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Apple HomePod

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

  1. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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  2. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Cinematographer
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    Great video, thanks Sam!

    I've played with voice control even more since posting my previous message. It's a trivial for me to eventually cause Siri to respond, "I'm sorry, something has gone wrong". Once she says that there's no going back. You have to start over.

    I did learn that there's a huge difference between saying "Hey Siri, pause the music in Bedroom" and saying "Hey Siri, mute the music in Bedroom". If you say "pause" the paused HomePod gets out of sync with the other one. If you say "mute", when you unmute it the muted HomePod is still in sync with the other one.

    Syntax is important.

    I tried a couple of "re-sync" type of commands and didn't have any luck.

    Mark
     
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  3. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Cinematographer
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    I finally tried stereo mode with two HomePods in our kitchen. Listened to all sorts of tracks. It sounds pretty darn impressive. The soundstage is much larger than you'd expect from two little speakers.

    Now, if Apple could give us a fix for the bugs. HomePod Siri is super easy to confuse. I can't count the number of times I've heard, "I'm sorry, something has gone wrong". Ridiculous.

    Mark
     
  4. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Cinematographer
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    I now have one HomePod in the bedroom and one in the kitchen. The bugs still remain but I've learned to sort of work around them.

    Today I installed beta iOS 12 on my Apple TV 4K and set it up as an AirPlay 2 device for the Living Room. Sadly, the Siri voice command related bugs continue.

    All three devices show in my Home app on my iPhone. If I speak to one of the HomePods and say "Hey Siri, play Neil Diamond everywhere" the music only plays from the two HomePods. Nothing plays from the Apple TV 4K.

    If, however, I use the Apple TV remote and use voice there to talk go the Apple TV 4K and say, "Play Neil Diamond everywhere" then the music plays in all three places.

    If the commands are initiated through the Apple TV everything works as it should. Not the other way around, unfortunately.

    I'm hoping that HomePod OS 12 will fix it. We'll see.

    Mark
     
  5. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Producer

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    iOS 11.4.1 is out, including for the HomePod. Looks like the stereo HomePod bug for talk (podcast/radio/etc) has been fixed.
     
  6. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Just updated my phone and laptop from work, can't wait to get home and update the 'pod and see what's up.
     
  7. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Cinematographer
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  8. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Lol. Have owned iPhones and iPads for over a decade and have wished for multiple timers (I mean, these iDevices can do amazing things, but keep track of more than one timer was apparently too much to ask for).

    And irony of ironies...it's going to be my HomePod (aka the dumbest smart speaker on the market) that can first accomplish this task.
     
  9. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Pity there’s no App Store to help solve such problems. :)
    MultiTimer: Multiple timers by Sergey Astakhov https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/multitimer-multiple-timers/id973421278?mt=8
     
  10. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    "Free ... offers in app purchases" is not free (to me).
     
  11. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Holy thread revival, Batman! ;)

    A couple of quick updates:
    1. Finally got that multiple timers official support :D
    2. Bought a second Homepod.
    3. Siri is smarter. Still not Alexa, but not as dumb as before. And can now read my work/personal calendar, texts, my phone, watch, etc.
    So let's expand on #2. Pairing it up was simple, and switching L/R is easy. I know I now have a 5.1 system in my bedroom, but I'll be honest. After having to go through the rigmarole of turning it on, selecting network (the AVR has no bluetooth) and often forgetting it's on, which gets my bedroom A/V cabinet warm not to mention adding to my concern about being relatively environmentally friendly with energy use, I decided I wanted to try a stereo Homepod pairing because it's so darned easy and quick to pair any of my Apple devices to the Homepod to play music (or ask it to stream from Apple Music subscription). Plus when I stop playing it shuts itself down (or enters sleep, whatever the technical term is) and is much more energy use friendly than forgetting my AVR is on.

    As impressed as I was with one Homepod's ability to fill my mid-sized bedroom (about 17'x17'x8') the stereo pair is an order of magnitude greater. Not only do you get stereo separation now, but the bass sounds more smoothed out, while still being appropriately powerful. I think with a solo Pod, the bass might be a little "hot" (nothing like some of those mass market bluetooth speakers) to try and fill a room of this size from one source. I think once it recognizes it has a partner in crime (which was very easy to set up, about 10m to update and install OS 12.0, then a few button presses to create a stereo pair and choose which will be L/R) it also realizes it doesn't have to generate all that bass from one source.

