Such an extraordinary speaker

Some argue it’s well-priced for being such an extraordinary speaker!

But…yeah, the lock-in. I’m not much of an audiophile, and never got into streaming, so a high-end bluetooth speaker for my iPhone seems a bit pointless. Kirk

I agree with Kirk in that it is likely well priced when the audio quality is considered. The sound really is quite superb and I can see how it could easily replace a music system that people may otherwise have in their homes. Crank up the volume and you can host a party in style or leave it in a corner and you will not notice it until you want to.

Within 24 hours I can see the advantages of HomePod and if I lived alone or in a family where music was important I would keep it for sure. Alas, I live in a family where music is only cherished by myself and where my children prefer to use headphones, and of course to listen to their own music.

The trick with HomePod is to consider it to be a very good quality speaker that lets you play millions of tracks (directly through Apple Music or through AirPlay for Spotify etc, but even then only if you have an Apple phone or tablet) using just your voice. If you do that and can cope with the fact that Siri is still not up to scratch in terms of recognising everything you say then you will be happy.

If you want a truly smart speaker, this is not it and with Siri onboard I doubt it will be for some time.

12 thoughts on “Such an extraordinary speaker

      1. I can access the shared library on any iOS or macOS device, but I don’t think HomePod would “see”them.

        I could AirPlay, and that’s what I do today, from the server to remote speakers via Airport Expeess units.

  1. Yeah, people who prefer the pros and cons of relying on local files for music (and I think both pros and cons are pretty obvious) are we treated as second class citizens, here and elsewhere, as streaming is gaining popularity with listeners (again with obvious pros and cons) and with service providers (who see it as a steady income stream) I don’t know how streaming is for high end or middle tier artists, but, like the diminishing of the traditional, “hang up your own shingle” web against the rise of things like Facebook, I wonder if now a super indie artist has to go through hoops to get on these services, who become de facto gatekeepers. (Lets hope Youtube stays relatively egalitarian, as long as you’re not too worried about getting paid…)

  2. The other question is, why is Siri so dumb? (And actually, “in what ways”– I only use Siri (and sparingly) so I don’t know how she stacks up against the other two)

    I remember hearing at one point that Apple was acting in a more privacy-respecting way than Google and Amazon, and that may have sadly impeded some of their development efforts.

    With iPhone, only sometimes do I think to try a task hands free, though calling up a song while driving might be nice. But what I really wish worked better is the voice transcription – a truly powerful dictation taker would be a boon, but this thing can be an excerise in 3/4 accuracy frustration that leaves one longing for days of “Damn You Autocorrect”

      1. Yeah. John Gruber pointed out it works better if you don’t pause after “Hey Siri”, even though that’s a natural thing to try and do.

        I don’t like voice interfaces in general, I guess. Not only is (at least Apple’s) recognition spotty, the feedback it provides is so limited and linear relative to a good screen. And also, who loves the concept of a lump of electronics listening, listening, listening all the time?

        Wonder if the best solution for homepod would be to dedicate an old iPad or something as a semi-permanent screen for it. But again, even though a simple great-sounding speaker for parties etc holds its appeal, there are other cheaper ways of filling a room with great sounding music.

  3. I wonder if the voice interface like or dislike is another generational thing. The only time I can see using Siri is when I’m driving and the few times I have, I’ve been disappointed. But I don’t talk to my computer and I can’t see talking to my speaker or TV.

      1. To bad I can’t run Alexa on my iPhone through my speakerphone in the car? Alternatively, there must be smart speakerphones out there. Seems like a natural.

        1. From a quick Google search apparently not. Either that or what I have would be considered “smart” since it listens to commands and will send Siri commands to my iPhone.

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