“Music has long been part of Apple’s raison d’etre; Steve Jobs drew inspiration from Bob Dylan to The Beatles to Yo-Yo Ma as he shepherded through products as iconic as the iPod,” Mike Prospero writes for Tom’s Guide. “So it’s only natural that when Apple came out with a smart speaker, it would be a great-sounding device and would look good doing it.”

“But when it comes to the “smart” part of ‘smart speaker,’ the $349 HomePod falls behind the competition,” Prospero writes. “Siri simply can’t do as much as Alexa and Google Assistant — [for instance, you can set only one timer with the HomePod, and you can’t name it] – but can it do enough for Apple diehards?”

“Above all, a $349 smart speaker better sound good, and on that, the HomePod delivers. It has seven tweeters, a large woofer and an array of six microphones that help the speaker automatically adapt its audio profile to the room it’s in,” Prospero writes. “Siri can identify music that’s playing, musicians in the song and more, but the big caveat is that the HomePod supports only Apple Music. By comparison, both the Sonos One and the Google Home Max support Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio and more. Yes, you can use AirPlay to stream music from your iPhone to the HomePod, but you may as well use any Bluetooth speaker at that point.”

Apple's HomePod

Apple’s HomePod

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote on Wednesday:

HomePod is not for Joe or Jane Sixpack. HomePod is for Apple iPhone and/or iPad owners, and especially those who are Apple Music members. Reviewing HomePod as if it’s a generic “smart speaker” meant for sale to the general public is a misreading of the product and its intended target market: iOS device owners who subscribe to Apple Music, a target market of 36 million users worldwide that is growing by millions per quarter.

HomePod is not meant for Joe Schmo with his pretend BOGOF iPhone cobbled together by a South Korean dishwasher maker running an insecure, privacy-trampling OS from a search engine/online ad firm who listens to music via ad-laden free tiers from Spotify and Pandora.

Apple will sell millions of HomePod units to high-value customers, the cream of the crop (i.e. those with disposable income and the will to spend it).

And, as we wrote yesterday:

Of course, Apple is too cash-poor and short-staffed to spend the three hours it would take to add multiple timer capability…

Apple released Siri, the first modern digital virtual assistant, in October 2011. Amazon released Alexa in November 2014. Google Assistant was released in May 2016.

So, why are we even talking about this? Why is Siri not regarded as far and away the best, but rather as notably worse than those later entrants?

Mismanagement of the project from the software to the marketing.

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
‘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