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

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Comments

  • Reply 141 of 151
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,847member
    Soli said:
    Soli said:
    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?
    Siri can do unit conversion, not sure why you’re implying it doesn’t. 
    I have no idea where you think I made any statement about what Siri can or can’t do.
    Misread — your comment makes sense in context after re-reading, apologies. :)
    No worries. It happens to the best of us with all these inline conversations going on at once.
    fastasleep
  • Reply 142 of 151
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 1,576member
    gatorguy said:
    For that matter not including an actual physical switch to turn off the HomePod microphones altogether as reassurance that off is truly off is another not-well-thought-out design choice IMHO. Just like with a light switch I don't have to worry (if I was one to worry) that my Google Home is "listening" if I flip the damn microphone switch to off. Off is off and it's not coming back on in the middle of the night. On the Homepod it's a software setting, much less secure, and leaves open the possibility that off might not be completely off nor impossible to turn back on without me being aware of it whether by court order or by mistake. 
    Well, you could always put an inline switch between the wall and plug. :)
  • Reply 143 of 151
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 1,576member
    gatorguy said:
    AppleZulu said:
    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.
    Having somehow survived decades of having a telephone on my desk that any passer-by can use to place or answer a call, I don’t really see a security threat here.

    Besides, I can place a call from my Mac without having to pull my phone out of my pocket. Why would the HomePod not offer similar functionality?
    You don’t see a problem with someone else listening to your text messages when you’re not in the room? Your iPhone and Mac can and should be password protected, or Siri can be disabled on the lock screen as mine is; I assume the problem here is there is no locking, so the feature needs to either be on or off. If you live alone, no point in disabling it, but if it’s somewhere where several people have voice access.... I don’t see how that’s not a problem. I’ll just turn it off as I can already message people through the Watch etc.
    My post was part of a discussion about how one cannot initiate a telephone call with HomePod. You're talking about text messages. Two different functions. What's good or bad for one is not automatically equivalent to the other. Initiating or answering a phone call with the HomePod is no different from a security perspective than having a phone on a desk or counter.
    Agreed. What is insecure about placing a call from a smart speaker? It's no less insecure than placing a wifi call on your iPhone is it? As long as you're identifiable by voice-printing before the call can be placed I don't see the security issue. But anyone in or visiting your home being able to send a text using your name and Apple account, or listening to what could be highly private texts sent to you? No, that I would not be comfortable with. Google Home won't allow it, requiring that my voice be recognized for many functions.  There's a lot of interaction Google Home actively limits, specifically anything connected to the personal you unless your identity can be verified. I can't access my wife's calendar, her notifications or alerts no matter how benign, not even control any devices connected to her account and available for Google Home control unless she expressly grants me permission to those devices, nor can she gain access to any of mine or any of my personal information.  

    Yeah, this is what I'm most curious about. I feel like if the default setting is to have all the stuff attached to your account ON (and I don't know for sure that it is), I feel like the Messaging side of thing is ripe for abuse. A houseguest at a party could say "Hey Siri, message my girlfriend and tell her I'm breaking up with her" or "text my mom see you next tuesday" or "read me my last text messages" and who knows what that might be? Or if you live with an SO and any number of things could go wrong. :)
  • Reply 144 of 151
    lukeilukei Posts: 321member
    gatorguy said:
    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
    Except this isn’t free. It takes minutes out of your cellular plan. 
  • Reply 145 of 151
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,847member
    lukei said:
    gatorguy said:
    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
    Except this isn’t free. It takes minutes out of your cellular plan. 
    Are you saying that WiFi Calling shouldn't use cellular minutes?
  • Reply 146 of 151
    lukeilukei Posts: 321member
    Soli said:
    lukei said:
    gatorguy said:
    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
    Except this isn’t free. It takes minutes out of your cellular plan. 
    Are you saying that WiFi Calling shouldn't use cellular minutes?
    Nope I think it should. What I don’t want is a ‘free’ service routed through Google servers :)
  • Reply 147 of 151
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,885member
    lukei said:
    Soli said:
    lukei said:
    gatorguy said:
    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
    Except this isn’t free. It takes minutes out of your cellular plan. 
    Are you saying that WiFi Calling shouldn't use cellular minutes?
    Nope I think it should. What I don’t want is a ‘free’ service routed through Google servers :)
    LOL... You don't want any service going through a company that doesn't and never has sold personal information (Google) but happy with it going thru a carrier like ATT or Verizon, and others who do. Gotcha, so it has nothing to do with privacy or lack of then. 

