HomePod review roundup: Apple's smart speaker sounds incredible, but Siri is lacking

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  • Reply 41 of 151
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,275member
    It's pretty basic. Apple needed to nail the hardware and the ability to update the HomePod. Software can be updated and improved (and marketed). Sucky hardware cannot.
    StrangeDayscornchip
  • Reply 42 of 151
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,045member
    gatorguy said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    gatorguy said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Soli said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    “It can’t make phone calls on its own.”

    Yup, neither can my microwave…
    How does that argument make sense. The HomePod is an internet connected device that has person-to-person communications protocols built in. It's not unreasonable to expect it to communicate with others with ease. As shown in the iJustine video she can send messages to people similar to how you send text messages via the Apple Watch.
    Justine also used the HomePod to speak to her sister via her mobile phone, which I expect. What I don’t expect is for Apple to build a phone into thing so it can “make phone calls on its own”. That is a pretty dumb idea. Almost as dumb as building a phone into a microwave. 
    You don't have to build a phone into it to make phone calls. No one else who offers the feature did so AFAIK.
    I’m not sure what you’re talking about then. Justine demonstrated sending a text message and making a phone call through the HomePod. I imagine it does what the other iGadgets by routing the call through your iPhone via the WiFi network. 
    No sir. On Google Home it does not make the call using your phone. The entire call takes place on Google Home (over wifi) even if I accidently left my phone in the truck or at work.  But due to an update to the feature it CAN now display your actual phone number to the person you're calling instead of "unknown caller", and if for whatever reason you'd prefer it did not you can change that in settings. 

    Soli (or someone else with an Echo) would have to tell you how the Echo handles it. 
    You have three options. Hands-free calling via a connected cellphones, hands-free audible messaging to friends and family Echos (which I think is transcribed to read in the Alexa app/website), and Drop-In, their inter-home intercom system. 
  • Reply 43 of 151
    Siri is lacking, no surprise here.
  • Reply 44 of 151
    I wonder if the tech is here (or soon to come ) that would allow the sound of each vocal or instrument (or group of same) to be sent to a different speaker...

    ...So you could separately adjust the volume, etc. of the vocals, woodwinds, brass, strings, percussion...

    If that were possible -- it could revolutionize how we create and listen to audio and video.

    Mmm... Both Logic Pro X and FCPX have been updated for the iMac Pro...
    cornchip
  • Reply 45 of 151
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,045member
    jkichline said:
    It's pretty basic. Apple needed to nail the hardware and the ability to update the HomePod. Software can be updated and improved (and marketed). Sucky hardware cannot.
    1) Apple has had a lot longer to get Siri right than anyone else, especially Amazon, so I give them no clemency for being this far behind.

    2) HW can absolutely be improved, or do you think the original iPhone is just as good as the iPhone X or any iPhone that came before it?
    randominternetperson
  • Reply 46 of 151
    tmaytmay Posts: 2,569member
    All of you arguing about the HomePod today are missing some of the best legal entertainment of the year; Waymo vs Uber:

    Here's one link following this at the court house:

    https://twitter.com/sarahjeong
  • Reply 47 of 151
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,464member
    I wonder if the tech is here (or soon to come ) that would allow the sound of each vocal or instrument (or group of same) to be sent to a different speaker...

    ...So you could separately adjust the volume, etc. of the vocals, woodwinds, brass, strings, percussion...

    If that were possible -- it could revolutionize how we create and listen to audio and video.
    You're referring to something like what is described in this patent?
    https://www.google.com/patents/US20170236531

    Smart guys have been working on that for a few years. I think we're probably really close...
    http://ismir2012.ismir.net/event/papers/559_ISMIR_2012.pdf
    https://books.google.com/books/about/Musical_Instrument_Sound_Separation.html?id=_owJAQAAMAAJ

    I agree with you that when it happens, and it will, it's gonna be a game changer for high-end music. Of course it always filters down to really affordable sound systems/speakers within a relatively short time.
    edited February 6
  • Reply 48 of 151
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 1,873member
    I was holding off on purchasing a HomePod until reviews came out. Now that I know (not surprised) this speaker sounds awesome, I went ahead and ordered one. Maybe I'm in the minority but the complaints about third party support, Siri, etc don't bother me. First and foremost, I'm using this to listen to music so audio quality is the most important thing to me. It sounds like the HomePod blows away the competition in audio quality. Outside of music, I only plan on using HomePod to control my lights. I'm looking forward to using it on Friday. 
    zroger73lolliver
  • Reply 49 of 151
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 429member
    Rayz2016 said:
    MplsP said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    “It can’t make phone calls on its own.”

