Six HomeKit and AirPlay 2 Accessories Worth Checking Out

Last year, we shared a list of some of the best HomeKit products you can buy, which was quite popular with MacRumors readers, so we thought we'd follow it up.

In our 2019 HomeKit video, we're featuring some more great HomeKit products, and we've added in some AirPlay 2 accessories as well.

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  • Vizio TVs - HomeKit and AirPlay 2 support is coming to a bunch of TVs from Sony, LG, Vizio, and Samsung later this year, but Vizio has already rolled out support on some of its TVs in a beta capacity. If you have a recent M-Series or P-Series Vizio TV, you can try it out. AirPlay 2 lets you AirPlay content from your Apple devices right to the TV, and your TV will also show up in HomeKit. You can use the Home app and Siri commands to do things like change the volume, switch inputs, or turn the TV on or off.

  • Sonos Beam ($400) - The Sonos Beam is an AirPlay 2-enabled soundbar that's meant to be used with your TV, offering up impressive sound and allowing the same music to be played through other AirPlay 2-enabled speakers in your home, like the Sonos One or the HomePod.

  • BlueSound Pulse Flex 2i Speakers ($300) - BlueSound's Pulse Flex 2i Speakers are AirPlay 2 enabled, so you can use them alongside other AirPlay 2 devices. AirPlay 2 lets you play music on multiple speakers throughout the home, for a whole home audio experience. These are more expensive than some other competing products like the Sonos One, but BlueSound promises superior sound.

  • Chamberlain myQ Garage Door Opener and Home Bridge ($142) - Chamberlain's MyQ Garage Door Opener is compatible with HomeKit, though depending on your setup, you may need an extra accessory. With HomeKit compatibility, you can ask Siri to open or close your garage door, and you can check to make sure it's closed for peace of mind. You can also use the MyQ app.

  • Hue Outdoor Light Strip ($70) - Hue recently introduced a whole range of outdoor lighting, including the Hue Outdoor Light Strip. It's similar to the indoor version, but with a great diffuse light and waterproofing so it can stay outside. It's flexible enough to go anywhere, but you can't cut this version. Hue lights can be turned millions of colors either with the Hue app, the Home app, or via Siri.

  • Hue Signe ($160 to $240) - Hue also makes other unique lighting products, like the Hue Signe table and lamps. They're HomeKit enabled like other Hue lights, and while they're really expensive for lamps, they're cool and can fit just about anywhere because they're basically upright LED bars with aluminum stands. We have the table lamp, and it's a nifty accent light.
Have you used any of these HomeKit products, or have favorite HomeKit device we didn't mention? Let us know in the comments.

Note: 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.

Deals Spotlight: Get the 2019 AirPods With Charging Case for $140 ($19 Off) and Wireless Charging Case for $70 ($9 Off)

Amazon is discounting the 2019 AirPods with Charging Case to $139.99, down from $159.00. Apple just refreshed the AirPods last month with an updated H1 chip and "Hey Siri" support, and also launched the AirPods with Wireless Charging Case at $199.

Note: 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.

Amazon is also offering just the Wireless Charging Case by itself at a discount. You can get the accessory for $69.99, down from $79.00 ($9 off). The Wireless Charging Case is aimed at users who have a pair of the original AirPods and don't want to upgrade to AirPods 2. By just purchasing the case, they can gain wireless charging features for the older model.

These are some of the first major discounts for the 2019 AirPods since they launched in March. Shoppers should note that the AirPods with Charging Case won't ship until May 7, 2019, and that the Wireless Charging Case will take 2-4 weeks to ship. It's unclear how long the sale will last, so visit Amazon soon to place an order if you're interested.

2019 AirPods Sale

More sales and bargains can be discovered in our Deals Roundup.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals

Apple Maps Gains Detailed Terrain Features for Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada US States

As part of its ongoing effort to rebuild Apple Maps, Apple has added detailed terrain features to the U.S. states of Arizona and New Mexico as well as the southern portion of Nevada, including the city of Las Vegas.


