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Episodes

Home of the most recent episodes of The CultCast including links to topics discussed and coupons from our beloved sponsors.

324: A new Apple gaming console?

Chris C.

Photo:  Apple

Photo:  Apple

This week on CultCast:

What a show this week! We talk: a new gaming console from Apple? Some new evidence says yes. Plus: some of HomePods best features get delayed; why Leander switched from 1Password to Dashlane; how to get a heckuva great deal on a new iPad; and we wrap up with the smart bike helmet you haven’t heard of, a rugged charge-it-all solar-powered battery back, and an updated version of one of our favorite products on an all-new Under Review.


This episode supported by:


  • Easily create a website by yourself, at Squarespace.com. Use offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.


  • CultCloth will keep your iPhone 8/X, Apple Watch, Mac and iPad sparkling clean, and for a limited time you can use code "CULTCAST" to score a free CleanCloth with any order at CultCloth.co.



  • We also want to give Kevin MacLeod at Incompetech.com a thanks for the great music you hear on today’s show.


Come say helloooooo!

@erfon / Erfon's YouTube Channel / @bst3r / Buster on Instagram / @lkahney / @lewiswallace / @thecultcast


The BEST subreddit you are going to read, ALL week long! thecultcast.reddit.com



Is AppleTV about to become a gaming console?

http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2018/02/apple-files-major-apple-tv-logo-trademark-update-focused-on-all-things-related-to-gaming-including-a-video-game-console.html

  • Apple has updated their Apple TV logo trademark by adding all things related to gaming.
  • Apple's Trademark filing 87801324 filed last Friday and published today by USPTO was filed solely under international class 028 which specifically covers the following:
  • "video game consoles; controllers for game consoles; video output games, namely, video output game machines for use with televisions; apparatus for electronic games adapted for use with an external display screen or monitor.”
  • This is a significant update that has to be taken seriously. Bringing a whole new level of gaming to Apple TV could be another twist coming to Apple TV in addition to a video content service driven by Apple Worldwide Video.

Looks like multi-room AirPlay just got further away

https://www.cultofmac.com/530155/airplay-2-0-delayed/

  • One of the best features for Apple’s new HomePod appears to be facing some big delays.
  • AirPlay 2.0 promises to give HomePod users the ability to stream the same song to different devices in different rooms from a single iPhone. But with the release of iOS 11.3 beta 3 this morning, Apple has decided to pull the feature from testing.
  • The functionality of AirPlay 2.0 was pretty buggy in the first two beta builds of iOS 11.3. Apple removed it in the latest betas of iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3 that just came out.
  • Until AirPlay 2.0 comes out, you also won’t be able to pair two of Apple’s new smart speakers together so they play stereo sound or multi-room audio.

Why I switched from 1Password to Dashlane [Review]

https://www.cultofmac.com/525405/dashlane-review-password-manager/

  • Our thoughts on apps with subscription fees

Apple gets go-ahead for two new iPads

https://www.cultofmac.com/530249/apple-gets-approval-two-new-ipads-2018/

  • Apple has been given the go-ahead for two new iPads, hinting at an imminent refresh.
  • The company filed for approval with the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), and both devices were granted permission this week. Apple has also been given approval to bring several iPhone and iPad “samples” into the region.
  • The filings don’t tell us much about these devices. But it does suggest that an Apple announcement is imminent.
  • Apple is dumping 9.7” models. 128GB versions are selling for $280-$350 (regular price $430) I Apple Files Major Apple TV Logo Trademark Update Focused on All-Things related to Gaming, Including a Video Game Console

Under Review!

Lumos Smart Bike Helmet with wireless turn signal remote

http://amzn.to/2EMQ4qQ

Arlo Pro 2 wireless security cameras

http://amzn.to/2sMMJCN

Goal Zero Sherpa 100 Power Pack

http://amzn.to/2sKYb1D

Kwikset Premis http://amzn.to/2sLJfAh

323: HomePod: one of Apple’s greatest products!

Chris C.

Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

This week on CultCast:

Friends, HomePod is even better than the hype, it’s one of the best products Apple's ever made. Plus: HomePod vs. the rivals; the big HomePod flaw you need to know about (and the one Apple is trying to downplay); how Apple plans to revamp their future software; and is another new Apple product on the horizon? We think so, and we’ll tell you what it is.


This episode supported by:


  • Easily create a website by yourself, at Squarespace.com. Use offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.


  • From how to become more productive and professional to how to read body language, network, and negotiate, the Art of Charm podcast covers anything that will help you become a high-performer at home and at work. Check it out at theartofcharm.com/podcast.


  • CultCloth will keep your iPhone 8/X, Apple Watch, Mac and iPad sparkling clean, and for a limited time you can use code "CULTCAST" to score a free CleanCloth with any order at CultCloth.co.



