Apple's HomePod User Guide Tells You Everything About the Smart Speaker

TrendForce reveals who is winning the smart speaker race

In Australia, Google's Home has been available for some time, while Amazon's Alexa devices - the Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Plus - was only released this month, finally bringing Antipodeans in line with their U.S. brethren.

Finally, the HomePod is yet another major brick in Apple's walled garden. You don't have to manually tune it, as, say, with the Sonos One.

The New York Times: "Apple's speaker is certainly an impressive piece of hardware".

Applestarted shipping its Homepod speaker Friday, and smart speaker competitor Sonos was ready to celebrate - with a tweet that poked fun at Apple, while also pointing to one of the Homepod 's biggest weaknesses. Until now, Google Home Max was the sweetest sounding smart speaker I've listened to.

Likewise, The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern said that "HomePod nails the speaker but struggles at smart". The Home Max, meanwhile, can connect to either iOS or Android devices thanks to its Bluetooth support. Its AI capabilities are also not almost as developed as either Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. It's not uncommon for Apple products to sell out on the first day, so selling out almost 2 weeks later is a bit of a red flag but expected. You might, for example, ask Siri to play classical musical in the basement at the same time you play the blues in the kitchen. But if you want a useful smart assistant as well as the freedom to use whatever service you want, it's best to walk on by.

The HomePod is powered by Siri, which allows users to send messages, create lists, set timers, get the news, check sports, traffic and weather updates. It seems Apple forgot to imbue Siri with personality.




Built with an A8 chip that acts as the brain of the speaker, the HomePod easily transforms from speaker to home assistant. 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.

More: A smart home sounds like a great idea.

Besides Apple Music ($9.99 per month), you can have Siri play music you've purchased through iTunes, but unless you also subscribe to iTunes Match ($24.99 a year), not the songs in your library that you may have ripped off CDs way back when or imported from some other source.

If you don't already have favorite podcasts, mind, HomePod isn't so helpful. Alert Siri and let the HomePod do the work. Another question: are there enough people out there willing to pay that much more for better sound? But while Apple stores may be in short supply of the speaker, you're likely to have more luck at the many third-party retailers also offering the curvy speaker.

"Indeed, the perception out there is that Siri, despite being on tens of millions of iPhones and the first virtual assistant to make a name for itself, just isn't as smart or useful as Alexa and the Google Assistant". CEO Tim Cook even misspoke during Apple's recent earnings call when he said that you could summon Siri on HomePod to hail a Lyft or Uber. "Not even Siri can answer whether that will be possible".

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