HomePod: Features, release date and everything we know about Apple's smart speaker

27 January, 2018, 20:29 | Author: Ann Santiago
  • HomePod - Apple

So with the HomePod available to pre-order today (with a United Kingdom release date of February 9th), it's entering a much more crowded market. And now other companies are jumping into the market, most notably Apple, which just for its HomePod on Friday. It's a lovely cloth-covered cylinder about 7 inches tall, and at 5.6 inches wide, it's slightly larger than the Sonos One.

On the top is a circular touch area, which lights up in a multitude of colors when Siri is listening or responding. Siri's been bestowed as "musicologist" to help better recommend songs through Apple Music. Within the controlled environment, the HomePod sounded head and shoulders above its competition, but given the conditions I'd be shocked if it didn't. Apple has always been obsessed with music and, the sound on the HomePod is crisp and clear.

If you're comfortable spending a bit more and can live without having voice control, you can hit up Amazon right now and find the Sonos PLAY:1 triple pack for $447USD.

All that said, though it sounds excellent, there are concerns for it as a speaker. First up on our demo is Ariana Grande's Side to Side. However, there's no way to manually adjust the equalizer settings of the HomePod, which is something you can do with the Sonos and Google Home Max speakers. What becomes immediately apparent is the formidable bass the HomePod kicks out. If the speaker works remarkably better than Echo or Home it may be worth the extra $200 or more over Echo and Home. The Apple HomePod is by far the most expensive of the three, being released at the retail price of $350. The speaker allows each instrument to shine through; you can hear precise guitar plucks.

Get the latest weather updates, flash briefings and sports scores, set timers, and enjoy all those other helpful Amazon Alexa skills using a single Sonos speaker. Alarmingly for Sonos, it seems to outgun its own smart speaker, the Sonos One.

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Sound reproduction is a primary focus of the Apple HomePod vs Google Home vs Amazon Echo battle, and this is an area that Apple has particularly focused on.

The final piece of the HomePod puzzle is its smart home functionality.

No matter how good the HomePod sounds I am not buying one since I don't want to spend $120 a year to get the full benefit from the device. That's because Apple had more stringent security rules - companies needed to incorporate a specific chip into their products to make them HomeKit-compatible. If you're holding your unlocked iPhone, it'll assume you mean to activate the assistant on your phone, whereas if your iPhone is inactive, it'll assume you're talking to the HomePod.

At BESTAppleTV, we are also not sure of its success as an Apple TV addition. HomePod costs $349 and is initially available in the US, UK, and Australia... The Sonos One's regular retail price is $199. Sonos added that it's working to bring Google Assistant to its devices, soon, as well. Apple didn't offer a specific reason for the delay, only saying that it needed a little more time to make sure things were flawless for customers. There's already Amazon and Google's Home speakers to contend with. And I don't want to. This is odd considering Apple's Siri was the first major virtual assistant on the market, and had a big head start on Alexa and Google Assistant. With the HomePod, Apple is promising not only a premium sound experience, but also the kind of voice-control that will throw down the gauntlet to Amazon's cheaper Echo series.

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