When Apple unveiled HomePod, their first wireless speaker for the home, it took many of us by surprise. But like everything, it was quickly compared to other speakers in the market.
Looking at the comparisons, two have stood out to me. The lack of Bluetooth and third-party streaming services, such as Spotify (at least, in the same way as Apple Music). Both of those don’t sound very good for a 2018-released product.
But after using HomePod for a short time, it’s clear to me, that this decision was done intentionally. In fact, I don’t believe support for either of the two was ever intended. And I want to explain why, because the reasoning is not for why you may expect.
Key to HomePod is the deep integration of Apple Music, Apple’s music streaming service. And Siri, Apple’s voice assistant. What is very important to understand, these are integrated within HomePod as a stand-alone service.
These two services combined, is what make HomePod, unique.
Firstly, you have access to your Apple Music library right from HomePod. That’s 45-million songs, playlists curated by the Apple Music’s team, radio stations, your own playlists, and more. Essentially, HomePod becomes your own personal musicologist. A musicologist which learns what you love – and don’t.
The Apple Music service within HomePod can be accessed without touching your iPhone, or iPad (but, it is completely possible). This brings the question, how do you control HomePod? – you ask.
Siri, Apple’s voice assistant plays a critical function in HomePod. Simply, Siri’s role is to listen to your requests and have them delivered. It all starts off with “Hey Siri”. Say those two words, and HomePod begins to listen.
Your requests can be almost anything imaginable. Perhaps it’s a song you’re after, or, a particular album, by a particular artist. It can also be a genre, mood, activity, and more. Here are some examples:
- “Hey Siri, play some music.”
- “Hey Siri, play some upbeat R&B.”
- “Hey Siri, play the Bruno Mars song with Cardi B.”
- “Hey Siri, what song is this?”
- and much, much, more.
Perhaps my favourite I love to say, “Hey Siri, play something I will like”, because, often I don’t know what I want to even listen to. HomePod will then play music I like, based on my listening history, and what I’ve said I’ve loved or disliked in the past.
The integration of these two services is why HomePod was never, in my opinion, intended to support Bluetooth or integrate other streaming services. It is also all about the experience. HomePod’s focus is about the music, great sounding music (It really does sound incredible), and the discovery of new music – all as a standalone product.
To achieve this, you need a music streaming service which understands what you love, backed by a team of curators who know music. That is, of course, Apple Music. You also need a way fun and exciting way to dive into it all – Siri.
All of this would never have been accomplished by supporting a third-party streaming service. And Apple isn’t going to give another company access to your voice and data through Siri. In fact, Apple states, anything you ask Siri is sent to them using an anonymous Siri ID, and the communication is all encrypted.
As for Bluetooth? Why have Bluetooth when you can have Wi-Fi, a much better form of wireless technology.
You can learn more about HomePod at Apple, however, I look forward to sharing more in the future. Including its ability to integrate with Smart HomeKit-enabled accessories around your home. HomePod is currently available in the US, UK, and Australia.Share