Apple’s smart speaker HomePod has been on the market for a while, but it’s never been considered a success, like iPhone, Apple Watch, or even AirPods. Still, rumors suggest that Apple has been working on new HomePod models. While it would be great to have new HomePods, I think Apple should focus on improving the software on current HomePods.
Apple’s strategy with the HomePod is somewhat confusing. First, the company introduced an impressive smart speaker in terms of sound quality. However, when it comes to the HomePod software and smart features, HomePod clearly lagged behind its competitors. In addition, the product was significantly more expensive than other smart speakers.
The impressive sound quality of the original HomePod wasn’t enough to convince people to buy one – or more than one. At the same time, Apple itself never seemed to have much faith in the product. The first generation HomePod was released in only a few countries.
Then the HomePod mini came as a cheaper alternative to the original HomePod, which was later discontinued. Unlike its bigger brother, HomePod mini is not exactly a hi-fi speaker. However, it is much cheaper and still has smart features thanks to the HomePod software, which was supposed to make it more attractive to consumers.
I’ve bought a pair of HomePods mini since they launched in 2020 to place them all over my apartment. And while I see potential in the HomePod mini, Apple has a lot to do before considering introducing a new HomePod.
The Problem with HomePod
Personally, my experience with the HomePod mini is not the best. I’m not talking about sound quality (which I wish was better, but we’re talking about a small speaker), but smart features. Most interactions with the HomePod are through Siri, and we all know Siri isn’t exactly smart.
I can’t even count how many times I’ve asked Siri to do simple things like play a song, set a timer, or create a reminder and Siri didn’t do this. This alone makes the experience of using HomePods frustrating. But my problems with the HomePod go way beyond that.
HomePod relies on the AirPlay 2 connection, a wireless audio streaming standard created by Apple. While AirPlay 2 allows for great features like multi-room audio, it’s not exactly reliable. Sometimes my HomePods just refuse to connect to my iPhone or iPad to play a song.
And at least once a week I have to reboot one of the HomePods because it randomly loses connection to the internet. It’s also frustrating when I’m watching something on my Apple TV with a stereo pair of HomePods and suddenly one of them loses connection. I wish this was a hardware issue with my devices, but I have several friends who experience similar issues every day with their HomePods.
HomePod software needs improvements
Ultimately, the problem with the HomePod mini is that it’s not exactly the best when it comes to sound quality, nor is it the best when it comes to smart features. And yet it is more expensive than almost all of its competitors. Not to mention that the HomePod mini is still not available in many places around the world.
Meanwhile, you can pick up an Amazon Echo Dot for just $29.
It’s hard to imagine the HomePod mini (or any other HomePod model Apple will ever introduce) become a hit if the product isn’t the best at everything it sets out to do. I wish Siri was better, I wish AirPlay 2 was more reliable, and I also wish HomePod had more features like an open developer SDK and true surround mode.
And if Apple wants the HomePod to be a success, the company needs to work on improving the HomePod software. Because what is a smart speaker without smart and reliable software?
And you? Is your experience with HomePod good or bad? Let me know in the comments below.
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