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Apple’s HomePod about to get huge improvements, AirPods Pro 2 updates coming and Apple TV – the winners & losers!

Apple HomePod to play Spotify

Appleviews – 23rd June 2023

Happy HomePod

Apple’s HomePods are about to get better later this year – and not before time.

With the release of iOS 17 later this summer AirPlay will get a makeover that will

Allow for media playback from third-party iOS apps. There has been a long-standing feud between Apple & Spotify, but it would seem that with this latest update that Apple has opened the door and extended an olive branch.

For these third-party apps to work on Apple’s smart speaker they will have to be in sync with SiriKit API which is the bit of code that lets users control the speaker via Siri.

The updates for AirPlay in iOS 17 will also improve overall dependability and will use your listening history to help suggest media when a HomePod is within range which should make for a smoother, on-the-move media experience.

Listen to this

Another audio experience that is about to get better with iOS17 is coming for AirPods Pro 2. Apple is set to update AirPods Pro 2 with 5 exciting new features which will make these awesome earbuds even better.

  1. Adaptive Audio: The first of these features which was announced at WWDC a few weeks ago, will “dynamically blend Transparency mode and Active Noise Cancellation based on the conditions of a user’s environment to deliver the best experience at the moment.” If it works as well as it sounds that should be fantastic.
  2. Conversation Awareness: How often have you had to mute or pause a track or podcast when you get served at a coffee shop? Well, it’s about to get easier. This function reduces background noise and amplifies the voice of the person speaking in front of you. The moment you start a conversation whatever you are listening to will attenuate – very clever.
  3. In iOS 17 pressing the stem on AirPods when on a call will mute or un-mute your voice as opposed to hanging up on the call.
  4. Automatic Switching: An original feature that is not universally loved. When it works it’s great, but all too often it proves to be a messy letdown. When your AirPods get updated with the upcoming over-the-air firmware update Apple says the “connection time between a user’s Apple devices is significantly faster and more reliable.” Fingers crossed.
  5. Personalised Volume; This is a feature which leans on machine learning and AI. AirPods Pro 2 will “understand conditions and listening preferences over time to automatically fine-tune the media experience” which Apple hopes will help protect your hearing over long-term use.

Of course, one other simple-sounding but meaningful update coming with iOS 17 is that the wake-up command will now only be Siri rather than Hey Siri in an attempt to make it more conversational.

And speaking of AirPlay

Another announcement at WWDC was that AirPlay would be coming to certain hotel groups later this year.

Well, LG who has a long-term relationship with Apple also happens to be the worlds leading provider of in-room hotel TVs. Together they intend that the hotel AirPlay experience will be every bit as easy to use as when at home.

In future to connect your iPhone or iPad to a hotel TV all you’ll need to do is scan a QR code with no need to download any apps, use passwords or sign in and out of accounts.

AirPlay will be coming to all LGs Pro:Centric Smart Hotel TVs later this year.

iWait!

The colourful 24-inch iMac was launched in the spring of 2021 and since then it has been untouched.

It has languished in the background as MacBooks, MacBook Airs, Mac Studios and Mac minis have all been given a freshen-up with M2 Apple silicon but the trusted iMac is still only running the original M1 chip.

Having decided not to buy into the 15-inch M2 MacBook Air hype I had pinned my hopes on getting a new iMac later this year. But according to MacRumors, it seems as if I may have to wait a little longer.

They reported this week that the iMac will be put on a 3-year cycle and won’t get a facelift until next year when it will get the new M3, 3-nanometer chip. As the M2 chip is coming to the end of its lifecycle I can see the sense in delaying the release of a new iMac – but I’m disappointed nonetheless.

Patent pending

When Apple’s iMac does finally get a release it may have a very exciting new feature built into it – a projector!

According to Patently Apple this week it would appear that the tech giant has been granted a patent that would allow for it to project images onto a nearby wall or desk.

The rear of the new iMac could have “a rear housing wall that may have a glass portion or other transparent structure through which projectors project images onto nearby surfaces”

Further on in the patent it mentions that it could also have gaze detection sensors for Face ID possibly and sensors that receive light potentially for wireless connections.

Possible uses for the new feature could be for online meetings and FaceTime calls.

Apple TV – good and bad

If you have read me over recent months you’ll know of my love for Apple TV+ content. Since its 2018 launch, they have grown into a main player in the streaming game.

They were once considered to be minnows with not much content, but Apple has thrown their might behind the service and now there is release after release. There have been so many winners over the past 12 months – Bad Sisters, Black Bird, Five Days at Memorial and Slow Horses to mention just a few.

But as the service grows there are bound to be some casualties as well. Here is a round-up of shows that are being continued, axed or even slashed before production started!

Shrinking, The Reluctant Traveler, Silo & The Big Door Prize have been renewed for their respective second seasons. Acapulco and Tehran have both been renewed for a third and The Morning Show with Jennifer Anniston & Reece Witherspoon is to get its fourth season.

Not so lucky was Dear Edward which was cut after only one season. Mosquito Coast was cancelled after its second season. Truth Be Told and Physical have ended their runs after their third seasons.

Metropolis a planned 8-part series was cut before production even started due to escalating costs.

Only Apple

There was a bit of shock this week for the 111-year-old Fruit Union Suisse whose logo is a red apple with a white cross on it. It looks like they may be forced to change their logo – that is if Apple gets their way.

Apple is trying to gain the IP (intellectual property) to the image of a red apple!

Fruit Union Suisse director Jimmy Mariéthoz said;

“We have a hard time understanding this because it’s not like they’re trying to protect their bitten apple. Their objective here is really to own the rights to an actual apple, which, for us, is almost universal … that should be free for everyone to use.”

This isn’t a first for Apple either. In 2017 Apple requested to gain the IP of a black-and-white image of a Granny Smiths apple.

CarPlay

Apple’s iOS 17 will also bring some fresh updates to CarPlay too.

SharePlay is the headliner which will let passengers share their music to the iPhone that is paired to CarPlay. When updated there will be an icon in the top right of the playing now screen. Once tapped a QR code pops up for passengers to scan and that should be it.

Other than that Siri will look neater on this new version. Siri will no longer dominate the screen but rather appear as a more subtle lower third and there will be user-chosen wallpaper options as well.

Apple Maps when bought up in CarPlay will offer more information on the availability of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations along your route.

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