“HomePod takes the listening experience to a whole new level. And that’s just the beginning” as Apple states. Released on February 8th, the HomePod, released by Apple, is a new competitor in the smart speaker industry. The Homepod aims to be an excellent speaker for Apple products, and it uses Apple Music and Siri to learn your taste in music. Additionally, the HomePod can be used as a home assistant to answer questions and do assigned tasks, similar to Amazon Echo and Google Home. Since the HomePod is voice sensitive, you are able to talk aloud and the HomePod will listen to the command. To use the HomePod, you must have an Apple device, and you must be subscribed to Apple Music in order to be able to listen to songs outside of the songs you have purchased. If you do not have Apple Music, the musical capabilities of the HomePod is limited, as the only other options you have is to listen to the live radio, play songs that you have purchased from Itunes, or use your phone to control the songs that are playing. Even with these drawbacks, the Apple HomePod has a hefty price tag, starting at $349 on the Apple site.
With Google and Amazon already having successful smart speakers on the market, consumers wonder what makes the HomePod stand out. One of the most valuable features of the HomePod is its high performance for music. The HomePod is the superior speaker, with spatial awareness to make give the most optimal sound. Inside of the HomePod are seven tweeters, which means the sound quality will be consistent no matter which direction you are located relative to the speaker. In addition to this, an algorithm analyzes the music and is able to make adjustments. Meanwhile, although they are able to play music, the Google Home and Amazon Echo are more focused to being home assistants. The HomePod does use Siri as its home assistant, which does not have as many capabilities as its competitors. The HomePod is able to provide answers to some questions, and activate some smart appliances. However, for example, the HomePod is not able to call an Uber, which the Echo is able to do. The Google Home goes for $39 for the mini version, $129 for the normal version, and $399 for the “max” version. Amazon also has a similar approach of having several different models; the Echo Dot costs $49, the Echo is $99, and the Echo Plus is $145. Amazon also has the Echo Spot and Echo Show, for $130 and $230. Apple only has one model of the HomePod at the moment.
After being released, the Amazon HomePod has been receiving mixed reviews. Most are impressed by the sound quality of the HomePod, but feel that Siri is lackluster compared to other home assistants. This, paired with the very high price point, leaves many feeling that it is not worth it - and it is probably better to get a different smart speaker. Those who are supportive of the HomePod claim that it is an excellent smart speaker because of its superb sound quality, and is a great choice for people who often listen to music. Overall, the HomePod has been a different smart speaker, receiving mixed reviews - but let us know what you think of it!