Apple's delayed HomePod smart speaker will finally be available to buy on Friday in the UK, US and Australia. You can "play, pause, skip a song, or adjust the volume". It's also by asking Siri that users can control the smart home gadgets around the house. Despite being first to market Siri's capabilities have fallen well behind those of Amazon's Alexa and the Google Assistant while Strategy Analytics consumer research findings suggest that Apple will find it very hard to persuade existing Amazon Echo or Google Home users to switch to Apple's Siri-powered HomePod.
Here is where the device might lose a few fans. The device will touch France and Germany this Spring. The HomePod, on the other hand, is a closed system that supports Apple Music and a few third-party "messaging, lists, and notes" apps. This leaves you pretty limited if you don't already have an iPhone, iPad or some form of Apple device. And indeed, Sonos allows you to integrate accounts from a wide range of music services.
Last week we told you about Amazon's release of the Echo Spot for £119.99. Other European countries will get HomePod in the spring. All its six microphones are at the disposal to take the "Hey, Siri" commands.
Anyone can ask Siri to stream music, start and stop playing, and skip tracks. The Siri waveform will appear on the top to show you when Siri is awake and there's integrated touch controls for easy navigation.
More interesting, though, is that sound on the HomePod remained crisp and strong no matter what room it's placed in and no matter where a listener happens to be stationed in relation to it. Is it worth it? Sounds like maybe, just maybe, Sonos is taking a swing at Apple here.
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