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The Apple HomePod Sounds Good, But Other Smart Speakers Sound Better

11 February, 2018, 05:16 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Apple HomePod reveiws are overall positive

The HomePod does have features the Amazon Echo or Google Home don't, such as the ability to play podcasts at a faster speed or use voice to send iMessages and WhatsApp texts, according to Buzzfeed's Nicole Nguyen. Now questions abound over whether Apple can compete in a hotly contested market with a virtual assistant in Siri that doesn't work as well as Amazon's Alexa or Google Assistant.

More: A smart home sounds like a great idea. They're all abstract pieces that say little specific about Apple's smart speaker. "We want to combine all this in a product that can really deliver a breakthrough experience", said Schiller, noting that HomePod would "rock the house" and be "really fun to use, with a built-in musicologist".

The comprehensive user guide covers a host of different topics about the smart speaker including set up, how to play Apple Music tracks, controlling HomeKit devices, and much more. Each of these devices is compatible with three major ecosystems, meaning that smart home support is pretty standard across the device range.

The share of Google Home is projected at 21.6%, ranking the second. Like the HomePod, the Google Home Max also allows hands-free voice calls.

Not all offices feature conference room telephones (which can cost $1,000 or more), and even those that do often find attendees holding impromptu conference calls by placing an iPhone on top of the table and enabling the iPhone's speakerphone mode.

Meanwhile, the Google Home Max can be combined with Chromecast Audio or speakers with Chromecast to play music across multiple rooms. Google's speaker is the louder of the two, though mainly because of its bookshelf-speaker size and 12-pound heft, dwarfing the HomePod. 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. Also, Apple sometime later this year to enable a stereo sound effect when two HomePods are connected wirelessly.

There is no doubt that Google has a big advantage over the other two competitors thanks to its emphasis on searching, and this is indeed reflected in the performance of its system. (Users can stream other music services on the HomePod through their iPhones, but not fully control those apps with voice). Indeed, it could be argued that the Amazon HomePod is really being marketed as a music playback system with some AI functionality included, rather than the assistant-emphasis that both Amazon and Google have made with their products.

HomePod is not a directional speaker. There isn't any reason to pay $200 extra for a device that doesn't entirely work, just yet. Ask Siri where the nearest bank or coffee shop is and, since HomePod knows where it's plugged in, it can use the same points-of-interest data available to Apple Maps to read back the nearest result. But then, with a price tag of £319 (versus £75 for the Echo and less for the Echo Dot), it should.

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