HomePod: A second listen of Apple's smart speaker as pre-orders open

HomePod: A second listen of Apple's smart speaker as pre-orders open

The HomePod is able to scan your room and adjust sound to match the acoustics, and it showed: I was able to enjoy the music it produced wherever I stood in Apple's demo room, an austere living space with a few bits of choice furniture. The Sonos One isn't the only great speaker on the market but it is being compared to the HomePod so it's a natural option.

The Sonos One speaker, which costs $199, includes Amazon Alexa voice controls and will add Google Assistant voice controls later in the year, Sonos said. Apple created to the HomePod (which costs $349 and goes on sale February 9) from top to bottom, and it made audio a top priority. HomePod will arrive in France and Germany this spring. The device only works with a handful of (Apple) apps, like weather, maps, and reminders. And while you can make calls using the speaker, you can only do so by dialing on your phone.

Unfortunately, the HomePod does not work with other music streaming platforms except the Cupertino company's own Apple Music service.

The Apple HomePod is Apple's latest home device release.

The HomePod is a fat little speaker that stands about seven inches tall and Apple claims delivers a magical new music experience thanks to advanced audio technologies such as beam-forming tweeters, a high-excursion woofer and automatic spatial awareness. The original Amazon Echo and Google Home played music, but weren't exactly an aural extravaganza.

Sonos can still compete with Apple if it can maintain an open ecosystem and gives customers more freedom than its rivals.

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HomePod is available in Apple's high-street stores and at select Apple Authorised Resellers, including Best Buy in the United States and Argos, Dixons Carphone and John Lewis in the UK. Unless, of course, you're one of those Apple people who have to have the brand no matter what the cost.

Apple will lead you to believe that if they make it, they will come (and buy it).

One of those boxes is to approve personalization with the HomePod. The future is smart homes.

While Apple positions the HomePod as a music-first device, Amazon and Google have already set the bar - and continue to raise it - when it comes to setting expectations about what a smart speaker can do. It will come with feature like built-in Siri, six microphones, HomeKit support, and the ability to automatically optimize sound for any given room. I liked the design more than I thought I would, too.

Apple's new HomePod wireless speaker is now available for pre-order. We don't know yet how it will stack up to the HomePod, quality-wise, but if price is the consideration, then this is a goo deal.

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