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How Apple's HomePod compares to the competition

10 February 2018

The creepy factor on all smart speakers is that they're constantly listening.

Amazon's Echo supports all of the major calendar apps-Google, Microsoft (Outlook/Office 365/Exchange) and Apple. This doesn't just rely on the sophistication of the artificial intelligence involved but also what other technology the assistant can link to. There could also be a (Product) RED iPhone 8 Plus on the horizon. Others prefer subtle white noise or unobtrusive ambient music play in offices to improve their concentration, provide some privacy, and mute varied conversations, HVAC sounds, and other environmental noises that are common in offices.

Apple's HomePod is roughly three times more expensive than the leading competitor and isn't capable of doing what others can.

Hey Siri, play "All About That Bass".

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. The Sonos was more pleasing in the mid-range tones that make vocals sound bright. That is a specific place or alignment of your body where the system sounds the best. The HomePod was years in the making and delayed months before it finally arrived Friday - yet still feels like an unfinished product. The Siri-powered smart speaker comes with a year of limited hardware warranty, which covers the hardware going wrong of its own accord.

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

Cloaked in a seamless mesh fabric that conceals a woofer, seven tweeters and other technical innards, HomePod is as easy on the eyes as it is your ears. It can't answer as many basic information requests as Google Assistant.

The Verge: "Here's what's good about Siri on the HomePod: the microphones are terrific at detecting the "Hey Siri" wake command".

I remember reading the estimates for HomePod sales back in July of 2017 and it was clear that Apple would have stiff competition from Amazon and Google.

"You can't ask Siri to look up a recipe". But it also links to your Android phone so you can make calls through the speaker or view on a screen the results of internet searches you ask it to make.

The Apple Home Pod smart speaker inside the Cupertino lab in which it was developed
How Apple's HomePod compares to the competition

What's more, Sonos supports more streaming platforms than HomePod, and not only works with Alexa out of the box but also promises to make nice soon with the Google Assistant, and, yes, Siri.

Amazon pitches the Echo as a smart home assistant that happens to play music.

As with most smart speakers, the HomePod is capable of recognizing voice commands.

The speaker, which I've been testing for a few days, likely sounds better than what most people use today on a kitchen counter or bookshelf.

"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".

Even when handling interactions with Apple Music, Siri is far from a joy to use on the HomePod, according to Chen.

When you're ready to play music, Siri plays DJ and pulls from Apple Music to serve up songs and playlists.

"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".

The hands-free options the HomePod offers are wide ranging; in the right office environment, the device can add convenience, save time, and improve productivity, not to mention morale. "Not even Siri can answer whether that will be possible".

How Apple's HomePod compares to the competition