Why Does the Apple HomePod Exist?

– Hey guys, this is Austin This is the Apple HomePod and at $350, I have exactly one question, "Why does it exist?" Now no, I'm not trying to say this is some useless product or that it is not meant for anyone

When you consider that the world is filled with Amazon Echos and Google Homes that cost 40 or $50, a $350 speaker that has Siri inside, that's a little bit of a hard sale for most people So in classic Apple fashion, the unboxing is super simple, no giant stabbing knife needed So this has come out today and it's a little bit late I think this was originally supposed to come out late last year But the idea here is that this is a very high end, a very good sounding speaker that just happens to have Siri

You know what I'll say, this looks really nice So it has this fabric mesh all the way around, it's nice and soft It's definitely a little bit of a different look Although the power cable's built in, okay We also have designed by Apple in California with what I assume is yes, a single Apple sticker

Not a lot of accessories with your $350 smart speaker, but all that matters is how does it actually sound Alright, so, $350, a lot of money But I will say there actually are some nice things about the hardware So like I was saying, this fabric finish feels pretty nice and it even comes across to the power cable There's a lot of attention to detail here

What you won't find with the HomePod is anything besides this power cable So there's no USB, there's no Bluetooth There's not even going to be any kind of aux input which now that you think about it, Apple's killed the headphone jack on everything else It makes sense to kill it on the speakers What you will see however is a little tiny grid of LEDs that are below the sorted frosted panel on the top

So it's kind of cool, but there's not a proper screen It's more for kind of giving you notifications and sort of a little bit of a colorful thing when Siri's listening Like EarPods, the setup is going to be pretty straightforward So if you have an iPhone and yes, you're probably gonna want to have a lot of Apple products for the HomePod to make sense, you'll see a little setup icon right here Do that and it should sync it with the Apple ID

One thing you probably will want with the HomePod is Apple Music So it does support Airplay so things like Spotify and YouTube will work However, if you actually want it to work properly just using your voice, you're going to want to use Apple Music They're very specific The HomePod is for people who have everything Apple

Before we get started, I'm going to give everyone a warning The words Hey Siri and Hey Google are about to be spoken many many times You've been warned – [Siri] Sorry, I can't search the webpage – The main reason to pick up the HomePod though is for music and at least on paper, this sounds pretty good

So you're getting seven microphones that are paired up with an Apple AA chip which not only are going to be listening for you to call Siri but also it's going to be able to tune the music for your specific room Now to do that, it uses the total of eight speakers inside this guy So there's seven small speakers that are spread out all the way around to be able to give you a full 360 sound, but there's also going to be a single four-inch subwoofer So at this point, if you have Apple Music, you can just tell it to play a song However, if you're like me and use Spotify, you're gonna have to airplay it from your phone

So of course you're gonna be listening to this on YouTube so everything is going to be compressed, but we do have a microphone here to hopefully give you a decent idea of what this sounds like in person Let's give it a try (soulful music) I will say one thing This does a really good job of giving you that full 360 sound No matter really where this is placed, you're pretty much going to hear the same thing around

Something else is immediately apparent This guy, even though it's obviously a very small speaker, has a lot of bass (heavy metal bass music) It's also really apparent that they're doing a good job of making sure it doesn't bottom out So even though there is a lot of bass, it's not really overpowering the rest of the music And even when you crank it up to higher volumes, it stays surprisingly well put together

And I guess for a $350 speaker, you hope it sounds pretty good, but I'm pretty impressed Hey Siri, pause One thing I will say is that the microphones do a really good job even when you're cranking it to be able to actually hear you pretty well However, I think the best way of actually being able to properly test how well this sounds is put it up against its biggest competitor When I say biggest, I mean biggest, the Google Home Max

So if you guys are not familiar, the Google Home Max is very much the sort of Google competitor to the HomePod And yes, it is much larger, but there's a lot of things that are going to be very similar So this has Google Assistant whereas this has Siri They both have multiple speakers inside that are going to be working together and they both also do have a version or the sort of room sensing technology that will tune the sound based on what kind of environment that you're in There are some advantages to the Google Home though including the fact that not only does it have a USB port, but it also supports Bluetooth as well as Aux In

