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.
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Notes and Links:
Consumer Reports says HomePod doesn’t sound as good as its 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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