The problems with Apple’s HomePod

for Kirkville:

Apple released the HomePod in February, 2018, and the device has never seemed to catch on. There have been strong rumors recently about a HomePod 2 coming next year. But there are lots of problems with the HomePod, which Apple needs to address.

• The HomePod is expensive
• The HomePod doesn’t have a clear use
• The HomePod doesn’t sound that good [for the price]
• The HomePod’s fancy technology is wasted
• The HomePod is unreliable [especially when stereo paired]
• The HomePod’s design is mistaken
• Apple tried to do too much with the HomePod

MacDailyNews Take: First of all, we love our HomePods, stereo-paired, and used for Apple Music. Secondly, Apple learns and they have the resources to get HomePod right, if the will is actually there, but they were already very late even at HomePod’s launch. Hopefully there’s still time for Apple to make a big dent in the smart speaker market, if that’s what they want to do.

29 Comments

  1. I love those speakers. I was just thinking last night how great they sound. I was playing a music playlist from YouTube through my iPad and the sound was just gorgeous. Siri has improved dramatically. It’s unbelievable how far away she can hear you. The price has dropped to $299. The thing I don’t like is that they are basically only compatible with the Mac if you use iTunes.

      1. The lack of alternate input methods absolutely. The speaker doesn’t care how sound gets into it or where (which kind of device/sound source) it came from. Cripples the versatility of use a (partially) portable device should have for no good reason whatsoever…. …that I can see at least.

        Other notions, if it’s a “smart speaker” as well as a quality listening device, what are its “smarts” primarily for? Just to mainly control music? That’s kinda limited. If also an info appliance, maybe a screen model?

        And I think there should be a range of at least two price points, the above consideration aside.

        1. ‘A screen Model’ . As I apologise for keep repeating but why are iPads not integrated into this eco-system working seamlessly with them when within range and automatically paired offering HomePod specific functionality through its screen and promoted as such, it could leap them ahead of the opposition. If a dock can play a role then fine do that too to visually display the combination. Otherwise if as and when they can operate seamlessly together the concept needs to be ‘sold’ to the user/buyer to show that it goes well beyond what the opposition can provide as a Home Assistant.

          Trouble is its a whole concept that Cook’s Apple has never really understood and only pays lip service to it even now, which is why despite having the technology already and all the premonitions back in the day from the ‘experts’ it was Amazon not Apple that saw the opportunity and that intuitive need for humans to associate such functionality with a specfic device. So I guess they will miss this opportunity too no doubt and be left following once again when Google pribably takes that plunge with Android tablets and in the opposite direction threatens Apples iPad market a lot harder.

      1. That is an indication Apple is trying to move old inventory. If Apple retail stores couldn’t sell them at full price, discounters like Costco blow out stuff that isn’t profitable at razor thin margins.

        Apple will either chase after Amazon and Google with cheaper versions of their talking can or it will cancel the failed experiment altogether.

        After learning that Apple listens to Siri conversations exactly like the other home spying companies, I am certain there will never be any talking speaker in this house. One can buy better hifi speakers elsewhere without the BS.

          1. Prove her wrong, wiseguy. Electronics at Costco has always been last year tech at clearance prices.

            Let me guess, you haven’t been to a proper stereo shop for comparison, have you?

  2. Meanwhile sometimes I just want an Airplay 2 gateway so I can plug in other speakers, something the Airport Express did fairly well. But there is still no replacement for it. That shouldn’t be hard to do.

    And apps would be nice. Pandora, Spotify, Shazzam. (I know TuneIn, iHeartRadio and Radio.com are coming) Maybe we have to wait for a developer toolkit like “HomePodUI”

  3. HomePod could have been so easy. Buy Sonos. How to fix HomePod, buy Sonos (Just going to be a lot more expensive now that they are a public company). AirPlay is not a replacement for native support for nearly every music service out there.

  4. I have three of them. Love them. Looooooove them. Will probably get two more so all the rooms in the house will have a HomePod. My expensive, now outdated stereo system lies there unused. I only keep them because; well, they do look good. And I do use them for the ocasional movies, but that is the extent of it.

  5. So MDN is contending that the answer to poor value audio is to pair them in a stereo configuration? I suppose that when Apple gets their video rental service going that it will attempt to sell you 4 speakers for true Quadrophonic Sound.

    So many reasons….

    It alienates iTunes users who purchased music from Apple for years.

    It makes intelligent playlist management impossible.

    Reliance on Siri makes these speakers dumb – it doesn’t “just work”.

    Apple is tone deaf to music genre, music language, regional differences, etc.

    Inability to use with any brand or style of legacy audio equipment using wired connections is absurd.

    For those who are obsessed about fashion, you have an omnidirectional dust collecting orb that, like any any other speaker, needs to have some separation from walls and windows. But the Homepod adds the problem of having to be located near a power outlet too. There is no such thing as a wireless home speaker unless you like recharging batteries.

    For those who are audiophiles, you have a low powered omnidirectional orb that can’t work with existing audiophile grade hardware and doesn’t fill large rooms with crisp sound. Apple pushes you to rent compressed low-resolution Apple Music media rental through a speaker with poor low end, poor imaging, and no ability to add a subwoofer.

    What problem does the Homepod solve for music events? For those of you who like to DJ, Siri is totally useless and the iOS device interface sucks. You really need a Mac with iTunes or 3rd party software to actively manage music playback on the fly. Homepod doesn’t improve that, you are better off with a pre-2015 MacBook Pro with a Toslink digital connection to a proper Hi Fi system.

    “But But But I like Apple Music, and Homepod works with Apple Music!” Fine, oh ye of low expectations. So you spent $300 to get the talking capability built into any $35 speaker and you think you’re getting 10 times the audio quality because it says Apple on the bottom of the base. Dream on. You don’t get audiophile anything for $300, including an Apple speaker. You got an Apple branded consumer grade class D device that is “good enough” for the masses. That is what Apple offers today. Don’t forget to pay up every month.

    1. Mike is right, Apple you failed again. I sold the Apple Hi-Fi for a reseller, it was a dog. Now that I do high end audio sales, automation, etc. I can see Apple is going to fail with this HomePod as well. The HomePod is a test for them and maybe they will come in full force with worthy speakers or maybe they should buy Sonos or better yet BlueSound. Just do something quick when it comes to proper audio… yes, on that musical note, up your quality of streaming to at least Tidal’s standards. I can believe the bozos that run Tidal are still going, it’s because their content is of higher quality and that is the only reason. Come on Apple!

    2. Can’t deny a lot of truth in that and again seems to only emphasise that (presently) lost opportunity to at least give it some extra value for its cost by expanding and enhancing its inter-operation with iPads with the potential for increased functionality and utility for both as a result with a little imagination and lateral thinking. Win win surely. But then even the obvious concept of a ‘Pro’ iPad took the opposition to show them the need because of their innate fear it might impact on Mac sales.

  6. I love my HomePods. I own three of them, the sound is extraordinary. I use Siri to control home appliances and for other information and find it works great. There is nothing that can detect voice commands like the HomePod, and Apple Music makes it great.

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