Apple details the energy use of its always-on HomePod speaker

Joy Montgomery
January 28, 2018

Sonos may support Apple Music, but the Sonos One uses Amazon's Alexa as its current assistant-of-choice, and that can't control Apple's streaming service by voice. Well, sort of, since you have the ability to link two wireless speakers together and actually use them as stereo speakers. That's a feature on pretty much every other smart speaker I've tested, and something Apple should add.

Unfortunately, the HomePod does not work with other music streaming platforms except the Cupertino company's own Apple Music service. Yes, you can use AirPlay to stream music from your iPhone to the HomePod, but you may as well use any Bluetooth speaker at that point.

The HomePod is powered by Apple's A8 chip, which also powered the iPhone 6. "It brings advanced audio technologies like beam-forming tweeters, a high-excursion woofer and automatic spatial awareness, together with the entire Apple Music catalog and the latest Siri intelligence, in a simple, lovely design that is so much fun to use", said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. Even though it is a new kind of product from Apple, the company still makes about two-thirds of its sales from its smartphones. Digital Trends also noted that any requests to Siri are encrypted before they reach Apple and not tied to your iCloud account.

You may have heard of Sonos and their reign on the audio market, but recently Apple has been trying to make their move into the market as well.

Apple has consistently lagged behind Amazon and Google when it comes to integrating HomeKit with other smart home devices.

Sonos takes aim at Apple by selling two of its speakers for the price of one HomePod

Audio is just one component of a smart speaker, and while Siri can do a lot, it's limited when compared to Alexa and Google Assistant.

While some speakers connect to TVs for home theater sound, the HomePod doesn't work with the Apple TV or Macs.

This leaves only one significant small player in the space, Sonos, which has to take on three tech goliaths who are worth $2.4 trillion collectively. Unlike Apple, it also offers a range of speakers for a range of prices. Siri is definitely a big part of HomePod, but it's mostly there to facilitate your music experience, able to respond to granular commands about songs, playlists, and the like, as well as natural ones like, "Siri, turn it up".

Sonos was late to adding voice controls to its speakers and people might not want to pay the higher prices for them.

Unlike the Echo, HomePod is meant to be a high-end audio device. Apart from music, Siri is also behind Alexa and Google Assistant in terms of functionality. Stay tuned for our full review.

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