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Apple HomePod

Discussion in 'Apple' started by DaveF, Jan 29, 2018.

  1. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    It seems like we need a HomePod thread. :)

    To start off, glowing comments from an alleged audio engineer on Reddit:

    “I started out with “Hotel California” by The Eagles. The first impression was the neutrality of the speaker. The HomePods are tuned for an as-true-to-recording sound. When the song calls for it, there is bass. When the song turns to crystal clear highs, they are reproduced faithfully. What really was interesting is the instrument separation in the room. At about 45% volume, the HomePod FILLED the room I was in with some great sound.”

    https://www.reddit.com/r/audiophile/comments/7t51a2/nda_is_up_what_can_i_tell_you_guys_about_the/
     
  2. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Producer

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  3. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Producer

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    The reviews are out - as often, Gruber's is one of the best:
    https://daringfireball.net/2018/02/homepod

    I do think that the most negative aspect is the lack of TV support (TOSlink input - ability to support anything other than an AppleTV). I do hope that they release a "soundbar" version with an input port within the next year. People living in large cities, be it NYC, Paris or Tokyo (where the highest percentage of Apple customers tend to live) don't happen to have separate rooms for music and TV in their small apartments - usually it is one and the same, and you can't have two different sets of speakers.

    My mom is getting a HomePod (due on Friday) so sometime next week I can try it out and will report.
     
  4. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    How much does this device cost?
     
  5. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Producer

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    $349 - available directly from Apple - stores on Friday, online right now. Not sure which third parties will carry it.
     
  6. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Tony,

    I will start off by saying I am a huge fan of Apple (I own just about every product they sell), but am bias towards Sonos when it comes to speakers.

    While it has been established in reviews that the new Homepod edges out the Sonos Play One in sound quality if I had to do it all over again, I would not give up my Sonos speakers for a HomePod.

    For the same price as one HomePod, you can get two Sonos Play One speakers that you can put in a stereo setup.

    The Play One speakers use Alexa as a smart assistant with Siri and Google coming soon.

    The Sonos app is pretty incredible, allowing direct access to the top music services and Internet radio. The HomePod is restricted to Apple Music and iTunes -- but -- you can play other services via airplay support.

    If you are thinking of a home-wide music system, building it little by little, I think Sonos may be the better way to go. My home has Sonos speakers in all the major rooms. I can control what rooms I want to play them in either individually, or in unison as a group.

    However, I can't say anything negative about the HomePod
     
  7. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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  8. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    ToSlink is dead, Ted. Get over it. =)
     
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  9. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    It's almost as if Apple predict the shortcomings of initial releases and leverages that drama for most buzz, and then goes on to rapidly quash these deficiencies.
     
  10. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Producer

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    Thank goodness my brand new LG OLED 4K TV didn’t get your memo.
    But more to the point, unless Apple starts producing and selling 4K 55/65/75” Apple Cinema Displays or a vast majority of AppleTV owners only use AppleTVs and nothing else to watch on their 3rd party HDTVs, current HomePods won't be able to support it.

    Yes, future third party AirPlay 2 is conceivable- but the chances of it reaching a majority of people’s existing HDTVS, that may be there for a decade, are slim to none.

    How do you see the future?
     
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  11. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Producer

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    Not exactly - Siri is restricted- HomePod can play anything through AirPlay including Spotify
     
  12. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Ted, if you re-read my entire comment in post #6 I indicate exactly that.
     
  13. Message #13 of 314 Feb 7, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2018
    Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Cinematographer
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    I have a friend that has SONOS speakers throughout his home. He used to control everything from an App on his iPhone. Now it uses several Amazon DOTs (Echo) distributed throughout his home for control. I've used his system (we house-sit and feed their cat when they are on vacation) and it all works BEAUTIFULLY. It's a piece of cake to say "Alexa, play Hotel California in the living room" followed by "Alexa, play Rocket Man in the den". Or, you can sync the music perfectly for one song or playlist and as you transition room to room the music moves seamlessly with you.

    I envisioned doing exactly the same thing with HomePod. When Apple announced HomePod in June 2017 I let me wife know that I'd be dropping upwards of $1,750 for 5 HomePod speakers in December.

    Here it is, early February 2018, and I haven't come close to pulling the trigger.

    One, the multi-speaker functionality that Apple promised STILL isn't ready. It's not going to be ready until "later this year". How on earth can Apple be the wealthiest company in the world and not spend some of that money to hire the engineers necessary to do achieve what SONOS has been doing for several years now?

    Two, I don't like Apple Music. At least, I didn't like it during the 3-month free trial. Apple Music did a TERRIBLE job of picking the kind of music I liked to listen to. I'd create a station and about 10-20% of the songs that got played had no business being on that station.

