Voice con­trol your mu­sic, smart home and more with Ap­ple’s smart speaker

Australian T3 - - HOME -

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.

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