So I Bought a HomePod
When Apple announced that the HomePod would be available to pre-order this week, I went back and forth between wanting to buy one, two, or none at all.
I have been interested in the idea of a smart speaker since the Amazon Echoes started taking off a couple of years ago, but I did not want to have to remember the differences between two different digital assistants. Since I use Siri everywhere else, I didn’t want to use Alexa around the house.
I think for these smart speakers to be really useful, they need to be spread our throughout your house so you can talk to them wherever you are in the house. This is why I considered buying more than one; but I could not justify it at $350.
Bradley Chambers nailed it on Twitter:
I’m not interested in a $350 HomePod. I am interested in a $149 HomePod mini.
I would love to have the full HomePod in my kitchen and in my office / workout room and have minis spread out in my living room, bedroom, and bathroom1.
I am hoping that Apple expands this category quickly, but I didn’t want to invest too much in it until I actually knew how useful it was going to be. So for now, I just ordered a single black one that will go in the office. If I end up really liking it, I will probably pick up a white one for the kitchen.
The thing that I am most looking forward to seeing is how well it handles taking input from more than one person.
From Guilherme Rambo (emphasis mine):
Everyone can continue a phone call on HomePod–Anyone can start a call on their iPhone and hand it off to HomePod for a hands-free conversation.
Everyone can ask Siri questions–Anyone in the home can use HomePod to get everyday information like weather, traffic, new, translations, general knowledge, and more. For example, just as “Hey Siri, what’s the weather like this week?”
And from Apple’s HomePod page:
Thanks to Siri, HomePod is great at the things you want to know, and do, in your home. Set timers. Convert measurements. Get translations. And get live news, sports, weather, and traffic. You can also create lists that anyone can add to.
This is the first time Apple has even acknowledged that more than one person can use a single iOS device2. While this is an okay start, I hope that they continue to improve this: the HomePod should be able to tell the difference between my wife and me and should be able to provide contextual answers based on who is talking to it.
I hope that the idea of more than one person using an iOS-based device spreads from here. It would be nice to have on the iPad, but I think it is essential on tvOS. Right now, every show that anyone in my family watches is consolidated in my Up Next queue in the TV app (which spreads to my iPhone and iPad too). I am using Apple’s vague acknowledgment of multiple users for the HomePod as a reason to hope that this situation will improve at WWDC 2018.