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Apple hires a new HomePod software lead amid speaker market struggles

Engadget

Amid struggles to make headway in the smart speaker market, Apple has hired a new HomePod software head, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The company has reportedly brought onboard Afrooz Family, who co-founded the high-end audio startup Syng with former Apple designer Christopher Stringer. Apple's $349 HomePod arrived in 2018 to very mixed reviews, and was discontinued early this year. The company has noticeably failed to compete with smart speaker rivals, particularly Amazon's Alexa-powered Echo devices and Google's Assistant speaker family. Family worked for Apple between 2012 and 2016 and was on the original HomePod team before starting Syng.


The latest Apple TV 4K drops to $160 at Amazon

Engadget

Adorama had a good sale on the latest Apple TV 4K last week, and now it's Amazon's turn. The online retailer has the 2021 set-top box for $160 right now, which is just about a record low. You'll get the sale price thanks to a combination of a discount on the device itself, plus an automatically applied coupon that knocks an additional $9.01 off the price at checkout. The Apple TV 4K is, admittedly, more expensive than most other streaming devices but we consider it to be the best splurge pick right now. It's also the best option if you live within the Apple ecosystem.


The Apple TV 4K 32GB drops to $159 at Adorama

Engadget

The 2021 Apple TV 4K saw major improvements over the previous model, especially with performance and the improved Siri remote. If you've been waiting for a sale to pick one up, you can now save $20 on the 32GB model and buy one for just $159 at Adorama -- one of the better prices we've seen. With a review score of 90, the 2021 Apple TV 4K is among the best high-end streaming boxes available, particularly for Apple users. The A12 Bionic processor delivers zippy performance, and it supports Dolby Vision at 60 fps and Dolby Atmos sound, along with AirPlay 3 and screen mirroring. It also supports HomeKit, letting you ask Siri to show you video feeds, control smart lights, locks and more. The key difference with the last model, however, is the redesigned Siri remote.


How Apple TV's 'Foundation' is different from the books

Mashable

To say Apple TV's Foundation diverges from its source material would be a bit of an understatement. An adaptation of Isaac Asimov's classic science fiction novels, Foundation is less interested in following its source material to the letter than it is in creating a story within Asimov's universe that would make good TV. The basic plot remains the same: mathematician Hari Seldon (Jared Harris) foretells the fall of the Galactic Empire thanks to his theory of psychohistory. Knowing the fall is inevitable, he establishes the Foundation in order to preserve knowledge and, hopefully, civilization in the years to come. Foundation takes this story and tweaks it in some pretty big ways, which makes sense when considering the scale of Asimov's work.


'Finch' trailer sees man, machine and dog try to flee climate change

Engadget

Apple offered a brief glimpse of the Tom Hanks-led Finch at its recent iPhone 13 launch event, and now you can watch the first full trailer for the upcoming sci-fi film. The clip sets the stage for the story that follows. A solar flare knocked out most of the technology on Earth and left much of the US a desolate wasteland. Hanks' character, the titular Finch, survives in an underground shelter with his only companion, a dog named Goodyear, until he builds a new Android companion. The three of them eventually leave their home when it becomes threatened by the sandstorms that dominate the world of the movie.


Tom Hanks survives the apocalypse with a dog and robot in 'Finch' trailer

Mashable

In director Miguel Sapochnik's film, Hanks plays Finch, a robotics engineer who journeys to find a new home for his newfound dog friend and newly built robot (played by Caleb Landry Jones) after a catastrophic solar event destroys the land, covering it all in sand. Amid this genuinely terrifying situation, Finch teaches his canine companion some table manners and creates a humanoid robot from his hideout. As the three try to outrun an approaching storm, they become an unlikely team. Finch comes to Apple TV on Nov. 5.


HomePod mini update lets it become your default Apple TV speaker

Engadget

Apple didn't even touch on the HomePod line during its iPhone 13 event, but that doesn't mean the smart speakers will go untouched this fall. To start, you can set two or more HomePod minis as your default speakers for an Apple TV 4K. You won't have to specify them when it's time to sit down for a movie. They won't exactly produce thunderous audio, but they could save you from buying separate smart speakers or a pricier soundbar. The update enables Siri voice control through supporting HomeKit accessories.


Tech: iRobot's new £900 Roomba vacuum cleaner is trained to avoid dog and cat faeces

Daily Mail - Science & tech

These'poopocalypses' were a disgusting problem that even the manufacturers admitted back in 2016 was'seen a lot' and needed a solution. The Roomba j7 can also avoid getting tangled in cables, automatically clean only when everyone has left the house and learn from the feedback you give it. And each robot is covered by POOP -- the'Pet Owners' Official Promise -- with iRobot offering to replace any Roomba j7 that doesn't avoid solid pet waste. The WiFi-enabled Roomba j7, which comes with a'clean base' automatic dirt disposal system is retailing in the UK, US, Canada and Europe now from £899.99. Each Roomba j7 model is covered by POOP -- the'Pet Owners' Official Promise -- with iRobot offering to replace any Roomba j7 that doesn't avoid solid pet waste.


Google's Nest Audio smart speaker is on sale for $80 right now

Engadget

Google's Nest Audio has been one of our favorite smart speakers since it came out almost a year ago. When compared to other $100 devices, it packs a lot of value and will be especially attractive for those who already use the Google Assistant a lot. But now you can grab the speaker for even less because Best Buy and B&H Photo have the Nest Audio for only $80. While we did see the speaker drop to $75 ahead of Amazon Prime Day back in June, this is the best price we've seen since then. The Nest Audio is Google's answer to Amazon's Echo and Apple's HomePod mini and it holds its own against both of those devices. We like its attractive, minimalist design and you have five colors to choose from, so you'll likely find one that fits well with the rest of your home decor.


Get Google's smallest smart speaker for just $35 for a limited time

Mashable

TL;DR: Get the Google Nest Mini smart speaker on sale for $34.99, saving you $14.01 as of Aug. 21. If you've been interested in a smart speaker for your home but are overwhelmed by the number of options on the market these days, you're not alone. It's difficult to know what's worth the money and what's not. The second-generation Google Nest Mini Smart Speaker is well-reviewed and highly rated. The Nest Mini sports twice as intense bass power as the original Google Home Mini, as well as improved voice recognition, so you can ask for assistance from across the room with ease. It comes with an integrated wall mount, which makes it a breeze to set up in any room.