    The sound I'm hearing now is even more room-filling than a solo 'Pod, but also more balanced, more true to what I consider is in the original recording. Not that the solo 'Pod was bad, but the added speaker array just gives everything more "room to breathe" if that makes any sense.

    I had saved the packaging on the second Pod, which I bought from Best Buy using my Elite Plus status, so I have 30 or 45 days to return (I can't recall) no questions asked. As of now, I don't think I'll have any desire to.

    Regarding #3, to me this shows that while Apple still trails Alexa, they're working on making Siri on ' Pod smarter. I'm not looking for something to control my entire home. I just want a smart speaker that will play what I ask it to, and integrate with my iPhone and Apple Watch. As of now, they've made good strides in that department.
     
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  12. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Also, it 100% passes the Sarah MacLachlan I Love You bass test. If you don't know what it is, cue the song up. If you do, and wonder what the heck I'm talking about, your system didn't pass the test. :lol:
     
  13. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Producer

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    I’ll have to check it out. Back on the ‘80s when I bought what are now our bedroom speakers, I was using the beginning of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon as the bass test.

    And yes, those same 1980s speakers most often play now via Siri - thanks to AirPlay 2 and Airport Express. We just talk to the living room HomeaPods. Apple’s suggested method works - these are Apple’s instructions:

    Play music everywhere

    You can ask Siri to play music in multiple rooms, control the playback volume, and ask questions about the music. Say "Hey Siri," then:

    • "Play the Rolling Stones everywhere."
    • "Stop playing music everywhere."
    • "Set the dining room volume to 10 percent."
    • "What’s playing in the kitchen?"
     
  14. Mark Booth

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  15. Mark Booth

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    The HomePod in our master bedroom has stopped responding to voice. It's as if the microphones are no longer connected. I haven't reset it yet, first I want to try to simply unplug it and see if that fixes it. Only problem, getting to the power strip it is plugged into is a pain in the butt (behind heavy furniture).

    Looking at it in the Home app on my iPhone it looks normal. I can play and pause music. I can also use the HomePod in the kitchen to get the one in the bedroom to play music. And it's not that the HomePod was told to stop listening. Thinking that maybe that happened by accident I touched the top of the HomePod to activate Siri and said "Turn on hey Siri" and nothing changed. She didn't even hear that command.

    Mark
     
  16. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Sorry to hear that Mark, I hope you get it figured out. My experience with Siri on HP has been mostly positive. It's been responsive ever since I plugged it in (with the only exception being when the wi-fi router failed in my room), and the limitations have been with Siri's "intelligence" (or lack thereof in comparison to Alexa).

    This last update to iOS12 really did a lot to improve Siri's AI, so my experience has been a more positive one in the last month or so.
     
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  17. Mark Booth

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    I had to unplug the bedroom HomePod and plug it back in again to get it to start accepting Siri commands. Weird.

    I just added a couple of electrical outlets and a lamp socket to our new pergola on the patio. One outlet is controlled by a Leviton Homekit-compatible dimmer switch, which I'm going to use for a couple strings of hanging lights on the pergola.. The lamp is sized for a Par38 floodlight (pointed at my grill) and I put a Philips Hue lamp in there.

    Now I simply say "Hey Siri, turn on the pergola lights" or "turn on the grill light" and, bingo, let there be light. With a HomePod in the kitchen (right near the patio door) it's working like a charm.

    These were my first Homekit lighting products. The Hue hub came with two 60w equivalent bulbs that I put in the porch light and a pathway light at the corner of the garage. I put those two on a schedule (on at sunset/off at sunrise) and it's working like a charm. I foresee adding additional Hue lights around the house.

    Mark
     
  18. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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  19. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    I picked up a white one, the black was sold out, but its going in the kitchen anyhow, I sub to Apple Music, and for the price I couldn't resist, never heard one so I'm going by reviews
     
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  20. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    $250 is an absolute steal, and if I hadn't already completed my stereo pair I'd definitely be getting one. To be honest, I'm debating getting one for the bathroom. Shower singing ftw! ;)
     
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