    Yup, neither can my microwave…


    No, but your microwave isn't marketed as 'smart,' doesn't have Siri which is touted as a personal digital assistant. Soli's right - your argument is nonsensical. 

    Like others, this is about as I expected. The good news is, according to the reports, the speaker technology and quality itself justifies the $350 price.

    Actually, my microwave is marketed as smart, (a little too smart for my liking) and it still doesn’t make phone calls. What it does is cook stuff smartly. Apple is not marketing it as a SiriPod, so it is focussed mainly on music, and looking at the video demo it does that very well (though I’m a little shocked she can’t pronounce Tupac correctly). 

    As usual, folk are trying to shoehorn the product into a category they feel comfortable with, rather like analysts who insist Apple can’t possibly be successful because analysts have a very narrow view of what can make a company successful. 

    Personally, i think it’s better to do a few things well, rather than loads of things badly. This is aimed at folk who like music and the Apple ecosystem. Like every other Apple product, it ain’t designed for everybody. 
    Hopefully your smart microwave is smarter than mine. It has a bunch of smart cook and reheat programs that I long ago gave up on using. Every time I tired to use one it ended up horribly overcooking it!

    To your comment about shoehorning the HomePod, I think the problem is that even if Apple intends it to be an exceptional speaker that uses siri to access Apple music services, there are many other similar speakers on the market, and the HomePod will inevitably be compared to those. My concern is that the number of people for whom the superior sound quality trumps the other features and conveniences of other companies' offerings will be fairly small, and they need enough sales to justify the investment of continued software development.
  • Reply 50 of 151
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,506member
    gatorguy said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    gatorguy said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Soli said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    “It can’t make phone calls on its own.”

    Yup, neither can my microwave…
    How does that argument make sense. The HomePod is an internet connected device that has person-to-person communications protocols built in. It's not unreasonable to expect it to communicate with others with ease. As shown in the iJustine video she can send messages to people similar to how you send text messages via the Apple Watch.
    Justine also used the HomePod to speak to her sister via her mobile phone, which I expect. What I don’t expect is for Apple to build a phone into thing so it can “make phone calls on its own”. That is a pretty dumb idea. Almost as dumb as building a phone into a microwave. 
    You don't have to build a phone into it to make phone calls. No one else who offers the feature did so AFAIK.
    I’m not sure what you’re talking about then. Justine demonstrated sending a text message and making a phone call through the HomePod. I imagine it does what the other iGadgets by routing the call through your iPhone via the WiFi network. 
    No sir. On Google Home it does not make the call using your phone. The entire call takes place on Google Home (over wifi) even if I accidently left my phone in the truck or at work.  But due to an update to the feature it CAN now display your actual phone number to the person you're calling instead of "unknown caller", and if for whatever reason you'd prefer it did not you can change that in settings. 

    Soli (or someone else with an Echo) would have to tell you how the Echo handles it. 
    So you now can make phone calls through Google servers … for free. 

    Mmmm. Think I’ll steer clear of that one. The free is tempting and all, except nothing ever really is though, is it. 
    edited February 6 lolliverrandominternetpersoncornchipwilliamlondon
  • Reply 51 of 151
    Soli said:
    gatorguy said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    gatorguy said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Soli said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    “It can’t make phone calls on its own.”

    Yup, neither can my microwave…
    How does that argument make sense. The HomePod is an internet connected device that has person-to-person communications protocols built in. It's not unreasonable to expect it to communicate with others with ease. As shown in the iJustine video she can send messages to people similar to how you send text messages via the Apple Watch.
    Justine also used the HomePod to speak to her sister via her mobile phone, which I expect. What I don’t expect is for Apple to build a phone into thing so it can “make phone calls on its own”. That is a pretty dumb idea. Almost as dumb as building a phone into a microwave. 
    You don't have to build a phone into it to make phone calls. No one else who offers the feature did so AFAIK.
    I’m not sure what you’re talking about then. Justine demonstrated sending a text message and making a phone call through the HomePod. I imagine it does what the other iGadgets by routing the call through your iPhone via the WiFi network. 
    No sir. On Google Home it does not make the call using your phone. The entire call takes place on Google Home (over wifi) even if I accidently left my phone in the truck or at work.  But due to an update to the feature it CAN now display your actual phone number to the person you're calling instead of "unknown caller", and if for whatever reason you'd prefer it did not you can change that in settings. 

