Siri-us business: Everything you need to know about Apple's new HomePod

The Apple Home Pod smart speaker inside the Cupertino lab in which it was developed

Consider that multiple HomePods can join together and automatically detect and balance one another, and you have a fairly sophisticated, multifunctional sound system that can generate needed ambient sound, while also offering a host of other features, if desired. Also, the primary service on HomePod is Apple Music.

Siri's chief role here is as your voice-driven "musicologist", which when coupled with an Apple Music subscription, learns your musical preferences over time and surfaces new material you might like, culled from an Apple Music catalog of 45 million-plus songs from more than 2 million artists. "We made you a playlist".

"I think Siri could be expanded and will be in the future", said Dalrymple. Even to an Apple fanboy who is prepared to * a href="*sQYf8&subid=0&offerid=492045.1&type=10&tmpid=13127&" *drop $350, I would tell them to walk away, or at least wait for Apple to fix some of the bugs and errors.

HomePod does stack favorably on price against the $399 Google Home Max speaker with the Google Assistant that I reviewed positively in December.

The HomePod uses spatial awareness to adjust the audio accordingly.

The hands-free options the HomePod offers are wide ranging; in the right office environment, the device can add convenience, save time, and improve productivity, not to mention morale.

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The HomePod is priced at $349, which compares to an Amazon Echo at $149 and Google Home at $129, with the smaller devices of each costing about $50.

By contrast, the assistants in three other smart speakers that we've tried at the CRN Test Center-Alexa in the Amazon Echo, Google Assistant in the Google Home, and Cortana in the Harman Kardon Invoke-are adept at managing calendars. Moreover, the Home Max features several inputs on the back of the speaker. Siri can't do that.

USA Today: "Apple has opened up Siri to developers, but the feature set for HomePod and Siri is more narrow - you might send messages by voice or consult your grocery list, but the list of third-party apps that are compatible with HomePod are relatively thin, including LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Skype for iPhone and Evernote".

Perhaps the biggest issue stems from Siri's inability to recognize your voice apart from others.

My other quibble has to do with a hard challenge for Apple.

More: A smart home sounds like a great idea. At times, not only did HomePod respond, but so did Siri on my nearby iPhone. As such, the HomePod is capable of playing the best possible music according to how its audio is being projected against its surroundings. So why is it still so complicated?

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