It's a momentous occasion when Apple launches a new product.
On friday night I swung by the Apple Store Bellevue to get my white HomePod.
As an owner of 10 Sonos devices and 5 Alexas I was excited to finally get my hands on the HomePod.
Let me say a few things
- This is first and foremost a speaker - not a "connect to all your devices" product like Amazon Echo.
- The packaging and setup is stunning
- The device is beautiful. Without any hard lines it's just pretty.
Like you can expect, setup with an iOS device is drop dead easy.
As you can see, I already have a lot of rooms in the Home app since I have 100 or so devices that can be controlled by Siri and Alexa.
Finally when you are done (takes a few minutes) you are asked to try out the HomePod.
If you have a few Siri enabled devices saying "Hey Siri" only activates one of them - the one you are closest to. In my limited testing this seemed to work.
What's impressive is that you can say "Hey Siri" when the music is blasting and the HomePod will hear you and respond. Amazon Echo devices can't do this.
What can you do?
Almost anything Siri can do. Even third party SiriKit works.
You can play anything from a first party Apple service but that's about it for now.
What can't you do?
A lot. You cannot pair multiple HomePods together yet (that requires AirPlay2)
You can't walk out of your house and have music keep playing if you start on your phone.
You can't personalize HomePod like you can with Amazon Echo device (although you cannot do with Sonos One either).
From some early tests I find the sound quality great. Def on par for a high end $349 product.
Sonos One vs HomePod
This was interesting. My wife and I did a simple test. She preferred the sound of the Sonos One which she described as "richer". I think that's fair. I think the HomePod sounds "cleaner".
Botton line, unless you are an audiophile you will have a hard time telling the difference.
The SonosOne is still quirky when it comes to Alexa support, but it can generally do a lot more "home automation" stuff and obviously with Alexa Skills even more.
The HomePod is a simple and capable speaker with Siri built in.
Should you get it?
That one is up to you. I think I'm going to keep this in my bedroom and see how the experiment goes. If you have no Sonos and want a good speaker, this is a good option. Otherwise the Sonos One is the better value.