The first time I got close to one of Apple’s HomePods was in a secluded meeting room at WWDC. Sonically, at least, it blew away the competition. After seven months — not to mention the introduction of other impressive smart speakers — Apple invited me to spend another hour with a near-final HomePod, and it still sounds like the one to beat. There’s much more to the HomePod than just its stellar sound quality, though, and my time spent with Apple’s new speaker provided answers to some key lingering questions. But first: the basics.
Apple, the world’s most valuable company, has always proudly trumpeted its California roots. But the most American of all tech companies has never been a fan of paying back into the system that facilitated its success. On Wednesday, it announced that now that the US government has sufficiently capitulated on corporate tax rates, it will pay a fraction of the taxes it previously would have owed.
Apple is getting real close to copping media-recognition app maker ShazamEntertainment for a cool $401 million. Casual. The report comes via TechCrunch, who isn’t naming and names when it comes to who spilled the beans (or shall we say bytes) on the potential deal. The $401 million price tag isn’t chump change, but it’s significantly less than half the $1.2 billion valuation Shazam announced in 2015.
Laurene Powell Jobs, one of the world’s richest women and the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, reportedly has purchased a 20 percent stake in Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the company that controls the Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals, Washington Mystics and Capital One Arena.
As any nagging cybersecurity expert will tell you, keeping your software up to date is the brushing and flossing of digital security. But even the most meticulous practitioners of digital hygiene generally focus on maintaining the updates of their computer’s operating system and applications, not its firmware. That obscure, reptile-brain code controls everything from a PC’s webcam to its trackpad to how it finds the rest of its software as it boots up. Now one new study has found that the most critical elements of millions of Macs’ firmware aren’t getting updates. And that’s not because lazy users have neglected to install them, but because Apple’s firmware updates frequently fail without any notice to the user, or simply because Apple silently stopped offering those computers firmware updates—in some cases even against known hacking techniques.
Yesterday, a leak from one of the most reliable Apple rumor sleuths claimed that the iPhone 8 won’t feature a fingerprint scanner integrated into the display. That feature has been expected for some time. But if a new report is correct, it seems that fingerprints are going to be replaced with 3D facial recognition.