Sonos made a playlist for Apple's HomePod launch

Alan Olson
February 11, 2018

HomePod scans its environment - it knows, for instance, whether it's facing a wall, if it's in a corner, or far from walls entirely - and promptly adjusts its sound production.

Unlike offerings from Google and Amazon, the HomePod does not offer Bluetooth as a connectivity option, opting instead for Apple's own AirPlay. Alexa and Google can draw upon lots of information even before you add third-party skills; Siri on HomePod can get stumped by requests an iPhone can handle.

There's also the thing with Apple's tendency to lock its products inside its own ecosystem. The HomePod also works only with iOS devices. Siri also allows users to control HomeKit smart home accessories. Now, when you ask about hiding a body, Siri acts like someone whose recent lobotomy has robbed her of personality and memory.

From the look of it, Apple sees HomePod mainly as a way to extend the reach of its Apple Music service, not Siri. Will it find any success in the smart speaker landscape, where the most prized quality is being actually smart?

HomePod was delayed from its original December release date until today, which initial reports blamed on unspecified software issues, and later reports suggested were due to problems with multi-HomePod synchronization - specifically two units in one room, or more units across a house.

More: A smart home sounds like a great idea.

Apple's HomePod sounds fantastic, but it's meant to be used with Apple Music - you'll need an iOS device like an iPhone or iPad with Apple Music installed in order to even set up the HomePod. It is designed it so that you can circle it and still enjoy 360 degrees of sound no matter where you are in the room.

HomePod is not a directional speaker.

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Setting up the HomePod is a seamless experience. "Alexa and Google Assistant do have more features, for now, and they are definitely more advanced in their functionality".

The device's thoughtful engineering helps ensure Siri accurately hears and responds to commands. You don't have to manually tune it, as, say, with the Sonos One. Siri doesn't know any, while Google's Assistant and Amazon's Alexa both tie for groaningly very bad dad joke of the year.

The smart speaker uses Apple's Siri voice agent, in the company's relatively late entry into the smart speaker market.

Google Home Max launched this week.

The most basic Amazon Echo speaker is also available for less than US$40 (£40 in the UK), making it significantly cheaper than US$349 HomePod.

And despite pointing out that the HomePod's sound is "noticeably richer and fuller than nearly every other speaker we've tested", Patel said it's "baffling that the HomePod can't set more than one timer", pointing out that "anyone who cooks with a smart speaker in their kitchen knows how incredibly useful that is". Apple is betting big that they will. "That is not the case right now", said USA Today's Edward C. Baig.

The competition for voice-controlled smart devices has really only just begun, and smart homes will soon be followed by AI in our cars and offices.

Time: "With the HomePod, the company will have to prove that it can compete in a game for which somebody else wrote the rules".

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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