“Apple’s entrance into the ‘smart’ speaker market earlier this month was remarkable because of its lateness almost more than anything else,” Lauren Goode writes for The Verge. “Amazon’s Echo speakers have been around for a few years, Sonos (finally) brought a voice assistant to its Wi-Fi speaker last fall, and even Google managed to sneak in its smart speaker before the end of the year, despite not being a hardware-first company.”

“But the HomePod launch was also noteworthy because of the approach Apple seems to have taken with it: it’s a high-end audio party in the front, and that whole virtual assistant business has been shoved to the back,” Goode writes. “How does it compare to using a great-sounding speaker with an assistant I already use in my house… like a Sonos One with Alexa?”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Even in its partially-baked state — with no multi-room audio or stereo pairing, yet — the first job of a speaker is to sound great. And the HomePod sounds noticeably better than the Sonos One.

NPD: Apple’s U.S. HomePod day one preorders beat all other smart speakers’ first day preorders, except Amazon’s $50 Echo Dot – February 26, 2018
Apple HomePod hits 3 percent in U.S. market share – February 22, 2018
Here are the Siri commands you’ll use most with your HomePod – February 21, 2018
How to control your home with the HomePod – February 20, 2018
Jean-Louis Gassée: The trouble with Apple HomePod reviews – February 20, 2018
Steve Crandall: Apple’s HomePod is the next big step in home audio – February 13, 2018
Apple HomePod: The audiophile perspective plus 8 1/2 hours of measurements; HomePod is 100% an audiophile-grade speaker – February 12, 2018
Apple’s HomePod is actually a steal at $349 – January 26, 2018
Digital Trends previews Apple’s HomePod: Impressive sound coupled with strong privacy – January 26, 2018
Hands on with Apple’s HomePod: Attractive, ultra-high-quality speaker, an excellent Siri ambassador – January 26, 2018
Apple’s HomePod, the iPod for your home – January 25, 2018
One hour with Apple’s new HomePod smart speaker – January 25, 2018
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’s HomePod arrives February 9th, available to order this Friday, January 26th – January 23, 2018
Apple delays HomePod release to early 2018 – November 17, 2017
Apple reveals HomePod smart home music speaker – June 5, 2017