This roll out of Technology Today is all about the Apple's NEW HomePod and how it holds it's own or doesn't in the smart speaker market.
Apple's HomePod obliterates the competition in sound quality - by far! The New York Times has even gone as far as to say, "Audiophiles will appreciate that it has a woofer with a custom amplifier and seven tweeters. The result is a speaker with a deep base and rich treble that is loud enough to fill a large room with superb sound. HomePod makes Amazon Echo and Google's Home sound muffled and tinny in comparison."
However, other than sound - the HomePod is embarrassing in contrast to other products. Siri is not only lacking in "smarts" but is less evolved/intelligent than the Siri we've come to know and love with iPhone. If that isn't bad enough, Siri is slow to learn individual preferences, can't be integrated with other HomePods to create a surround sound/multi room experience, lacks voice recognition and is isolated to "Apple's Atmosphere". What do I mean by this? You can NOT setup or control HomePod sans an iOS device. You will NEED an iPhone, iPad or an iTouch - if you are not an Apple user - don't even bother purchasing!* It's also lacking security - which to most, is crucial. Right now, since HomePod is without vocal rec, anyone can walk up to your pod and ask Siri to read your text messages. Um, say what?! 1. How does Apple think this is okay 2. Apple, no vocal recognition? C'mon! There is a temporary fix for this - go to Settings and turn OFF "Personal Requests". Once that's disabled, others will NOT be able to ask Siri to perform personal tasks - however, we see this as a serious flaw in HomePod's design and are waiting with bated breath for the software update!!
Calling all music lovers - if you have a preference on the streaming platform you use, you'll be limited to Apple Music. Sayonara Spotify, Pandora and Amazon Music! Tears. Now, here me out - I am an Apple Music Subscriber and still feel that this is bananas! Apple needs to breakaway from their lonely "Apple Atmosphere" - in the end, they are only cutting their nose off to spite their face! People love to have the choice to air and stream what they want, how they want. When you take that freedom away, you are only limiting the capabilities of your device and therefor your audience.
It may seem as if we're berating Apple's newest launch, in our defense - how can we not? This is not what we expected from the multinational tech company. If everything above didn't scare you off, the following just might - HomePod's price (shaking my head) is $349 - a whopping 3 X the price of other smart speakers! I personally will pass on the speaker and the steep pricetag until Apple puts out the next gen of HomePod - which I hope will be smarter and more advanced than it's predecessor.
What do you think about the HomePod? Sound off below.
Until next time, Techies!