Apple on Tuesday finally released the MagSafe Duo Charger, which is a $129 charger that combines an iPhone 12 MagSafe charger with an Apple Watch charging puck.


We picked up one of the new ‌MagSafe‌ Duo chargers to see if it's worth Apple's super high asking price.

Apple first introduced the ‌MagSafe‌ Duo alongside the new ‌iPhone 12‌ models in October, but until its surprise release on Tuesday, there was no word on when it would come out. It's available from the Apple online store now, and also some retail stores in the United States.

magsafe duo design
The ‌MagSafe‌ Duo is made from a white material with a book-style design. One half has a ‌MagSafe‌ charger that attaches magnetically to ‌iPhone 12‌ models, while the other half has an Apple Watch charging puck. The Apple Watch charging puck can be used flat or it can pop up so you can charge the Apple Watch in Nightstand mode, but the ‌MagSafe‌ charger remains flat. The design is simple and clean, and it folds over neatly, something that will be great for future travel.

magsafe duo apple watch pop up
On the surface, the ‌MagSafe‌ Duo looks like a decent charging option, but at its price point, there are compromises to be aware of. It does not ship with a power adapter so you need to purchase one or use one that you already own, and there are charging limitations.

magsafe duo iphone apple watch 2
The ‌MagSafe‌ Charger on its own can charge an ‌iPhone 12‌ at up to 15W with Apple's 20W USB-C charger, but if you use that same 20W USB-C charger with the ‌MagSafe‌ Duo, an ‌iPhone 12‌ will be limited to a maximum of 11W. You can use a 27W+ charger instead and it will charge at up to 14W, but it is not able to hit that 15W maximum. Apple's 20W USB-C Power Adapter costs $19, and the 30W version is $49, so adding on a charger raises the cost of the ‌MagSafe‌ Duo quite a bit.

There have also been some ‌MagSafe‌ Charger charging limitations with certain power adapters that are PD 3.0 compatible, and that may also be a concern with the ‌MagSafe‌ Duo.

magsafe duo airpods apple watch
At the $129 price point, the ‌MagSafe‌ Duo really should have come with a power adapter rather than just a USB-C to Lightning cable. A standalone Apple Watch charging puck is $29 and a ‌MagSafe‌ Charger is $39 for a total of $68, but Apple is charging close to twice that to connect them together.

magsafe duo folded
There are plenty of wireless charging options that are well over $100, but most of those include power adapters. There aren't any other multi-device ‌MagSafe‌ charging options that are available at the current time, but third-party manufacturers are working on solutions that might be better than what Apple is offering.

magsafe duo iphone apple watch
So who should buy this? Apple fans who have an Apple Watch and an ‌iPhone 12‌ and who plan to travel often will likely find the ‌MagSafe‌ Duo useful, but it's not a must-have accessory nor is it any kind of deal, which is worth keeping in mind. We recommend waiting to see what kind of third-party accessories come out in the next few months.

iPhone and iPad users who share apps with their families through Apple's Family Sharing feature can now share subscription apps as well.

share new subscriptions family sharing
In the App Store settings under "Subscriptions," there's a "Share New Subscriptions" setting that appears to be enabled automatically, allowing subscription apps to be shared among family members. The new option is available on the current release version of iOS, iOS 14.2.

Apple announced subscription sharing options as part of iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and macOS Big Sur. Developers are able to decide whether subscriptions should be available to members of a Family Sharing group. Some apps have been implementing the feature, as noted by Ryan Jones on Twitter.


Prior to today, if one member of a family purchased an app that included a subscription benefit, there was no built-in way for those subscription features to be shared with other family members.

Amazon has added a new feature to its Alexa app for iOS devices, which is designed to allow users to type Alexa commands rather than having to use voice commands to interact with the personal assistant.

amazon alexa typing
In a statement provided to The Verge, Amazon says that Type with Alexa is a new feature that's available as of today in public preview capacity in the United States. Alexa iOS users can type anything that would normally require a voice command into the app.

Type to Alexa can be accessed by tapping on the keyboard icon in the top left of the main menu in the app. Amazon says that the feature is still in beta, so there could be some errors. Customers will need to be a part of the public preview program to access the type to Alexa feature.

Apple's built-in Siri assistant has had a type to Siri option since iOS 11, allowing users to type in requests rather than having to speak them aloud, and Google Assistant has a similar feature.

