By: Jake Marshall
Apple is unveiled its brand new virtual home assistant on February 9, capable of using Siri to help navigate your day at the call of your voice. But I know what you’re thinking, “Wow, another voice-activated home speaker. Big whoop.” And I only have one thing to say to that: you’d be right.
The HomePod offers fantastic audio quality. It sounds better than any other smart speaker on the market, including the Amazon Echo and Google Home. It even sounds a bit better than the Sonos One. But its sound quality isn’t something that can justify its lofty price tag. Also, Siri is so far behind Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant it’s becoming embarrassing for Apple. Siri lacks many of the basic skills I love from Alexa and sounds hilariously robotic against the continually improving Alexa. Apple might say that HomePod is a home speaker first, but Siri is supposed to be what makes it useful throughout the day.
According to a test done by the New York Times, the $349 Apple HomePod was unable to play music from another medium other than Apple Music, meaning you’d have to buy a membership to Apple Music to even play your music if you don’t have one already. This is unfortunate considering how many people use Spotify or Amazon Music as their primary form of music consumption.
It’s hard to justify the purchase of this expensive smart-speaker, especially when there are better and cheaper versions of what it is offering. If you are looking for supreme audio quality, get a speaker that focuses on that. If you are looking for a great home-assistant, the Google Assistant or Alexa may be better. The Apple HomePod has solid audio quality but it’s effectiveness as an assistant simply doesn’t justify the hefty price-tag.