Apple HomePod Preorders Available Now

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Keep in mind the Google Home Max and the Sonos 1 both offer sound that will be close, but apple has a trick with the HomePod.

Start and control your music with your voice. The device will tasks as a "Siri Speaker", being able to perform asks for a user via voice command.

Having two Sonos One devices - with built-in Alexa and voice control, but with an emphasis on playing music - allows you to link the devices together with Sonos' multiroom audio capabilities.

Delays and delayed features aside, HomePod will launch with an impressive array of features, including audiophile-friendly high-fidelity sound, support for Apple Music, a touchscreen interface and all of the functionality that Siri now offers across other devices such as HomeKit device control, task creation, reminders and other functions ordinarily limited to iOS. For instance, yesterday we posted a detailed walkthrough of the device's setup process, which requires you have iCloud Keychain and two-factor authentication enabled.

HomePod is also created to act as a smart home hub, controlling smart devices and connected appliances compatible with Apple's HomeKit home automation platform. A smart speaker is a dumb speaker if you have to use your phone and AirPlay 2 to stream music to it with Spotify.

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If you're one of Spotify's or Pandora's monthly active users, HomePod isn't offering you much - especially if you're a subscriber.

I've owned Amazon's very first Echo speaker for over two years now, and I have zero qualms about the sound. There's still some work to be done here to match the likes of Amazon's Alexa - the language of an album description we heard struggled to flow in some parts - but Siri is improving as an assistant. Legions of Apple fans will buy them regardless, but it'll be interesting to test Siri's DJ and assistant abilities in the real world outside of test conditions, alongside the audio quality. It is mostly the same, on the outside, but the biggest changes are on the inside.

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Lots of people thought Apple would launch the device in the middle of the night, and either woke up early or stayed up late to get one on the first day it becomes available. And Siri, unfortunately, still could use a bit more work.

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