“Hey Siri, play some party music.”
Apple’s HomePod is finally available in Canada, joining the Google Home and Amazon Echo as one more option in the voice assistant smart speaker market. What sets the HomePod apart from Home and Echo? Is it worth the higher price tag? Here’s a quick rundown on everything you need to know about HomePod.
Powered by Siri
When you get right down to it, voice assistant speakers are really just fancy little boxes that house AI technology. Google Home’s AI technology is Google Assistant and Amazon Echo’s is Alexa. HomePod is powered by Siri.
Alexa integrates with Amazon Prime services and boasts tens of thousands of “skills” (abilities), whereas Google Assistant meshes seamlessly with Android devices and works well with Google’s suite of cloud-based services. Siri, not surprisingly, works with Apple Music, Apple TV, and iOS devices.
Smart home control
The good news is most third-party smart home devices are designed to work with all three technologies. That means you can control things like your thermostat, lights, blinds, security system, and more using only your voice.
HomePod specifically works with any device that’s HomeKit-enabled. This includes popular products like Philips Hue smart bulbs, Nest smart thermostats, and August smart locks.
Remember when we said voice assistant smart speakers are really just fancy little boxes that house AI technology? HomePod was designed to change that, and in a big way.
Home and Echo deliver mediocre results when you get them to play DJ for you, but HomePod pumps out seriously high-quality audio. In fact, many claim it sounds better than Sonos speakers, the gold standard in single-speaker sound quality.
It’s not hard to see how HomePod pulls it off. It comes equipped with 7 tweeters and a 4-inch high-excursion woofer. It delivers distortion-free audio and the moment you plug it in, HomePod automatically senses the room its in to optimize the acoustics, delivering direct audio to the middle of the room and sending ambient audio through the side channels to bounce off the walls.
Which speaker is for you?
This depends on what matters most to you and the services you use extensively. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, Echo is likely your best option. For Android users and those with Chromecast, Google Home is likely the most convenient option. If you’re an Apple Music user, have Apple TV, and care about audio quality, the HomePod is the only speaker that checks off all three boxes.