Apple's HomePod is coming. What to know about smart speakers

Alain Brian
Juin 10, 2017

Take a look at the HomePod's product page and you'll get an idea: The focus is on sound and speaker specs first and foremost, with nods to Siri and Apple's HomeKit smart home platform tucked underneath.

More than anything else, the company that made the iPod and iTunes wants its new speaker to be about music. There's no doubt Alexa is a very capable assistant with a lot of strings to its bow - and voice recognition has evolved to be very good - but the assistants from Apple and Google feel more rounded, thanks to their being in more places. The long and short of it then is that Apple HomePod is just that-it is a smart speaker with an assistant.

Apple also used its annual developer meeting - its largest ever with some 5,000-people attending - to announce the next version of its mobile operating system - iOS 11 - which will include a new setting for people who use their iPhone in the auto.

How does it line up?

The size of the unit is 172 x 142 mm at a weight of 5.5 lbs.

Like devices by Amazon and Google, the HomePod can make music suggestions and adjust home temperatures. Again, we've heard the audio performance of the Echo for ourselves, and we'd put it just slightly below the Google Home - it'll do for a party or some casual listening but serious music enthusiasts are going to be left wanting. Granted, the other two are much smaller in size than the HomePod and naturally would weigh less. Another advantage the Google Home has for now is the ability to recognise multiple users, so more than one person can use the speaker. Are you ready to jump on board or do the Amazon Echo devices now look more enticing? Later this month, though, you'll be able to talk to the speaker in English or French, and have it play music, or operate a number of home automation devices that are supported. The Google Home has decent integration with Chromecast devices for putting Netflix or YouTube up on the big screen, while the HomePod is expected to play nicely with HomeKit.

Another disadvantage it has is that music support only comes from Apple Music.

For the Amazon Echo there's Amazon Music, Spotify Premium, Pandora and TuneIn, among others. On the other hand, Alexa and Google Home have no such limitations.

Another thing that will keep many people away from HomePod is the price. The Google Home costs as much 129 dollars, while the Apple HomePod is even more expensive. Apple is confident enough about the product that it says the HomePod will dominate the marketplace in 2018. So far it is hard to tell.

However, it still lacks some features that Amazon and Google's products already have.

Apple will release the HomePod in December for a whopping $349.

That's despite the limited access to Apple Music too.

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