HomePod: The secure smart speaker that's big on music

Sunday, 11 Feb, 2018

What's clear is all three devices promise voice control, wireless streaming music, home automation, news and weather, Internet searching, lists and calendars and other productivity and information services. From this perspective, uninsured Apple users basically get a discount on a like-new HomePod.

Not all offices feature conference room telephones (which can cost $1,000 or more), and even those that do often find attendees holding impromptu conference calls by placing an iPhone on top of the table and enabling the iPhone's speakerphone mode.

At full volume, you can actually feel harmonic vibrations from your environment - your chair, sofa, what have you.

Apple's new $349 smart speaker HomePod officially hit stores today, and you're probably already aware that the initial reviews have been mixed: Generally positive on the sonic performance, generally neutral-to-positive on the industrial design, and disappointed to downright negative on Siri. HomePod is also able to integrate with Apple's Home app for iOS, letting you control HomeKit accessories such as light switches and garage door openers.

He also described Siri functionalities of the speaker. If you want to do the same on the HomePod, you'll need to use the AirPlay feature streamed from another Apple device. But the potential for automation with a quick voice command could end up a huge timesaver. It seems obvious, but some users are not 100% committed to Apple's ecosystem.

The HomePod is meant for Apple users, and it only syncs with iPhones. There isn't any reason to pay $200 extra for a device that doesn't entirely work, just yet.

This can't be said of other smart speaker manufacturers, who collect data from every request sent back to headquarters and compile it into a comprehensive user record. Third, some functions of HomePod overlap with Siri in iPhone.

However, Nest is only compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, while Samsung SmartThings, also only works with Google Assistant and Alexa.

Siri is limited predominantly to Apple services right now, which includes communications features, like messages and phone calls.

The speaker system in the HomePod is impressive, but you can get better for $350. And now with the Homepod currently sold out for its release date, we'll have to wait and see how Apple's sales pan out for the remainder of Q1.

It's covered in a soft grill material that comes in Space Gray or White.

The writer flew to San Francisco, California, as a guest of Apple. The marketing and demos both focus heavily on music and it has an emphasis on audio quality that will please the audiophiles out there (if Apple didn't kill them all off by popularising digital music in the first place). The HomePod is also able to detect its position in a room by sending sound beams in all directions and detecting when and where the beams are bounced back from a wall in a sound test that lasts 10 seconds, according to the Verge.