Recode: "HomePod has what can only be explained by the most balanced audio, not just of any smart speaker but of any speaker I now own, which includes a number of Sonos speakers and a Bose Home Theatre system", said Recode's Ben Bajarin.
One of the unanswered questions leading up to HomePod's launch has been how Apple's retail stores will display the speaker. Apple makes no bones that HomePod is a music-first speaker, and it sounds terrific, all the more notable given how small it is.
"The HomePod sounds great but on the surface, it's debatable whether it's great enough to justify the limitations of its smart features when compared purely on those merits and not as a component of the Apple ecosystem".
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Likewise, The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern said that "HomePod nails the speaker but struggles at smart". That's why the HomePod can not be configured with anything other than an iOS device. This time, Apple's briefings included playing a selection of songs on HomePod and three competing speakers, asking Siri a series of questions it could answer, and in some cases demonstrating multi-HomePod features that were left out of the initial software release.
My other quibble has to do with a hard challenge for Apple. You might, for example, ask Siri to play classical musical in the basement at the same time you play the blues in the kitchen.
9to5Mac stopped at Apple's new Michigan Avenue store in Chicago and Apple The Summit in Birmingham, AL today to take a look and listen to how well HomePod performs in acoustic conditions that will differ significantly from most people's homes. But if you want a useful smart assistant as well as the freedom to use whatever service you want, it's best to walk on by. Its chief selling point appears to be a high-quality speaker for using the Apple Music service-but not any other rival services. Further, there is Siri integration to let you interact with the HomePod directly using your own voice.
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Built with an A8 chip that acts as the brain of the speaker, the HomePod easily transforms from speaker to home assistant.
Apple's Siri, on the other hand, is not available on any third-party devices. HomePod is also able to integrate with Apple's Home app for iOS, letting you control HomeKit accessories such as light switches and garage door openers. With many speakers and sound systems, there is a zone of perfection. 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. "It's got better separation and bass response than anything else in its size and boasts a nuance and subtlety of sound that pays off the 7 years Apple has been working on it", said TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino.
Also worth noting here: if you're on Android you are fat out of luck - this is an Apple speaker that implores you to go all in on Apple.
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