Apple's HomePod speaker gets February launch date

Apple HomePod reveiws are overall positive

Siri-us business: Everything you need to know about Apple's new HomePod

But while Apple stores may be in short supply of the speaker, you're likely to have more luck at the many third-party retailers also offering the curvy speaker.

The HomePod was first unveiled previous year at Apple's annual developer conference in June.

When Siri isn't playing Apple Music mixologist, the virtual assistant can also answer questions.

But delays in its production have left Apple trying to play catch-up in the sector, which is now dominated by Amazon's smash hit Echo product, and also features Google's Home device. There's no remote control, and no audio input port - just an integrated, fabric-covered power cable.

Apple's new HomePod is a state-of-the-art speaker, but it's got a ways to go before it's considered "smart". Amazon invented the category in 2015 with its line of Echo speakers, and there are now similar options available from Google and Microsoft.

"The HomePod is a remarkable new kind of audio device", wrote Nilay Patel of The Verge. "Siri is sorely lacking in capabilities compared with Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant". "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, lovely design that is so much fun to use".

Another shared complaint was the HomePod's straitjacket boundaries when using non-Apple apps. First swipe down to access Control Center, then long-press the AirPlay button in the upper right corner of the music widget.

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Alexa works across Amazon devices and a rapidly growing number of non-Amazon devices. According to TrendForce, Amazon Echo still tops the ranking of smart speaker products in 2018 with a market share in shipment of 50.8 percent, although down from 69.1 percent in 2017.

Overall speaking, smart speaker is the interface for smart home devices. Google Home only supports the Google calendar, while the Invoke supports both Google and Microsoft calendars.

Unlike the Home Max or the Sonos One, the HomePod doesn't offer stereo pairing, or Sonos-style multi-room capability. yet.

A number of features have yet to arrive before HomePod feels feature-complete.

Bluetooth streaming: You can't just stream music from any Bluetooth source to the HomePod, even though it has Bluetooth 5.0 hardware inside. And it's an acknowledgement that, like it or not, there are going to be multiple parties in this space. That would seem like an obvious thing for Apple to add for HomePod.

After failing to capitalize on the lead it had on voice assistants by launching Siri back in 2011, Apple appears to have missed a big opportunity with Siri yet again with HomePod. Third, some functions of HomePod overlap with Siri in iPhone. You shouldn't need to phrase each subsequent question in a series as if it's the first.

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