Feature Yesterday

I explained in my first HomePod Diary piece that there was one smart home issue we needed to address: while I’m happy to use Siri to control everything from my Apple Watch or iPhone, my partner would often find that she wanted to switch lights on or off while her phone was in another room. We’d partially addressed this with Hue dimmer switches, but wanted more flexibility.

Some kind of smart speaker was the obvious solution to this, and the HomePod would have the advantage of being able to act as a HomeKit hub too.

In my HomePod Diary, I’ve been focusing mostly on music, but I’m also happy to report that the smart speaker has also passed the Steph Test …

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Feature February 19

Prior to the release of HomePod earlier this month, many potential readers and Apple customers were eager to hear just how good the $349 speaker would sound. On launch day, we stopped in at several of Apple’s retail locations to see HomePod in person, bringing you photos of the store displays. Demoing a speaker in a noisy environment is no easy task, and while HomePod’s performance is admirable, the difference between your home and a busy store is still markedly obvious. Augmenting HomePod’s in-store display experience could help compensate for the shortcomings of a less-than-ideal testing environment. Here’s how it could be done.

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Feature February 9

There are Apple products I’ve been more excited to receive, but I can’t think of any that I’ve awaited with such impatience. The reason? Curiosity about that audio quality!

I wrote last time that it was Home hub and voice control of HomeKit devices for my partner that really sold it to me, and I wasn’t expecting too much from it on the audio front. Sure, it was going to beat out other smart speakers, but I didn’t see it as serious competition to proper HiFi brands.

But as the reviews came in, I started to wonder …

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Feature February 6

If you’ve got any recent model iPhone, you’ve got a great camera – both for still photos and for video. So good, in fact, that many independent filmmakers use it to shoot both shorts and full-length movies.

But such reports can give a somewhat misleading impression. Very often, the iPhone is the capture device, but it’s coupled to far more expensive supplementary kit like professional lenses, and gimbals to smooth footage.

What DJI has done with its latest gimbal is to bring smooth mobile shooting – and more – down to a price level that makes it extremely affordable. So much so that, when you consider all the things it can do, I’d say it qualifies as the best-value iPhone accessory on the market at the moment …

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Feature February 2

Apple’s earnings call yesterday was an upbeat one, and with good reason. The company reported that the holiday quarter saw it earn $88.3B in revenue and make $20B in profits – both all-time records. Revenue grew 13% year-on-year, earnings per share were up 16%,

Questions about how well the iPhone X has been selling were also answered, albeit somewhat obliquely. While Apple never breaks down iPhone sales into models, as that’s information it doesn’t want competitors to have, CEO Tim Cook did say that the iPhone X has been the top-selling model every week since its launch …

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Feature January 31

Following the news that Apple had refocused their plans for iOS 12 around stability and performance over new features, many were quick to liken the move to a “Snow Leopard release” of iOS. In recent years, the phrase has reached mythological status in the Apple community, a catch-all referring to stable software and “the good ol’ days” of the Mac.

But how did this perception develop? Was Mac OS X Snow Leopard really the gold standard of software releases, an undefeated champion in the halls of computing history? Believe it or not, the meme is almost as old as the software itself.

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