The enhancements are the result of Apple's street-level data collection using LiDAR-equipped vehicles, which has been going on for over three years. Related improvements first rolled out in Northern California in iOS 12 and have extended to Hawaii and Southern California over the past few months.

The overall look and feel of Apple Maps is mostly the same, but zooming and panning reveals more details like grass, trees, sports fields, and parking lots. Apple says search results also become more relevant.

Apple Maps vehicles have been collecting mapping data in the United States since 2015, with over 45 states at least partially surveyed to date. Apple will begin surveying Alaska, South Carolina, and Tennessee between March and July, according to an update to its recently revamped Apple Maps image collection website.

Back in June 2018, Apple said the revamped mapping data would roll out section by section across the rest of the United States over the following year. Since then, a pattern has emerged that appears to show Apple prefers rolling out the updated maps in adjacent continental U.S. states, rather than prioritizing more population-rich regions of the nation like the Northeast.

Our source notes that Apple is also working on an updated appearance for northeastern cities like New York, given that special detailed terrain features can be seen – perhaps unintentionally – when entering turn-by-turn navigation.

(Thanks, Dante!)

TikTok Unbanned in India

Tik Tok, which was pulled from the App Store in India last week to comply with a government demand to block downloads over child safety concerns, is allowed to return to the App Store, reports Reuters.

The southern state of Tamil Nadu had asked the Indian government to ban the TikTok app on the grounds that it encouraged pornography and could expose children to sexual predators, leading the government to send a letter to Apple and Google asking the companies to remove the app from their respective App Stores.


Today, after hearing a plea from the app's creator, Bytedance, the state court reversed its decision pushing for the app's ban. An Indian government official told Reuters that once the court's order had been received, it would ask Apple and Google to reinstate the app.

Created by China-based Bytedance Technology, TikTok is designed to let users create and share short-form videos enhanced with digital effects, which has been particularly successful in India. Before being pulled from the App Store, TikTok had been downloaded more than 240 million times in the country.

Bytedance told Indian officials that it was losing up to $500,000 dollars a day during the ban, and that more than 250 jobs were at risk.

Tag: India

Google Fit Launches on iPhone With Apple Health and Apple Watch Integration

Over four years after debuting on Android, and following a significant redesign last year, Google Fit is now available on iOS.


The fitness tracking app can track workout sessions completed with both an Apple Watch or a Wear OS smartwatch, and it also integrates movement data from apps connected to Apple Health, such as Sleep Cycle, Nike Run Club, and Headspace.

Google Fit keeps users motivated with Move Minutes and Heart Points based on American Heart Association and World Health Organization recommendations for weekly physical activity. The more you move, the more Move Minutes you earn. The more intensely you move, the more Heart Points you earn.

A journal feature allows users to track their activities and view their progress towards weekly Move Minutes and Heart Points goals.

While some Google Fit data was already available on iOS through the Wear OS app, owning a Wear OS smartwatch was a requirement. With full Apple Health and Apple Watch integration, the standalone Google Fit app is a much better solution.

Google Fit is a free download on the App Store.

Best Buy's New 4-Day Sale: Save on MacBook Pro With Touch Bar (Up to $400 Off), iPhone X, and More

Following a flash sale on Easter, Best Buy has returned this week with a new 4-day sale that offers discounts on the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, iPhone X, Beats products, iPhone cases, and more. The sale will end this Saturday, April 27 at 11:59 p.m. CT.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

For the MacBook Pro deals, Best Buy has the best prices currently available for these mid 2018 models, including both 13-inch and 15-inch options. These are the latest MacBook Pros with new 8th-generation Core processors, True Tone displays, the T2 chip for "Hey Siri" support and enhanced security, and a quieter third-generation butterfly keyboard.

Best Buy 4-Day Sale


MacBook Pro with Touch Bar iPhone X and Smartphone Accessories Other Discounts Visit our full Deals Roundup for even more sales and bargains happening this week.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals

Survey Finds iPhone XR Remained Best-Selling iPhone Model Last Quarter in United States

iPhone XR remained the best-selling iPhone model in the United States in the first quarter of 2019, as it was in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to a survey conducted by research firm CIRP and provided to MacRumors.


