Published: Sat, January 27, 2018
Life&Culture | By Ben Goodman

Apple HomePod first listen: not enough punch for the price

Apple HomePod first listen: not enough punch for the price

The company said the speaker was supposed to be available to buy in the United Kingdom from Friday, January 26, but there's still no sign of a pre-order button on the official website.

So with the HomePod available to pre-order today (with a United Kingdom release date of February 9th), it's entering a much more crowded market. Unlike Apple, it also offers a range of speakers for a range of prices.

Now, I haven't seen a HomePod in person, nor have I listened to one, so I can't speak to how loud or clear it sounds. Instead, they have blown the opportunity to entice Apple TV users, many of whom would be interested in HomePod if Apple simply sold them on its features.

Apple ( AAPL ) began taking pre-orders on Friday for HomePod, its voice-controlled music speaker, as the consumer electronics giant makes a late entry in the smart speaker market dominated by Amazon.com ( AMZN ) and Alphabet 's ( GOOGL ) Google.

Sonos is now offering a nationwide promotion of two Sonos One speakers for £349, but Twitter user Alistair Charlton has noticed that if you buy 2 speakers on Amazon, it deducts £98 from the total at the checkout. The actual Apple HomePod will start from February 9.

None of this is particularly new technology - Google and Amazon devices can do this too - but it certainly makes HomePod more appealing, especially given its other limitations.

Inside HomePod: tweeters, microphones and woofer (Photo: Apple)How does it look?

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Plus with support for HomeKit, HomePod can control hundreds of home accessories or set scenes like, "Hey Siri, I'm home", to control a number of different accessories at the same time.

I first saw the HomePod at WWDC 2017, and was given a second chance to watch it in action in London before it hits shelves, priced at £319. Needless to say, the speaker will deliver powerful audio with enormous attention to quality. While a lot is known about the smart speaker, there's still something that Apple has not shed light on.

There is obviously considerable debate over which of the smart speakers performs letter, but the general consensus of opinion is that Google Home is ultimately the victor.

There is no word on the HomePod's availability in the Indian market as of now. The one thing easier than swiping around an app to play music was to ask Alexa to do it for you.

The HomePad lets users control smart lighting systems, stream music from Apple Music (the paid version only, argghh), and send messages through WhatsApp.

When it comes to making or receiving phone calls, you have to first make or accept the call on your phone, and then select the HomePod as a speakerphone.

A similar dynamic is shaping up in smart speakers. This power is mainly used for the HomePod to constantly listen for any "Hey, Siri" commands.

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