Apple finally unveiled their Apple HomePod smart speaker. It’s a small high end portable smart speaker that connects to your home network and streams music and podcasts. The actual speaker is a technical achievement. But the lack of features when compared to rival speakers makes the HomePod a weird device to buy.
Update: There has been some news that there will be a support to play 2 HomePods at the same time along each other to create a stereo effect. Some people have already done this through the latest beta version of iOS 11.
The Apple HomePod
The Apple HomePod has been in the works for a while now. Some big-name tech influencers got to spend some time with the HomePod around mid-2017. Apple is planning on releasing the HomePod on the 9th of Feb 2018 for $349. In comparison, a Google Home Max speaker is $399, while a Beats Pill is around $199. But the HomePod is such a niche speaker that you can’t really compare it to these speakers, which are as close a comparison you can get.
At the Top of the speaker is a touch screen panel that is powered by Apple’s A8 chip, the same chip from an iPhone 6. The screen mostly displays a colourful Siri-esque light show and volume buttons. Playing and skipping through songs is gesture based.
The Apple Homepod is a marvellous achievement in Audio Engineering. The Subwoofer is placed at the top with 6 microphones in the middle and 7 tweeters at the bottom. Apple’s HomePod is so intelligent it actually calibrates its sound to suit the area in which it is placed. It takes about 10 seconds to scan the room and will add say less bass because it knows its close to a wall. It will also use that wall to bounce the audio frequencies across the room.
Should You Get an Apple HomePod?
An Excellent speaker with great audio quality and technology far more superior than a Google Home Max speaker. But also far less features than the Max. The HomePod will only sync with an Apple device running iOS 11. So no playing music on your Android Phone via Bluetooth now.
The direct music service available on the HomePod is restricted only to Apple Music. So you can only ask Siri to play music from your Apple Music subscribed library. It is possible to stream Spotify as per Jonathan Morrison’s review. Another use for the speaker is to control lighting and other smart home devices via Apple HomeKit.
It would have been a perfect speaker if Apple gives it some sort of extra versatility and features such as the AirPods. The AirPods can connect to an Android smartphone via Bluetooth and works great. I love the concept of the HomePod, but after recently transitioning over to Android, I honestly can’t find this appealing at all.
I also play all my music directly from my SD card library. The music on my phone comes from collecting tunes years before all these streaming services were around. But unlike the Airpods, there’s no way for me to stream those classic tunes from my Android smartphone over to the HomePod. I would like to see this feature available soon as well as deeper home intergration and more Siri features.
Apple HomePod Review
This review from The Verge is among the best in-depth reviews I have come across featuring the Apple HomePod.
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