  • We also want to give Kevin MacLeod at Incompetech.com a thanks for the great music you hear on today’s show.


Come say helloooooo!

@erfon / Erfon's YouTube Channel / @bst3r / Buster on Instagram / @lkahney / @lewiswallace / @thecultcast


The BEST subreddit you are going to read, ALL week long! thecultcast.reddit.com



Consumer Reports says HomePod doesn’t sound as good as its rivals

https://www.cultofmac.com/528645/consumer-reports-says-homepod-doesnt-sound-good-rivals/

  • One of the most reputable tech review sites isn’t that impressed with the HomePod’s superb sound.
  • While most reviewers have noted the HomePod as the best sounding speaker they’ve ever listened too, Consumer Reports claims Google Home Max and Sonos One sound better.
  • “The HomePod will serve many music fans well, but CR testers did hear some flaws. The HomePod’s bass was a bit boomy and overemphasized,” wrote Consumer Reports. “And the midrange tones were somewhat hazy, meaning that some of the nuance in vocals, guitars, and horns was lost

Audiophile Review: HomePod 'Sounds Better' Than $999 KEF X300A Digital Hi-Fi Speakers

https://www.macrumors.com/2018/02/12/homepod-audiophile-review-standing-ovation/

  • Reddit user WinterCharm posted exhaustive audio performance testing results for HomePod to the Reddit audiophile community.
  • Using specialized equipment and a controlled testing environment, the review features in-depth analysis of the smart speaker's output when compared to a pair of $999 KEF X300Adigital hi-fi monitors, representing a "meticulously set up audiophile grade speaker versus a tiny little HomePod that claims to do room correction on its own”.
    • "I am speechless. The HomePod actually sounds better than the KEF X300A. If you're new to the Audiophile world, KEF is a very well respected and much loved speaker company. I actually deleted my very first measurements and re-checked everything because they were so good, I thought I'd made an error. Apple has managed to extract peak performance from a pint sized speaker, a feat that deserves a standing ovation. The HomePod is 100% an Audiophile grade Speaker."

Siri on HomePod Correctly Answered 52.3% of Queries in New AI Test

https://www.macrumors.com/2018/02/10/siri-on-homepod-new-ai-test/

  • Our ol’ pal Genie Munster, in a new test shared today by Loup Ventures, HomePod was put through a bunch of Siri AI tests
  • When asked a series of questions, here’s how it performed vs. other smart speakers
  • Google Home answered 81 percent correctly, Amazon's Alexa answered 64 percent correctly, and Microsoft's Cortana answered 57 percent correctly.

HomePod leaves ugly white rings on wood tables

https://www.cultofmac.com/529025/homepod-leaves-ugly-white-rings-wood-tables/

  • HomePods are already making their mark in new homes across the country — but not in a good way.
  • Apple customers started noticing that HomePod can damage wood furniture by leaving a white ring after resting on a table for just a few minutes or days.
  • Apple confirmed the problem today, saying “the marks can improve over several days after the speaker is removed from the wood surface.” Apple also suggested owners “try cleaning the surface with the [table] manufacturer’s suggested oiling method.”If the white rings don’t disappear, Apple says you can just refinish the furniture.
  • Apple also recommends putting the HomePod on a coaster if you’re worried about the speaker damaging your table.

How Apple Plans to Root Out Bugs, Revamp iPhone Software

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-12/how-apple-plans-to-root-out-bugs-revamp-iphone-software

  • Apple will start focusing on the next two years of updates for its iPhone and iPad operating system, according to people familiar with the change. The company will continue to update its software annually, but internally engineers will have more discretion to push back features that aren't as polished to the following year.
  • Software chief Craig Federighi laid out the new strategy to his army of engineers last month, according to a person familiar with the discussion. His team will have more time to work on new features and focus on under-the-hood refinements without being tied to a list of new features annually simply so the company can tout a massive year-over-year leap, people familiar with the situation say. The renewed focus on quality is designed to make sure the company can fulfill promises made each the summer at the annual developers conference and that new features work reliably and as advertised.
  • The decision to give engineers more time to perfect software is a major cultural shift.
  • At Google, teams update apps on their own schedule and aren’t tied to the annual Android release. At Apple, all new features are tied to a big release in the fall, when Apple rolls out its splashiest new software, and a more modest update in the spring

Apple hiring spree means something big is on the way

https://www.cultofmac.com/527819/apple-hiring-spree-means-something-big-way/

  • Apple has been busy hiring a record number of engineers over the last few months. The move comes after the company also went on a designer hiring spree, indicating a major new product or two could be in the works.
  • Job openings for engineering jobs at Apple rose 80% from the period starting in September until just last week. The company’s listings went from 665 open hardware engineering positions to 1,198 last week.
    • What exactly Apple is working on is anyone’s best guess right now, but check out these job listings:Analog Layout Designer, Advanced Material Scientist (Electrolyte Development), 3D Perception/Computer Vision Algorithm Engineer, Sensor Design Engineer, Motion Sensing Hardware Engineer: Magnetics, and even a Flexible Display Technologist.
  • Leander had an epiphany last show of what all these jobs have in common

322: What you need to know about HomePod

Chris C.

Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

This week on CultCast:

The HomePod reviews are coming out hot and heavy, and they’re surprising. We’ll tell you what people like, love, and hate about Apple’s new speaker. Plus: something strange is happening at Apple HQ… we’ll tell you more.


This episode supported by:


  • Print postage from your office and take advantage of special shipping discounts at pb.com/cultcast, and beat the postage rate increase with exclusive discounts on letters. Plans start at just $5 a month!


  • Casper’s American-made mattresses have just the right amount of memory foam and latex, and people everywhere love them. Learn why and get $50 towards any mattress at Casper.com/cultcast.


  • CultCloth will keep your iPhone 8/X, Apple Watch, Mac and iPad sparkling clean, and for a limited time you can use code "CULTCAST" to score a free CleanCloth with any order at CultCloth.co.



  • We also want to give Kevin MacLeod at Incompetech.com a thanks for the great music you hear on today’s show.


Come say helloooooo!

@erfon / Erfon's YouTube Channel / @bst3r / Buster on Instagram / @lkahney / @lewiswallace / @thecultcast


The BEST subreddit you are going to read, ALL week long! thecultcast.reddit.com



HomePod meta review: Superb sound, stupid Siri

https://www.cultofmac.com/527523/homepod-meta-review-great-sound-shitty-siri/

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

HomePod sound quality is amazing

  • TechCrunch: “Apple’s HomePod is easily the best sounding mainstream smart speaker ever. It’s got better separation and bass response than anything else in its size and boasts a nuance and subtlety of sound that pays off the 7 years Apple has been working on it.”

HomePod sounds better than expensive speakers

  • WSJ: “The HomePod sounds noticeably richer and fuller than almost every other speaker we’ve testedApple’s audio engineering team did something really clever and new with the HomePod, and it really works. I’m not sure there’s anything out there that sounds better for the price, or even several times the price.

HomePod sucks at music recommendations

  • Apple frames the ability to tell Siri to play your favorite music, and immediately hear soothing tones blasted out of the speaker, as one of the HomePod’s main draws. Cupertino promises that Siri will learn your musical tastes over time, but based on The New York Times’ review, that’s not what actually happens.

HomePod only syncs with one iCloud account

  • That sucks if you don’t live alone.

Not a very good assistant

  • Siri is limited and doesn’t compete with Alexa or Google intelligence.
  • TechCrunch: Siri doesn’t do a lot of “other” stuff that isn’t about audio content. Apple says this is because the vast majority of people use these speakers for basic commands like playing music and setting timers. But it does offer best-in-class voice recognition, vastly outstripping the ability of other smart speakers to hear you trying to trigger a command at a distance or while music is playing, but its overall flexibility is stymied by the limited command sets that the Siri protocol offers.
  • Siri can’t even set more than one timer
  • Siri can’t recognize multiple voices (someone could ask it to read your texts, or even send an iMessage)

You can use Spotify via AirPlay, but you can’t control it with your voice

The smarts are in the music tech

  • When plugged in, HomePod goes through a series of aural exercises you first plug it in to determine how best to structure its sound.
  • It also includes an accelerometer, so if you move the speaker, it will retune itself.
  • Eddie Cue revealed recently that HomePod will adjust how it sounds to each song you play based on Apple’s analytics.

Redheads and superheroes included in 150+ new emojis for 2018

https://www.cultofmac.com/527963/red-heads-superheroes-included-150-new-emoji-2018/

  • The Unicode Consortium has approved more than 150 new emoji characters that will likely be headed to iOS and macOS later this year.
  • The Unicode Consortium has approved more than 150 new emoji characters that will likely be headed to iOS and macOS later this year.

