MAKE YOUR MUSIC SMARTER, AND SOUND BETTER THAN EVER
Voice control your music, smart home and more with Apple’s smart speaker
If you read our review of the HomePod last issue, then you already know the score: if you have an iOS device and, ideally, an Apple Music subscription, then the HomePod is a fantastic speaker with some extra smarts. If that’s you, read on!
The HomePod is an amazing-sounding speaker first and foremost, which you can control with your voice using Siri. To properly control music this way, you need to be signed up to Apple Music. It’s not a prerequisite of HomePod ownership, though, and you can still beam music to it via your iOS device, thanks to AirPlay, whether it’s a Spotify playlist or your favourite radio station.
But in avoiding the Apple Music party, you won’t be able to ask HomePod to do neat things like play a song based on the mood you’re in, or popular songs from the ’80s.
Thankfully, even without an Apple Music subscription, you can still use all of the HomePod’s other features, and you can also control them using Siri. The most exciting of these is the ability to control your smart home. Any of your Home-Kit-compatible devices can be corralled by the HomePod, either directly using Siri voice commands, or remotely through your iOS device – if you’re out of the house, the HomePod acts as a gateway for the Home app on your iPhone or iPad to talk to the smart products you have at home. Naturally, if you have lots of Home-Kitcompatible smart home devices (or are planning to invest in them), then the HomePod is great in this regard, but if you have non-HomeKit devices, it doesn’t have as wide support as Amazon Alexa.
The HomePod can also act as your PA, enabling you to make personal requests using Siri, such as checking the weather, adding a reminder to your calendar, and even sending messages or receiving iMessages.
Although not available just yet, Apple has promised two big updates will land later this year, which will let you do some pretty sweet things with the HomePod, including pairing two units to create a stereo system and creating a multi-room setup with multiple units around your home with AirPlay 2, which will be supported by lots of speakers.