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Apple HomePod review: Competition for Alexa?

The new Apple HomePod smart speaker was a risky bet for the now trillion-dollars-worth company, as there are already many products like it in the market and are already very established. Due to its brand, this new device could be somewhat of a contender for giants like Amazon’s Alexa or the Google Assistant.

The result of this leap of faith will probably leave customers divided. While some may baffle at its stellar sound quality and top-notch performance as an overall speaker, others may find the limitations of it operating through Siri irritating and a huge turnoff.

As with most Apple products, its design is very aesthetically pleasing. It is heavier than what customers may expect, but its petite size could make it pragmatic. Decidedly different from an Echo or Assistant device, its top doesn’t show audio or video since it is not a screen. Also, many customers have stated that, while the white design gives it a very nice look, it could lose some of its color with handling and touching.

One odd feature the HomePod doesn’t have is the fact that it can’t be used to answer calls, but merely as a speaker phone for audio. This is less of a discomfort when one has their smartphone nearby to answer the call, but otherwise, it could cause some trouble. Another odd aspect of the HomePod is the lack of a “mute” button for Siri. Both Amazon and Google have one, and it is a desirable feature when talking about a smart speaker. The device is also unable to recognize different voices, as it responds to anyone. This can be either a good thing or a bad one, as it is good for families or people sharing rooms or apartments, but it definitely backfire in some cases.

However, if none of these sound like drawbacks to you and you’re only here for the music performance, then you’re in luck. Apple has packed this device with seven tweeters, each with an amplifier and a transducer, and six microphones ready to follow your instructions. Apple promised to give a performance of 360 degrees of good sound, as well as the ability to hear you from the distance and over loud music. The device delivers and it is definitely something to look out for if you’re a frequent Apple user and a music fan.

Overall, I think this product is very good for its launch quality. However, I would only recommend it to Apple devotees, as it only works with Apple music or ITunes files, and requires for people to be familiar with a regular Apple OS. If you’re not in this group, I would wait for later updates to see if some of its few shortcomings are solved and then make a decision.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons

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