Siri-us business: Everything you need to know about Apple's new HomePod

Siri-us business: Everything you need to know about Apple's new HomePod

Siri-us business: Everything you need to know about Apple's new HomePod

9to5Mac stopped at Apple's new Michigan Avenue store in Chicago and Apple The Summit in Birmingham, AL today to take a look and listen to how well HomePod performs in acoustic conditions that will differ significantly from most people's homes. Apple has marketed HomePod's superior audio quality as its defining feature, and some have wondered how well the speaker will be able to project itself in retail settings which are often noisy and crowded.

USA Today: "Apple has opened up Siri to developers, but the feature set for HomePod and Siri is more narrow - you might send messages by voice or consult your grocery list, but the list of third-party apps that are compatible with HomePod are relatively thin, including LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Skype for iPhone and Evernote".

Early reviews of the recently launched Apple HomePod speaker seem to be tilting towards the positive end of the spectrum from an overall perspective, but critics have panned the new Apple product for its integration with the company's Siri digital assistant. Also, the primary service on HomePod is Apple Music. "It brings advanced audio technologies like beam-forming tweeters, a high-excursion woofer and automatic spatial awareness, together with the entire Apple Music catalog and the latest Siri intelligence, in a simple, lovely design that is so much fun to use".

But delays in its production have left Apple trying to play catch-up in the sector, which is now dominated by Amazon's smash hit Echo product, and also features Google's Home device. This coupled with a wide range of products and low prices, TrendForce finds consumers are more willing to buy Amazon Echo.

HomePod will be powered by Siri. The voice assistant works as a DJ as it progressively learns more about it user's taste in music. However, the multi-room audio feature won't be available until later this year through an update.

After a sound-off against competitors Amazon Alexa 2, Sonos One and Google Home Max, it was clear Apple had developed the best sounding smart speaker yet.

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The compact HomePod comes in two colors: white and space gray.

However, Alexa delivers a more flexible package than either the Google Assistant or Apple HomePod.

The audio quality between the two is very close, though I'd give a slight edge to Apple. It's cylindrical in shape and slightly less than 7 inches tall, making it about the same size as a Sonos One, but considerably smaller than the Home Max. Nor can Siri identify your voice as opposed to another family member's voice, something the other assistants can do. I found that when music was at a high volume, HomePod generally heard my "Hey Siri" voice commands from across the room, a good thing.

Now if only Sonos had made the playlist in Apple Music, so Siri could play it on the HomePod.

Commands such as "Hey Siri, what's the weather like in New York City?" and "Hey Siri, play Kanye West" work without a hitch.

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