Siri-us business: Everything you need to know about Apple's new HomePod

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Using a variation of a Spotify meme that blew up past year, Sonos trolled Apple on HomePod launch day by calling it the "Fruit Machine" (via Business Insider).

Since then, Apple has avoided comparing the HomePod to the Amazon Echo and Google Home - devices with better voice-activated smart assistants compared to Apple's Siri - and said it is instead competing with audio-focused speakers such as Sonos.

I remember reading the estimates for HomePod sales back in July of 2017 and it was clear that Apple would have stiff competition from Amazon and Google.

"Siri on HomePod is embarrassingly inadequate, even though that is the primary way you interact with it", wrote Brian Chen in his review of HomePod for The New York Times.

But in nearly every other aspect, the HomePod seemed to have fallen short.

The Apple Home Pod smart speaker inside the Cupertino lab in which it was developed
Siri-us business: Everything you need to know about Apple's new HomePod

So can Siri take on Alexa?

This year, 30 million people in the US will use an Amazon Echo, according to eMarketer, which projected overall voice-enabled smart speak share at 68% for Amazon Echo and 25% for Google Home.

Apple actually missed the early morning pre-order launch of its new Apple HomePod smart speaker. WhatsApp is supported by Siri, but beyond that very few apps are.

Apple's HomePod help site details how to pair the device with your iPhone or iPad, how to use Siri, which gestures are supported, how to troubleshoot, and more. The question is: will hardcore music fans embrace voice control the way more casual fans have? There's a lot of stuff about "high-excursion woofers" and "custom seven-tweeter arrays" that we'll spare you, but the real kicker is that it's intelligent enough to adapt the sound according to where you place it in the room and what music you're playing.

With such self-imposed borders, there is a limited demographic that can truly harness the power of the HomePod. If you're not an Apple Music subscriber, while you can use Airplay to stream Spotify from the HomePod, you can't ask Siri to play it for you. "Anyone else should consider other options".

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"We're happy to try and offer these different approaches in an effort to reach as many people as we can", she said. The public is invited to a Black History Month reception February 13 at 4 p.m.in the foyer at City Hall, 101 N.

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