September 5

August 29

Amazon today has announced a new feature that allows users to play, synchronize, and control music playback across multiple Echo devices with support for voice commands. The news comes ahead of Apple’s HomePod launch in December and Sonos likely unveiling a new smart speaker in October. Amazon has also announced new tools for developers.

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Apple has long recognized the importance of the student market, using education discounts to try to pull them into the company’s ecosystem with hardware purchases, and adding a student discount for Apple Music last year.

Apple knows that if you bring people on board as students, they have huge potential lifetime value once they leave college. Amazon Music Unlimited seems now to be realizing the same thing, with a student deal that matches the Apple one – and going even further for Prime Student members …

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August 21

August 14

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July 26

July 16

July 13

The sound quality of the HomePod has been a key focus for Apple in its marketing for the smart speaker device, openly comparing it to the inferior audio of the Amazon Echo at WWDC. However, the HomePod isn’t launching until the end of the year and Amazon isn’t standing still.

Engadget sources report that the next Echo will include multiple tweeters inside, which should result in a dramatic improvement in sound. It also seems like the device will look more like a HomePod than the current Echo, substituting hard plastic cylinder for ‘cloth-like’ rounded shell.

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July 10

Over recent months, Amazon has quietly started rolling out a new in-house installation service that aims to offer installation of Alexa products, as well as other devices. The effort is detailed in a new report from Recode, drawing similarities to Best Buy’s Geek Squad installation and repair service…

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July 9

Despite its increasing focuses on Services revenue, Apple is struggling to draw users to the iTunes Store for movie purchases and rentals. According to a new in-depth report from The Wall Street Journal, Apple’s market share for renting and purchasing movies has fallen to between 20 percent and 35 percent, despite once being well over 50 percent as recently as 2012…

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July 6

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June 26

Apple’s unveiling of the HomePod at WWDC was little more than a preview, as the company remains tight-lipped on exactly how the Siri voice assistant will work on the device. Whilst the HomePod isn’t shipping until the end of the year, Amazon is launching its latest addition to the Alexa home AI product range later this week.

The $230 Echo Show launches on Wednesday, featuring a 7-inch touchscreen. The company posted a series of videos (watch after the jump) giving a first look at the UI in action, to show how the Alexa assistant will utilize the screen to display relevant information and respond to voice queries …

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June 22

When the Echo Show launches next Wednesday, Amazon’s smart speaker with a display will work with a number of smart home cameras including the August Doorbell Cam from day one. For comparison, Apple’s HomeKit smart home feature supports video cameras and doorbells but only one camera has hit the market with support so far.

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June 20

Apple’s HomePod teaser was somewhat oddly placed. Two hours into a developer conference without real developer opportunities and six months before the product is ready to ship. Why? Apple surely has a list of reasons like working around leaks and market pressure to show what they’ve been building.

If for no other reason, the teaser was probably intended to whet the appetite of Apple users tempted to jump in to the Amazon Echo ecosystem. I was certainly in that camp, and it worked for a few reasons.

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June 19

A new report from Strategy Analytics gives us a look at the current state of Wi-Fi speaker sales ahead of Apple’s release of its newly unveiled HomePod Siri speaker slated for this December. The report shows that Amazon with its push of Echo and other Alexa-enabled WiFi speakers was able to surpass shipments from Sonos that has mostly ruled the majority of the market since 2014.

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June 12

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