Apple's HomePod: What you need to know before buying one
11 February, 2018, 05:19 | Author: Grady King
The HomePod, which was released today, costs $349. And Google's speaker incorporates a machine learning-fueled feature called Smart Sound, which Google says dynamically tunes the audio to its new environment within seconds, similar to Apple's spatial awareness feature. However, the very interesting thing is YouTube's bot claims it is only the Apple HomePod version of the audio which was sufficiently recognisable and clear enough to infringe copyright. 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.
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. "It brings advanced audio technologies like beam-forming tweeters, a high-excursion woofer and automatic spatial awareness, together with the entire Apple Music catalog and the latest Siri intelligence, in a simple, attractive design that is so much fun to use".
Apple's HomePod went on sale this morning in the USA, and customers who preordered the smart speaker are receiving their shipments across all three countries where the device is available, including Australia and the United Kingdom. He also tried voice commands for apps like Uber, but the HomePod failed to complete those commands while the others did. However, the multi-room audio feature won't be available until later this year through an update.
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Select Apple Authorised Resellers, including Best Buy in the US; Argos, Dixons Carphone (Currys PC World), John Lewis, Shop Direct (Very and Littlewoods), EE and Apple Premium Resellers in the United Kingdom; and The Good Guys, Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, Myer and Telstra in Australia, have also started selling the HomePod locally.
HomePod boasts it's self-learning artificial intelligence based off of Siri, however, compared to Alexa and Google Home, HomePod is far behind in the race. "(You have to start the phone call on your phone and transfer it to the HomePod to use it as a just-okay speakerphone.) Siri also can't compete with the huge array of Alexa skills, or Google Assistant's ability to answer a vast variety of questions". Indeed, Google is reaching out to the same audience of people who have a discerning ear for music as Apple is with HomePod. However, coupled with the more than a decent AI functionality that Apple has built into the HomePod, this means that the device becomes an intriguing purchase for consumers, even if it doesn't quite match up to the competition in some departments.
The Google Home Max works with Google Assistant. This is a nifty feature which arguably gives the device an edge over the other two speakers here. Nor can Siri identify your voice as opposed to another family member's voice, something the other assistants can do.
"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".
One of the worst HomePod limitations is its inability to distinguish different voices, meaning anyone can ask the HomePod to read or send text messages on behalf of the HomePod owner if the owner said yes to all the setup prompts, according to the Verge. At times, not only did HomePod respond, but so did Siri on my nearby iPhone.
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