    Soli (or someone else with an Echo) would have to tell you how the Echo handles it. 
    You have three options. Hands-free calling via a connected cellphones, hands-free audible messaging to friends and family Echos (which I think is transcribed to read in the Alexa app/website), and Drop-In, their inter-home intercom system. 
    I would imagine this particular ‘limitation’ is at least in part related to Apple’s approach to security. Do you really want anyone who just happens to be passing through to be able to place or answer calls using to your cell phone number? I don’t think I do. The requirement that a call start with an iPhone and then be ported over to the HomePod means that you have that additional layer of privacy and security. They may modify that later as they sort things out, but it seems like a reasonable initial default to me.
    lolliverwilliamlondonwillcropoint
  • Reply 52 of 151
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,464member
    AppleZulu said:
    Soli said:
    gatorguy said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    gatorguy said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Soli said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    “It can’t make phone calls on its own.”

    Yup, neither can my microwave…
    How does that argument make sense. The HomePod is an internet connected device that has person-to-person communications protocols built in. It's not unreasonable to expect it to communicate with others with ease. As shown in the iJustine video she can send messages to people similar to how you send text messages via the Apple Watch.
    Justine also used the HomePod to speak to her sister via her mobile phone, which I expect. What I don’t expect is for Apple to build a phone into thing so it can “make phone calls on its own”. That is a pretty dumb idea. Almost as dumb as building a phone into a microwave. 
    You don't have to build a phone into it to make phone calls. No one else who offers the feature did so AFAIK.
    I’m not sure what you’re talking about then. Justine demonstrated sending a text message and making a phone call through the HomePod. I imagine it does what the other iGadgets by routing the call through your iPhone via the WiFi network. 
    No sir. On Google Home it does not make the call using your phone. The entire call takes place on Google Home (over wifi) even if I accidently left my phone in the truck or at work.  But due to an update to the feature it CAN now display your actual phone number to the person you're calling instead of "unknown caller", and if for whatever reason you'd prefer it did not you can change that in settings. 

    Soli (or someone else with an Echo) would have to tell you how the Echo handles it. 
    You have three options. Hands-free calling via a connected cellphones, hands-free audible messaging to friends and family Echos (which I think is transcribed to read in the Alexa app/website), and Drop-In, their inter-home intercom system. 
    I would imagine this particular ‘limitation’ is at least in part related to Apple’s approach to security. Do you really want anyone who just happens to be passing through to be able to place or answer calls using to your cell phone number? I don’t think I do. The requirement that a call start with an iPhone and then be ported over to the HomePod means that you have that additional layer of privacy and security. They may modify that later as they sort things out, but it seems like a reasonable initial default to me.
    Well reportedly "anyone who just happens to be passing through" is able to send or answer texts under your name so not so sure about the reason being privacy and security.  

    If you are anal about privacy and security the HomePod might not be for you anyway. Unlike with Google Home and Amazon Echo there is no way to read what Siri has "heard" from your Homepod and no way to physically turn off the microphones to prevent anyone, including some future hacker or policing group, from hearing what goes on in your home.  The ability to see what Google Home heard is what immediately revealed the design flaw in the Google Home mini when it was out for final beta testing. If some error in coding on the Homepod led to inadvertent activation of the listening feature you'd be unlikely to ever know about it.

    So those are two odd omissions from a privacy standpoint, inability to review and vet results and no physical switch to turn off the mic's
    edited February 6 Soli
  • Reply 53 of 151
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,045member
    What's this obsession with using smart speakers for recipes?  Maybe it's just me, but I like to see recipes not just get verbal instructions.  Therefore, I personally don't care how well Siri does or doesn't do recipes.

    I hope there is a way to turn off features.  That example anyone being able to text or read texts from the linked iPhone is troubling; the opportunities for practical jokes are endless.  "Siri, text [owner's boss] that I quit."
    It's not about "smart speakers" it's about a personal digital assistant. If you're scaling a recipe up or down and it's in American imperial units can you instantly scale every weird unit of measurement? What if you're busy cooking and you don't want to swap out a teaspoon for a tablespoon for a measurement? Can you do the conversions instantly in your head? What about using a mixing bowl on a scale and want to just add, say, lemon juice to the contents without having to measure it out in volume; do you know how many grams are in a cup of water? I couldn't answer any of those but any personal digital assistance should be able to answer these with extreme ease.

    What about the general use of having a personal digital assistant in the kitchen so you can set unlimited timers with a simple voice command, check to see who's at the front door without stopping what you're doing, changing your station, playing Jeopardy, and countless other things while a part of your brain is doing a certain skill but free for something else, or simply because your hands are full?
  • Reply 54 of 151
    Rayz2016 said:

    Soli said:
    NY1822 said:
    check out iJustine on youtube...she has 2 videos...an unboxing (early access) and also filmed a 10 minute spot for Apple where she is using the Homepod...it's a good example of daily use and how siri responds 


    Did you mean to post a screenshot instead of a link to the YouTube video?
    Probably got distracted by that immaculate kitchen!