Tags: Amazon, Alexa

Apple has given a straight-to-series order to "Gutsy Women," a docuseries that will be hosted and executive produced by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Chelsea Clinton.

Apple TV Ray Light

The series is based on their book "The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience," and it will feature a diverse cast of trailblazing women.


The book that inspired the series focuses on portraits of women like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Helen Keller, Maria Von Trapp, Mary Ritter Beard, Harriet Tubman, Edith Windsor, Anne Frank, Ada Lovelace, Marie Curie, Sally Ride, Clara Barton, Eleanor Roosevelt, Malala Yousafzai, and many others.


The Clintons will be launching HiddenLight Productions alongside director Sam Branson to produce the series. Apple TV+ is home to several documentaries and documetary television shows, including "The Oprah Conversation," "The Elephant Queen," "Boys State," and more.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Apple in November announced a new App Store Small Business Program that lowers App Store fees for small business owners and independent developers to 15 percent, down from the standard 30 percent. The program is set to launch on January 1, 2021, and as of today, eligible developers are able to sign up.

app store 15 percent feature
Apple has launched an App Store Small Business Program website that has all of the information that developers need to know, along with signup tools. The program is open to all developers who earn less than $1 million from the ‌App Store‌ in a calendar year, which applies to 98 percent of developers, according to a recent analysis.

When initially announcing the program, Apple promised to provide developers with more information, and has today done so through the ‌App Store‌ Small Business Program website. The site walks through the basics of how it works, answering questions about eligibility, app transfers, payouts, and more.

The 15 percent fee applies to paid app purchases, in-app purchases, and subscription fees, and this year, all developers who earned under $1 million from the ‌App Store‌ in 2020 are able to qualify for the program. Developers new to the ‌App Store‌ will also be able to participate.

Notably, today's information clarifies that the $1 million total applies to Associated Developer Accounts.

To participate in the program, you and your Associated Developer Accounts must have earned no more than 1 million USD in total proceeds (sales net of Apple's commission and certain taxes and adjustments) during the 12 fiscal months occurring within the 2020 calendar year, and have earned no more than 1 million USD during the current year.

It also says that app transfers are not allowed while participating in the program. Any app transfer initiated after December 31, 2020 makes a developer ineligible to participate in the program.

Apple says that developers should submit their enrollment by December 18, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time to receive program benefits by January 1, 2021. More information can be found on Apple's site.

Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming macOS Big Sur 11.1 update to developers for testing purposes, with the beta coming two weeks after the release of the first beta and three weeks after the launch of macOS Big Sur 11.0.1, the release version of the software.

First Look Big Sur Feature2
Developers can download the ‌macOS Big Sur‌ 11.1 beta using the Software Update mechanism in System Preferences after installing the proper profile from the Apple Developer Center.

There's no word yet on what's included in ‌macOS Big Sur‌ 11.1, but it likely includes performance improvements, security updates, and fixes for bugs that weren't able to be addressed in the release version of ‌macOS Big Sur‌.

No major new feature changes were discovered in the first beta, but we'll update this article should something new be found in the second beta.

Related Roundup: macOS Big Sur

The Apple Watch has never included a camera, likely due to battery life and space concerns. A new Apple Watch product aims to address that lack by introducing a wrist-worn camera that works with the Apple Watch.


The Apple-certified Wristcam attaches to the Apple Watch in the form of a band that adds a rather large camera set to the top of the Apple Watch. It's quite thick and bulky, but can capture 1080p video and 4K resolution stills. There's an 8-megapixel "world-facing" camera and a 2-megapixel "self-facing" camera in the accessory.

wristcam design
The camera supports video live-streaming, presumably through the included Wristcam app as FaceTime video is not available on the Apple Watch. The app includes a live viewfinder, gallery, and sharing tools. According to the company that makes the Wristcam, there are bright LEDs next to the cameras that make it obvious when a photo or video is being captured.

wristcam front facing camera
Wristcam comes in a variety of colors, including Noir, Blanc, Gray, Rose, and Sage. It is water resistant and has an internal battery that lasts "all day" with moderate to heavy use, along with memory that syncs new photo and video assets with the iPhone while it's charging. The Wristcam comes with a magnetic USB charging cable.

wristcam world facing camera
Wristcam founder Ari Roisman said that he designed the accessory for moments when a camera isn't available.

wristcam front camera 2

"Living with Wristcam feels a bit like having superpowers. Customers love our lightweight, casual camera for quick capture while staying in the moment. The phone isn't always within reach, and it's nice to have a camera handy when going out with friends, or going on a run, ride, or hike with just an Apple Watch. "But it's Wristcam's live video capabilities that are truly next level and sci-fi worthy. I'm so proud of our team and the transformational product experience we've been able to craft. We are so excited to see all the new types of content and experiences Apple Watch users create with Wristcam."

