The long-awaited, Siri-powered Apple HomePod smart speaker is finally available for purchase, but users’ reviews are coming back mixed, according to news from CNBC.
The HomePod’s sound quality, one of the main reasons the Cupertino, California-based technology company took so long to bring the smart speaker to market, has emerged as a positive for Apple, but its inability to integrate with devices outside the iPhone, iPad, Mac or other Apple products will limit its proliferation. Despite its high price tag and the hype before its launch, the HomePod is not compatible with Android devices or streaming services like Spotify that operate outside the Apple Music sphere.
It appears to be “designed for someone with 100 percent Apple product buy-in, who lives in the iOS/Mac ecosystem, who subscribes to Apple Music and who just wants basic smart speaker functions,” BuzzFeed stated.
The publication went on to say that anyone who desires additional features should look elsewhere. Others had similar responses to the HomePod’s sound and functionality.
According to The Verge, Apple’s smart speaker “does more to make music sound better than any other speaker of its kind has ever done before,” but goes on to say that most consumers would be “better served by other smart speakers that sound almost as good,” unless they “live entirely inside Apple’s walled garden.”
The Wall Street Journal highlighted the device’s superior sound quality and called the HomePod the “best matching speaker” for Apple’s music offerings, while USA Today highlighted more affordable, less exclusive competitors — like the $199 Sonos or Amazon’s $99 Echo, compared with the $350 asking price of the newest Apple release.
“There is a very close second, though,” WSJ noted. “The Sonos One now comes with Alexa, and Google Assistant is expected to arrive this year. It already plays Apple Music via the Sonos app. And Sonos is now offering two Ones for the price of a HomePod.”