I wrote a not so great post yesterday about the new Apple HomePod. Not because I don’t like the device, or think it has value. But because I don’t understand how it’s different than other smart speakers. And I don’t know how Apple is justifying it’s $349 price point when you can get a Google Home or Amazon Echo for far less. Sure, neither of those really integrate into the Apple Ecosystem, but is that necessary? I myself have an Amazon Tap, and an Apple iPhone. And, well, it works fine for what I want to do with it. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge Apple fan. But when it comes to the benefits of this particular device, I’m not sold on it.
Am I wrong with my assessment? As part of his one-day tour of Canada, this week, Tim Cook gave an interview to the Financial Post where he talked about how augmented reality would be what sets the HomePod apart from other home speakers. In the interview, Cook reiterated his views on technology, and specifically how he sees augmented reality as the most profound technology for the future. He believes that it amplifies the human experience. And he’s not wrong, but what does that have to do with the HomePod? Honestly? Nothing. So why am I mentioning this? Well the way that the interview is structured, it kind of implies that AR is actually the great thing about the HomePod.
But it’s not. In fact, Cook sees the HomePod as being unique because of its ability to integrate with other Apple devices. Which is one reason why I personally like Apple’s products. I like being able to send iMessages from my MacBook and also from my iPhone interchangeably. I like the handoff feature. And yes – I paid more money for my MacBook in order to get these features. So I completely understand what he’s saying. But, like I said, I also have an Amazon Tap and have no issues with using it with both my MacBook or my iPhone. It depends on what I want to do, however.
Maybe my use of the Tap is primitive, in that I ask Alexa a few questions here and there, and listen to music and podcasts the rest of the time. That’s why I wanted the device in the first place. Everything else, for me, is a bonus. I think I would have considered the HomePod had it been available when I was interested in purchasing the smart speaker. But it was also like a quarter of the price. Yes, I got mine for less during a Black Friday sale, but I think I’m demonstrating my point well enough.
Cook also suggests that the sound quality of the HomePod is actually far superior to what you get with other smart speakers. Without having one to test, it’s hard to say if that’s actually the case. This one is a bit of a head-scratcher in my opinion. I think it’s a bit of a low blow to some of the other smart speaker manufactures out there as it suggests they don’t have quality aspects to their speakers. And I think that’s largely untrue. Again, it’s hard for me to say as I don’t have a HomePod to test and review. Hint, hint, Apple. I have no issues with being proven wrong, and I welcome the opportunity to be wrong.