Apple HomePod: The Smart Home Future Has Arrived

Dora Pope
January 27, 2018

Apple's first smart speaker, the Apple HomePod, is finally here. A smart speaker is a dumb speaker if you have to use your phone and AirPlay 2 to stream music to it with Spotify.

Apple says its HomePod is equipped with spatial awareness which means it will fill a room with sound no matter where it's placed. The big box retailer has announced that it will begin accepting HomePod preorders today, January 26.

In a blog post Tuesday, Sonos knocked the shortcomings of Apple's HomePod.

The HomePod's colored circle on top indicates Siri is listening to a command. You can purchase the Sonos One bundle directly from Sonos. Unfortunately, there's no indicator on the HomePod to see at a glance if the mic is on or off. The HomePod does not yet support multi-room audio or stereo pairing but these features are coming in a future software update. Only slightly more expensive than one Apple HomePod.

Google Home and Amazon Echo are essentially aimed at exactly the same market, with extremely similar feature sets.

I was impressed with the bass on the HomePod. First up on our demo is Ariana Grande's Side to Side.

If you don't feel like preordering a HomePod, you will be able to pick one up at an Apple retail store starting February 9.

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No matter how good the HomePod sounds I am not buying one since I don't want to spend $120 a year to get the full benefit from the device. And now other companies are jumping into the market, most notably Apple, which just for its HomePod on Friday.

Amazon and Sonos.com both have this discount on the Sonos One available already.

The HomePod's price is much higher than other speakers on the market, like the Google Home, Amazon Echo devices and the Sonos One. Beamforming so the microphone can hear you over the music. While industry watchers by the thousands were talking about the Amazon Echo and Google Home at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Apple did little to evangelize its answer to an intelligent speaker.

"Through SiriKit, HomePod supports third-party messaging apps, so users can ask Siri to send a message to a friend or colleague using apps like WhatsApp", the company explained in a statement.

Sonos can still compete with Apple if it can maintain an open ecosystem and gives customers more freedom than its rivals. The devices should be running on iOS 11.2.5 or later to work with the HomePod. Previously, only an iPad or Apple TV could fulfill this role.

Apple might want your money for a HomePod preorder, but Sonos is making a pitch for that $349 instead, with its Sonos One deal going live today.

Other reports by My Hot News

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