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According to Business Insider
Apple’s $350 HomePod smart speaker is finally available to pre-order starting today.
The device will start shipping in two weeks, on February 9. You can buy a HomePod in black or white.
Apple products tend to be fantastic, polished pieces of tech, but there are plenty of reasons you should pass on Apple’s speaker, at least for now. Take a look:
Two of its biggest features won’t be ready until “later this year.”
When Apple unveiled the HomePod late last year, it advertised the ability to pair two HomePods together to create stereo sound, where the HomePods actually detect and communicate with each other to create a balanced sound throughout your living space. It also advertised the HomePod’s support for AirPlay 2, which lets you play the same music, or different songs, in different rooms.
Unfortunately, neither of these features will be available at launch. If these features are important to you, it might be worth waiting until these features finally become available to make your HomePod purchase. By then, you might even be able to find the device on sale.
The voice controls only works with Apple Music. And the paid version at that.
If you, like millions of others, use Spotify to stream all your music, you’ll be out of luck with the HomePod. You won’t be able to ask Siri to play any of your Spotify music; you can, however, beam Spotify to your HomePod through your phone, like you would with any other Bluetooth speaker. Still, this is a notable limitation when HomePod’s competitors, Google’s Home and Amazon’s Echo, both let you stream various music services and interact with them through voice commands, and even set them as the default app for music requests.
Apple’s HomePod only has built-in support for voice commands for one music service — Apple Music — and it only supports the paid version. So, get ready to pay an extra $10 per month if you want to listen to music on your HomePod the way Apple intended.
$350 for a smart speaker is exorbitant, especially compared to the competition.
Apple makes just one version of HomePod, which costs $350.
Amazon, meanwhile, sells a family of similar smart speakers at an array of prices:
Amazon Echo Dot – $50
Amazon Echo – $100
Amazon Echo Spot – $130
Amazon Tap – $130
Amazon Echo Plus – $150
Amazon Echo Look – $200
Amazon Echo Show – $230
Google also sells its Home family of smart speakers at a similar range of prices:
Google Home Mini – $50
Google Home – $130
Google Home Max – $400
The Sonos One smart speaker, which works with both Alexa and Google Assistants, costs $250 — but Sonos is running a promotion where you can get two Sonos One speakers for $350, which is the price of one HomePod.
Compared to the most popular speakers, Apple’s HomePod is the second-most expensive on this list; only Google’s Home Max is more expensive. And considering how so many of these devices have near-identical features, it’s very difficult to justify $350 on a smart speaker unless you truly prefer Apple’s ecosystem over the openness of the other speakers.
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