    Pandora (which has their own issues due to too many notifications within its mobile app) does a MUCH better job of creating channels (stations) that play EXACTLY the mix of music I'm hoping for.

    It's not enough that I can play Pandora through AirPlay 2 (whenever it finally comes available). There are DOZENS of speakers out there that I can control with an App on my iPhone. Hell, I can control my entire home theater sound system (Pioneer Elite receiver) with an App on my iPhone or iPad, which includes playing Pandora.

    What I want is VOICE control as elegant the SONOS/Amazon Echo combination. Voice control of the sources *I* want to listen to, not trapped only in Apple's ecosystem.

    Apple's delays almost caused me to pull the trigger on several SONOS ONE speakers when Best Buy had them on sale. But I hadn't heard a HomePod yet and I wanted to wait for an actual listening comparison.

    Based on early reviews, it seems he HomePod is going to be the best sounding speaker of its kind and size. And that is VERY tempting. But I'm not buying something that comes with promises that are "coming soon".

    I may ultimately be swayed to subscribe to Apple Music and try it again. I've heard it's gotten better since the initial trial period. But that won't happen until HomePod is multi-speaker compatible. I also want to see how well it integrates with Apple TV.

    One encouraging data point.. When I updated my Apple TV 4K to beta tvOS 11.3, during setup after reboot, it asked the location of my Apple TV (Living Room, Bedroom, etc.). It appears Apple plans to let me control the Apple TV from HomePod. That would save the expense of one HomePod in the living room because my Apple TV is already connected to my home theater sound system.

    But it all needs to be proven before I buy. And if SONOS introduces a SONOS Play:3 quality speaker with Alexa built in, then all bets are off. The SONOS ONE speaker just isn't good enough. And I doubt SONOS is just sitting on its laurels with the HomePod "threatening" its future.

    Edited to add: One other factor in Apple's favor is that I am MUCH more trusting of Apple with regard to having an "always open" live microphone in my home. Google would be the LAST company I'd trust with Amazon somewhere in the middle.

    Apple has repeatedly proven that it values its customer's privacy more than just about any other company.

    Mark
     
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  14. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Mark,

    Very good read.

    My problem with Apple these days is that they are always late to the party. Instead of being an innovator, they just seem to copy others.

    That being said, when Apple does release a product, it generally outshines everything else.

    It's just that they are now in the habit of making early product announcements and then delaying that product for months. When it's finally released, it's often half-baked with the most important features missing with the promise of coming soon.

    Had Apple done HomePod right on release day, people like yourself would not be sitting on the fence.
     
  15. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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  16. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    “These days”?

    As in, since 2007 when it released a smartphone well after Blackberry and Palm? Or 2001, when Apple released the iPod into a saturated market of music players (“No wireless. Less space than a Nomad. Lame.”)

    Being late but outshining has been Apple’s thing for going on 20 years.

    (Their relative weaknesses are search, cloud, and AI. These are exacerbated by their prioritzation of user privacy and cultural inability to release and rapidly iterate immature software due to their compulsive perfectionism. So you get industry leading hardware tied to industry lagging cloud-driven voice assistants.)
     
  17. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Cinematographer
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    I will disagree with you Dave on one product... The iPhone.

    NOBODY had anything like the iPhone when it was released. It was truly revolutionary.

    Mark
     
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  18. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Producer

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    That is sure as heck not what was being said when it was released in 2007 (which BTW, was when I bought it for $599). No apps, no copy & paste, no 3G, no MMS, no video, no corporate email, no Verizon, etc. etc - all things any number of it opponents had — Nokia, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, etc. all of who were outselling the iPhone until Android took over the outselling the iPhone department. The “revolutionary” was admitted after Nokia, Blackberry, Palm & WinMo had all gone down the drain - years later.
     
  19. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Homepod holds no interest for me at all. Without the same kind of massive smart device ecosystem that Echo has, that aspect of the device is DOA for my needs. And while it may sound great from all accounts, as Ron has pointed out I can buy TWO Sonos One speakers for the same price as one Homepod. They sound great and feature a mature ecosystem that just works.

    IMO Homepod is several dollars short and more than a few days late. Apple really has dropped the ball on this device and its Siri/Homekit integration AFAIC. Both Amazon and Google have left them in the dust.
     
  20. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Cinematographer
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    rev·o·lu·tion·ar·y - involving or causing a complete or dramatic change

    I stand by my statement. The iPhone is the smartphone that ushered in the change. NOBODY was selling anything like the iPhone when the iPhone was introduced. The iPhone shifted everyone's thinking.

    Mark
     
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