    I wonder what she uses on her surfaces. 
    I’m distracted by the fact that making dumb videos on youtube can generate so much income for youtubers to afford chef’s kitchens like that. 
    williamlondoncornchip
  • Reply 55 of 151
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,464member
    Rayz2016 said:
    gatorguy said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    gatorguy said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Soli said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    “It can’t make phone calls on its own.”

    Yup, neither can my microwave…
    How does that argument make sense. The HomePod is an internet connected device that has person-to-person communications protocols built in. It's not unreasonable to expect it to communicate with others with ease. As shown in the iJustine video she can send messages to people similar to how you send text messages via the Apple Watch.
    Justine also used the HomePod to speak to her sister via her mobile phone, which I expect. What I don’t expect is for Apple to build a phone into thing so it can “make phone calls on its own”. That is a pretty dumb idea. Almost as dumb as building a phone into a microwave. 
    You don't have to build a phone into it to make phone calls. No one else who offers the feature did so AFAIK.
    I’m not sure what you’re talking about then. Justine demonstrated sending a text message and making a phone call through the HomePod. I imagine it does what the other iGadgets by routing the call through your iPhone via the WiFi network. 
    No sir. On Google Home it does not make the call using your phone. The entire call takes place on Google Home (over wifi) even if I accidently left my phone in the truck or at work.  But due to an update to the feature it CAN now display your actual phone number to the person you're calling instead of "unknown caller", and if for whatever reason you'd prefer it did not you can change that in settings. 

    Soli (or someone else with an Echo) would have to tell you how the Echo handles it. 
    So you now can make phone calls through Google servers … for free. 

    Mmmm. Think I’ll steer clear of that one. The free is tempting and all, except nothing ever really is though, is it. 
    You've never used your iPhone over wifi? Perhaps you haven't, but Apple supports it. They just aren't doing so via the HomePod.
    https://www.imore.com/how-enable-wi-fi-calling-iphone
    Soli
  • Reply 56 of 151
    gatorguy said:
    I wonder if the tech is here (or soon to come ) that would allow the sound of each vocal or instrument (or group of same) to be sent to a different speaker...

    ...So you could separately adjust the volume, etc. of the vocals, woodwinds, brass, strings, percussion...

    If that were possible -- it could revolutionize how we create and listen to audio and video.
    You're referring to something like what is described in this patent?
    https://www.google.com/patents/US20170236531

    Smart guys have been working on that for a few years. I think we're probably really close...
    http://ismir2012.ismir.net/event/papers/559_ISMIR_2012.pdf
    https://books.google.com/books/about/Musical_Instrument_Sound_Separation.html?id=_owJAQAAMAAJ

    I agree with you that when it happens, and it will, it's gonna be a game changer for high-end music. Of course it always filters down to really affordable sound systems/speakers within a relatively short time.
    Yes!

    I suspect that Apple is also working on something like this.  I wonder if Apple's approach is the reason they acquired they Shazam, and possibly FoundationDB.
  • Reply 57 of 151
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,045member
    AppleZulu said:
    Soli said:
    gatorguy said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    gatorguy said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Soli said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    “It can’t make phone calls on its own.”

    Yup, neither can my microwave…
    How does that argument make sense. The HomePod is an internet connected device that has person-to-person communications protocols built in. It's not unreasonable to expect it to communicate with others with ease. As shown in the iJustine video she can send messages to people similar to how you send text messages via the Apple Watch.
    Justine also used the HomePod to speak to her sister via her mobile phone, which I expect. What I don’t expect is for Apple to build a phone into thing so it can “make phone calls on its own”. That is a pretty dumb idea. Almost as dumb as building a phone into a microwave. 
    You don't have to build a phone into it to make phone calls. No one else who offers the feature did so AFAIK.
    I’m not sure what you’re talking about then. Justine demonstrated sending a text message and making a phone call through the HomePod. I imagine it does what the other iGadgets by routing the call through your iPhone via the WiFi network. 
    No sir. On Google Home it does not make the call using your phone. The entire call takes place on Google Home (over wifi) even if I accidently left my phone in the truck or at work.  But due to an update to the feature it CAN now display your actual phone number to the person you're calling instead of "unknown caller", and if for whatever reason you'd prefer it did not you can change that in settings. 

