Yes, I thought it was over priced. I am frustrated that it doesn’t have any audio-input source and is a half-baked smart speaker. But I was I treated by the idea of Siri Shortcuts coming at WWDC and I was in the market for a better speaker for my home office. So, she n I found a deal on eBay, I decided to pull the plug.
Turns out…I’m mostly happy. The sound that one HomePod can put out is pretty amazing. I re-activated my $25/year iTunes Match subscription and HomePod can (usually) play all the music in my iTunes Library. (I still have no interest in Apple Music).
What really blows me away is the ability of the HomePod to recognize your voice in a variety of situations. From just about anywhere in a room, even the next room over I can speak in a normal voice and say, “Hey Siri…” and it will hear me. Since all my smart home devices (the lone exception being my Nest Thermostat) are HomeKit enabled I can control my entire smart house from the HomePod. I’m already finding it picks up my voice much more reliability and with a lot less effort than the Amazon Echo. While it can’t do everything an Echo can, it’s about 70% of the way now for my regular usage and I’m hoping Siri Shortcuts will take it another 20%.
There are some downsides. As mentioned above, it really is a sub-par smart speaker. It is missing many of the features found on other smart speakers. It can’t recognize multiple voices, it can’t set multiple timers, it has a very limited set of features and is crippled even compared to Siri on iOS, and Siri can be really annoying with her constant cute responses. I will also tell you there are some things on the HomePod that just don’t work consistently for me.
For example, I have never been able to get Siri to tell me the news and there are a handful of songs in my iCloud Music Library that she will sometimes not play. Siri will tell me she’s going to play my NPR news briefing or play the song and then nothing happens. (If anyone has any ideas for a solution, let me know. I’ve already reset, re-paired and factory restored the HomePod to no avail.)
Overall, I’ve been happy with my purchase, but I bought my HomePod refurbished from BestBuy on eBay and saved about $100. That helped dramatically in the decision to buy. I hope my investment in the HomePod doesn’t turn out to go the way of the iPod Hi-Fi.
If you want to hear more…I discuss this on the upcoming show 436 that will be released Sunday night/Monday morning.