nsucurrent.com April 19, 2018

Apple's HomePod Now Available for Order

27 January 2018, 07:21 | Ricardo Garza

HomePod Features release date and everything we know about Apple's smart speaker


Originally, the Sonos One costs $199 each.

The HomePod's colored circle on top indicates Siri is listening to a command.

You may have heard of Sonos and their reign on the audio market, but recently Apple has been trying to make their move into the market as well. Unfortunately, there's no indicator on the HomePod to see at a glance if the mic is on or off. Apple will, though, release updates later in the year that will enable both features.

Sonos was late to adding voice controls to its speakers and people might not want to pay the higher prices for them.

The Apple HomePod is on sale today and there are some good reasons to buy one, but there are just as many reasons not to buy Apple's first smart speaker.

However, Sonos' deal is undoubtedly more flexible. The Google Home Max also has a similar feature where it automatically optimises the sound based on where it is kept in a room. When it was blasting Ariana Grande at 90 percent volume, lower notes came through clearly, with no distortion.

After only one hour of seeing HomePod in action, I can't definitively say whether it's worth buying. That's a bit misleading: Sonos tends to funnel users through its own app and requires services to work with its platform before they're available to stream on its devices, as none of its speakers work with Bluetooth. What becomes immediately apparent is the formidable bass the HomePod kicks out.

Siri can identify music that's playing, musicians in the song, and more, but the big caveat is that the HomePod only supports Apple Music. Sonos One does not support Alexa voice calling ● Ask Alexa to play music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn and SiriusXM.

For weeks now, Apple has had the opportunity to better hone its message to consumers as to why their smart speaker, HomePod, would be a better solution than the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Business Insider Anti-clockwise: Google's Home speaker, the Amazon Echo Dot, the Amazon Echo, and Apple's HomePod.

When it comes to making or receiving phone calls, you have to first make or accept the call on your phone, and then select the HomePod as a speakerphone. At setup, however, the light is simply white, only becoming infused with color once you turn on Siri (you have the option not to if you just want to use the HomePod as a "dumb" AirPlay speaker).

I'm not the only person scratching their head over Apple's HomePod strategy. They will also be open in United States and Australia. Previously, only an iPad or Apple TV could fulfill this role.

The HomePod will cost you $349 and will be available in stores on February 9. More recently, Google has started to roll out the Google Assistant smart agent to more Android devices, too.

Alternatively, you can preorder the Apple HomePod at BestBuy. But in the world of smart speakers - which is where Apple is now competing, despite its desire to make the conversation all about music - those factors are secondary to the simple question, "How much can this thing do for me?" Apple Music costs $9.99, but customers can get a three-month free trial.

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