePod up to third-party music apps in iOS 14, Adam Engst might take another look.
Although they hit the market with little fanfare, Apple’s AirPods have become a stealth hit, now singlehandedly outpacing the annual revenue of many large tech companies.