An emerging market that is still getting new products added to it every month is the smart home speaker. For quite a while, it has been dominated with the Amazon Alexa, as well as the Google Home, to compete against each other. However, Apple has finally turned up to the party to release the Apple HomePod. However, it’s not a direct competition to the Amazon Alexa or Google Home, so to speak. With this, here are the main features to the Apple HomePod with a verdict to the smart speaker at the end.
A Music Speaker First
Where Apple thinks Amazon Alexa and Google Home have gone is that both companies made a smart speaker first, instead of a good sounding speaker first. The Apple HomePod, as a speaker alone, is extremely good. It has good bass and very good sound quality, regardless of the genre of music being played. This makes it a very good speaker to have in a home for music.
Just like Amazon has Alexa and Google has the Google Assistant, the Apple HomePod comes equipped with Siri to make it a smart speaker. Although Siri can be considered to not be as ‘smart’ as Alexa and Google Assistant, it still has plenty of features that will satisfy the requirements of most people. The smart speaker is especially easy to use Siri, since the microphones in the speaker can pick up anyone saying ‘hey Siri’ from even across the room, with the speaker playing music.
A limitation of the HomePod is the fact that it can only work with iOS. If you have an Android or Windows device, unfortunately there is no way to integrate the device with the HomePod and play music from it – it is strictly an Apple eco-system product.
Apple Music Integration
Spotify, Pandora and other music streaming platforms do work with the Apple HomePod. However, Apple has been clever here where they have made the integration of Apple Music ‘just that bit’ better than that of competitors. Whilst you can play music by clicking the AirPlay button on your iOS device to play the music from your device to the HomePod, voice commands for music only work with Apple Music. If you are going to buy a smart speaker, then this is generally a must – so you are going to have to convert to Apple Music if you want to buy the Apple HomePod.
Ultimately, it is refreshing to see a smart speaker take music performance first. The Apple HomePod is a welcome addition to the smart speaker market, with brilliant clarity, great bass and, in general, a good looking speaker. For Apple fans, it will be a no brainer. But, for those that lack Apple products or use other music streaming services, then the HomePod might be harder to convince to buy than the alternatives already out there.