So you know if you're not living in 2018 yet, this has got you covered However, the price it runs is kind of surprising Whereas the HomePod runs a pretty expensive $350, Google will charge you $400 for the Google Home Max Hey Google, play Hotel California – [Assistant] Okay, Hotel California by Eagles

("Hotel California" by Eagles) – So at first glance, they're actually surprisingly different So the Google Home Max is louder, kind of expected with it being a much larger speaker However, it completely lacks that 360 directionality of the HomePod So from the side, it's kind of okay, but from the front, it is very very loud Now the HomePod, even though it's a little less bassey, I think does a much better job of making sure that you really hear all of the different instruments

There's a lot of separation between the two But let me just do a few other songs and kind of fully actually test to see what these guys sound like Although to be fair, Hotel California is the only song anyone actually needs to listen to, but I guess I could play like two or three other songs if you really want me to, for some weird reason Hey Google, play Like Whoa from Logic – [Assistant] Like Whoa by Logic, sure

Playing on Spotify – Okay, so after listening to these both for a little while, my impressions are pretty firm This sounds good It's decent in the vacuum, but there's a lot of bass and it is very directional The HomePod, there's just so much more separation

You hear all the different instruments You hear the different vocals Like everything is very sort of layered whereas this, it feels a little bit flattened in comparison It's a good speaker, but there's no doubt, the HomePod sounds phenomenal However, that's just one piece of the puzzle

So sure, if you're just going to buy one of these for pure audio quality, you can stop watching now But I think what a lot of people are interested in is how the actual assistants on these guys work Hey Google, when do the Olympics start? – [Assistant] Competitions of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games begin on Wednesday, February seventh, 2018, and ends on Sunday, February 25th, 2018, PST – [Austin] Hey Siri, when do the Olympics start? – [Siri] The 2018 Winter Olympics will be held February ninth to the 25th in PyeongChang, South Korea – Hey Google, how many cups in 42 gallons? – [Assistant] 42 US liquid gallons equals 672 US customary cups

– Hey Siri, how many cups are in 42 gallons? – [Siri] 42 gallons is 672 cups – Something I'm noticing is that Siri is a little bit more curt and gives you like much shorter answers where Google will actually give you all the detail Hey Google, what's the news? – [Assistant] Here's the latest news From NPR News Now, at 3:00 pm

today – [Man] Live from NPR News – Hey Siri, what's the news? – [Siri] Here's the latest news from NPR

– Hey Google, play the latest episode of Reply All – [Assistant] Okay, playing the latest episode of Reply All, number 42 Blindspot rebroadcast – [Man] This episode of Reply All – Hey Siri, play the latest episode of Reply All – [Siri] Sorry, I couldn't find Reply All in your music If you have an Apple Music subscription – No, Podcast Hey Google, what do you think about Siri? – [Assistant] Full respect

Being an assistant is hard work – Hey Siri, what do you think about Google Assistant? – [Siri] I think the acquisition of information and intelligence by human beings through a virtual assistant is a very good thing – (laughs) Google's like, Siri's great I think the information by human-like beings is excellent Alright, so what have we learned? Well I think that they're actually fairly evenly matched as far as the assistant side

So for the basic stuff, they're going to be very similar for things like turning on and off your lights or kind of feeding out traffic or the basic kind of things Now I think as you get to be a little more advanced, I would give the slight edge to Google Assistant, but I think a lot of people have sort of been complaining about Siri At least based on this, they're not that far off Now as far as the music side goes, it's definitely a HomePod win But for me, if you're not going to be really serious about music, I think it's hard to recommend either of these

So in my house, I really like using the Google Home Minis as well as the standard Google Homes They're much less expensive Unless you're really serious about the music, they sound totally fine, especially if you're really focused on the assistant side So should the Apple HomePod exist in 2018? Yeah, it's actually not bad So to be fair, you need to be totally into the Apple ecosystem

So I'm talking Apple Music, iPhones, Macs, the whole thing But if you are, this is a really really good sounding speaker So I'm curious, what do you guys actually think about HomePod? Let me know in the comments below and I will catch you in the next one

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