with comparable sound quality and no direct Siri integration.
But Sonos has a large offering of speakers, including many
cheaper options. Sonos is also known for the reliability of its
wireless streaming, something that AirPlay has historically
The downside of Apple’s focus on sound is that the
HomePod is a bit of a jack of all trades, but doesn’t excel at
any one thing. If what you care about is high-quality wireless
audio, there are speakers available with comparable audio
quality for a cheaper price. If you care about having a smart
assistant, then the Amazon Echo is light-years ahead of Apple
in terms of third-party apps and useful features.
The main advantage that the HomePod has going for it,
and the reason why it may ultimately be a success despite
its limitations, is the fact that Apple can integrate its speaker
into its ecosystem in a way that no other company can. This
is the key to Apple’s winning formula: once you’re in Apple’s
ecosystem, it’s so convenient to continue using products that
integrate with that ecosystem that you’re willing to sacrifice a
little bit on price or feature set. Sending iMessages and listen-
ing to Apple Music are going to be dead simple with Home-
Pod. It will already work with your Apple ID and already have
all of your contacts, calendar information, and to-do lists. Ap-
ple also has the largest app store in the world at its disposal.
Once Apple opens up the speaker to developers, it won’t take
long for them to flood the App Store with compatible apps.
So the question remains, should you buy it?
There are two main factors to consider: Do you
need a high-end speaker? And are you committed
to Apple’s ecosystem? In my opinion, everyone
who can afford it, should have a high-end speaker
in their home. Music sounds so much better on a
nice speaker and you need a powerful speaker if
you ever have company over. If you already have
a high-end speaker that you’re happy with, you
may be better off buying an Amazon Echo Dot and
hooking it up to your existing speaker. If you don’t
care about having a high-quality speaker and you’re
not committed to Apple’s ecosystem, then you
may want to consider the Amazon Echo or Google
Home. If you use iMessage, Apple Calendar, Apple Music,
etc., then using the HomePod will likely be a much better
experience for you than using the Echo or Home. Even so, it
may be wise to wait until the second-generation HomePod
comes out next year. By then, Apple will likely have added
third-party integrations and lowered the price.
“The Amazon Echo is light-
years ahead of Apple in terms
of third-party apps and useful
David Averbach is the CEO and Publisher of i Phone Life magazine. David has an obsession with all things Apple. He grew up on Macs and now has a MacBook Pro, iPhone,
iPad, Apple TV, and an Apple Watch. David enjoys traveling and Ultimate Frisbee. He
has been to over 20 countries. To contact David, email him at David@iphonelife.com.