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20171017/11071138421/wireless-carriers-again-busted-collecting-selling-user-data-without-consent-opt-out-tools.shtml
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/oct/25/att-secretly-sells-customer-data-law-enforcement-hemisphere
    https://www.engadget.com/2017/08/02/verizon-up-privacy-concerns/
    https://www.salon.com/2014/04/25/heads_up_verizon_users_this_might_be_the_creepiest_big_data_tactic_yet/
    edited February 8
  • Reply 148 of 151
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,847member
    gatorguy said:
    lukei said:
    Soli said:
    lukei said:
    gatorguy said:
    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
    Except this isn’t free. It takes minutes out of your cellular plan. 
    Are you saying that WiFi Calling shouldn't use cellular minutes?
    Nope I think it should. What I don’t want is a ‘free’ service routed through Google servers :)
    LOL... You don't want any service going through a company that doesn't and never has sold personal information (Google) but happy with it going thru a carrier like ATT or Verizon, and others who do. Gotcha, so it has nothing to do with privacy or lack of then. 

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20171017/11071138421/wireless-carriers-again-busted-collecting-selling-user-data-without-consent-opt-out-tools.shtml
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/oct/25/att-secretly-sells-customer-data-law-enforcement-hemisphere
    https://www.engadget.com/2017/08/02/verizon-up-privacy-concerns/
    https://www.salon.com/2014/04/25/heads_up_verizon_users_this_might_be_the_creepiest_big_data_tactic_yet/
    Yeah, not wanting to give Google your personal data because they'll aggregate and monetize it is understandable, but you can't say you want to avoid that while jumping in with other companies may be worse. At least with Google it's their business model so they offer services to "chattel" for free and it's usually excellent to the point that I never fear that my specific information is ever being bought and sold. With carriers it seems like I'm not only paying a lot for the service but I also fear that they could sell my specific user data or be the victim of a security breach because of their incompetence. We've seen so many problems ranging from Target stores keeping CCs on file for in-store card swipes to Experian, and yet people I talk to don't seem to understand that your SSN floating around will be a potential issue for identity theft for your entire life. There are just so many other things to worry about, and yet people are freaked out by a device designed to listen for a wake word without once considering all the cameras, microphones, and other ways in which someone can spy on your activities from internet-connected devices constantly around us.
  • Reply 149 of 151

    New York Times review: "HomePod came in last, with a score of 2.9. Google Home was slightly better with 3.1, and Amazon Echo was the clear winner with a 3.4."

    These results are clearly from a very limited and subjective (i.e. non-methodical) use of the HomePod by the NYT reviewer.

    In contrast, in December 2017 LoopVentures tested the various AI assistants with the same 800 questions divided into five categories.

    Test Results:

    Understood Query:
    Apple Siri: 99.0%
    Amazon Echo: 97.9%
    Google Home: 99.9%
    MS Cortana: 98.9%

    Answered Correctly:
    Apple Siri: 75.4%
    Amazon Echo: 63.8%
    Google Home: 81.1%
    MS Cortana: 56.4%

    Siri is currently only slightly behind Google Home, but well ahead of both Amazon Echo and MS Cortana. And Siri's ratings have been consistently improving. The reviewer's subjective assessment that "Amazon Echo was the clear winner", is NOT reflected in extensive, and systematic testing.

    edited February 8
  • Reply 150 of 151
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,847member
    jurassic said:

    New York Times review: "HomePod came in last, with a score of 2.9. Google Home was slightly better with 3.1, and Amazon Echo was the clear winner with a 3.4."

