Apple’s HomePod promises a lot. Inside the stubby cylinder are a whole host of audio components that Apple insists are enough to keep audiophiles happy, whether they tuck the speaker on a bookshelf or leave it out in the open. Credit spatial awareness and a trick auto-setup system that handles all the EQ settings for that.
If you’re an Apple Music subscriber, HomePod is a joy. Siri handles all the tracks, artists, playlists, genres, and more. Just mention the assistant’s name and ask for what you want. You don’t even have to raise your voice, the microphone array is so good.
As a smart speaker, though, Siri’s shortcomings are a little clearer. The Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa have an advantage in third-party integrations, too. And those trying to use other music sources – or, worse still, a non-Apple smartphone – will find themselves quickly frustrated. Meanwhile, it’ll take a firmware update later in 2018 to enable stereo pairing and multi-room support on the $349 HomePod.