Apple's pricey HomePod sounds great but exacts some trade-offs

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The above three factor will likely affect HomePod's sales despite the huge awareness of Apple, thus TrendForce forecasts that Amazon will still continue to dominate the smart speaker market in 2018.

The smart speaker uses Apple's Siri voice agent, in the company's relatively late entry into the smart speaker market.

USA Today: "Apple has opened up Siri to developers, but the feature set for HomePod and Siri is more narrow - you might send messages by voice or consult your grocery list, but the list of third-party apps that are compatible with HomePod are relatively thin, including LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Skype for iPhone and Evernote".

Although Apple's new smart speaker is called the HomePod, businesses can use the device's intelligence and capabilities, too. Multiple studies, including one reported by The New York Times, demonstrate that listening to music can enhance focus, improve creativity, and boost productivity. "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". Whether it's how Siri interacts with your other devices, how the assistant helps you hunt down new and interesting content, or just how straightforward HomePod is to control, there are a few important areas that Apple could easily address to improve the user-experience dramatically. In particular, those who already own Android devices will definitely benefit from the Google Assistant, and the ability to collaborate with other Android-driven hardware.

You'll similarly be able to balance two HomePods next to each other for a complete stereo effect but must wait for a free software update from Apple coming later in the year.

Single-user, multi-device support: HomePod should be able to act like an iPad and answer your iPhone's phone/FaceTime audio calls and texts if you authorize it to do so.

What's more, Sonos supports more streaming platforms than HomePod, and not only works with Alexa out of the box but also promises to make nice soon with the Google Assistant, and, yes, Siri.

For my money, the best choice is a deal Sonos is offering (for an undisclosed amount of time) to get two of its One speakers for $350. "Music is the reason I would buy HomePod".

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For sure, HomePod's $349 price will be a disqualifier for some of you.

While these firms each want to become your assistant everywhere, Apple is betting instead on your love of sound quality.

But Siri really struggles on assistant tasks.

Google Home Max launched this week.

Now if only Sonos had made the playlist in Apple Music, so Siri could play it on the HomePod.

Voice recognition is obviously critical in any Apple HomePod vs. Amazon Echo vs. Google Home comparison, and it will be disappointing for potential Apple consumers that Siri is somewhat behind the other two intelligent operating systems here as well.

More: A smart home sounds like a great idea.

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