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HomePod is a very sophisticated device, playing music with a very high tonal quality. I tend to listen to music as a pastime, rather than having a jangly noise in the background. Consequently, I pay more for sound reproduction equipment. To that end, HomePod is not expensive when taking into account its quality in every respect. Ultimately, you get what you pay for. I suspect most people buy the cheap devices for what it provides, other than music, so the requirement is different.
It is a shame when apps are not updated and won’t work on newer OSs. I do, though, see the reasoning. More frustrating is when an app changes developer and has to be paid for again (which I won’t do).
On one other point, I don’t think Apple can be considered a monopoly. There are a number of alternatives. However, it is entirely fair if Apple controls the content and operation of software run on its hardware. Apple hardware and software combined are far more secure than, say, MS operating systems because hardware and software are integrated. If developers are allowed a free-for-all the security will be compromised. If a developer wants to run its app on an Apple device it should (a) tie in with Apple infrastructure and (b) pay Apple for the ability to do so.
I’m hoping the new series will be worth watching. I know it is question of taste but I have recently watched The Mosquito Coast Series 2 and Echo 3. In the case of the former, there was no story for the whole of the first series. It appears someone spotted this and threw a story in which was revealed in Episode 1 of Series 2. Other than that and allowing that to was well made, it was just nonsense. As to Echo 3, I stuck with it on the basis of waiting for something to happen which made any sense. It was seven episodes too long and was just ridiculous. It portrayed two US guys as well-meaning mass murderers and everyone else as completely useless cannon-fodder. It was a truly appalling display of the supposed greatness of the US and its propensity for mass killing and destruction for no discernible reason. Presumably, this was the point being made but if it was, it was very badly done. A complete disgrace.
This is another of those interesting conundrums. Do I care if I can’t use iMessage or FaceTime? Probably not as I can use an alternative. Should Apple remove its security. No. If governments gain access so can anyone else. Do we want security on our phones? Yes, absolutely, we do as we carry out transactions on our phones which require complete security. Am I concerned about governments seeing my data? Probably not as I have nothing to hide. Do I want someone else seeing it? No I don’t. I don’t want Google pop-ups asking me to log in and I don’t want advertising. I won’t log into anything which is a pop-up and I won’t buy anything.