Apple has permanently lowered the price of its HomePod smart speaker by $50, from $349 to $299. Was it just overpriced or is Apple clearing the decks for a new model?
Siri takes a lot of flak, but it’s a lot more powerful than many people realize. If you haven’t been using Siri for much, these tips from “Take Control of Siri” author Scholle McFarland will expand your conversations with Apple’s digital assistant—and hopefully get Siri to do more for you.
Updates the Audio Capture Engine for full compatibility with macOS 10.14 Mojave. ($29 new, free update, 12.2 MB)
iOS 12 on the HomePod adds a bevy of welcome features, including support for making and receiving calls, setting and naming multiple timers, and pinging misplaced Apple devices in your home
Three of Apple’s four major operating system upgrades—iOS 12, watchOS 5, and tvOS 12—are now out, and the fourth, macOS 10.14 Mojave, is due on September 24th. Read on for our advice on when and how to install.
Adds support for streaming audio to AirPort Express units running firmware version 7.8 with AirPlay 2 functionality. ($29 new, free update, 12.3 MB)
Adds support for streaming to Sonos's AirPlay-compatible devices. ($29 new, free update, 12.3 MB)
Apple has released a slew of updates for all of its non-Mac devices, adding the long-promised AirPlay 2 and Messages in iCloud.
watchOS 4.3 lets you control your HomePod from your Apple Watch, allows the Apple Watch’s Nightstand mode work in any orientation, and shows more information on the Siri watch face. tvOS 11.3 merely lets fourth-generation Apple TV owners play videos in their original frame rate, and HomePod 11.3 fixes bugs.
Not every HomePod owner is a music addict, and even those who are will likely want their speakers to do other stuff. Julio Ojeda-Zapata has explored ways to tap the HomePod and Siri for information consumption, personal management, and other uses. For context, he compares the HomePod’s capabilities and Siri performance to equivalent features in competing Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers.
Apple tapped Oscar-winning director Spike Jonze to produce a four-minute short film — it’s an ad, but so far from the usual dreck that passes for advertising that the term barely applies — to promote the HomePod. Adweek provides some additional background on the piece, which features the English musician and dancer FKA twigs and is a tour de force of choreography, set design, and digital effects. Go watch it.
Adds support for the Apple HomePod. ($29 new, free update, 14.2 MB)
When you’re thinking about where you’re going to locate your sleek new HomePod, think twice about putting it on a wooden surface. The HomePod’s vibration-dampening silicone base can react with oiled wood surfaces, leaving unsightly rings. Learn how to avoid the problem or clean it up if your table has already been marked.
We’ve had the HomePod for a weekend, and for the most part, it has been a success when it comes to music, thanks to excellent audio quality and Siri spinning Apple Music tracks with aplomb. Siri on the HomePod has been less useful as a fount of general knowledge, or perhaps we just don’t have the right questions.
It will be a while before we see in-depth analyses of the HomePod’s audio capabilities, but iMore’s Serenity Caldwell was impressed by its sound quality in her first impressions of Apple’s new smart speaker. She compared it to the Amazon Echo, Google Home Max, and the Sonos One, and “came away from that test both impressed and shocked by the engineering Apple has put into making this tiny 7-inch speaker a musical powerhouse in your living room.” On the downside, she notes that the HomePod currently lacks stereo pairing, multi-room audio, multi-user support, and native support for services other than Apple Music.