Apple HomePod: 3 business uses for the smart speaker

11 February, 2018, 05:17 | Author: Patty Aguilar
  • The Apple Home Pod smart speaker inside the Cupertino lab in which it was developed

HomePod was delayed from its original December release date until today, which initial reports blamed on unspecified software issues, and later reports suggested were due to problems with multi-HomePod synchronization - specifically two units in one room, or more units across a house.

That's the consensus from tech reviewers who had time to jam out to Apple's $349 speaker this week ahead of its Friday launch.

You can control HomePod from your iPhone, though iOS doesn't make it especially easy. And Google's speaker incorporates a machine learning-fueled feature called Smart Sound, which Google says dynamically tunes the audio to its new environment within seconds, similar to Apple's spatial awareness feature.

Using a variation of a Spotify meme that blew up previous year, Sonos trolled Apple on HomePod launch day by calling it the "Fruit Machine" (via Business Insider).

Likewise, The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern said that "HomePod nails the speaker but struggles at smart". "Siri doesn't even work as well on HomePod as it does on the iPhone". Now, when you ask about hiding a body, Siri acts like someone whose recent lobotomy has robbed her of personality and memory.

Analyst at TrendForce, Tom Tien, outlines that he expects the smart speaker market is expected to draw more attention with Apple actively in the marketplace. But if you want a useful smart assistant as well as the freedom to use whatever service you want, it's best to walk on by. This is thanks to Apple's own intelligent personal assistant, Siri. Its chief selling point appears to be a high-quality speaker for using the Apple Music service-but not any other rival services. It will support multiple voice services, launching with Amazon Alexa, but will add Siri using AirPlay 2, and Google Assistant, in 2018.

Built with an A8 chip that acts as the brain of the speaker, the HomePod easily transforms from speaker to home assistant. With many speakers and sound systems, there is a zone of perfection.

When it comes to music, Google, and for that matter Amazon, can help you play a song in which you can't recall the title and only remember a few lyrics. Another question: are there enough people out there willing to pay that much more for better sound?

In terms of business uses for voice assistants, Apple's lack of support in HomePod for even basic features that businesspeople would appreciate-such as calendars-doesn't bode well for Apple's future in the B2B voice assistant space. 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. Especially against current competitors that already provide great results, such as with the Google Home Max? But getting the right answers matters to consumers - and at the moment it looks like Siri doesn't even understand the questions.



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