Wristcam is priced at $299 and can be purchased from the Wristcam website.

Following a busy fall season in which Apple hosted three events in as many months, the company may have one more product announcement in store this year.

apple briefcase
In an internal memo this week, obtained by MacRumors from a reliable source, Apple informed service providers that it has AppleCare-related changes planned for Tuesday, December 8 at approximately 5:30 a.m. Pacific Time. Specifically, Apple has advised technicians to prepare for new product SKUs, new/updated product descriptions, and new/updated product pricing, according to the memo.

Apple has issued nearly identical memos ahead of several previous product announcements. Shortly after announcing its iPhone 12 event this year, for example, Apple advised technicians to prepare for the same AppleCare-related changes on October 13 at approximately 10 a.m. Pacific Time, which is when the event began.

While it is unlikely that Apple will be hosting another event this year, 5:30 a.m. Pacific Time has been a common time for Apple to issue press releases introducing new products, such as a new 13-inch MacBook Pro in May 2020, the 16-inch MacBook Pro in November 2019, and second-generation AirPods in March 2019.

Last month, cryptic-yet-reliable Twitter user "L0vetodream" tweeted that there will be a "Christmas surprise from Apple," but it remains unclear which product(s) might be announced next Tuesday, if any. There have been countless rumors about Apple's item tracking AirTags, AirPods-branded over-ear headphones, and a new Apple TV with a gaming controller, but it is unclear if any of these products are ready to launch in 2020.

Given that AppleCare changes are expected, it is likely that any product(s) announced next Tuesday would have AppleCare+ coverage available, so we could be looking at new hardware. However, in the interest of tempering expectations, it is possible that the announcement could be for a minor accessory, or that no announcement transpires at all.

All in all, we'll be keeping our eyes on the Apple Newsroom for a potential announcement next Tuesday at 5:30 a.m. Pacific Time.

Earlier in the week as part of our Cyber Monday coverage of software accessories, we shared a bundle deal of Mac software being offered by StackSocial. This bundle, called the Official Cyber Monday Mac Bundle, includes software like Parallels Desktop Pro and Luminar 4 and is priced at $42 exclusively for MacRumors readers.

cyber monday mac bundleNote: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

The sale is still going on, so if you're interested you can head over to StackSocial and enter the code RUMORS40 at checkout to see the bundle drop to $42.00 from $69.99. You'll have until next Wednesday, December 9 to take advantage of the StackSocial bundle deal.

In total there are 12 apps offered in the bundle, including software for editing photos, learning a new language, taking notes, optimizing your Mac's storage, managing files, staying organized, and more. We've collected all of the apps available in the bundle in the list below.

The Official Cyber Monday Mac Bundle

  • Parallels Desktop Pro (1 year subscription) - Run thousands of Windows apps on
    your Mac without compromising on performance.
  • Luminar 4 - AI-powered photo editor for quick and efficient editing.
  • PDFpenPRO 12 - PDF editor with large resource of editing tools.
  • Goose VPN (lifetime subscription) - Stay safe and secure while browsing the Internet.
  • BusyCal 3 - Desktop calendar app with support for integrating with iCloud.
  • Movavi Screen Recorder 2021 - Take video screen captures on your Mac.
  • uTalk (lifetime subscription) - Learning language tool with over 140 languages to learn.
  • Edraw MindMaster - Professional-style brainstorming tool for taking down notes.
  • Gemini 2 - Easily delete duplicate files to free up space on your Mac.
  • Dropzone 4 Pro - Move, copy, upload, and do more with Dropzone's "swiss army knife" kit of tools.
  • ForkLift 3 - Powerful file manager with dual pane support.
  • Art Text 4 - Create professional logos and graphics.

