“There’s finally good news for those eagerly awaiting Apple’s take on the smart speaker: HomePod will be available for $349 on February 9 (pre-orders launch this Friday, January 26), and it is well worth your consideration,” Madeline Buxton writes for Refinery29. “This morning, Refinery29 had a chance to sit down with the new speaker… I was impressed.”

“To start, HomePod looks good — really good. Both the black and white versions are sleek and, thankfully, at 6.8 inches high, surprisingly smaller in person than they appear in photos. The device is comparable in size to the Sonos One, and is much smaller than its rectangular Google competitor, Google Home Max,” Buxton writes. “It blends in so seamlessly that I didn’t even notice it when I walked into the room.”

Apple's all-new HomePod

Apple’s all-new HomePod

 
“HomePod also delivers where it counts: The sound. When I listened to the speaker next to Google Home Max, the latest Amazon Echo, and Sonos One, the vocals were consistently crisper and clearer on HomePod. The pluck of guitar strings pops, and bass notes have the robust thump-thump you want from them,” Buxton writes. “You can get Siri’s attention when you want to change the volume or switch songs without screaming at her — just a gentle ‘hey, Siri’ will do.”

“However, there are some areas where HomePod is limiting,” Buxton writes. “Only the person who sets up HomePod on their iCloud account will be able to send texts, set up reminders, and get calendar notifications via voice commands. Google Home and Amazon Echo, meanwhile, can recognize different voices and provide personalized content accordingly.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully, Apple will add the ability to recognize different people ASAP, but for now, in a family or group of roommates, that won’t be “our” HomePod, it’ll be Joe’s or Jane’s HomePod, a subset of whose features we’re allowed to use.

Buxton notes, “If you do set up personal notifications on HomePod, these will only be available when you are on the network, so you don’t need to worry about your texts being read aloud at home when you are at work. If you don’t want them read aloud when you’re home, you can go into your HomeKit settings and turn off the notifications.”

SEE ALSO:
Apple’s iOS 11.3 beta delivers AirPlay 2 with multi-room playback – January 25, 2018
How Apple is positioning the HomePod and why – January 24, 2018
How I got talked into buying an Apple HomePod despite my reservations – January 24, 2018
Tim Cook says audio quality puts HomePod ahead of ‘squeaky-sounding’ competition – January 24, 2018
Apple to ship crippled, incomplete HomePod months late – January 23, 2018
Apple’s HomePod arrives February 9th, available to order this Friday, January 26th – January 23, 2018
Apple CEO Tim Cook paid close to $102 million for fiscal 2017 – December 28, 2017
Apple’s Phil Schiller: We feel bad about the HomePod delay – December 8, 2017
Echo Dot was Amazon’s Black Friday – Cyber Monday bestseller as Apple’s delayed HomePod waits for 2018 release date – November 28, 2017
Apple’s late, delayed, limited HomePod is looking more and more like something I don’t want – November 27, 2017
Why Apple’s HomePod is three years behind Amazon’s Echo – November 21, 2017
Under ‘operations genius’ Tim Cook, product delays and other problems are no longer unusual for Apple – November 20, 2017
Apple delays HomePod release to early 2018 – November 17, 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook: The ‘operations genius’ who never has enough products to sell at launch – October 23, 2017
Apple reveals HomePod smart home music speaker – June 5, 2017