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Tag Archive for ‘HomePod’

‘Giving Up on Siri and HomePod’ ➝

A great collection of thoughts about Siri and the HomePod, put together by Michael Tsai.

To add my two cents, I’ve disabled “Hey Siri” on every device in the house. I didn’t really find myself triggering it accidentally often, but any number of false positives is enough to be annoying. The real kicker, though, was that I didn’t like the idea of the microphone always being on.

At this point, my Siri usage has been relegated to telling one of our HomePod minis to turn off a box fan, setting timers on the kitchen HomePod, and occasionally asking Siri to start a web search on my iPhone when one of my hands is busy tending to Caleb.

➝ Source: mjtsai.com

Apple Music Voice Plan ➝

Apple:

Apple today announced the Apple Music Voice Plan, a new subscription tier for Apple Music designed around the power of Siri. The Apple Music Voice Plan offers subscribers access to the service’s catalog of 90 million songs; tens of thousands of playlists, including hundreds of brand new mood and activity playlists, personalized mixes, and genre stations; as well as the award-winning Apple Music Radio — all through Siri for just $4.99 per month.

I buy just about all the music I listen to and store them in a Plex library. On my iPhone and iPad, I use Prism and on Apple TV and Mac I use the Plex app. But on my HomePod’s, I have to rely on AirPlay. It works, but there’s no way to start a specific song or album by voice unless I purchased it on iTunes.

I don’t start music by voice very often, but if I did, this $5 a month service might be appealing to me. But I don’t know how common my setup is and I can’t really think of any other scenario where you’d want a service like this.

➝ Source: apple.com

The HomePod, Years Later ➝

Gaby:

To me, this is not the greatest apple product ever but is the one that gets used every single day in this household. We are constantly playing music, while cooking, cleaning or just hanging at home. We use it for timers quite a lot too.

This is the same experience we have with our HomePod. We play music in the kitchen every single day. And all of it through the HomePod.

Its still a bit too expensive at its normal price, but I really enjoy having it around. And Josh does too. He’ll come into the kitchen when there isn’t any music playing, point at the HomePod and start bouncing at the knees to let us know he wants to dance.

➝ Source: gabz.me

Switching Your Default HomePod Music Service to Pandora ➝

John Voorhees, writing for MacStories:

Apple first revealed that the HomePod would support third-party music streaming services at WWDC without any explanation of how that would work. However, with the release of Pandora’s update, we now know that the process involves a combination of the third-party app’s settings and Apple’s Home app.

Other third-party music services are sure to follow Pandora’s lead, so even if you’re not a Pandora user, it’s instructive to see how it has implemented HomePod integration.

I gave this a try yesterday afternoon and it works really well. I’ve never been an Apple Music subscriber, but have two HomePods throughout our house — and a HomePod Mini on the way. Instead, my wife and I use a combination of Pandora Plus and Plex through Prism.

Some of our music was purchased through iTunes so we can certainly use voice commands for some of our playback interactions on HomePod, but because all of our music isn’t available, more often than not we simply use AirPlay from our iPhones.

But the mental model of this new setup is much easier to grok. Being able to playback Pandora radio stations through voice commands on our HomePod and continuing to play specific songs and albums with AirPlay is quite nice.

➝ Source: macstories.net

HomePod Mini ➝

Many of us have wanted a device like this from the very moment the original HomePod was announced. I have two HomePods in my house — one in the kitchen and one in our son Josh’s room. I think we’ll probably end up with at least two of these HomePod Minis.

I’m not sure exactly where the Minis specifically will end up because we’ll probably juggle around our existing HomePods a bit. But I know I want a smart speaker in my home office and in our living room.

The Intercom feature sounds neat, too:

With more than one HomePod in the house, you can easily communicate with your family members by voice using Intercom. Ask Siri to send your message to the whole house or to individual rooms — and everyone can easily respond.

Throwing a message to my wife from the kitchen while she’s in Josh’s room sounds fantastic. It’s one of those features that seems so unbelievably obvious once you hear about it.

➝ Source: apple.com

Sonos One SL ➝

I missed this when it was first announced last fall. It’s a Sonos speaker with all of the software and features you’d expect, but it doesn’t include any voice assistants. In fact, the device has no built-in microphones at all. With AirPlay 2 and a $179 price tag, this seems like an excellent alternative to the HomePod for areas of your house where you’d prefer not to have any microphones.

We have a HomePod in Josh’s room so we can play lullabies and white noise from our phones, but we have “Hey Siri” disabled on it to prevent us from accidentally invoking Siri during his naps. Although we can still hold the top to speak with Siri, in practice, that never actually happens. I might pick up one of these One SLs to replace his HomePod.

That will also let us move the HomePod into the living room. The spot I have in mind is conveniently located near our front entryway, the doorway to our basement/garage, the hallway to our bedrooms, and the dining room. It’s the perfect location for a HomePod because we pass by it to go just about anywhere in our home. We can easily speak to Siri on our way to turn on any HomeKit devices we need.

➝ Source: sonos.com

Apple Exited the Home Wi-Fi Market at the Wrong Time ➝

Bradley Chambers, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

When Apple was selling home routers for $199, they were ahead of their time. They had built a router that was high-end, easy to manage, and worked well. Around the rest of the industry, companies were selling home routers that were hard to manage (if step #1 is to log in to an IP address, you missed it), required rebooting, and couldn’t handle the load.

Since Apple took its eye off of the home router business (The AirPort lineup was dead for many years before the announcement), users have started to buy more expensive solutions. Solutions like Eero, Google WiFi, and AmpliFi have shown that people will invest in their home Wi-Fi. Even solutions from ISPs like Comcast have gotten into the business of upgrading your home Wi-Fi.

I’ve written about this idea before, but I’m glad Bradley is bringing it back to the conversation — AirPort was a huge missed opportunity for Apple. They could have integrated mesh networking into the HomePod and Apple TV, which would have increased their functionality in a meaningful way when compared to competing devices. I bet there are a lot of people that would have purchased an Apple TV or a HomePod to be used as their home’s primary base station.

But Apple could have gone further, releasing an updated Time Capsule that allowed for local backups of iOS devices. And even introduced a new AirPort Extreme with an integrated cable modem.

Between HomeKit devices, iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks, your home’s Wi-Fi network has never been more important than it is today. And I think it would have served Apple well if they continued to offer a home networking solution that integrated with all of your existing devices in ways that only Apple could.

Josh Ginter on the HomePod ➝

Josh Ginter:

HomePod is a speaker. And a really, really good speaker at that. She plays music unlike any other device on Planet Earth, and her ground-breaking bass has ushered in new sounds to songs I’ve heard since I was five years old. I’ve listened to _Streets_ probably three or four times a week for the last five straight years and there are certain parts of Adam Clayton’s bass guitar I didn’t know existed until about a month ago.

The photographs in this piece are absolutely gorgeous.