Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
Science | By Hubert Green

Apple HomePod review: Good speaker, bad conversationalist

Apple HomePod review: Good speaker, bad conversationalist

Announced first at last year's WWDC, the HomePod is a smart speaker a la Amazon's Echo or Google Home, except, of course, this time your friendly voice is none other than Siri.

The above being said, the HomePod is starting to seem like a niche product targeting Apple's loyal fanbase.

And while you can use HomePod as a speakerphone, Siri on the new speaker cannot initiate the call.

The HomePod delivers impeccable sound quality that surpasses that of similar offerings by Google and Sonos, reviewers say.

Apple is placing emphasis on a feature that allows the speaker to stream music from its own service.

The consensus across the web is that Apple's Homepod has superb sound quality, which was their biggest selling point for the high price tag and to attract Apple Music users, but is lacking in smart home capabilities.

In a way, sending this tweet with a Spotify playlist was like baking a sugar-dripping birthday cake for a diabetic.

We've got all the details on where to buy the new gadget, which is a direct rival to the popular Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers. Meaning that not only are Spotify and Google Play Music subscribers out of luck to play their tunes via voice command, but all Android owners are as well. Your iPhone or iPad will need to be connected to Wi-Fi and have Bluetooth enabled. As such, the HomePod is capable of playing the best possible music according to how its audio is being projected against its surroundings.

When it comes to music, Google, and for that matter Amazon, can help you play a song in which you can't recall the title and only remember a few lyrics. You might, for example, ask Siri to play classical musical in the basement at the same time you play the blues in the kitchen. The HomePod's Siri makes the iPhone's Siri look like a genius.

Siri's limitations continue: It can't make calls, tell you what's on your calendar for the day, set more than one timer at once or order an Uber (or Domino's Pizza) like you can on competing smart speakers.

"The HomePod sounds great but on the surface, it's debatable whether it's great enough to justify the limitations of its smart features when compared purely on those merits and not as a component of the Apple ecosystem". The sound quality is tops and design is handsome, but with a heftier price tag, lack of partnerships with companies like Spotify and Uber, and Siri's inability to be truly useful right now, it's more of an Apple aspiration than a product ready for the prime time.

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