How Does Apple HomePod Sounds Like?


The Harman Kardon Allure was its closest competitor (no surprise, since it costs £249), but lacked the fullness of the HomePod's sound - it just felt noticeably flatter across the range.

Let's start with the audio, because the HomePod is a speaker first and foremost, whereas you might say the Echo is a smart assistant primarily.

Originally slated to arrive last December, Apple says HomePod will arrive in stores beginning Friday, February 9 in the US, UK and Australia.

But should you? For me, the answer is an easy no.

Apple's first foray into the smart speaker market has not gone without hiccup. With the HomePod, Apple is promising not only a premium sound experience, but also the kind of voice-control that will throw down the gauntlet to Amazon's cheaper Echo series. In the demo I saw, saying "Hey Siri, good morning", would trigger a synchronized ballet: the coffee maker turned on, the blinds went up, and the heat turned on in one fell swoop. While the one iCloud account could be annoying if you have multiple people using the device, it's nice that your text messages won't be read aloud if you're not home. I have a PC for gaming, which runs Windows 10, and game consoles from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo.

Stream music from your music library, internet radio, Amazon Prime Music, Pandora, Spotify and more.

Overall, HomePod is both louder and better-sounding than I expected. Other than that, Apple has designed it to use as little energy as possible. Don't maintain your calendar, mail, maps, and everything else through Apple's version of that service? And while you can make calls using the speaker, you can only do so by dialing on your phone. With AirPlay 2, users will be able to play audio across their HomePods in different rooms.

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Siri has come on a long way with the HomePod though. The only way to use them - if they're supported, that is - is through manual input. Android users must look elsewhere for a smart speaker.

Perhaps more worrying is the fact that Siri, in general, is pretty bad at its intended function: hearing human speech and translating it into actions. If you don't want Apple's assistant to listen in, you can press and hold the top, and Siri will ask if you really want to turn off the microphone.

Apple ( AAPL ) began taking pre-orders on Friday for HomePod, its voice-controlled music speaker, as the consumer electronics giant makes a late entry in the smart speaker market dominated by ( AMZN ) and Alphabet 's ( GOOGL ) Google. There's no word on the device's potential availability in other countries yet.

Maybe Apple will add support for more third-party services, like Spotify and Uber.

Speaking on-stage at the time, Phil Schiller, Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, said: "Just like iPod reinvented music on our pocket, HomePod is going to reinvent music in the home".

Audio device maker Sonos this week announced a deal in which it will offer two of its Sonos One smart speakers for $349.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Business Insider.