Apple HomePod first listen: not enough punch for the price

Adjust Comment Print

While industry watchers by the thousands were talking about the Amazon Echo and Google Home at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Apple did little to evangelize its answer to an intelligent speaker. Keep in mind the Google Home Max and the Sonos 1 both offer sound that will be close, but apple has a trick with the HomePod. Apple says later this year you'll be able to link two HomePods together (through AirPlay 2) for multi-room control and "stereo" listening (that'll cost you $700 USA sir, there's no discount for a second "Pod"). The HomePod will hit the stores on February 9th and that is the shipping date of the pre-ordered units as well.

So, how do you buy Apple's latest gadget? Yet, as Apple devotees are well aware, there's no reason to doubt the tech giant. You can still use HomePod for its other features, but you'll lose out on about half the device's capabilities.

It should be noted that the HomePod is not without faults.

Controlling multiple speakers in different rooms is something the HomePod will not be capable of when it goes on sale next month. With that said, some users had taken a note of it and were anxious that any damage to the cable would incur an extra cost of fix on the entire unit. They start at $49.

"It's still an odd announcement; Apple provided only a short demo of the device in June, so people courageous enough to order will be going in blind".

However, don't let the price alone deter you if you're truly interested in a HomePod.

Another reason you might not want to turn on Siri is the fear it's always listening. And as expected, industry watchers are now questioning whether the new device can compete with the market leader, Amazon's Echo. Unless, of course, you're one of those Apple people who have to have the brand no matter what the cost. The company has posted environmental data showing that the HomePod uses no more than 9.25W of power when playing music at 50 percent volume. You'd need pretty deep pockets to fill your house with $350 speakers, though. Since these smart speakers are a fixture of your home, it's fair to go with a product based on looks. The three big home speakers from these three mega-corporations will soon be installed in homes across the globe.

Along with music, the HomePod can also perform a huge range of other tasks such as sending messages, setting timers and reminders plus checking the local weather reports.

Siri has come on a long way with the HomePod though. "We think they will be blown away by the audio quality", according to Philip Schiller, Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing. While some reviews have praised the device's sound, there are some things customers should know before buying the speaker. "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, attractive design that is so much fun to use".