Apple's Smart Speaker HomePod Finally Hits The Market

Apple's Smart Speaker HomePod Finally Hits The Market

We'll have a full review of the HomePod shortly, so keep your eyes peeled for its arrival. Apple has marketed the HomePod as a smart "musicologist" for the home since it was revealed at the Worldwide Developers Conference last June in San Jose. That's because unlike Sonos products, the Homepod only natively integrates with Apple Music, and no third-party music service. "Siri doesn't even work as well on HomePod as it does on the iPhone".

Entering the smart speaker market where the likes of Amazon Echo and Google Home already operate, Apple's HomePod features proprietary audio technology that comprises a high-excursion woofer equipped with a custom-engineered amplifier, an array of seven tweeters - each of which has its own amplifier and a transducer, and six microphones.

Early reviewers have often disclaimed their own audio expertise, but have generally opined that the $349 HomePod sounds decidedly superior to the $80 Amazon Echo, similar to or a little better than the $199 Sonos One, and at least a little better than the $399 Google Home Max.

The United Kingdom is the second of Apple's three launch countries to begin deliveries, in-store pick-ups and sales of HomePod. "Siri is sorely lacking in capabilities compared with Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant". Case in point: this isn't even the first time it's been repurposed against Apple for a music product - Rdio wrote "Welcome, Apple".

Apple says that every time you move the speaker, it senses the motion and then automatically adjusts itself to its placement in the room using a series of test tones and complex algorithms to minimize reflections from nearby walls or other objects.

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Another shared complaint was the HomePod's straitjacket boundaries when using non-Apple apps.

Note that the $199 Sonos One is able to use Alexa now, is adding Google Assistant support via a software update in the near future, and will have support for streaming music via Apple's upcoming AirPlay 2, as well.

Find the music-playback controls - by default in the top right.

Apple's HomePod sounds fantastic, but it's meant to be used with Apple Music - you'll need an iOS device like an iPhone or iPad with Apple Music installed in order to even set up the HomePod.

Apart from the launch markets, Apple has revealed plans to bring the smart speaker to France and Germany this spring.

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