Published: Mon, February 12, 2018
Business | By Max Garcia

Apple HomePod Now Accessible in US, UK, and Australia

Apple HomePod Now Accessible in US, UK, and Australia

It will support multiple voice services, launching with Amazon Alexa, but will add Siri using AirPlay 2, and Google Assistant, in 2018.

Still, not everything comes up Siri.

Apple's decision to restrict HomePod customersto iOS and Apple Music is a strategic effort to keep peopleembedded in its ecosystem.

When combined with household smart devices - like smart power switches, lights, air-conditioning and heating - users can also program Siri to automatically use a range of devices upon a single command.

Apple's initial pitch: Reinventing music " Just like iPod reinvented music in our pockets, HomePod is going to reinvent music in our homes".

In line with these concerns over the security of personal data, Apple has developed a comprehensive security protocol that beats at the heart of every Siri request. Will it find any success in the smart speaker landscape, where the most prized quality is being actually smart? By contrast, Google Home and Amazon Echo each support both Spotify and Pandora, in addition to their own respective music services (though they reportedly fall far short of HomePod on audio quality).

With that in mind, I blasted the speaker in my family room and basement, as well as in a large USA TODAY photo studio and in an even more expansive, near-empty newsroom. That is a specific place or alignment of your body where the system sounds the best. Away from Apple's demo space, it sounded just as good as I'd remembered. "Apple's engineers designed HomePod to sound the best no matter where you are in the room". Siri also pulls up whatever other information on businesses and such, including opening hours and how many stars it has on Yelp.

How does Apple's HomePod compare to Amazon Echo and Google Home?
The home assistant battles have begun

"Siri on HomePod is not as full-featured as Siri on your Macs or iOS devices, and this was done by design".

Unlike in the Alexa app, meanwhile, there's no log of what Siri heard and what her response was. "Alexa and Google Assistant do have more features, for now, and they are definitely more advanced in their functionality". "It was better at hearing me over loud music than my other smart speakers, and very good at hearing me from across rooms with weird echoes", said The Verge's Nilay Patel. You can ask Siri "what's the weather tomorrow in Toledo, Ohio?" You can't ask Siri to make a phone call.

Currently, Siri does not communicate with Apple TV, which is a baffling omission considering all the recent work put into developing the latter, and the ease with which Google Home users can use Chromecast to watch something on the big screen. Audiophiles will appreciate that it has a woofer with a custom amplifier and seven tweeters.

There are no bones about it; HomePod is a superb wireless audio speaker.

Digital interaction is another key area of the Apple HomePod vs. Amazon Echo vs. Google Home war, and again one that the Amazon device deals with particularly capably.

"But Siri on HomePod is embarrassingly inadequate, even though that is the primary way you interact with it. Siri is sorely lacking in capabilities compared with Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant".

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