“The notion of Apple’s ‘walled garden’ ecosystem of products precedes even the iPhone. For as long as the company has existed, Apple products have worked best with other Apple products and that’s been that,” Vlad Savov writes for The Verge. “But the new HomePod speaker, which is going on sale today, ratchets this commitment up another notch. If you thought you were locked inside the Apple ecosystem before, buying a HomePod is like adding an iron ball to those chains.”

MacDailyNews Take: Puleeze. You’d have to be stupid to subscribe to Spotify when it has 33% fewer tracks than Apple Music for the same price. Apple Music boasts a catalog of 45 million songs; Spotify has a mere subset of just 30 million. Those paying the same price for Spotify when they could have Apple Music are the ones who are limited.

“The HomePod costs $349,” Savov writes. “That’s a high price for the vast majority of people, and it pretty much guarantees that you’ll be using the HomePod as the primary listening device in your home.”

MacDailyNews Take: “Expensive” is not a universal concept and is therefore not the job of the reviewer. One man’s “expensive” is another’s “peanuts.” Just report the price and the reader can decide whether it’s affordable or not; the reviewer’s personal financial situation is meaningless when it comes to a product’s price.MacDailyNews, October 27, 2016

“The HomePod has voice control for music playback, but you’ll have to be tapping into Apple’s own Apple Music, iTunes tracks, or iTunes Match to take full advantage of Siri,” Savov writes. “Alternatively, you can use AirPlay from an Apple device, which gets you access to services like Spotify but with drastically simplified play / pause voice control. In any and all cases, to get the most out of the HomePod, you absolutely must have a subscription to an Apple music service and an iOS device to set the speaker up.”

MacDailyNews Take: Again, 45 million tracks vs. 30 million tracks for the exact same price and real iPhones and iPads vs. dog-slow, generally awful knockoffs with second-rate apps ported from iOS. It’s not a difficult choice; even some Android settlers can figure it out (as evidenced by the rates of Android to iPhone switchers). So, lock us up in Apple’s ecosystem and throw away the key, please!

“While it’s true that Apple has always privileged its devices and services ahead of others, the company’s track record has been a bit more mixed,” Savov writes. “As of right now, you can use an iPhone while relying on almost zero Apple apps. When I set up an iPhone, I download all my Google services like Maps and Keep, swap Safari with Chrome, and rely on Dropbox instead of iCloud.”

MacDailyNews Take: Vlad obviously enjoys a total lack of privacy and likes to be tracked like a piece of luggage with an RFID tag. Next week, he’ll probably send his DNA off to some random company to do God only knows what with it, if he hasn’t already.

“My point is that purchasing a HomePod is nothing at all like purchasing a Sonos One [or] an Amazon Echo… maybe you miss your Spotify playlists,” Savov writes. “Whatever, you just bought the Apple speaker and now you have to live within the confines of the world that Apple has set up for you.”

MacDailyNews Take: Please see: How to move your Spotify playlists to Apple Music.

“In spite of its starkly limited music source options,” Savov writes, “the HomePod speaker still managed to sell out of preorders on the eve of its release date.”

MacDailyNews Take: “Starkly limited?” Apple’s HomePod can be used as as a Wi-Fi speaker for Spotify, Google Play Music, Amazon Music, etc. via AirPlay.

“I would argue that we should collectively reject the lock-in practice that Apple is currently engaging in,” Savov writes. “It may seem fine and benign to just add another piece to your Apple hardware puzzle today, but… How easy will it be for you to extricate yourself from the company that already provides your phone, laptop, smartwatch, earphones, speakers, car and TV interface, and — via Apple HomeKit — all your smart home gadgets and devices?”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Vlad seems nervous that once people go HomePod, they’ll never settle for other speakers, fake iPads, pretend iPhones, Apple Music roadkill with 33% fewer tracks, etc. ever again.

Why does he care if people are inside Apple’s ecosystem? How’s that hurting him? He’s still free to stupidly pay the same price for 33% fewer tracks that he can listen to on inferior-sounding, privacy-trampling smart speakers while fiddling with his dog-slow iPhone knockoff cobbled together from off-the-rack parts by a South Korean dishwasher maker. Have at it, Vladdy!

Of course outsiders hate Apple’s walled garden. They’re jealous because they live in a cesspool.

John Gruber reviews Apple’s HomePod: Seemingly impossible sound quality – February 7, 2018
The Independent reviews Apple’s HomePod: Exceptional audio quality, easy to use, and reliably accurate with spoken commands – February 7, 2018
Apple Music was always going to win – February 6, 2018
‘What Hi-Fi?’ reviews Apple’s HomePod: The best-sounding smart speaker we’ve ever tested – by far – February 6, 2018
Ben Bajarin: You can’t unhear Apple’s HomePod – February 6, 2018
Inside Apple’s HomePod audio lab – February 6, 2018
Ten things nobody has told you about the Apple HomePod – February 6, 2018
TechCrunch reviews Apple’s HomePod: Easily the best sounding mainstream smart speaker ever – February 6, 2018
WSJ reviews Apple’s HomePod: Sounds far better than the popular smart speakers from Amazon, Google, and Sonos – February 6, 2018
CNET reviews Apple’s HomePod: Strong wireless speaker with awesome sound – February 6, 2018
Apple Music on track to overtake Spotify, become No. 1 streaming service in U.S. this summer – February 4, 2018
Apple Music passes Pandora and Spotify in mobile usage – March 29, 2017