HomePod + Amazon Echo?

I have a dilemma of sorts. I received an unexpected “pre-Christmas” gift of an Amazon Echo. I have never used a smart speaker before receiving the Echo. I have to say that I like it. My dilemma is that I have been planning on purchasing the Apple HomePod but I’ve been waiting for version 2, assuming it may be coming in 2019. Aside from being able to play music on either (though the music quality is no doubt far better on the HomePod) have any of you mixed smart speakers in your home or office and if so, how do you use them differently? Would you recommend that I purchase the HomePod or the new Echo Plus?

It may be helpful to note that I use all Apple devices and I have an Amazon Prime membership. Advice for me? Thanks!

PS I found this review. Pretty embarrassing for Siri and the HomePod from the “smart” perspective. At this point it seems like Alexa and Google are far smarter but HomePod is better for music. Perhaps I should get both?

YouTube Review/Comparison: https://youtu.be/xiwFnGY4xkc

YouTube: Comparison including Sonos with Alexa: https://youtu.be/uUyMte6yqXc

On more, from an “Apple guy”, YouTube: https://youtu.be/axvFDWxF7wc

I have a Sonos One with Alexa, and a HomePod. I use Alexa to add things to our shared grocery and task list, and all other requests are evenly split (probably), between the HomePod and the Sonos.

@RosemaryOrchard I assumed that you used OmniFocus for task list but as I understand it, one cannot share projects/tasks in OminFocus. Am I wrong about this? If you don’t mind my asking, how do you share a task list with Alexa? Do you use a list with Amazon?

I have an Amazon Echo and three Dots scattered throughout the house, and an Apple HomePod in my home office. The Amazon units are great for controlling our TV and peripherals via a Logitech Harmony hub system (not HomeKit compatible), playing music on Sonos, controlling our main floor Hue lights, setting timers, and checking the weather. I wish it could add grocery items to Paprika, our cooking app, but you can at least add things to Alexa’s own list app. I tried IFTT to get tasks in OmniFocus (later Things), but could never seem to make it work consistently. I need a trusted system, and periodic failures weren’t acceptable.

I use the HomePod for listening to music while I work (it does sound WAY better than the Echo), and having access to Apple Music gives me much more latitude to what I listen to than Alexa/Sonos. I also use it to control the Hue lights in my office, add tasks to Things and Reminders, play Podcasts, and play all sorts of things via AirPlay 2 from my iPhone and iPad.

Even though the Echo/Dots and HomePod are in separate places in my house, I am continually confusing the names, calling the Echo by “Hey Siri” and vice versa, much to my kids’ derision.

I was tempted to change out the Echo/Dot/Sonos combos in our living room and kitchen for HomePods until I saw that Apple Music was coming to the Amazon platform. I’m going to stay put now and just keep calling them by their wrong names until I get it right …

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Thanks Bob, I may end up doing something similar. Question, can you clarify what you mean that Apple Music is coming to the Amazon platform?

Yes: Amazon added Apple Music as a music service to Amazon Echo devices this month. For years it was just Amazon Music and Spotify that were accessible on Amazon as a full-fledged streaming music service. This adds a lot more utility to the Echo for Apple enthusiasts. Good thread on this here:


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Isn’t there a privacy difference between the HomePod and the Amazon/google evinces? I thought Apple processes requests locally or at least doesn’t store them on their servers. We’ve all heard about conversations being stored on the other boys’ servers…

Hey, you are having the EXACT same experience I am these past 24 hours! I picked up a 3rd Gen Echo Dot and have been putting it through the paces.

The amount of “Skills” that the Echo has available is truly incredible. The vast amount of content available ranges from the obvious (News briefings, NPR, radio stations via TuneIn) to more esoteric stuff that I love (Drone Zone on SomaFM- really great ambient music). I lost SEVERAL hours last night just searching for Skills to put on my Dot. Apple Music integration is what drove me to try it out in the first place.

I was delighted to discover that I can pair my iPhone to it and play my Overcast podcasts, allowing me continue using my Apple Watch for the volume control. Now, all I need to do is tell Echo to connect to iPhone and voila, it’s up and running.

This has caused me to rethink if the HomePod is really something I want to invest in. I can place a dozen of these around my home for the cost of ONE HomePod. It really highlights the problem I have with HomePod: the lack of “stuff” that I could do with it compared to Echo/Alexa.

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For my personal things I do use OmniFocus. For shared lists though my boyfriend and I use Todoist which has direct Alexa integration. So anything shared with him is done via Alexa, and tasks for me are added via the HomePod.

