February 17, 2018

Apple HomePod is a Giant Leap on the Wireless Audio Arena

26 January 2018, 02:32 | Ruben Fields

One Hour With Apple's New HomePod

Apple HomePod

At £319 in the United Kingdom ($349 in the US), you could get either an Amazon Echo Plus and handful of Echo Dots or equally a Google Home and some Home Minis for the cost of a single HomePod.

Sonos has an offer for prospective HomePod buyers: Ditch Apple and buy two of our speakers instead.

Home technology editor Ced Yuen wrote: "The Sonos One sounds great, it gives you access to a tried-and-tested multiroom ecosystem, and it is beautifully integrated with the super-useful Amazon Alexa assistant". Today the company announced that for a limited time, you'll be able to buy two Sonos One smart speakers for $349 - the price of a single HomePod.

Apple has quietly introduced AirPlay 2 functionality in the first betas of iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3. For those of you keeping track, that's the same price as Apple's HomePod, which goes on sale the exact same day (but will ship in two weeks).

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When it's released next month, Apple's HomePod will only work on the iCloud account owned by the person that set it up out of the box, Refinery29 reported on Wednesday after having the opportunity to briefly take the smart speaker for a spin.

The Apple HomePod will be available in white and space gray colors, for online order in the US, UK, and Australia on Febuary 9, and will be available in other European markets such as France and Germany in Q2.

Apple's HomePod comes with support for Apple Music, the company's streaming music service. Apple Music control by voice on the speaker, however, is limited to play/pause and volume control. Sonos added Spotify voice control to the One in November. So far, Apple's HomePod also reportedly delivers excellent audio that could even exceed the Sonos One, but we'll have to fully test it for ourselves to confirm those claims. Users can speak out voice commands to play music on Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, and other services, though Apple Music isn't among them. "We think they will be blown away by the audio quality".

Perhaps the biggest strength of the HomePod is also it's biggest failing and that is the total reliance on Siri.

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