As of June 18, Apple fans in Canada can finally get their hands on the HomePod. Controlled with an iPhone or iPad, this device lets users play music, catch up on podcasts, and streamline a range of everyday tasks using just their voice. But what makes it stand out from the pack of smart speakers on the market?
H&H was recently invited to experience this speaker in action. Here are a few people who’ll want to take a closer look at this hot release.
There’s no doubt about it: HomePod delivers on sound. Pumping out deep bass, crisp vocals and immersive live recordings, HomePod shines in stereo pairs and multi-room setups, too. Music lovers will also appreciate how the device automatically calibrates to its surroundings. Whether out in the open or on a bookshelf, HomePod senses how to fill the space with sound.
One thing to consider? HomePod is designed to work with Apple Music. This means subscribers can take advantage of Siri’s encyclopedic music knowledge (“Hey Siri, who wrote this song?”) and provide feedback to tailor recommendations (“Hey Siri, I love this!”). So while listening to other streaming services like Spotify is possible using AirPlay 2, Apple Music users will definitely get the most out of their experience.
HomePod’s soft, cylindrical form is a practical design choice, allowing it to create a sound-stage in your living room. But the seven-inch-tall device is also just pleasing to look at, appearing as more of an objet on tabletops and shelves.
While no vibrant colors are currently available, two neutral shells — White and Space Gray — will suit most rooms. An intermittent pop of color comes from the Siri “waveform” that appears on top of the device. This flash of light tells you when Siri is “listening” for instructions. (Rest assured, this will only occur when you say “Hey Siri.”)
HomePod is super easy to set up: just hold an iOS device next to it and follow the instructions. It’s also intuitive to operate. Prefer not to use voice commands? Touch controls on the top of the speaker make adjusting volume, skipping songs, and activating Siri easy for everyone.
HomePod also accounts for the noise of everyday life. Six microphones and echo-cancellation mean Siri is always ready. So make commands from across the room, over loud music, or when the kids are being, well, kids.
While Siri’s knowledge and capabilities are always developing, HomePod can also do the most popular things its contemporaries can. Dictate text messages, set timers, check the weather… you get the idea. If you’re into smart home automations, it also makes a great hub to remotely control blinds, thermostats, lighting and more.
HomePod is now available for $449 at Apple stores and online.
For a more detailed comparison of smart speakers on the market, keep your eye on Christine Persaud’s “Tech Talk” column in a future issue of H&H.
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