Apple’s HomePod will be available for pre-order January 26th, and will be available on February . Except that, like several other Apple products and services, it will not be available in Canada at launch. Apple News still hasn’t come here, nor has Apple Pay Cash. Hopefully that announcement is coming soon. I estimate it will be priced at $449CAD, based on other product pricing (the Apple Watch Series 3 GPS is $329USD and $429CAD).
I still think the HomePod is priced well. $349USD/$449CAD seems like a lot for a speaker, but the SONOS PLAY:3 is $329CAD and the 5 is is $649CAD. The HomePod looks to be in between those in terms of audio chops and features. It might even sound better than the 5 in some ways.
In terms of other competition, the Google Home Max is $399USD, and it seems the audio quality does not compare favourably to the HomePod. So, price shouldn’t be the issue. Nor should audio quality. HomePod will live or die based on Siri and the functionality. Honestly, I would mostly use the HomePod for music, and the Apple Music integration and sound quality look to be fantastic. Just as a wireless speaker, it’s priced well and should outperform much of the competition.
Using Siri for unit conversions while cooking, or asking about the weather or to control my Hue lights is about all I see myself doing with the HomePod, and I’m sure it’ll do that fine.
There’s one glaring omission in HomePod’s feature set thus far though: how will it deal with multiple users/voices? My gf and I have Apple Music and we will both want to say, “Hey Siri, play the Dirty Dancing soundtrack.” That’ll probably be ok, but what about, “Add a reminder?” Whose list will it be added to? Those questions remain, and multi-room audio won’t even be available out of the gate.
Apple is not hyping this product very much. I’m not sure what that means, but it feels to me like the product was rushed. I’m not worried about the sound quality, but I do worry it’ll already be behind when it comes to smart assistant features.
However, it looks like a great product for listening to music and doing basic Siri stuff. So, while I think Google and Amazon are offering some great services and functionality with their assistants on some smaller/cheaper devices, I still think the HomePod has a chance, and I will most likely buy one when/if it comes to Canada.