Apple’s HomePod is openly hostile to any hardware or service not made by Apple

“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



    I apologize for shouting.

    Thank you.

    1. Apple builds a wall against foreign invaders as protection for their consumers and is praised. Trump wants to build a wall against foreign invaders for all US citizens and is criticized. Maybe Apple needs to build the wall Trump envisions.

      1. When Apple builds a “wall,” it isn’t a PR stunt/slogan meant to fool bigots – it actually increases security in a meaningful way, rather than serving as a pathetic substitute for personal inadequacies.

        1. No nation on this planet supports anyone and everyone to enter their country without due process. Tell me, do you allow people to enter your home and take up residence without your approval? Nah, didn’t think so.

          1. To clarify, you are arguing with something I didn’t say. I didn’t disclose my opinions on immigration, I just alluded to how obviously stupid and useless and wasteful it would be to build a wall, as if humans can get around, under, or over a wall.
            “Build a wall” is just a code word for “I’m either dumb enough to think this would work, or I’m just fooling a bunch of nativist rubes.”
            As far as what US immigration policy should be, you’re also setting up a straw man: “No nation on this planet supports anyone and everyone to enter their country without due process.” Duh. We all know that. The question is how extremists/nativist/white-supremacist immigration policies should be. I think that people should be able to cross borders pretty easily, while screening for actual criminals/malicious actors. Usually, people who have the guts to travel somewhere new are the kind of people who will thrive in a good place. Or, they are refugees fleeing some terrible situation, where staying might mean being forced to sign on to do terrible things. I wonder how many people who have been coerced/persuaded into joining terrorist/drug-dealer/warlord-militia groups would originally have been MUCH happier to flee to another country and then work hard to make a better life there (here). It’s foolish to think that more people who want to make a better life somehow takes away your piece of some economic pie – that’s not how things work. People with the energy and bravery to travel are going to make the place they go BETTER – the economic pie will grow more than the piece of it they consume. Same for domestic policies, too. Investing in your people (education, health, etc.) make the whole economy stronger. That’s how the USA thrived in the late 20th century, before those coming into power in the final decades decide to “pull the ladder up behind them” and demolished the programs they had used to go to college, buy a house, etc. Those people got greedy and decided they wanted to have a slightly bigger car/yacht than to invest in the continuing happiness and success of the people.

            Don’t get stuck in the “guard what I’ve got” mentality. Everyone (including you!) will benefit more from a “let’s make things better for everyone” attitude. That’s how society thrives.

        1. So you’re against an Apple wall to provide security on your products? Sound like you welcome malware, hackers, etc. Got it 👍. Sounds like you’re a cynic against the benefits of using your own brain.

          I suspected you were unhindged but always good to get confirmation.

      2. Fred, you apparently have bought into the bullsh!t claims that all native US citizens are honest and pure. Only these few chosen people of the planet can be allowed in the medieval gate. Ironic that today’s bigots haven’t figured out a more sophisticated kind of security theater.

        Trump logic:
        The Great Wall in China was so effective, taxpayers in the US will want one too. Ignore domestic terrorism like the Las Vegas massacre.

        Also if N. Korea has a military parade, the US needs one too.

        I predict if the Philippines restarted the practice of crucifixion and stoning for misdemeanor offenses, Trump would want that too, and his narrow minded base would encourage it.

        Costs and benefit analysis, well that take too much effort.

        1. The Philippines has already brought back execution in the streets for suspected low level drug users under, Duterte. Up to 8,000 people have been killed without a shred of due process.

          And naturally, like Turkey’s Erdogan, Russia’s Putin, the gang running Egypt, and other authoritarian leaders, Trump has nothing but good things to say about him.

      3. Apple’s walled garden -vs- U.S. Border walls.

        Apple’s and Orange’s — one wall is seen as keeping people in … the other as keeping people out.

        Apple doesn’t force or trick anyone to enter their garden, nor is there an unbreakable leash keeping anyone there.

        Walls can also act as filters where penetrability is controlled. Scientific example: Hypothetical Maxwell’s Demon allows particles only of high kinetic energy to pass through in one direction and particles only of low kinetic energy to pass through in the opposite direction, thus creating a large temperature gradient by decreased entropy. Particles are not necessarily chosen by type. Actual filters do act as type (usually size or chemical nature) discriminators, for example, gas masks. Type filters are usually necessary to create desired conditions on one side or the other, such as, purification or survival.

