Apple launches smart speaker

The Apple Home Pod goes on sale this month overseas but not in New Zealand

The Apple Home Pod goes on sale this month overseas but not in New Zealand

The smart speaker uses Apple's Siri voice agent, in the company's relatively late entry into the smart speaker market.

Apple's HomePod is now available in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

By contrast, the assistants in three other smart speakers that we've tried at the CRN Test Center-Alexa in the Amazon Echo, Google Assistant in the Google Home, and Cortana in the Harman Kardon Invoke-are adept at managing calendars.

Buy the new Apple HomePod for £319, now. It retails for $349 and buyers can select from a white or space gray version. "It brings advanced audio technologies like beam-forming tweeters, a high-excursion woofer and automatic spatial awareness, together with the entire Apple Music catalog and the latest Siri intelligence, in a simple, handsome design that is so much fun to use".

"The music quality is second to none", he added. What's interesting about the HomePod, however, is its spatial awareness.

A few other typical smart speaker tasks that the HomePod reportedly can't do: find a recipe, make a phone call or summon an Uber (although Apple CEO Tim Cook claimed the HomePod works with Uber during an earnings call last week).

Apple Music can be controlled by voice commands to Siri.


Built with an A8 chip that acts as the brain of the speaker, the HomePod easily transforms from speaker to home assistant. "I think it's between Google and Amazon".

But it could do more.

From the look of it, Apple sees HomePod mainly as a way to extend the reach of its Apple Music service, not Siri.

"HomePod is an Apple-only device, so it is much more limited in what it can control in terms of smart home gadgets", said Martin.

However, there's a way to get another music streaming service to play through the HomePod.

Apple's HomePod sounds fantastic, but it's meant to be used with Apple Music - you'll need an iOS device like an iPhone or iPad with Apple Music installed in order to even set up the HomePod.

Another shared complaint was the HomePod's straitjacket boundaries when using non-Apple apps.

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