    Soli (or someone else with an Echo) would have to tell you how the Echo handles it. 
    You have three options. Hands-free calling via a connected cellphones, hands-free audible messaging to friends and family Echos (which I think is transcribed to read in the Alexa app/website), and Drop-In, their inter-home intercom system. 
    I would imagine this particular ‘limitation’ is at least in part related to Apple’s approach to security. Do you really want anyone who just happens to be passing through to be able to place or answer calls using to your cell phone number? I don’t think I do. The requirement that a call start with an iPhone and then be ported over to the HomePod means that you have that additional layer of privacy and security. They may modify that later as they sort things out, but it seems like a reasonable initial default to me.
    1) How is that any different than using "Hey Siri" in any other situation with your iPhone?

    2) If you don't trust the location then should never pair your iPhone to that device so it can't even used with that device. You definitely shouldn't leave your iPhone behind.

    3) As GG mentions, there's already some ball dropping on Apple's part for making it too easy for anyone to access messages. The inclusion of that feature, the lack of security, and the inability to pair an iPhone to a device for easy handsfree calling like you have in your car, just shows that the SW is lacking for this review units (and probably at launch). I'm sure they'll get to it at some point, but it's really hard to say since Siri has been a very, very slow mover in gaining intelligence and features, but I hope that changes because of the HomePod.
  • Reply 58 of 151
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,175member
    "In conclusion, he said that HomePod is ideal for customers who live "entirely inside Apple's walled garden and prioritize sound quality over everything else." Most customers, he said, would be better served by other smart speakers."

    This is such a redundant comment IMHO, 'most cusomers' for the HomePod will be inside Apple's so called walled garden, that's what it is designed for.  You know, that niche market segment of Apple's that earns more $s than all the other leading tech companies combined.
    lolliver
  • Reply 59 of 151
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,045member
    MacPro said:
    This is such a redundant comment IMHO, 'most cusomers' for the HomePod will be inside Apple's so called walled garden, that's what it is designed for.  You know, that niche market segment of Apple's that earns more $s than all the other leading tech companies combined.
    You really think Apple goes for niche? They just announced selling 77.3 million iPhones in 3 months!
  • Reply 60 of 151
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,506member
    MplsP said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    MplsP said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    “It can’t make phone calls on its own.”

    Yup, neither can my microwave…


    No, but your microwave isn't marketed as 'smart,' doesn't have Siri which is touted as a personal digital assistant. Soli's right - your argument is nonsensical. 

    Like others, this is about as I expected. The good news is, according to the reports, the speaker technology and quality itself justifies the $350 price.

    Actually, my microwave is marketed as smart, (a little too smart for my liking) and it still doesn’t make phone calls. What it does is cook stuff smartly. Apple is not marketing it as a SiriPod, so it is focussed mainly on music, and looking at the video demo it does that very well (though I’m a little shocked she can’t pronounce Tupac correctly). 

    As usual, folk are trying to shoehorn the product into a category they feel comfortable with, rather like analysts who insist Apple can’t possibly be successful because analysts have a very narrow view of what can make a company successful. 

    Personally, i think it’s better to do a few things well, rather than loads of things badly. This is aimed at folk who like music and the Apple ecosystem. Like every other Apple product, it ain’t designed for everybody. 
    Hopefully your smart microwave is smarter than mine. It has a bunch of smart cook and reheat programs that I long ago gave up on using. Every time I tired to use one it ended up horribly overcooking it!

    To your comment about shoehorning the HomePod, I think the problem is that even if Apple intends it to be an exceptional speaker that uses siri to access Apple music services, there are many other similar speakers on the market, and the HomePod will inevitably be compared to those. My concern is that the number of people for whom the superior sound quality trumps the other features and conveniences of other companies' offerings will be fairly small, and they need enough sales to justify the investment of continued software development.
    Mine’s great until you try to improvise. Tell it what you’re cooking, how much of it you’re cooking, and then take it out and stir when it tells you. If you do not follow the instructions, bad stuff happens. 

    I see what you’re saying about the HomePod, but the same things have been said about the iPod (no everything!), the iPhone (no keyboard), the iPad (no file system, no keyboard), the Apple Watch (just … NO!), the MacBook Pro (no SCSCI port!).

    Every time, same result. You know I’m starting to think? I’m thinking that Apple may actually understand its customers better than we do.  You’re right, it will be compared to Alexa and the Google, but in the real world, outside the internet geek kingdom, there are more people buying quality sound systems than buying AI boxes. And it is those people Apple will focus on. 


    edited February 6 lolliverrandominternetperson
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