Monday, 18 June, 2018

Why you should totally wait to buy Apple's new HomePod

NATION-NOW     5 things you need to know Friday     
       5 things you need to know Friday NATION-NOW 5 things you need to know Friday 5 things you need to know Friday
Grady Vargas | 11 February, 2018, 05:21

For example, the statement, "Hey Siri, I'm home", could activate the lights in your bedroom and living room, play a jazz radio station through HomePod, and activate the kettle in preparation to make tea. The HomePod also allows hands-free voice calls.

I've said this already, but I'll say it again: the HomePod sounds good.

Cloaked in a seamless mesh fabric that conceals a woofer, seven tweeters and other technical innards, HomePod is as easy on the eyes as it is your ears.

Even with the volume up high, Siri will hear your voice over the music.

It's evident Apple picked music as its focus over Siri.

If the HomePod is used within an office where speaking to the speaker and listening to responses isn't disruptive to others, the device makes a great addition.

The debut of the company's first-ever smart speaker places Apple in running to dominate your digital household devices with both Google (Home) and Amazon (Echo).

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

I listened to HomePod solo and also compared it to a trio of rival smart speakers: the Amazon Echo, Sonos One and Google Home Max, playing identical tracks across a roster of songs: among them, Stormy Monday by the Allman Brothers, Money by Pink Floyd, Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin, Maiden Voyage by Herbie Hancock, So What by Miles Davis and New Americana by Halsey.

However, one feature that the Google Home does deliver that is absent in both the Amazon and Apple devices is the ability to utilize the speaker as an intercom.

Recode: "HomePod has what can only be explained by the most balanced audio, not just of any smart speaker but of any speaker I now own, which includes a number of Sonos speakers and a Bose Home Theatre system", said Recode's Ben Bajarin. Siri can't help you with that. Nor can Siri identify your voice as opposed to another family member's voice, something the other assistants can do.

"Hey Siri, read my last text message" sounds like a helpful ask, but considering a roommate, kid or someone else in your house could ask for such information too, it raises privacy concerns. "Seriously." when Apple Music launched in 2015. But it could hinder adoption out of the gate.

Early HomePod reviews have praised the speakers "phenomenal" sound quality, setting Apple way ahead of competing devices in terms of audio playback, however; reviewers have noted how Siri's limited functionality lets the device down compared to Amazon Alexa that can perform a much wider range of tasks. Indeed, Google is reaching out to the same audience of people who have a discerning ear for music as Apple is with HomePod.

Apple says that every time you move the speaker, it senses the motion and then automatically adjusts itself to its placement in the room using a series of test tones and complex algorithms to minimize reflections from nearby walls or other objects.

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