Rumor: Apple working on second-gen AirPods featuring “Hey Siri” support for release in 2018

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Date: Friday, February 23rd, 2018, 03:58
Category: AirPods, Apple Watch, Bluetooth, Hardware, HomePod, iPad, iPhone, Rumor, Wearables

Apple is apparently working on a second-gen series of AirPods which could include “Hey Siri” support instead of requiring a tap before giving voice commands. The new model will also sport an updated wireless chip for improved Bluetooth connections.

Sources close to the story have stated that Apple is looking to update the iPods in 2018.

The current AirPods require a double-tap on the units to activate Siri. Incorporating a voice-activated “Hey Siri” command will bring AirPods in line with interacting with Apple’s voice assistant on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and HomePod.

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TechInsights estimates HomePod manufacturing costs around $216 per unit, Apple aiming for lower profit margin than found on iPhone line

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Date: Friday, February 16th, 2018, 03:38
Category: Hardware, HomePod, iPhone, News

The guesstimates are in and it looks like Apple shells out $216 to build each HomePod unit, meaning margins from the tech giant’s first smart speaker are much slimmer than those of its flagship iPhone line.

If the estimate is correct, this means Apple generates a profit margin around 38 percent with each $349 HomePod sold. This stands as lower than competing smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home, which boast margins of 56 percent and 66 percent, respectively.

The component breakdown found that the HomePod’s microphones, tweeters, single woofer and power management hardware add up to $58, while other miscellaneous parts like the OLED panel come out to another $60, the report said. TechInsights pegs Apple’s A8 chip at $25.50, as the housing and other unmentioned components run another $25. Manufacturing, testing and packaging tack on $17.50 to the final cost according to the firm’s estimates.

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Apple confirms that HomePod may leave white rings on wooden surfaces with oil or wax finish

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Date: Thursday, February 15th, 2018, 03:28
Category: Hardware, HomePod, News

As nifty as the HomePod may be, it can possibly leave white rings on wood surfaces with an oil or wax finish.

The discovery was noted in reviews by Wirecutter and Pocket-lint as well as highlighted by VentureBeat, with at least one user sharing the problem on Twitter.

Pocket-lint’s Stuart Miles offered the following statement about the issue in his review:

“For our tests we placed the speaker on a solid oak kitchen worktop treated with Danish oil.

Within 20 minutes the HomePod had caused a white discoloured ring to appear on the wood that some days later has faded, although still hasn’t completely disappeared.

We subsequently tested the HomePod on other materials: the same wood that hadn’t been treated with Danish oil and a regular lacquered desk and haven’t seen the same issues.”

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AppleCare+ for HomePod priced at $39, covers two accidental damage incidents

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Date: Tuesday, February 13th, 2018, 03:31
Category: AppleCare+, Hardware, HomePod, iOS, MacBook Pro, News, retail

If you’re looking to snag AppleCare+ for your new HomePod, it’ll run you $39.

The extended warranty and accidental damage repair program offers two out-of-warranty repairs like accidental damage from a drop.

Without AppleCare+, the repair will run $279.

The checkout process for a HomePod has said since the pre-order process that AppleCare+ coverage extending the warranty to two years, granting a longer customer support window, and providing for reduced-cost out-of-warranty repairs would cost $39. However, a new support document published on Friday breaks down the HomePod repair process, as well as costs associated with the repair.

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iFixit completes teardown of HomePod, posts findings

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Date: Tuesday, February 13th, 2018, 03:37
Category: Hardware, HomePod, News

When in doubt, use a hacksaw.

The cool cats at iFixit have taken it upon themselves to crack into the newly-released HomePod to find out what’s inside.

The outfit, which used an actual hacksaw to crack the smart speaker open, discovered an A8 processor, seven tweeters, six far-field microphones, and a high excursion woofer. The speaker dynamically adapts to its placement in a room to improve audio output and to create a stereo-like sound from a single unit.

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First HomePod orders begin heading to final destinations for U.S., U.K., and Australian customers

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Date: Friday, February 9th, 2018, 03:03
Category: HomePod, News, retail

Your pre-ordered HomePod unit is on its way to your loving arms.

The HomePod is en route, and customers in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia have begun receiving shipment notifications from Apple letting them know their orders have shipped and are on the way.

The first units are set to arrive in Australia and Apple is apparently using Next Day Air delivery in the United States, then shipping the units out from local hubs according to the tracking information.

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Home app to help manage HomePod software updates

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Date: Thursday, February 1st, 2018, 03:05
Category: HomePod, iTunes, News, retail, Siri, Software

It looks like you’ll use Apple’s Home app to update your HomePod once it arrives.

Developer Guilherme Rambo dug into Apple’s iOS code and found the HomePod software update mechanism. Along with alerting you to new software updates, the Home app will also let you enable automatic software updates, much like Apple TV.

While this is a little bit unexpected, it also fits into Apple’s history of sometimes building in Frankenstein-esque functionality into its apps, much like the way iTunes grew to become a central hub for media and devices.

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Preordered HomePod units look ready to arrive on February 9th, software thought to have caused delays

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Date: Monday, January 29th, 2018, 03:21
Category: Hardware, HomePod, News, retail

It looks like the HomePod is still set to arrive at February 9th for preorders placed on Friday, January 26th. As of last Friday, customers can still order a HomePod for home delivery or in-store pickup on February 9th, the first day of availability.

The steady release date supports the idea that it may have been the software that held up the HomePod, which was originally slated to ship in December. Apple delayed the product until early 2018, but never seemed to explicitly state the cause of the delay.

Historically, when Apple has delayed a product launch, as with AirPods or iPhone X, a component shortage or some other manufacturing issue has been to blame. When that’s been the case, Apple has quickly sold out of its initial availability, and delivery times have slipped.

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Apple releases iOS 11.2.5 update, adds HomePod support, security fixes, other changes

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Date: Wednesday, January 24th, 2018, 03:08
Category: Bluetooth, HomePod, iOS, iPad, iPhone, iTunes, News, security, Software

This should come in handy.

Apple pm Tuesday released iOS 11.2.5 for its iPhones and iPads. The release “includes support for HomePod and introduces the ability for Siri to read the news (US, UK and Australia only).”

The company also announced earlier in the day that preorders for the HomePod will begin on Friday, January 26th, with shipping on February 9th.

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HomePod receives FCC approval, appears ready to launch soon

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Date: Monday, January 22nd, 2018, 03:03
Category: Hardware, HomePod, iOS, Legal, News

Apple’s HomePod just snagged FCC approval and is that much closer to launch.

The smart speaker received approval on January 19th, which likely means a launch is imminent. Details on the filing include an image of the bottom of the smart speaker where the FCC label will be located.

Interestingly, many of the FCC documents are dated September 27th, but have just now been released, which suggests that the hardware may not have changed much in the past months.

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