Why I’m thinking about getting an Apple HomePod

“When I first saw Apple’s announcement of the HomePod, I was distinctly unimpressed. At the time, I had two Alexas (I now have six). Siri wasn’t nearly as evolved as Alexa, and while she had good musical knowledge, her other abilities were pretty primitive,” David Gewirtz writes for ZDNet. “The HomePod was limited to Apple Music (unless you chose to set it as a Bluetooth speaker for your phone), and I’m a Spotify user. And, at $349 for a single speaker, it seemed a bit costly.”

“But now, despite the little rings it seems to leave on furniture, I’m thinking about getting one,” Gewirtz writes. “Ever since I heard my first CD play through quality speakers in a little hole-in-the-wall stereo store in the mid-1980s, I’ve had a home entertainment rack that rivals a full stack of servers in a data center. Every time I’ve moved, the last thing to be disassembled, and the first thing to be set up and configured, was that rack.”

“During our drive across the country running away from Hurricane Irma, my wife and I talked a lot about what we wanted in our future lives. One theme we kept coming back to was simplicity. I realized that I identified, as a person, as one of my core identity elements, as someone with a huge entertainment rack,” Gewirtz writes. “The HomePod has, by all accounts, excellent sound. It sets up a room-wide sound field, even with one speaker. And, here’s the thing, you can bind it with Apple TV so it becomes the Apple TV’s speaker… When we watch the latest Star Wars via iTunes, or if we play any of our other favorite movies on the Apple TV, it would sure be nice to have some glorious, intense sound again.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: HomePod really does sound amazing. If you haven’t heard one, yet, and you like quality sound, you need to hear a HomePod.

Now, David, it’s past time to dump Spotify, because you’re already all-Apple and:

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. Don’t be stupid. If you’re still subscribing to Spotify, it’s past time for you to cancel it and upgrade to Apple Music. (See also: How to move your Spotify playlists to Apple Music.)MacDailyNews, February 6, 2017

Apple Music poised to knock off Spotify – February 12, 2018
Apple Music was always going to win – 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 and Spotify now account for the majority of music consumption in the UK – January 3, 2018
Spotify files for its IPO – January 3, 2018
Spotify hit with $1.6 billion lawsuit from music publisher – January 2, 2018
Watch out Spotify and Apple Music, here comes Amazon – December 18, 2017
Spotify leads call for investigation into ‘troubling’ Apple and Google app store practices – May 5, 2017
Apple Music passes Pandora and Spotify in mobile usage – March 29, 2017
Spotify hits 50 million paid subscribers – March 3, 2017
Apple Music surpasses 20 million paid members 17 months after launch – December 6, 2016
Oh ok, Spotify listeners are upgrading to Apple Music – July 19, 2015
Spotify CEO claims to be ‘ok’ with Apple Music – June 9, 2015


  1. Have any of you tried using this as your sole speaker with an Apple TV? I’m curious how a HomePod fares vs. soundbars vs. true 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound. I’m living in S. America where it’s difficult to find decent TV sound options. If I’m going to mule something back on next U.S. visit I’d much rather bring a single speaker than 6 speakers. However, I do love good surround and wondering if the HomePod is an acceptable alternative.

        1. I use it as a TV speaker through my AppleTV (Netflix/Hulu+/DirecTV Now/Amazon Prime). It is vastly superior to the built in TV speakers, and about as good as my Libratone Diva on my other TV (More expensive, much larger, older soundbar that is no longer produced but you can get them on Amazon at a steep discount; HomePod doesn’t get as loud and doesn’t have as much stereo separation, but is a bit clearer and has more pleasing dynamics). There is very little if any delay in the audio- basically to the point where I don’t notice it.

    1. Don’t waste your time trying the Homepod for home theatre. Siri is the biggest issue, but it’s not adjustable enough imho. There are times when you just want it to do your bidding without arguing with a dumb assistant.

      A soundbar under the tele is easier and good ones sound all right for small rooms. Proper multichannel sound is much better, especially for larger spaces.

      I have not attempted two homepods bu my experience syncing other wireless speakers using AirPlay has been frustrating. Laggy, dropouts, not acceptable.

      If you can tolerate a large screen in your room, do yourself the favor of sticking with reliable user-controllable wired speakers with a nice amplifier. You don’t rearrange a home theatre frequently so I don’t see the advantage of Apple’s Homepod sound processing. Other amps you set up once and done.