As a note, remember to check the terms for each app for more information on the length of the license, eligibility for future upgrades, and more. Keep up with all of this week's best discounts on Apple products and related accessories in our dedicated Apple Deals roundup.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals

A new patent filing reveals a much more versatile multi-display variant of Apple's Pro Stand for the Pro Display XDR. The extremely complex mechanical design seeks to address the shortcomings of existing multi-display solutions, offering easy and precise adjustment for up to two external displays.

dual pro stand patent 1
The patent, first spotted by Patently Apple, is simply titled "Dual Display Stand," and was first filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in May 2019.

The filing outlines a large display stand with two spaced-apart legs, connected by a horizontal support bar that allows two displays to be attached. The stand allows for an extraordinary level of precise adjustment and control, with vertical, horizontal, and center pivot degrees of freedom. Apple offers a brief description of the improvements offered by the stand in the patent:

The display stand provides improved smoothness, rigidity, and comfort for the user to support and use multiple displays on a single stand.

dual pro stand patent 2

The stand seems to use the same moveable joints as the existing Pro Stand, but places them on shuttles and a rail for horizontal adjustment. A central joint on the support bar allows the stand to adjust the angle between the displays.

dual pro stand patent 3
Both stands have handles to one side that can be turned to easily adjust the height of the support bar for exact vertical adjustment. The patent notes that the entire bar is lifted regardless of the angle of the support bar or which handle is twisted.

The patent also stresses that the shuttles on the continuous rail provide "smooth, consistent contact" with the rails despite adjustments to the support bar using wheels.

dual pro stand patent 4
The filing explains why the Dual Display Stand solution may be better than existing stand solutions such as independently-movable VESA-mount arms:

When users use multiple displays in a workspace, the displays are generally supported by multiple different individual stands or by independently-movable arms that extend from a single support point. These individual stands or arms unnecessarily take up large spaces, are often aesthetically unpleasing, overcomplicated, and have inefficient redundant mechanisms. When multiple displays are used on independent arms, they can be difficult to align in a smooth and precise way due to inconsistent counterbalancing and arm lengths. When multiple displays are used on a single support, they cannot be effectively adjusted relative to each other about a vertical axis.

It is unusual to see an Apple patent filing that outlines an entire product, particularly one that seems to be so far developed. Normally, patent filings focus on a specific aspect of a product, and while the Dual Display Stand's mechanical operations are all able to come under a single filing, the aesthetic similarities to the existing Pro Stand and general level of completeness is striking.

Given this level of completeness, it is possible that Apple may be planning to bring the Dual Display Stand to retail at some point in the future, or it may be reserved for internal corporate use.

Having said that, patent filings only reliably show what Apple is developing, and many features and products detailed in its patents never see the light of day.

Apple's Pro Stand for the Pro Display XDR, sold separately to the display itself, caused controversy when it was announced in June 2019 for its $999 price tag.

Related Roundup: Apple Pro Display XDR

Amazon today has Apple's M1 13-inch MacBook Pro (256GB) for $1,199.99, down from $1,299.99. You'll see this price after a $50 coupon is automatically applied at the checkout screen.

100 off m1 macbook proNote: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Typically, the best sales on this notebook are for $50 off the original price, so today's sale is one of the best discounts we've seen since the new MacBook Pro models launched in November. Shoppers should note that delivery dates are already slipping to late December, so be sure to lock in this sale price today if you're interested.

Apple refreshed the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro models in November 2020, adding an Apple-designed "M1" Arm-based chip to replace the prior Intel chips. M1 chips bring significant speed and efficiency improvements.

You can find even more discounts on other MacBooks by visiting our Best Deals guide for MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. In this guide we track the steepest discounts for the newest MacBook models every week, so be sure to bookmark it and check back often if you're shopping for a new Apple notebook.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals

Apple will be required to include a power adapter with every iPhone sold in São Paulo, Brazil, the state's consumer protection agency has declared.

iphone 11 pro charger
The public agency Procon-SP contacted Apple in October and asked the company to explain why it was no longer providing charging accessories with its new iPhones.

Apple responded by touting the environmental benefits of no longer including a power adapter with iPhones, noting that many users already have spare chargers, plus the move reduces carbon emissions and avoids the mining and use of rare-earth elements.

