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Apple HomePod vs Google Home vs Amazon Echo showdown

Apple HomePod vs Google Home vs Amazon Echo showdown

With the launch of the Apple HomePod, and pending the launch of a Bixby speaker, if there will ever be one, the major pieces on the smart speaker game board are now all in place. And so are the three major voice-controlled AI-driven smart assistants (sorry Cortana, you’ll have to sit this one out). That means, of course, questions on which one you should buy. “Should” is probably too strong a word, because it really depends on multiple factors. We can, however, give you the lay of the land so that you can decide better where to sink your hard-earned money into.

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Smart assistants need to be more proactive to be useful

Smart assistants need to be more proactive to be useful

You have an important meeting with a client at 9 a.m. but you got so engrossed in that novel you read at night that you overslept. Luckily, your smart assistant (let’s call it “Bucksbee”), sounded a reminder an hour before your appointment. You frantically prepare, without giving your phone a second glance. You rush out the door to the nearest bus stop, only to be drenched in an unexpected (for you) downpour. You hop on a bus, soaking wet, but had enough time to try in the unexpected (for you) heavy traffic. You mentally compose a profound apology email and then whip out your phone, only to see the client sent an email hours earlier canceling the meeting for an emergency. We humans sometimes aren’t smart, but our smart assistants are often not that much better.

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HomePod is changing how I listen to music

HomePod is changing how I listen to music

Is Siri better than the Google Assistant, or worse than Alexa, or the downfall of Apple's HomePod, or the reason it's so good? The questions around the Cupertino company's first connected speaker are numerous and fairly predictable, just like the tests pitting one virtual assistant against another in fact. From the start I'd figured Siri makes an excellent guide through Apple Music - you can credit Apple's otherwise frustratingly tight integration between streaming service and speaker for that - but what I didn't expect was how much she would change how I listen to music.

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Apple HomePod Review

Apple HomePod Review

Apple's HomePod may be late to the party, but the Siri-powered smart speaker isn't arriving quietly in any sense of the word. HomePod's biggest strength is that, in a segment where ease of use is yet to catch up with functionality, it makes navigating a great-sounding Apple Music experience by voice a joy. How it does that, though, feels like classic Apple at its most demanding.

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These HomePod missing features are already frustrating me

These HomePod missing features are already frustrating me

Apple made a great sounding speaker in HomePod, but some of the smart features still have rough edges. Whether it's how Siri interacts with your other devices, how the assistant helps you hunt down new and interesting content, or just how straightforward HomePod is to control, there are a few important areas that Apple could easily address to improve the user-experience dramatically.

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The 3 HomePod settings you need to know

The 3 HomePod settings you need to know

Apple's HomePod has arrived, and while the super-simple setup process may make a great first impression, there are a few other settings and menus it's worth getting to grips with. The smart speaker offers voice-controlled access to not only your Apple Music account but potentially to messages and more on your iPhone, too. Some users are going to love that, but others may want to know the three key settings and menus they need to get master control over HomePod. Happily, we've got you covered.

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HomePod review round-up: Apple’s smart speaker judged

HomePod review round-up: Apple’s smart speaker judged

It's fair to say that Apple's HomePod has been one of the company's more controversial products in recent years, and the first batch of HomePod reviews aren't likely to settle those arguments. The smart speaker is set to ship this Friday, February 9, giving Apple Music fans and Siri skeptics alike the opportunity to see how well both play together. So, what can they expect?

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HomePod’s Siri limits raise questions about $349 speaker

HomePod’s Siri limits raise questions about $349 speaker

Apple's HomePod is taking a seriously different route than rival smart speakers, something the list of absent Siri features at launch only underscores. Currently up for preorder, and set to ship on February 9th, HomePod is being billed as "the ultimate music authority" by Apple, and the best way to consume Apple Music. However, that has some implications if you're expecting a clear Amazon Echo or Google Home alternative.

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As HomePod preorders open, 3 facts to remember

As HomePod preorders open, 3 facts to remember

Apple's HomePod goes up for pre-order today, but unlike the latest iPhone X, AirPods, or iPad Pro there's a fair degree of uncertainty about the company's first smart speaker. HomePod might be a late entrant to an already established market, but it's playing a very different game to Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Sonos One. That's not necessarily a bad thing if you're an audiophile, but it does mean there are some things to bear in mind before you buy.

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Apple HomePod preorders open

Apple HomePod preorders open

After being hit with a delay at the end of last year, we finally saw some signs of life from Apple's HomePod earlier this week. Apple not only revealed when the smart speaker would launch, but also when it would available to preorder. Those preorders have officially opened up, so if you've known the HomePod is the speaker for you, you can secure one now.

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HomePod is a sweet-sounding uphill battle

HomePod is a sweet-sounding uphill battle

Apple's HomePod was delayed, and all we got when it finally showed up was a new release date. Surprise bubbled around the announcement of the smart speaker's February 9 launch earlier this week, after Apple failed to use its extra time to address some of the more frequent criticisms HomePod faced when it debuted roughly eight months ago. No multi-room playback at release, no expansion to grudgingly accommodate third-party music services, and no price change from $349.

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iOS 11.2.5 release adds HomePod support and Siri News

iOS 11.2.5 release adds HomePod support and Siri News

iOS 11.2.5 has been released, and while Apple's latest update may have HomePod support as its headline features, there'll be iPhone functionality that appeals even if the smart speaker doesn't. The new version of the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and iPod touch software brings with it support for setting up the HomePod, should you be among those picking up the streaming speaker when it arrives in stores in early February.

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