We understand you’re probably under so much pressure right now because all your friends pre-ordered the Apple HomePod, and here you are reading someone else’s opinion about it.
Well, for what it’s worth, you actually made the right choice.
Let us cut the chase. The HomePod has a lot of advantages over similar products at the same price point, but there is one or two things we don’t really like about it. For us, these are deal breakers.
In this post, we won’t go too much on each pro and con. Instead, we’ll give you its best selling point and the worst feature.
The Best Side
To start with, Apple HomePod is a great speaker. Nilay Patel from The Verge and Gareth Beavis of Tech Radar witnessed how good it is first hand. They also witnessed a demo of the HomePod, where it was compared the other products. Lastly, Apple personnel explained to them directly the science behind this amazing sound quality.
To save you time, here’s the summary of what they saw and heard.
Beavis heard the comparison among Amazon Echo, Harman Kardon Allure, Sonos One, and the HomePod itself. According to him, the HomePod “sounded the best during the live recording of The Eagles’ Hotel California.” But Allure and One were not very far behind.
Patel gave a very nice explanation of why this is so:
The HomePod has seven tweeters, one woofer, and seven microphones. The tweeters are all down firing while the single woofer “[points] out of the top.” But these speakers in themselves are not enough to create a great sound. It’s with the help of the microphones plus the smart software that optimum sonic quality is achieved.
Model creation and “beamforming.”
Every time you play music on the HomePod, it detects the environment around it with the help of the microphones. Once it understands what the surrounding is, it then proceeds to the beamforming. It is a complicated idea says Apple, but to put it simply, here’s an illustration.
Let’s assume you place the HomePod near the wall. After it detects its location, it then programs the tweeters to separate ambient sound from direct sounds. The vocals and instruments are basically the direct sounds while applause is considered an ambient sound.
The ambient sounds then are fired towards the wall; the direct sounds are fired towards you, the listener.
The Deal Breaker
What made us take a step back from buying the Apple HomePod is its limitation. It’s so limited that it won’t recognize Spotify, Tidal, or any other app except Apple Music.
Yeah, you can still use Spotify on your phone then use HomePod as your speaker via AirPlay, but don’t expect voice control aside from play, pause, and volume.
Another limitation is Siri. If you have been talking to Alexa and Google Assistant for some time, you’ll notice that Siri on HomePod is very far behind. Yeah, you can ask Siri to heat up your smart kettle, but that’s only if it’s compatible. Also, don’t expect Siri to dial any number for you.
The worst part, Siri doesn’t recognize voices. In other words, anyone who says “Hey, Siri!” while inside the premises of your home has access to whatever information she has on hand. If your girlfriend or wife says “read the last message” while you’re out, you’re probably doomed.
As a speaker, Apple HomePod is clearly a winner. It’s smart and it sounds great. But unless you have all the compatible devices and apps, you probably won’t fully enjoy everything it has to offer.
You’re better off with Alexa and a great-sounding stereo system.