Apple HomePod: 3 business uses for the smart speaker

Apple HomePod: 3 business uses for the smart speaker

The HomePod was set for a December 2017 release, but Apple delayed it to 2018, saying that it needed more time to flawless it. An Apple analyst expects Cupertino to unveil a lower cost model as early as this fall, according to AppleInsider.

Apple hasn't finished delivering on some HomePod capabilities that rivals like Sonos mastered years ago. The sound quality is tops and design is attractive, but with a heftier price tag, lack of partnerships with companies like Spotify and Uber, and Siri's inability to be truly useful right now, it's more of an Apple aspiration than a product ready for the prime time.

Today is the official release date for Apple's HomePod Speakers and the company just posted cost of repairs for uninsured HomePod customers; $279, which is almost as much as buying a new one for $349. Whether you need a current stock price, seek the result of a calculation, wish to set a reminder or record a task, or must send a message, the HomePod can help you perform all those tasks hands-free. As an Apple Music subscriber you can invoke such commands as "Hey Siri, play Linda Ronstadt", "Hey Siri, play the top songs of 1971", "Hey Siri, play music to chill by", or "Hey Siri, tell me about this artist".

You need to have an iOS device to use it, and you must subscribe to Apple Music to access songs.

Amazon pitches the Echo as a smart home assistant that happens to play music. You might, for example, ask Siri to play classical musical in the basement at the same time you play the blues in the kitchen.

Apple's Siri, on the other hand, is not available on any third-party devices. For starters, it's not very smart - at least not as smart as, say, Alexa or Google Assistant.

"If you don't like Apple Music, don't buy a HomePod", said Matthew Panzarino at TechCrunch. "Apple's engineers designed HomePod to sound the best no matter where you are in the room".

Frances Kwee Lead Acoustics Engineer Google Home Max
Frances Kwee Lead Acoustics Engineer Google Home Max

Built with an A8 chip that acts as the brain of the speaker, the HomePod easily transforms from speaker to home assistant.

"HomePod is an Apple-only device, so it is much more limited in what it can control in terms of smart home gadgets", said Martin. You're paying a lot to get even more entrenched in Apple's world.

The HomePod is priced at $349, which compares to an Amazon Echo at $149 and Google Home at $129, with the smaller devices of each costing about $50.

But when I subsequently moved the speaker to a new location outside the house and tried connecting to different Wi-Fi networks, I ran into repeated snags trying to set up the speaker up again. Yes, it does come equipped with Siri, which has gotten better over the years, but as it stands, Alexa and Google Assistant remain far more deft at responding to commands and offer wider arrays of functionalities.

My other quibble has to do with a hard challenge for Apple.

I remember reading the estimates for HomePod sales back in July of 2017 and it was clear that Apple would have stiff competition from Amazon and Google. But sometimes perhaps too good.

More: A smart home sounds like a great idea. Siri has no problem with that on the iPhone and the iPad. So why is it still so complicated?

House Democratic leader flexes muscle in opposing U.S. budget deal
After the last shutdown members are still unclear on the path forward and expect the Senate to pass this, leaving them little room.

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