On Friday, you’ll be able to buy the Homepod, Apple’s answer to the smart speakers from companies like Amazon, Google, and Sonos.
The touchscreen on the top never displays words or recognizable pictures; it exists solely to offer a cool, colorful swirling LED light whenever HomePod is speaking or listening.
The HomePod has the most balanced midrange, the most detailed highs, and a crisp, muscular, musical bass the other little guys can’t touch.
It also can’t make free speakerphone calls to any number without needing a phone, the way the Amazon Echo and Google Home can.
We already know that Apple is working on letting you use two in a stereo pair, and developing multi-room features (“Hey Siri, play Taylor Swift in the playroom”).
Maybe a software update will bring speaker-independent voice recognition, so each family member can ask about their own calendars, texts, and playlists.
Otherwise, it’s best suited only to a core audience of true-blue Appleheads: people who use the iPhone, signed up for Apple Music, and, preferably, live alone.
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