        1. Except the daemon does not, and cannot, exist as such a thing will not only violate the second law, but reverse “the arrow of time”.

          Not that I’m averse to the notion of discrediting Thermogoddamics!

          Pssst…even filters increase entropy as energy is dissipated. Jus’ sayin’

      4. Trump is a lunatic and says things that don’t make any sense or things that are completely ambiguous, allowing his supporters to add whatever context they want to his statements.

  2. you’re so petty when your apple isn’t being adequately polished; “expensive” is relative – both to income and substitutes; get over yourself… especially when applying your own judgments two breaths earlier – its “stupid” and people are “limited” are only relative to your own paradigm that allows nothing that hasn’t an apple core; how about you just give the facts and let the reader decide how pathetic your limitations and insecurities are

    1. Agreed, this is quite petty by MDN.

      Because here’s the KISS bottom line:

      As per a May 2016 Federal Reserve survey, “About 46 percent of Americans said they did not have enough money to cover a $400 emergency expense.”

      Now then:

      When roughly half the population of the richest country on Earth effectively can’t afford to run out to buy your mass produced consumer product … it qualifies as “Expensive”.

    1. this doesn’t really strike me as all that bright a move. there is way more money to be made by making this readily compatible with more than simply the apple eco-system

      look what happened with the iPod, once it was open to all – it went straight to the top,

      seems to me that selling as many home pods as possible is supposed to be the point. there are lots of people who are apple devotees who will buy this, but there are way more people who are not, but would aspire to the sound quality it delivers that still may then buy it if it works for them – even if the prefer spotify.

          1. So you say. If Apple designs devices only for the Apple ecosystem I guess you need to rethink your idea of ownership. However, if want to bypass Apple’s restrictions and make your device a sanctuary city for any code you choose then knock yourself out. Just remember, you opened the gates Apple shut.

            1. Shouldn’t you be at a book burning rally or something…?

              All Apple need do, to avoid my criticism at least, is to give me the key to the gate. That’s all.

              Their control suits them. To those that choose to follow their every word, they don’t need to use the key. No one would be holding a gun to their head.

              Mind you, I’m not talking about their right to design, but they being open to criticism for their design decisions.

              The HomePad contains a BT radio, yet doesn’t stream BT music. The user bought, paid, and owns that chip. Why can’t they use it? The device is CRIPPLED! And that’s a shame.

    2. Do I need to change my screen name to “no one”…?

      You can buy a voice controlled speaker that won’t voice control my music app of choice and won’t let me jack in my home theater, etc., but as long as there are alternatives that work with my Mac and phone (not Apple, sorry), I won’t…..

  3. MDN is all in on the Rental Rap thing.

    Spotify has higher quality tracks and is platform agnostic.
    Crapple Music has lower quality files and is largely chained to iOS/Mac OS.

    Apple is all about locking you in to their ecosystem and forcing you to trade up constantly.

      1. Where do you get lower Quality speakers? Apple is the one selling a toilet paper roll in fishnets for $350 that costs almost that much to repair for any reason.

        My speaker stands cost more than that crappy speaker.

  4. Does a HomePod count against the number of authorized devices on iTunes/Apple Music? I assume it does, but I’ve already bumped up on the limit with my family just with all the computers/ipads/phones.

  5. I’ll be interested in Homepod once it’s wireless. We live in a mobile world and the best mobile speaker Apple sells, the Beats Pill, wasn’t even designed by them. Would it have been such a huge challenge to give this an internal battery and have it rest on a charger most of the time, ready to be picked up at any moment? Forget about using this thing outside or anywhere not within 6ft. of a power outlet. I’m sure we’ll see something mobile eventually…2 years after I buy a replacement bluetooth speaker.

    1. For good sound you need a good power supply. Especially for lower frequencies. Either that, or some form of continually powering batteries via “over the air” charging of some sort. Since we don’t have over the air charging right now. The power cord must be wired.

