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Apple Now Selling Refurbished HomePod for $299

Apple today added the HomePod to its online store for refurbished products in the United States, offering the smart speaker at a discount for the first time.

The HomePod, normally priced at $349, is available in both white and space gray for &#3…

Apple’s rumored over-ear headphones might be just as smart as the HomePod

Apple’s HomePod hasn’t quite dominated the industry in the way that its phones and tablets have (yet, anyway), but the underlying technology that powers the smart speaker is undeniably impressive. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the company is thinking about employing the same beamforming technology — which enables speakers to automatically adjust to the size and shape of the room — in its upcoming over-ear headphones.

In a new Apple patent published this week (via 9to5Mac), the company describes two potential uses of beamforming in its headphones, the first of which would make the headphones reversible by automatically detecting which ear cup is over which ear. Apple describes how this would work on a technical level in its patent:

Embodiments of the invention relate generally to a system and method for automatic right-left ear detection for headphones. Specifically, in one embodiment, the headphone includes two earcups that are identical and include at least three microphones to capture acoustic signals. In another embodiment, each of the earcups may be coupled to an earcup detector that receives the microphone signals from at least one of the earcups and determines which of the earcups is worn on the user’s right ear.

The other possible use case would be to let the headset understand when you’re on a call and automatically block out background noise with a process called “voice beamforming,” which reacts to the user’s mouth:

[A] processor […] may be used to perform voice beamforming towards the user’s mouth to capture the user’s speech and perform noise beamforming away from the user’s mouth to capture environmental noise.

Reports about Apple’s rumored over-ear headphones began popping up earlier this year, and were later backed up by a Bloomberg report in July. The headphones are supposedly scheduled to launch in 2019.

How to Get Siri to Play a Daily News Digest

If you own an Alexa smart device, you’ll likely have used the “What’s new?” or “What’s happening?” voice command to hear your daily news briefing, which can be customized to include your own interests.

Siri has a similar feature that uses the Pod…

Apple releases HomePod 12.1 software update with stability and quality improvements

Apple today released the iOS 12.1 software for its Siri-powered HomePod speaker, which according to the official changelog includes general improvements for stability and quality…. Read the rest of this post here “Apple releases HomePod 12.1 software update with stability…

Apple’s HomePod 12.1 Software Missing for Most HomePod Users [Update: Fixed]

Apple has been updating the HomePod software alongside major iOS updates, so it was something of a surprise when iOS 12.1 was released yesterday with no accompanying HomePod 12.1 software to go along with it.

As it turns out, though, there is a Home…