The research firm found that the iPhone XR accounted for 38 percent of U.S. iPhone sales during the quarter, ahead of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max with a combined 21 percent of sales during the three-month period.

If accurate, the data is rather unsurprising, as the iPhone XR has the lowest price of the three new iPhones that Apple released in late 2018. The colorful handset starts at $749, compared to $999 for the iPhone XS and $1,099 for the iPhone XS Max, with many reviews labeling it the "best iPhone for the money."

Moreover, in January, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed that the iPhone XR was the most popular iPhone every day since it launched.


CIRP co-founder Josh Lowitz:
iPhone XR continues to dominate US iPhone sales. It remains the best-selling individual model again this quarter, after launch early in the December 2018 quarter. In the US, the newest iPhone models sold about as well as the newest models a year ago, at about 60% of total sales. Based on these trends, we estimate an Average Selling Price of around $800, a decrease from the previous quarter.
The usual caveats apply, including that Apple no longer discloses iPhone unit sales, nor has it ever provided a model-by-model breakdown of iPhone sales. CIRP bases its findings on a rather small survey of 500 customers.

Related Roundups: iPhone XS, iPhone XR
Tag: CIRP

Apple Releases Third Public Beta of tvOS 12.3

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming tvOS 12.3 update to its public beta testing group, one day after providing the beta to developers and two weeks after seeding the second public beta.

The tvOS 12.3 public beta can be obtained by going to the Settings app on the Apple TV and navigating to the Software Updates section under "System." "Get Public Beta Updates" will need to be toggled on, and once it is, the Apple TV will download the beta software.

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tvOS 12.3 includes the revamped Apple TV app that Apple debuted at its services-focused event on Monday. The new TV app is a better version of the original TV app, offering up access to TV shows, sports, news, and more in one spot.

There's still a "Watch Now" section with an "Up Next" feature for keeping track of what you're in the middle of watching, but there's a new "For You" feature that recommends new content based on what you've previously watched.

A new "Channels" option lets you subscribe to third-party services like Showtime, Starz, and HBO right within the TV app, and you can even watch all of the content from the services included in Channels right in the TV app without having to open a third-party app.

Channels will include CBS All Access, Starz, Showtime, HBO, Nickelodeon, Mubi, The History Channel Vault, and Comedy Central Now, but during the beta, only Showtime, Starz, Smithsonian, and Tastemade are accessible. You can subscribe in the TV app and get a one-week free trial before you're charged.

The TV app is on the Apple TV and iOS devices, and it's even available on the third-generation Apple TV through an upcoming software update that Apple plans to release. Apple has said the new TV app is coming in May, so we can expect tvOS 12.3 to be released then.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 12
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

Beyoncé's 'Lemonade' Now Streaming on Apple Music After Three Years of Tidal Exclusivity

In April 2016, Beyoncé launched her sixth studio album "Lemonade" worldwide. While the album was available for Apple users to buy for $17.99 on iTunes at launch, it was never put on Apple Music or Spotify and remained a streaming exclusive on Tidal for three years, until today.


Now, both Apple Music and Spotify subscribers can listen to the 13 track album (with an original demo version of "Sorry") for the first time. Apple is highlighting the launch on the main carousel in the Browse tab on Apple Music, along with the live album of "Homecoming," the documentary about Beyoncé's 2018 Coachella performance.

More recently, Beyoncé and Jay-Z launched a collaborative album under the name "The Carters," which only remained a Tidal exclusive for two days and then launched across streaming services in June 2018. Before that time, Jay-Z quietly removed many of his albums from Apple Music in April 2017, but most eventually came back. His own album "4:44" had one week of Tidal exclusivity before appearing on Apple Music in July 2017.

