Smart Home

Apple finally updates the original HomePod

With humidity and temperature alerts

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Smart speakers have grown into convenient, if not essential, devices to improve quality of life. For a brand operating within the space, it’s now important to stay updated with the newest features. Apple, after resting on one model for several years, has finally updated its full-sized HomePod with a slate of changes.

A day after announcing the new MacBook Pro, Apple unveiled the second-generation HomePod after the first one back in 2018. The new model will sit beside the HomePod mini released in 2020.

Built with an S7 chip, the new smart speaker sports one 4-inch woofer and five horn-loaded tweeters. It will also have a four microphones to keep Siri working even from far away. As an entertainment device, the new HomePod will work on its own (or as a pair with another HomePod) with spacing technology to deliver optimized audio.

As a smart home device, the new model will come with a few changes. For example, it can now detect humidity and temperature throughout a user’s home. In drier winter climes, the ability to detect humidity is an essential. Additionally, coming through a future update, the device will soon be able to detect the sounds of fire and house alarms, alerting users if they can hear something going off.

As with the rest of Apple’s thriving ecosystem, the HomePod will be compatible with the brand’s devices and services like Apple Music and Apple TV+.

The second-generation HomePod is available now for preorders. It will ship starting February 3 in select countries including Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It will cost US$ 299.

SEE ALSO: Apple HomePod mini Review: Best Small Smart Speaker?

News

Apple might be working on a smart display

Looks like an iPad but with a cheaper price

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If the recent slew of reports are any indication, Apple’s future hasn’t been this bright in a while. Besides its iconic lineup of devices, the brand is working on new products to expand what Apple already offers. According to a new rumor, Apple is reportedly developing another one: a smart display.

First reported by Bloomberg, the brand will eventually release a smart display that will work with Siri. The unannounced device will compete with others in the same space as Google’s Nest Hub and Amazon’s Echo Show.

The report notes that the device will look like an iPad but with limited features and a significantly cheaper price tag. As with other devices in the space, Apple’s future smart display will likely act as a hub for a smart home, engage with Siri, and contact others.

Besides its features, a cheaper price tag is one of the biggest draws of such a device. Apple is heavily known for its more exorbitant prices. Creating a more affordable smart home ecosystem might work in Apple’s favor.

Though Apple has not announced any confirmation towards the release of such a smart display, the brand is certainly furthering its efforts in the smart home space. Yesterday, the company launched the second generation of its full-sized HomePod after leaving the lineup for several years.

SEE ALSO: Apple finally updates the original HomePod

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Deals

LG Lunar New Year 2023 guide: Freebies for select devices

Featuring LG’s monitors, gram, CordZero, more

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LG G2 OLED TV

In celebration of Lunar New Year 2023, LG Electronics is including freebies to go along with purchases of selected products such as the CordZero vacuum stick, G2 OLED evo Gallery Edition, and DualUp Ergo Monitor. 

The list of free items and services includes grocery vouchers, wireless mice, complimentary installation for TVs, and even surprise boxes.

Here’s a rundown of devices included in the in-store sale which will last until January 31 and what corresponding promotional packages await customers.

LG CordZero A9 Kompressor with Tower

Announced late last year, LG’s all-in-one cordless vacuum stick which comes with a charging tower, automated dust removal system, and an UVC LED light source to make homes sparkling clean.

Price — SG$ 1,614

Inclusions:

  • grocery vouchers worth SG$ 50
  • Total Care kit
  • Dust bags (6 pieces)
  • Automatic wine opener (worth SG$ 50)

LG Objet WashTower

This integrated laundry system comes with a 21kg washer and 16kg dryer. With LG’s AI Direct Drive (AI DD), the cutting-edge WashTower determines the best washing method, minimizes fabric damage, and extends clothing life.

Price — SG$ 5,449 

Inclusions: 

  • Fiji Power Laundry Detergent Sheets (5 boxes)
  • Fabric Softener Sheets (4 boxes)

LG Objet Collection Refrigerators

These stylishly-designed refrigerators come with LG’s LINEARCooling system which precisely controls the internal temperature to keep foods and beverages cool and fresh. 

Price — SG$ 1,150 for top freezer design; SG$ 1,715 for bottom freezer design

Inclusions: 

  • Grocery vouchers worth SG$ 50

LG Soundbar S95QR

 

For those who want an immersive viewing at home, this sleek yet powerful soundbar features a 6-channel speaker system including center up-firing speakers.

With enhanced support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and IMAX, as well as WOWCAST connectivity, this soundbar is a must-have for home entertainment systems.

Price — SG$ 2,018

Inclusions: 

  • Grocery e-vouchers worth SG$ 100

LG G2 OLED evo Gallery Edition

LG C2

LG C2

One of LG’s most prized releases from 2022, this up to 97-inch OLED TV features the brand’s α9 Gen 5 intelligent processor, allowing users to be immersed in vivid and lifelike images, thanks to its immerse in lifelike and vivid images thanks to the Dynamic Tone-mapping Pro Algorithm.

Price — from SG$ 4,238 (55-inch) to SG$ 34,999 (soon-to-be-released 97-inch)

Inclusions:

  • Grocery e-vouchers worth SG$ 100
  • Free wall mount installation
  • Free 3 months Apple TV+
  • Free FN6 Earbuds (worth SG$ 268) for 77, 83, and 97-inch models
  • Grocery e-vouchers worth SG$ 100 for every purchase of LG StanbyME

LG DualUp Ergo Monitor

Not to be outdone, LG’s modern take on vertical displays maximizes spaces at home. It provides the screen size of two 21.5-inch monitors on its Square Double QHD (2,560 x 2,880) resolution screen.

Price — SG$ 999

Inclusions:

  • Free Logitech MX Master 3 wireless mouse (worth SG$ 169)

LG gram 16Z90Q

Lastly, LG’s lightweight and powerful laptops are powered by 12th Gen Intel Core processors and Intel Iris Xe graphics, have up to 16GB of memory and up to 1TB of SSD Gen 4 storage, and have a 16-inch IPS LCD screen along with a long-lasting battery that provides all-day life for professionals on the go.

Price — from SG$ 2,422 (i5); from SG$ 2,624 (i7)

Inclusions: 

  • Free LG gram wireless mouse (worth SG$ 59)
  • Surprise Box B (worth up to SG$ 500)
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CES 2023

Razer working on surround sound head cushion for gaming chairs

Project Carol

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Project Carol

Razer, at CES 2023, showed that they’re working on a novel concept which will provide gaming chairs with a surround sound head cushion, taking audio immersion to another level.

Dubbed as Project Carol, the proposed head cushion will give gamers an enveloping near-field surround sound and haptics, through Razer’s HyperSense technology.

As Project Carol will literally be just inches away from a person’s ear while seemingly wrapping the back half of one’s head, the surround sound experience will be more direct and will allow players to feel a more enveloping soundscape.

Once connected via 2.4Ghz wireless, the head cushion can convert game sounds into haptic feedback in real-time for an even more realistic feel.

Razer intends to make Project Carol compatible with all gaming chairs, including its very own Iskur and Enki lines. The estimated battery life on a single full charge is pegged at 8 hours.

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