Apple's Smart Speaker HomePod Finally Comes To Market

Apple's Smart Speaker HomePod Finally Comes To Market

After a slight delay, Apple's HomePod is here.

Amazon's Echo supports all of the major calendar apps-Google, Microsoft (Outlook/Office 365/Exchange) and Apple.

By contrast, the assistants in three other smart speakers that we've tried at the CRN Test Center-Alexa in the Amazon Echo, Google Assistant in the Google Home, and Cortana in the Harman Kardon Invoke-are adept at managing calendars.

From a "smart speaker" perspective, HomePod's strongest suit is its six-microphone array, which can hear you say "Hey Siri" at a distance at a reasonable volume, even when the speakers are loudly playing music. A better comparison would be the Sonos One home speaker for example - a dedicated music speaker - and HomePod may have an audio edge on that too. "Whenever I asked HomePod to 'play some music, ' it never played music that was relevant to my preferences or listening history", he wrote, even though Apple has claimed that HomePod will excel at learning user's musical tastes. But there are many more restrictions to using HomePod as a home assistant, such as not being able to hail an Uber ride or to schedule a meeting on a calendar, according to the New York Times.

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You can also access HomePod within the Apple Music app on your iPhone, however.

Select Apple Authorised Resellers, including Best Buy in the US; Argos, Dixons Carphone (Currys PC World), John Lewis, Shop Direct (Very and Littlewoods), EE and Apple Premium Resellers in the United Kingdom; and The Good Guys, Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, Myer and Telstra in Australia, have also started selling the HomePod locally. Amazon and Google's options work with both Android and Apple. A connection via Apple's own AirPlay technology is needed to connect the speaker to the internet, and link an Apple Music account to it for streaming. We expect this will be fixed in a software update, but it's a very surprising omission from any speaker, let alone a "smart speaker". It should also be able to hand calls and messages off to other Apple products as seamlessly as iOS and macOS devices can. And it's an acknowledgement that, like it or not, there are going to be multiple parties in this space. HomePod did not adapt to Chen's requests and did things they would not be in his everyday routine.

Multi-speaker support: Right now, it's hard enough to swallow paying $349 for one HomePod, but if Apple's going to convince anyone to buy two or more, it needs to get paired and multi-room modes working properly.

A smarter Siri: A smart speaker is only as smart as its digital assistant. But if you've got a particular playlist in Spotify you want to play on your HomePod, you can play it - you'll just need to do it from your iOS device.

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