How smart is Apple's HomePod? We put it to the test

Apple Home Pod

An Apple Music account is required to access Apple's library of more than 45 million songs. The speakers aren't the best, but they work enough for me to cook dinner or do the dishes too.

HomePod does stack favorably on price against the $399 Google Home Max speaker with the Google Assistant that I reviewed positively in December. With many speakers and sound systems, there is a zone of perfection.

However, in other areas the device is limited by how locked into Apple's own ecosystem it is. Yes, it does come equipped with Siri, which has gotten better over the years, but as it stands, Alexa and Google Assistant remain far more deft at responding to commands and offer wider arrays of functionalities. Building on the artificial intelligence capabilities that Google has promoted so strongly recently, it is disappointing that the Google Assistant has a smaller number of actions available compared to the Amazon system. "We want to combine all this in a product that can really deliver a breakthrough experience", said Schiller, noting that HomePod would "rock the house" and be "really fun to use, with a built-in musicologist".

Apple has released its next foray into the world of smart home devices, setting the bar for audio performance and ushering users into a more relaxed life, with the HomePod wireless speaker. Each of these devices is compatible with three major ecosystems, meaning that smart home support is pretty standard across the device range. If you are looking for a smart speaker, Alexa is ahead of the race with Google Home close behind. Early reviewers of HomePod noted that even though stereo pairing is not yet available, audio quality was unexpectedly satisfying and 9to5Mac's Ben Lovejoy believes it to be a Sonos Play 5 killer.

Single-user, multi-device support: HomePod should be able to act like an iPad and answer your iPhone's phone/FaceTime audio calls and texts if you authorize it to do so.

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Apple has explained that HomePod automatically tunes itself for each environment, with an accelerometer that detects when the speaker has been moved and triggers an acoustic scan of the room.

Here's a comparison of both devices. Those homes with more than one Google speaker can utilize them to broadcast a message, which will play across any Google Home device located within your dwelling. Google's speaker is the louder of the two, though mainly because of its bookshelf-speaker size and 12-pound heft, dwarfing the HomePod. Siri on the HomePod can't differentiate between voices or handle calendar tasks, like the competition, according to CNET.

Apple finally released its HomePod on Friday after pushing back its planned December release.

Google Home Max launched this week.

With the Apple HomePod seemingly struggling to compete with the other two speakers on an even footing, it is important to emphasize at this point that this speaker does have its advantages in the Apple HomePod vs. Amazon Echo vs. Google Home war.

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