    These results are clearly from a very limited and subjective (i.e. non-methodical) use of the HomePod by the NYT reviewer.

    In contrast, in December 2017 LoopVentures tested the various AI assistants with the same 800 questions divided into five categories.

    Test Results:

    Understood Query:
    Apple Siri: 99.0%
    Amazon Echo: 97.9%
    Google Home: 99.9%
    MS Cortana: 98.9%

    Answered Correctly:
    Apple Siri: 75.4%
    Amazon Echo: 63.8%
    Google Home: 81.1%
    MS Cortana: 56.4%

    Siri is currently only slightly behind Google Home, but well ahead of both Amazon Echo and MS Cortana. And Siri's ratings have been consistently improving. The reviewer's subjective assessment that "Amazon Echo was the clear winner", is NOT reflected in extensive, and systematic testing.

    So Siri loses and you say those results "are clearly from a very limited and subjective" but then you repost the same test over and over for months that show Siri edging out the competition without any mention that those results are also "very limited and subjective"? None of these tests prove a damn thing unless you create an isolated environment, so there are caveats to any results no matter how you cut it.
  • Reply 151 of 151
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,299member
    k2kw said:
    I think some of the reviews miss the mark. It isn’t whether one focused on smarts over sound it’s a trade off between sound and price. An Echo or Home don’t sound as good because the top priority was as cheap as possible to get in as many homes as possible. The question that should be asked of Apple is why didn’t they focus on both sound and smarts?  I’m guessing the people working on audio are not the same people working on Siri. Why wasn’t HomePod the product to showcase a much improved Siri so Apple could say Siri is just as smart as the competition but HomePod sounds so much better. I know Siri gets better through software but how many people are going to buy hardware with the promise of better software in the future?
    In 2016 there were a lot of expectations for Apple to release their version of the Echo.    Even DED started off 2017 saying it would be the year of Siri.   I think Apple really didn't want to make a Siri Speaker and the HomePod is Apple's middle finger to all those people.

    It sounds like the audio of the HomePod is great on if your use case fits Apple's view of what you need.   If I knew that HomePod was the start of a family of products including a home theater speaker bar and a HomePod max that came with Bluetooth and an auxiliary line-in port I would be picking two of them up.   Smart audio that comes with ubiquitous computing.   Unfortunately I don't think that Apple will be doing that anytime in the near future.   Maybe in 3 to 5 years.   In the mean time I'll go with SONOS even if its a little bit more expnsive.

    I'm still hoping that Apple announces a major expansion of their Siri work.   Now that they have moved (or started moving) into the new Apple Park HQ they need to set up a new Siri Development center employing thousands more people.  They should be able to do every thing Alexa does and more (except buying products of course).
    Well if Apple doesn’t want to focus on Siri as a platform then yeah use their audio smarts to make a family of speakers. I have an LG sound bar. If Apple made their own high quality sound bar I’d be all over it. I suspect though some would rather Apple focus on voice as the new computing platform than more high margin hardware.
    If they have done the software architecture correctly they could proceed with improving Siri independent of the HomePods.   I don't expect a HomePod family anytime in the next two years and it will depend upon how many HomePods they sell.    If they sell over 10 Million/yr they may think that there would be sufficient demand for a HomePodMax, HomePodBar, and HomePodBass.

    I think that there is a good chance that part of the AirPlay2 delay is due to giving other Speaker Manufacturers like B&W, SONOS, etc. time to implement.

    I don't think Apple is too far behind now with Siri but they still need to up their game with respect to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.   It wouldn't hurt for them to establish a Siri Development and Support center somewhere in the country and staff up in the thousands (they defiantly have the money now).  Staying on the same course for the next 5-10 years could be very risky.
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