Apple hiring spree means something big is on the way

https://www.cultofmac.com/527819/apple-hiring-spree-means-something-big-way/

  • Apple has been busy hiring a record number of engineers over the last few months. The move comes after the company also went on a designer hiring spree, indicating a major new product or two could be in the works.
  • Job openings for engineering jobs at Apple rose 80% from the period starting in September until just last week. The company’s listings went from 665 open hardware engineering positions to 1,198 last week.
  • What exactly Apple is working on is anyone’s best guess right now, but check out these job listings:
  • Analog Layout Designer, Advanced Material Scientist (Electrolyte Development), 3D Perception/Computer Vision Algorithm Engineer, Sensor Design Engineer, Motion Sensing Hardware Engineer: Magnetics, and even a Flexible Display Technologist.
  • There are hundreds of other titles up for grabs though so probably only a few people at Apple really know the full picture

What we’re INTO

Poke-Bowls

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/poke-bowl-recipes_us_5743abb0e4b0613b512b1bfd

The Shape of Water

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFYWazblaUA

iPhone X and its incredible camera

https://www.apple.com/iphone-x/

321: Apple’s big plans for iOS 12

Chris C.

Photo:  Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Photo:  Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

This week on CultCast:

Apple delays big new iOS features to focus on stability, and what it means for iOS 12. Plus: New details tell us more about 2018’s iPhone X Plus Nintendo announces one of its most legendary games is coming to iOS; Apple works to bring iPad apps to Mac; and we’ll tell you what we like and don’t about the gadget we’re reviewing in an all-new Under Review.


This episode supported by:


  • Easily create a website by yourself, at Squarespace.com. Use offer code CultCast at checkout to get 10% off your first purchase of a website or domain.


  • The single-router wifi model just doesn’t work for our increasingly high-bandwidth world. The EERO distributed system will blanket your home in hyper-fast, reliable WiFi, and you can score free overnight shipping with code "CultCast" at checkout.


  • CultCloth will keep your iPhone 8/X, Apple Watch, Mac and iPad sparkling clean, and for a limited time you can use code "CULTCAST" to score a free CleanCloth with any order at CultCloth.co.



  • We also want to give Kevin MacLeod at Incompetech.com a thanks for the great music you hear on today’s show.


Come say helloooooo!

@erfon / Erfon's YouTube Channel / @bst3r / Buster on Instagram / @lkahney / @lewiswallace / @thecultcast


The BEST subreddit you are going to read, ALL week long! thecultcast.reddit.com



Mario Kart is officially coming to iOS

https://twitter.com/nintendoofamerica

• Nintendo just announced that a mobile version of Mario Kart is under development. The company says the game will be released sometime in the next 13 months, but left it at that. • "The checkered flag has been raised and the finish line is near. A new mobile application is now in development: Mario Kart Tour! #MarioKartTour Releasing in the fiscal year ending in March 2019.”

Apple delays big new iOS features to focus on stability in 2018

https://www.cultofmac.com/526181/apple-delays-big-new-ios-features-to-focus-on-stability-in-2018/

• Apple is changing up its plans for this year’s mobile software • According to Ina Fried in a report for Axios, “Apple has shaken up its iOS software plans for 2018, delaying some features to next year in an effort to put more focus on addressing performance and quality issues"

Apple works to bring iPad apps to Mac in 2018

https://www.cultofmac.com/526399/apple-working-bring-ipad-apps-mac-2018/

• Apple’s primary focus for its software updates this year is on improving performance and stability. But there’s a big new feature that the company is still working to bring to macOS, according to a new report. That’s the ability to run iPad apps. • Apple has delayed big new features for iOS to focus on ironing out the kinks this year, according to a report from Axios’ Ina Fried. Software chief Craig Federighi is said to have announced the plans to Apple employees at a meeting earlier this month. • But one key feature remains on the roadmap for 2018: The ability for Macs to run iPad apps,” reads the latest report.

Apple’s value drops $46 billion amid falling iPhone X demand

https://www.cultofmac.com/526199/apples-value-drops-46-billion-amid-rumors-of-weak-iphone-x-demand/

• A growing number of analysts and news outlets have claimed that Apple is cutting production due to weaker-than-expected demand for its flagship device. The Wall Street Journal is the latest to corroborate the claims. • The Wall Street Journal is the latest to pipe up. It claimed on Monday that Apple has significantly reduced component orders for iPhone X — by as much as 60 percent in some cases. “They always do this when things aren’t selling well,” one source said.

New details tell us more about 2018’s iPhone X Plus

https://www.cultofmac.com/525873/2018-ming-chi-kuo-iphones-battery/

• In a weekend report to investors, reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities reiterates that Apple is planning two OLED iPhones and one LCD model for this year. The two OLED models, he says, be 5.8- and 6.5-inches in size, while the LCD model will be 6.1-inches.

Under Review

Elgato Stream Deck

http://amzn.to/2GDUI85

Azio Retro Classic Luxury Bluetooth Keyboards

http://amzn.to/2E5AnKl

Juuk Velo Apple Watch Band

https://store.cultofmac.com/products/juuk-velo-cosmic-grey-apple-watch-band