However, in a press release on Wednesday, the Procon-SP said that a power adapter was an "essential part" for the use of the product, and selling the ‌iPhone‌ without it is against the Brazilian Consumer Defense Code.

Moreover, the agency said that Apple had not sufficiently demonstrated evidence of the environmental benefits of removing the charger from the box, and failed to make it clear in marketing materials that one is no longer included. Apple's conduct will now be reviewed by the agency's supervisory board and this may result in a fine.

Although the decision is exclusive to the state of São Paulo, Brazil's federal government is also said to be looking at forcing Apple to sell the iPhones with the power adapter included in the box nationwide.

Apple faced a similar situation in France this year, where it is required to include EarPods in the box of every ‌iPhone‌ due to legal obligations.

The inclusion of earphones there is due to national legislation that requires all smartphones to include a "handsfree kit" to protect children under 14 from the potential risk of electromagnetic radio waves.

As was rumored before Apple officially unveiled the ‌iPhone 12‌, all four models ship without EarPods or a power adapter in the box in other countries around the world. In addition, the iPhone 11, iPhone XR, and iPhone SE no longer include these accessories either.

Tag: Brazil

Ecobee has updated its SmartCamera to support Apple's HomeKit Secure Video, which allows the cameras to capture and store recordings securely in iCloud.

ecobee SmartCamera
The firmware update means SmartCamera owners have another option aside from Ecobee's $5-a-month subscription for video recording and movement notifications.

With ‌‌HomeKit Secure Video‌‌, video footage is encrypted and stored in ‌iCloud‌ rather than on servers handled by Ecobee. Footage can be viewed in the Home app, and all motion and people detection is done on-device for privacy purposes.

Using ‌‌HomeKit Secure Video‌‌ requires an upgraded ‌‌iCloud‌‌ storage plan. Apple's 200GB plan supports one ‌‌HomeKit Secure Video‌‌ camera, while the 1TB plan supports up to five cameras.

Users with the 200GB plan can store 10 days of recordings from one camera in ‌‌iCloud‌‌ at no extra cost, while those with a 2TB plan can store 10 days of recordings from up to five cameras. ‌‌HomeKit Secure Video‌‌ recordings do not count towards a user's ‌‌iCloud‌‌ storage usage.

‌HomeKit Secure Video‌ requires an iPad, HomePod, or Apple TV in the house to serve as a home hub for connecting the cameras to the Internet.

As The Verge points out, if you're thinking of switching from Ecobee's $5-a-month video recording subscription to ‌HomeKit Secure Video‌, it's worth noting that, like other HomeKit-compatible cameras, Apple's Home app doesn't support the camera's ability to pan and tilt.

Apple today is honoring International Day of Persons with Disabilities with a re-launch of its Accessibility site and a new collection of tutorial videos highlighting the accessibility features of its software.

accessibility site
As spotted by iMore, the redesigned site is made up of four broad sections that showcase many of the accessibility features across Apple's product range, with new categories covering vision, mobility, hearing, and cognitive features.

The vision section covers several iOS features such as the Magnifier, Zoom, Larger Text, Voiceover + Braille, and Spoken Content, while the hearing covers using Sound Recognition, Headphone Accommodations, Sensory Alerts, Live Listen, and many more useful tools.

Meanwhile, over on the Apple Support YouTube channel, Apple has added new how-to videos to its Accessibility playlist on using the Magnifier, the BackTap feature, and specific Voice Control usage scenarios, including how to take a selfie.


Apple's Accessibility website and the Apple Support channel have more details.

Apple's Accessibility Engineering Lead for iOS Chris Fleizach and Senior Director of Global Accessibility, Policy, and Initiatives Sarah Herrlinger also did an interview with TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino to discuss the newest accessibility technology from Apple.

Google has updated its 2FA Authenticator app for iOS with a new account transfer feature that makes it much easier to transfer two-factor authentication codes to a new iPhone.

google authenticator app
2FA adds an extra layer of security to your online accounts by requiring a randomly generated six-digit code after you've entered your password. Google's app generates codes for your accounts on the fly, but until now the process of transferring accounts to a new ‌iPhone‌ was time-consuming and involved multiple steps.

Thankfully, that's no longer the case, and you can now select which accounts to export by tapping the three dots in the top-right corner of the app and choosing Export accounts.

