How Apple’s HomePod compares to the competition

(James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

(ABC)– Apple‘s newest product, a smart speaker called HomePod, hit stores Friday and the reviews are generally positive.

The HomePod was set for a December 2017 release, but Apple delayed it to 2018, saying that it needed more time to perfect it.

Priced at $349, it’s much more expensive than the Amazon Echo and Google Home, which are roughly a third of the price.

Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced the HomePod at a keynote address in June 2017, saying that it would “reinvent home music.”

PHOTO: A HomePod is pictured at the Apple Store, Feb. 9, 2018, in Sydney, Australia. James D. Morgan/Getty Images
A HomePod is pictured at the Apple Store, Feb. 9, 2018, in Sydney, Australia.

The Hardware

“The music quality is second to none.”

The HomePod comes in two colors — white and space gray — and features a high-excursion woofer with a custom amplifier.

“HomePod is a premium speaker with much better music and sound quality than the Amazon and Google alternatives,” Jim Martin, editor of Tech Advisor, a site that covers consumer technology, told ABC News.

Jim Dalrymple, an Apple expert at Loop Insights, a tech news site, said he was “pleasantly surprised by how well the music in the room seemed to just kind of envelope you.”

“The music quality is second to none,” he added. “Music is the reason I would buy HomePod.”

The HomePod uses spatial awareness to adjust the audio accordingly.

“I’ve heard the Echo and, to be honest, it kind of sounded like music from a tin box,” said Dalrymple. “Any speaker can blast music but the “HomePod puts music around the room.”

The six microphones built into the device lets Siri hear a user even from a distance.

Dalrymple claims the HomePod responded to his voice from at least 20 feet away.

A waveform display appears at the top of the cylinder base, letting a user know that Siri is listening, and it doubles as a control pad.

Built with an A8 chip that acts as the brain of the speaker, the HomePod easily transforms from speaker to home assistant.

The Intelligence

“I think Siri could be expanded.”

PHOTO: A prototype of Apples new HomePod is displayed during the 2017 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) at the San Jose Convention Center, June 5, 2017 in San Jose, Calif.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
A prototype of Apple’s new HomePod is displayed during the 2017 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) at the San Jose Convention Center, June 5, 2017 in San Jose, Calif.more +

Siri can send messages, give news updates, check the weather and control smart devices that are synced with the HomePod and other Apple products, the same features of the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

But it could do more.

“I think Siri could be expanded and will be in the future,” said Dalrymple. “I would like to see Siri do more in the Apple ecosystem so I could control things like the calendar.”

“HomePod is an Apple-only device, so it is much more limited in what it can control in terms of smart home gadgets,” said Martin.

“It won’t work with Android at all,” he added, noting that Amazon’s and Google’s devices can.

And the HomePod won’t play music from popular streaming services like Pandora or Spotify.

It exclusively plays tunes from Apple’s own music subscription service, Apple Music, which costs $10 a month and offers over 45 million songs.

“[You] really need an Apple Music subscription to make the most of Siri’s capabilities,” said Martin.

However, there’s a way to get another music streaming service to play through the HomePod.

“You can play any music or audio through the HomePod from your iPhone or iPad via AirPlay,” said Martin. “So it can play Spotify without the deep integration and control with Siri.”

Both experts agree that the HomePod is a powerful music player, but it still has some kinks that Apple could fix in future models.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

WTNH NEWS8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Also, you can now block any inappropriate user by simple selecting the drop down menu on the right of any comment and selection "Block User" from there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s