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@Aaron_Antcliff, I plug my Alexa can into my Pioneer soundbar & woofer for better noise.

The Dots have been on sale in the US for less than $25. The new ones sound better but I play mostly audiobooks on the Dots.

A single device licence for Amazon Music is around $5. Guess what comes out of the sound bar.

The Amazon system has some problems/concerns… for now I’m willing to accept them. (Privacy, mysterious mumbles, and getting Alexa to understand my pronunciation of Radka Toneff so I can play her songs from Amazon Music.)

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Definitely agree with this, and now that I’ve had the Echo Dot for around 48 hours, I’m making this realization myself. While I love everything that Apple produces, I’m having a hard time biting the cost when I can get more flexible behaviors from other product producers.

I plugged the Dot into my Bose soundlink with a cable and was pleased with the sound quality, so this is a really great solution for when I want a higher quality of audio playback.

Thank you, this is extremely helpful. I was all set (I’d saved my pennies) to buy a HomePod but now I think I’m going to check out Sonos options. I’m thinking that Sonos + Echos will maximize my options and still provide good quality for music. It is shame because I would prefer to stay in the Apple ecosystem given all of my other Apple hardware and cloud services with Apple but in this instance, unless Apple has something big planned for the HomePod—and I’ve not seen many rumors—Apple is still behind with A.I. and smart speakers.

I did not realize I could connect my iPhone to the Echo via Bluetooth. Is there a way to “automate” that so I don’t have to manually select the connection/pairing?

Does anyone know if the built in Alexa in the Sonos speakers is identical to the Echos? Are there any differences in commands, accuracy, and breadth of information? I ask because according to this review, states, “Alexa integrations works almost exactly the same here as on the Echo” and “Voice commands are sometimes a little buggy.”

I’m thinking of buying a couple of Sonos speakers instead of the HomePod but I want to make sure that the Alexa commands work as well as on the Sonos as the Echos.

Once you have paired your phone with the Echo, you can reconnect to it by voice by saying “Alexa, connect to my phone”. And then disconnect the same way — “Alexa, disconnect from my phone”.

I do this all the time, also mostly for listening to Overcast over the Echo.

You must first pair it manually to your iPhone using the options in the Alexa app, then in your iPhone system preferences. Now I can just ask it to pair Bluetooth and it automatically connects to my iPhone.

I’m not sure how this changes if you have multiple devices paired to your Echo device, so far I have only my iPhone paired and it works great.

I’ve had the opportunity to perform a sound test from a Sonos One and and an Apple HomePod in my home office. For me, there was utterly no competition. The HomePod won hands down. Because of this, I sold the Sonos One and kept the HomePod. I would guess this is hard to tell without trying them out side by side in a quiet environment. A more even competition would be the Sonos Play:5 or a pair of Sonos Play:1s which would have better stereo separation. Don’t get me wrong: I love my Sonos gear and have a slew of of them around the house, but for a single unit, the Apple HomePod sounds really, really good and is in a different class than the Sonos One.

I’ve got several Sonos Play:1s (which have basically the same audio hardware as the Sonos One) and several HomePods. I’d definitely say that a single HomePod is a much better speaker than a single Play:1, and a pair of HomePods sounds better than a pair of Play:1s.

There are circumstances where a stereo pair of Play:1s would be a better choice than a single HomePod, and at the HomePod’s list price of $349 that’s a fair comparison. With all of the $249 HomePod sales this Christmas that becomes increasingly hard to justify though. I took advantage of these prices to replace a pair of Play:1s on my desk with a pair of HomePods, and it’s definitely a big upgrade.

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Man this is hard. :slight_smile: Perhaps what I need to do is bite the bullet and get a pair of HomePods and then scatter a few Echos or Echos dots throughout the house and in my study. I definitely want stero in the family room. Other rooms I’m not as concerned about. It is just money after all. :slight_smile:

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Yup, that would be the best setup based on what you’ve described… :wink:

@SpivR You seem to have a good background with audio. Based on your comments it sounds like you would recommend the Sonos. I’m wanting stereo in my family room, good sound in my study, and decent sound in the kitchen for my wife. Im also impressed with Alexa. I’m an Apple Music subscriber. I want good sound in the family room and perhaps to study but I’m no audiophile. I have one echo dot in the house and Bluetooth portable speaker. I’m vacillating between the HomePod and the Sonos. All things considered, the Sonos seem like a wiser choice. My only hesitation is I get the impression, but not them first hand experience, that the HomePod may provide better over all audio. In the scheme of things, the difference may not be enough for my purposes. I’d appreciate any additional thoughts you may have.