      1. Gotcha, from the sound of it this thing is a wonderful speaker. I have been more than happy with a 4-year-old bluetooth speaker. I don’t need audiophile quality and neither do most Apple customers. I’m sure they’ll convince a portion of them with the HomePod, but nonetheless I expect a portable Homepod with more than enough punch for me, the sooner the better.

  6. “The HomePod costs $349,” Savov writes. “That’s a high price for the vast majority of people,”. While some lady in government called $1000 ‘crumbs’. Cost is relevant to your own particular situation.

    1. “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money…”

      Sen. Everett Dirksen (1896-1969)
      Senate minority leader (R-IL) ’59-69

  7. They want the user to have the best and most consistent experience. Can’t do that if you open it up out of the gate. ..especially these days…if some random streaming app puts out poor quality..Twitter will explode saying HomePod is crap.

    1. Creating a speaker that can only work with Airplay might also entertain speculation that the device is unable to handle other audio input as well as other more affordable speakers on the market.

      You are also correct that if a random App that may also exist in the Android camp puts out a substandard ‘sound’ when compared to the output on a speaker from an Android device it would be bad for HomePod’s and/or Apple Music’s reputation.

  8. The HomePod is almost 6 years in the making. I HIGHLY doubt Apple would work on something for 6 years to leave it as is or have it be just a side thought. An accessory. History would say they will start with limited options making sure to get the basics right and then add features via software updates/expansion. It’s the path all their devices have followed. The iPhone when released had one page of apps, all Apple made with zero ability to install any. It didn’t have an App Store at all. The iPod didn’t have iTunes when released. The AppleTV was a walled garden locked in and now, it has an App Store with plenty of third party ways to expand it’s functionality.

    The HomePod has a powerful chip inside and is running a full version of iOS. You’d be wise to bet that over the next 6 to 12 to 18 months we will see OS updates to the HomePod and an eventual release of an App Store. When this happens, they will open the gates to the walled garden just as they did with the iPhone and AppleTV allowing developers to get in but only on their terms….which….while maybe a bit annoying for a developer, ultimately is a good thing for us consumers.

    This story has just begun and it’s going to be a long one. They’ve clearly nailed the hardware and software can be improved and yes….it needs to. Siri must improve and they must create an App Store to allow third party developers to play. But I strongly believe they will and when they do, they’ll do it “right” just as they have before.

    While I’m not going to pretend I’m as confident as I was in the SJ era, I’m also not ready to write off Apple in this market. I’m optimistic that they will, over time, as they’ve done in years past, overtake this market that they are once again late to (see iPod, iPhone, iPad, AppleTV….none of these products were the first kind to the market and yes, they seem to be the farther behind than they have been before….but I don’t think that automatically counts them out).

    For whatever all that’s worth! Can’t wait to get mine today, start testing, and see it grow over the months/years.

  9. Well, HomePod is already way overpriced at $349.
    At $39, AppleCare+ for the HomePod is relatively inexpensive.
    But then, Apple is going to charge staggering $279 for out of warranty repair! Oh, wow! Are Apple now totally out of mind?
    I am also aware, every time I buy something at Apple Store, that Apple are pushing hard the AppleCare more than before, almost as a company strategy.
    AppleCare+ for $39 and the out of warranty repair at $279, do you get it?
    I am increasingly concerned (and bitterly disappointed at) about continuing blatant money grabbing attitude by the current CEO. Tim, do you really understand that your precious consumers are suffering? Apple was not like that disgraceful before. At some pint, consumers are going to explode.
    After more than 30 years of buying Apple products, HomePod is certainly NOT in my shopping list.

  10. Well, what do you expect? This is the “Home” pod. Home as in this is what Apple has for just about any home activity. Do you want possibly insecure services accessing your home? If Apple is pushed into enabling Spotify, they can’t stop there, oh no. People will groan and complain that Google Play Music isn’t allowed, then that Google Voice isn’t allowed, then people would want to edit and create documents on the Homes, and a following legal battle will commence from some one overhearing the dictation of a classified document and leaking it out… Although that should have happened by now… all because people want want want for no real reason. Devin Prater Assistive Technology Instructor

    , Microsoft Outlook, Excel, Word, and Powerpoint instructor certified by World Services for the Blind


Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.