Here’s How to Diagnose Apple’s New HomePod

4 minute read
| Particle Debris

Opinions are going to be all over the map regarding Apple’s new HomePod. Here’s what to look for.

HomePod

You can now order the Apple HomePod. Selected reviewers already have production units in their hands and are busy sizing it up. The thing to keep in mind, however, is that the days of purely technical, neutral assessment are over.

That’s because there will be multiple customer approaches to this new audio product. Some prospective buyers will be eager to purchase a new Apple toy product and grow with it as it evolves. Some others will be skeptical about either the price or whether it genuinely meets their needs. Or at least their hopes.

As a result, there will be a corresponding spectrum of articles to chose from. Some will be incredibly informed and articulate, having drawn from extensive cooperation with Apple. Some will have a notable naysayer approach as the author choses to see the HomePod glass half full. And some articles will have sensible (but not effusive) advice about what’s there, what’s missing, and important nuances about how it functions.

Of course, each camp will claim, on social media, that the other camp is either exhibiting delirious fandom or unwarranted doomsday approaches.

The fact of the matter is that the HomePod is an Apple product. Concomitant with that fact is everything you get from an Apple product, from the hardware to the user experience. What’s left to the customer is to learn as much as possible and properly learn how to exploit the product, given its pros and cons.

And so, if Apple seems singularly unfazed by any of the criticism, it’s not because Apple is arrogant or obnoxious. It’s because Apple believes in what it does and makes the best product it can given the limits of technology and human endeavor.

In the end, that’s all we can hope for when it comes to Apple and our own technical pursuits. Twitter and Facebook are not buyer’s guides.

Page 2 has a sprinkling of some of these kinds of articles for you to chose from. But figure out which camp you’re in before you read on.

Next Page: The News Debris For The Week of January 22nd. HomePod mania.

4 Comments Add a comment

  1. JoelS

    If it is just a music speaker, why bother? If it is more than that, it better be good because they are going up against serious players. I suspect this will be one of those failed Apple products, but only time will tell.

  2. skipaq

    It is not just a music player. It is an Apple Music player that is marketed with great sound and Siri capabilities. It is designed to enhance the Apple ecosystem. Things that work within that system will work well with HomePods. It is not designed to sell Amazon products or enhance Google searches. This is just one more skirmish in the ongoing platform war.

  3. geoduck

    Apple has proven me wrong before, but I really think the HomePod might just fail.
    It costs much more than other “smart speakers”. Most people don’t really understand the point of the device and so will first look at price.
    Its voice AI is not as smart as the others. That’s been the key selling point for the others for months. Ask Google what the next step in the recipe is. Ask Alexa how to spell some obscure word. Even if Siri can do some of this, Siri is best known for NOT getting the answer. Fair or not Siri has gotten to be known as this generations Newton handwriting recognition. Many people think of it as a punchline, not a tool.
    It’s very late to the party. By missing Christmas they let Amazon and Google define the category. I just don’t see Siri as being able to redefine the category the way the iPod or iPhone did. It’s just not that different.
    It’s one selling point is that the sound is far better than the others. Granted but I don’t think most people want to pay hundreds of dollars for a speaker. I look at most houses I visit. Usually if the whole stereo costs over $500 it’s unusual. A $400 speaker is just not happening. Now admittedly I am older and most of the people I meet are of a similar age, but we’re the demographic with money. This however leads into the last weakness, for me at least.
    It only works with Apple Music. Now as good as AM may be, there’s a lot of us that just aren’t interested. AppleMusic is fine for HipHop, Rap, and such, but I don’t listen to that. My friends don’t listen to that. It’s classical or oldies. And they can get that for free over the air. Will I pay for music streaming? Oh sure. I donated $60 to allclassical.org this year and I plan to bump that up to $120 next year. But the idea of subscribing to AppleMusic has never left the gate. It’s just not for me.

    Cool trippy ads don’t make a compelling case for a limited device that costs many times what the competition does.

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