  2. I got a HomePod. I did because it is a very nice speaker and because I can use it to control my lights and other smart home devices that are Siri-enabled. That’s actually very handy. Like the writer in this article, I have Alexa – a Dot and built into my Ecobee thermostat. That’s where I think Apple has really missed the boat by the way. So many things are coming with Alexa built in while Siri is still trying to figure out if she’s a robot or a cheerleader. I have not taken the opportunity to Bluetooth from my Apple TV to the HomePod but maybe I’ll do that tonight. The integration with Apple Home and Apple Music are phenomenal but the one thing that I was really looking forward to was that the HomePod would be able to learn “skills” or have “virtual apps” that broadened its capabilities like Alexa’s skills. That feature is painfully missing from the HomePod and probably will require buying new hardware on some future version for it to work. I hope not but, with Apple, that’s the way they tend to go. So while I use my HomePod and love the sound, I am disappointed for what I got for my money. There’s just not enough there there. If they introduce skills, it will be worth it but I won’t be replacing this one to get skills. $349 is quite enough for a device like this.

    1. I agree with your assertion that Apple should be trying to get Siri into things like thermostats and mini homepods, along with a much stronger effort to get homekit support on more appliances. The “skills” thing is where you’ve lost me though. I think that’s Alexa’s greatest weakness. Their skills architecture, while making it easy to add Alexa support to things, reduces the natural language intelligence and quality control of the platform. Apple’s approach is going to win out as long as the homekit ecosystem doesn’t get swallowed and drowned out by Amazon and Google’s huge investments in the smart home. I’d much rather they spent money on companies like Ring/Nest than invested in Hollywood productions.

  3. I’m all in on apple and have been for over a decade, but Spotify is still superior to Apple Music (I subscribe to both). Spotify doesn’t have a subset of Apple Music’s tracks, it’s more like a venn diagram. They both have their own sets with some crossover. The number of tracks is unimportant. Both platforms have most of the music that I want to hear (Spotify has more rare IDM, but that’s just my personal taste). Spotify has a far superior user interface (Apple doesn’t even differentiate between albums and singles… really?), better recommendations, better search, better sharing, better flexibility and it works with just about every other platform. Apple Music is decent but extremely limited. I only keep it because I can afford to keep both. If I had to drop one today Apple Music would be gone in a second. If homepod could be accessed via standard bluetooth I’d get 5 or 6 of them. But with it’s current limitations it’s a very nice sounding but extremely limited speaker.

  4. The sound alone is well worth it – The Echo with Alexa sounds like and old transistor radio compared. I don’t want to listen to anything but my HomePod now.

    1. A better option is an echo dot paired to something with decent speakers. I’d be in favor of echo dots driving homepods if apple wasn’t anti-bluetooth and anti-aux.

      1. Yeah that is what I want – Amazon listening to my house all the time.. No thanks besides what non directional speakers would you pair that sound better than the HomePod that are affordable with a good room sensing amp? I just need for music and HomePod is awesome.

      2. That’s the option for those already heavily invested in their current setup and want to make it “smart”. The funny thing is that Alexa isn’t nearly as smart as Siri. While she can do more things if you include all the skills, they are restrictive from a syntactic standpoint and the architecture they’ve built will continue to limit it this way for the foreseeable future. The Homekit integration with Siri is already more powerful than Alexa integrations (although there are far far more Alexa supporting devices) and smart-home control is the number one function a home-based Smartspeaker should be competing on besides sound quality.

    2. For $300 more, of course it sounds better. But there is a minijack on the Alexa, so you can plug it into better powered speakers if that’s important to you.

      They are two different products. The homepod is only a siri control baked into a home speaker for Apple music subscribers. Alexa is basically just a live link to buy from the Amazon store. Neither one are particularly helpful outside their limited walled gardens.

      If you want the most convenient home automation tool, use an iPhone. It even has a display on it, what a concept.

      If you want the best audio, then use your mac or iphone to send your audio via wire to your HiFi. Not as quality but doable wirelessly you can use an Airport Express with your legacy stereo or choose any WiFi airplay speaker you like.

      My question is if you are willing to listen to compressed rental pop music, then why spend money on a new speaker? Most people who care about sound quality already have a good HiFi that is more capable than any smart speaker, and they own their music collections.

  5. My HomePod sounds great. And, it’s been sitting on my antique Chinese table, since launch day with no rings. I use beeswax to polish my antique wood objects, not furniture lemon oil. The oil leaves a shine, but will dry out in a week. The wax leaves a rich patina. The silicon ring the HomePod uses doesn’t react with the wax like it apparently does with oil.

    1. Stop it. Your large system must be really bad.
      Here’s how to test if a system sounds great: do you love or like what you hear.
      It the horns sound like actual horns as opposed to a keyboard sim then you may have something good. Otherwise … if the bass is clean and I mean crystal, recording studio clean, not that guy in the music store trying to sell you a speaker and an amp clean, then you may just be on to something really good. But the speaker specs for this device is not that. But perhaps the comparison thing is all you need

  6. Yeah, $700 for a stereo sounder for a TV? Goodness. I really would like to know how good the stereo separation with only one HomePod is. Devin Prater Assistive Technology Instructor

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


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