After you've chosen which accounts to export (you can export up to 10 accounts at a time), the Authenticator app will generate a QR code. Scan this code using the Authenticator app on your new device, and the chosen accounts will be automatically transferred.

authenticator export accounts
In addition to 2FA export, the latest update to the app also adds a refreshed interface and Dark Mode support, which respects your systemwide settings.

Remember, if you buy a new ‌iPhone‌ to replace your existing one and you use the Google Authenticator app, you should transfer those accounts to your new phone as soon as possible, because without the 2FA codes close at hand, you could find yourself locked out of your online accounts.

Google Authenticator is a free download for ‌‌iPhone‌ available on the App Store.‌ [Direct Link]

Since Apple launched the iPhone 12 in October, an increasing number of users of the new smartphone have been reporting persistent drops in cellular coverage.

iphone 12 5g
Multiple reports of dropped 5G and LTE connectivity have appeared on Reddit, on Apple's support forums, and on the MacRumors forums, with many people suffering issues when walking or in transit and some seeing the same problem when stationary.

Several users report suddenly losing all reception bars and seeing a "no service" message on their ‌iPhone 12‌, despite being in an area of network coverage and seeing no connectivity issues on other devices, and iOS version doesn't seem to be a factor.

Several users have been in touch with Apple technical support or their operator, and there's some suggestion that the issue may be related to how the ‌iPhone 12‌ switches between cellular towers. Affected iPhones reportedly pass all of Apple's diagnostic tests, while toggling Airplane mode on and off seems to correct the lost signal reception for some, but not all users.

‌iPhone 12‌ users in various countries have relayed their experience with the problem, and it doesn't appear to be related to any one network carrier, with reports from users across Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. Verizon is said to be aware of the issue.

Have you seen similar sudden dropped connections on your ‌iPhone 12‌ for no apparent reason? Let us know in the comments below.

(Thanks, Wesley!)

Related Roundups: iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro

As 2020 comes to a close, Apple has been sharing top lists for podcasts, the App Store, and now, Apple Music. Apple today announced the top song and album of 2020, along with top 100 charts of the most popular songs during the year.

top 100 apple music songs
The top song of 2020 was "The Box" by Roddy Ricch, with 13.7 million plays worldwide during its debut week alone. "Blinding Lights" by The Weeknd was the number two most popular song, followed by "Dance Monkey" from Tones And I and "ROCKSTAR" from DaBaby.

The top album was Roddy Ricch's "Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial," and the second most streamed album was Lil Baby's "My Turn." "Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon" from Pop Smoke took the third spot, Lil Uzi Vert's "LUV vs. World 2" was number four, and Summer Walker's album "Over It" was the number five top album of 2020.

"Dance Monkey" from Tones And I was the most Shazamed song of 2020, while "WAP" by Cardi B had the lyrics that were most often looked up. "Roses" from SAiNt JHN, "Blinding Lights" from the Weeknd, "Breaking Me" from Topic & A&S, and "Ride It" were the other most Shazamed songs of the year.

Apple also shared some interesting data on locations where songs where first Shazamed. The 20 most streamed songs of the year were initially Shazamed in 19 different cities and 11 countries, and the top 100 songs were first tagged in 70 different markets worldwide and 29 countries.

The ‌Apple Music‌ app has full charts that include the top 100 global songs of 2020, the top 100 most read lyrics, and the top 100 most Shazamed songs for those who are interested in delving deeper into the ‌Apple Music‌ trends of 2020. The latter two charts are new this year, and there are also song breakdowns by country.

‌Apple Music‌ users can see their own top songs and albums of 2020 through the ‌Apple Music‌ Replay feature, which is available on the web.

Apple recently released the HomePod mini, a new $99 version of the original HomePod that's smaller, cuter, and, most importantly, competitively priced. At $99, the ‌HomePod mini‌ can better compete with affordable smart speakers from companies like Google and Amazon.


