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Reasons to Buy the Apple HomePod & 4 Reasons Not To

27 January, 2018, 19:18 | Author: Jan Cross
  • The Home Pod costs $349 and opens for pre-order on January 26Apple

Having an Apple Music subscription isn't the only necessity for the HomePod - if you want it to control your smart home, you also need gadgets that are HomeKit compatible. Only slightly more expensive than one Apple HomePod. The same songs played on the Google Home Max sounded oddly muddy.

When HomePod first debuted in June, I was disappointed by how unoriginal the design seemed. When it was blasting Ariana Grande at 90 percent volume, lower notes came through clearly, with no distortion.

An update coming later this year will let you link two HomePods together for stereo sound, much like competitor speakers.

While Amazon and Google have spent time gathering up massive market share of the smart speaker market, Apple has been working on creating a first-rate sound experience. What becomes immediately apparent is the formidable bass the HomePod kicks out. It is mostly the same, on the outside, but the biggest changes are on the inside.

The report said the iPhone maker's focus here is on music and sound quality, rather than the speaker's intelligence. Whenever you speak the wake-up command, "Hey, Siri", a circular light appears, morphing and twisting in all the colors of the rainbow.

Audio is just one component of a smart speaker, and while Siri can do a lot, it's limited when compared to Alexa and Google Assistant.

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Apple fans are a seriously dedicated bunch who want the latest Apple gear on the first day it's available.

The final piece of the HomePod puzzle is its smart home functionality.

Amazon Echo devices and the Google Home works with multiple music streaming platform. The company has also talked about its use of differential privacy to ensure any data it uses to improve its services can't traced back to individual users. Cleverly, it also knows it's been moved thanks to the on-board accelerometer and so automatically runs this location programme when you switch the HomePod's position or turn it off at the plug. Previously, only an iPad or Apple TV could fulfill this role. The Sonos One's regular retail price is $199. More recently, Google has started to roll out the Google Assistant smart agent to more Android devices, too. But you count Apple out in the hardware business at your peril.

And doesn't that kind of defeat the objective of having a voice-controlled smart speaker? Play from Amazon Music, Spotify, Apple Music, TuneIn or dozens of other streaming services.

You don't feel like talking to Alexa or Google Assistant?

Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesThere's also the major, nearly crippling, limitation on the music side: The device can work with any music streaming service as a typical Bluetooth speaker would, but the Siri part - the "smart" part - only works with Apple Music.

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