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David Pogue Shares a Sneak Preview of the Apple HomePod

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American technology writer and TV science presenter David Pogue, who recently got invited by Apple for a 45-minute one-on-one listening session of the HomePod in a Manhattan corporate apartment, has shared his initial thoughts about the smart speaker saying that the company’s first smart speaker is more about “speaker” than “smart”.

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Pogue says the rules of Apple’s demo were “listen, don’t touch, and listen, don’t take pictures”. Apple lined up the Google Home Max, Sonos One, Amazon Echo, and the HomePod for the demo, with each device being volume-matched and rigged to an A/B/C/D switch, so a single song can hop from one to the other. “Apple even installed a halo backlight behind each speaker that illuminated to show you which one was playing”.

The HomePod sounded the best. Its bass, in particular, was amazing: full and deep, but also distinct and never muddy — you could hear the actual pitch of the bass notes, not just the thud. That, unsurprisingly, is where other small speakers have trouble.

The Amazon Echo is a much smaller, slimmer device, one-third the price, so it’s forgiven for sounding thin compared with the HomePod. The Sonos One came awfully close to the HomePod’s rich sound; you’d really have to hear the A/B test to declare a difference. The real shock was the Google Home Max, a massive, 12-pound machine that’s supposed to be all about the sound; it sounded like cardboard compared with the HomePod and Sonos.

If Apple wanted to win in sound quality, Pogue says it has succeeded. However, it’s no way near as smart as any of its competitors, which is why it is currently an attractive option only for Apple Music subscribers.

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  • xxxJDxxx

    Thats great, but if you’re someone who already owns decent speakers (I imagine this is a significant percentage of the market) then a cheap-o amazon dot connected via bluetooth will be better.

  • Got Game? Get Game! ???

    A similar argument could be applied to cars. Most people already own a car so getting a bicycle would be better than buying another car. No wait, that seems dumb.

  • xxxJDxxx

    Don’t follow that logic. A car and a bicycle are significantly different. Perhaps a more apt comparison would be to Apple carplay. No one wants to buy a new car to get apple carplay when they could just go by a $50 add on that works with their existing car.

  • GameDesign Services

    My point was that your logic does not make any sense. I achieved my point by making a similar statement that did not make any sense to which you replied with another statement that also did not make any sense. In conclusion I will make this follow up statement. Buy what you want and let other people make up their own minds. Google and Amazon do not need any of your help in gas lighting consumers… They will always be better than you at it.

  • xxxJDxxx

    Yea, I guess I dont get your point. My point was merely that I have a stereo, as do most people. Why would I want to pay $350 for a speaker that does basically exactly what I can already do by pairing my iphone to my existing stereo?

  • Lapsusone

    Not sure a lot of people own a stereo these days…

  • xxxJDxxx

    If someone doesn’t own a stereo they probably aren’t the target customer for a high end speaker.

  • Lapsusone

    That’s where Apple comes. Guess what, millions of people did not own an iPhone before buying one.

  • xxxJDxxx

    Apple’s and oranges. The iPhone was a new product category when it came out. Not only is apple late to the party on this one, but speakers have been around forever. Even Bluetooth enabled wireless one.

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