The ‌HomePod mini‌ has been praised for its high-quality sound at its price point, so we thought we'd compare it to Google's Nest Audio and Amazon's Echo to see how it measures up in terms of sound quality, design, and smarts. In the video and the photos below, the ‌HomePod mini‌ is the white speaker, the Amazon Echo is the black speaker, and the Google Nest Audio is the gray speaker that's taller in size.

homepod mini amazon echo size
First and foremost, the Nest Audio is priced at $99.99, and the Amazon Echo has an MSRP of $99.99, but it's currently on sale for $70, so all three speakers are available at about the same price points. We may not see the ‌HomePod mini‌ drop in price to Echo level anytime soon given that it was just released, so Amazon has an edge when it comes to pricing.

nest audio homepod mini comparison
The Nest and the Echo are larger than the ‌HomePod mini‌, but all three have a similar mesh fabric design. The Nest Audio has a tall, flat design, while the Echo and ‌HomePod mini‌ have a round shape.

The Echo has easy to use physical buttons, while the Nest Audio has capacitive touch controls that aren't exactly intuitive when you're first starting to use it. The ‌HomePod mini‌ has a little touch area at the top that supports touch gestures and lets you know when Siri's been activated.

amazon echo homepod mini side by side
There is no built-in microphone muting function on the ‌HomePod mini‌, while both the Nest and Echo have mute switches so you can prevent them from listening to conversations if desired. The Echo has a 3.5mm headphone jack that can connect to other devices, something lacking on the ‌HomePod mini‌ and the Nest.

When it comes to power, the ‌HomePod mini‌ is the only one of the bunch that has a USB-C connector and a separate power adapter, which means it theoretically can be run off of a battery pack with a USB-C port.

homepod mini
As for sound quality, there's not as much difference as you might think and all three sound close to the same. At similar volumes, the ‌HomePod mini‌ has a more balanced sound with nothing blown out, but the Echo and the Nest deliver more bass (perhaps a little too much) and can reach higher volumes due to their larger sizes. Audio equipment inside each speaker is listed below.

  • Amazon Echo: 76mm woofer and two 20mm tweeters.
  • Nest Audio: 75mm woofer and one 19mm tweeter.
  • ‌HomePod mini‌: Full range driver and dual passive radiators.

The Nest Audio and the Amazon Echo win out over the ‌HomePod mini‌ if you're looking for volume because they can better fill a room with sound. You can pair two ‌HomePod‌ minis together to ramp up the volume, but that requires another $99 investment. Even with a much smaller form factor, the ‌HomePod mini‌ isn't too far off from the larger speakers, and the ‌HomePod mini‌'s sound continues to be impressive for such a tiny device.

amazon echo
All of the speakers are considered smart speakers and work with ‌Siri‌ (‌HomePod mini‌), Google Assistant (Nest Audio), and Alexa (Amazon Echo). The speakers can be used to control smart home devices, answer questions, place calls, get news updates, check calendars, and more, so for the most part, regardless of speaker, it's going to do what most people want in a smart speaker.

The ‌HomePod mini‌ is limited to controlling HomeKit-enabled devices and it is not as open or compatible with as many devices as the Amazon Echo or the Google Nest. If you don't have a significant HomeKit setup, the smart home features of the ‌HomePod mini‌ are going to be useless.

nest audio
Alexa and Google Assistant can do more than ‌Siri‌ and have long been considered to be better at answering queries and completing tasks than ‌Siri‌. Alexa in particular is great for custom home automation workflows, but Apple's ‌Siri‌ is the most privacy-focused of the bunch, which is worth considering. If you just want basic smart functionality, though, any of the three speakers works well.

Amazon's Echo works with almost all music services, including Apple Music and Spotify, while the Nest Audio works with Spotify, YouTube Music, Pandora, and Deezer. The ‌HomePod mini‌ is designed to work with ‌Apple Music‌ primarily, but Apple has implemented support for third-party music services. Spotify does not work natively on the ‌HomePod mini‌ as of yet, but that functionality may be coming, and Amazon Music and iHeartRadio are adding support.

Right now, the ‌HomePod mini‌ works with Pandora as a third-party music app, and other music services need to be AirPlayed to the speaker using an iOS device.

amazon echo homepod mini nest audio comparison
All in all, these speakers are all fairly similar when it comes to sound and performance. Choosing between them mostly comes down to ecosystem preference. If you already have Alexa-enabled devices, the Amazon Echo is a better choice. Similarly, if you use Google Assistant, it makes sense to pick up a Nest Audio. For those in the Apple ecosystem, especially those who use ‌Apple Music‌ and have ‌HomeKit‌ setups, the ‌HomePod mini‌ is an ideal choice.

Which smart speaker do you prefer? Let us know in the comments.

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