Although it's three years old at this point, "Lemonade" was a huge bonus for Tidal and a way for the company to encourage fans to sign up for the service. The end of its exclusivity follows a rough year for Tidal, with numerous reports about late royalty payments to artists, inflated streaming numbers, and potential data breaches emerging in 2018. The news of late royalty payments and inflated numbers came from Norwegian site Dagens Næringsliv, which specified that Tidal had inflated streaming numbers for "Lemonade".

Tag: Tidal

Apple Seeds Third Beta of watchOS 5.2.1 to Developers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming watchOS 5.2.1 update to developers, two weeks after seeding the second beta and almost a month after the release of the watchOS 5.2 update, which introduced AirPods 2 support and expanded the ECG feature to Europe.

Once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Apple Developer Center, the new watchOS beta can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General --> Software update.


To install the update, the Apple Watch needs to have at least 50 percent battery, it must be placed on the charger, and it has to be in range of the iPhone.

It's not yet clear what features will be introduced in the watchOS 5.2.1 update, but as 5.x.x software, it's likely to focus on bug fixes and other under-the-hood performance improvements.

No changes were found in the first two watchOS 5.2.1 betas, but should we find new features in the third watchOS 5.2.1 beta, we'll update this post with details.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

Apple Seeds Third Beta of tvOS 12.3 to Developers

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming tvOS 12.3 update to developers, two weeks seeding the second beta and three weeks after releasing tvOS 12.2).

Designed for the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models, the new tvOS 12.3 developer beta can be downloaded onto the Apple TV via a profile that's installed using Xcode. There's also a new second beta software update for the third-generation Apple TV model.


tvOS 12.3 brings a revamped TV app that was first shown off at Apple's March 25 services-focused event. The TV app is an updated version of the original TV app, providing access to TV shows, movies, sports, news, and more, along with a dedicated section for children's programming.

The TV app features a refined interface with a fresh look and feel that's more modern. It keeps the "Watch Now" section with the "Up Next" feature for keeping track of the TV shows and movies you're watching, and there's a new machine-learning based "For You" feature that surfaces content based on what you've previously watched.


There's a new "Channels" option built in to the app, which is a major part of Apple's new services push. Channels are subscription services that you can subscribe to and watch right in the TV app without having to swap over to a third-party app.

During the beta, you can subscribe to Showtime, Starz, Smithsonian, Tastemade, and EPIX, but additional Channels will be available when the new TV app launches.


In the future, Apple plans to add its new TV+ subscription service to the TV app, with TV+ offering all of Apple's original TV shows and movies. The TV app is available on the Apple TV and iOS devices so you can pick up whatever you're watching no matter which device you're on.

The new TV app is set to be released in May, so tvOS 12.3 will be in beta testing until then.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 12
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

Beats President Luke Wood: Powerbeats Pro is 'Culmination of the Full Integration' of Apple and Beats

In a recent interview with TechRadar, Beats president Luke Wood discussed how the company has changed under Apple's leadership, and the upcoming Powerbeats Pro headphones.

The new Powerbeats Pro

According to Wood, the Powerbeats Pro is "the culmination of the full integration of [Beats and Apple] working together from a technological standpoint." The company even took into consideration its reputation for creating bass-heavy products when building the Powerbeats Pro.

Wood said the company has "learned the tools of [its] trade" over the years and improved its products, particularly after being acquired by Apple.
“We thought we were pretty good until we got to Apple, and then we started learning what ‘good’ really was”, he admits between sips of green tea.

What was Apple doing that Beats wasn’t? “Apple had so much incredible discipline and rigor around product quality” Wood says.
When asked if a Beats product would ever add in biometric sensors for heart rate monitoring, Wood said he doesn't think that will happen: "We never want to labor customers with a bunch of useless, borderline avant-garde tech." He pointed out that many users already have smart watches with this ability, and having it in a headphone would be unnecessary.

Apple announced Powerbeats Pro earlier in the month, with a launch planned for May 2019. The $250 headphones are completely wireless and are sweat and water resistant, with earhooks and tips in four sizes that ensure they will stay put during workouts. Apple said the headphones feature up to nine hours of listening time, and they also come with a charging case like the AirPods.