Apple has finally entered into the world of smart speakers. It was announced it in June but has finally been launched on 9th Feb. It is Apple’s first attempt at creating a smart home speaker, and frankly, although it was a late entrance into the market, it has turned out to be a very good one. Apple is generally known to perfect and fine-tune products before releasing them into the market. They are also known to have high price tags, with the speaker costing $349 and it comes in two colors, black or white. Most of you will probably be thinking, why should I buy this over an Amazon Echo or a Google Home, or why should I buy a smart speaker at all.
Now smart speakers are something very new and very cool. You can ask it questions, make it play songs or movies and control smart devices around your house.
As I opened the box, it was clear that the product had a premium feel to it. The finishing and the materials used were all very elegant. The installation was a breeze as well. You just bring your iPhone close to the speaker and it would initialize the setup process. Once it was complete, I started playing my songs from my curated Apple Music playlist, I was dumbstruck with the sound quality. It was crisp, clear and I could hear it all the way across the room. I was not expecting that from a smart home speaker, especially Apple. The reason for that is that the speaker has technology that allows it to determine the surrounding acoustics and audio level output, based on where it is located in the room. That is something really cool.
Next was to look at Siri. Now Siri has been very limited in the iPhone and both Amazon and Google’s voice assistants outperform Siri in every manner. I am personally a big fan of the Amazon Alexa. As I expected, Siri was very limited in her replies and would only do tasks with a direct command. Siri cannot make voice calls, set appointments, and reminders, order food or hail an Uber. All of these features are available on both Google and Amazon’s product. Another letdown was that Spotify or any other 3rd party music apps did not work with Siri. I personally wanted Siri to have a more human interaction and work with 3rd party applications, considering both Google and Amazon support Spotify.
Is it worth it? It really depends. For an average college student, no. Because the echo dot can give you the same experience for $40 and allows you to use Spotify and connect an external speaker using AUX output. Also, Alexa works on USF Wireless. But for die-hard Apple fans (like me), I would highly recommend it. It gives the experience of an amazing high-end speaker, with a virtual assistant that I am hoping would probably have more potential in the future. For now, though, invest that money into something better as I do not see the need for the HomePod. Maybe future generations of the product might be more worthwhile.