Tech

Apple's HomePod enters smart speaker fray

Apple's HomePod enters smart speaker fray”

Apple says the update is due out this spring.

Apple opened up pre-orders on their website for their HomePod today but if you're not sold on it there is always the Sonos One to think about.

Google Home and Amazon Echo are essentially aimed at exactly the same market, with extremely similar feature sets.

Luckily, the HomePod doesn't seem to be in extremely short supply. When it was blasting Ariana Grande at 90 percent volume, lower notes came through clearly, with no distortion.

Sonos One also has more flexibility when it comes to the virtual assistant you can use with it. That's a bit misleading: Sonos tends to funnel users through its own app and requires services to work with its platform before they're available to stream on its devices, as none of its speakers work with Bluetooth. Bass-heads will have to wait for the Beats version of the HomePod, I guess. Make us yearn. Release some more details on its use, shows us some videos, give us some examples of its additional Siri capabilities, even give us a hint of how it will work with Apple TV once AirPlay 2 is released. Needless to say, the speaker will deliver powerful audio with huge attention to quality. Regularly $199 each, you can now get two of the smart speakers for $349, which happens to be the price of Apple's new HomePod speaker launched today. In my listening party, songs like Ed Sheeran's Shape of You picked apart the track, letting me hear both Sheeran's guitar picking and the clarity of his voice. That's not as seamless as with Alexa or Google, which let you initiate calls using a smart speaker just by voice. The future is smart homes. Google joined the market in 2016, two years after Amazon debuted its pioneering Echo. Cleverly, it also knows it's been moved thanks to the on-board accelerometer and so automatically runs this location programme when you switch the HomePod's position or turn it off at the plug. While the company has a loyal following of people who will definitely purchase the product, he doesn't see most people paying $349 when Amazon's Echo is just $99. More recently, Google has started to roll out the Google Assistant smart agent to more Android devices, too.

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The HomePod follows Apple's philosophy of trying to fold its users into its ecosystem.

The big catch, music-wise, is that the only music service it natively supports is Apple Music.

You don't feel like talking to Alexa or Google Assistant?

The speaker will work with Apple Music and features are set to include smart home integration, voice messaging and, ultimately, multi-room audio.



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