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TrendForce reveals who is winning the smart speaker race

10 February 2018

- Once we get hold of HomePod we'll be sure to publish a full review.

A few other typical smart speaker tasks that the HomePod reportedly can't do: find a recipe, make a phone call or summon an Uber (although Apple CEO Tim Cook claimed the HomePod works with Uber during an earnings call last week).

Although Apple has now officially entered the "smart" speaker market, Amazon remains the market leader according to a report from research specialist TrendForce.

In the end, reviewers agreed that if you're in the market for a high-quality speaker and don't mind the tight embrace of Apple's ecosystem, the HomePod is flawless for you. This time, Apple's briefings included playing a selection of songs on HomePod and three competing speakers, asking Siri a series of questions it could answer, and in some cases demonstrating multi-HomePod features that were left out of the initial software release. "Siri is sorely lacking in capabilities compared with Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant".

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From the look of it, Apple sees HomePod mainly as a way to extend the reach of its Apple Music service, not Siri.

Apple says that every time you move the speaker, it senses the motion and then automatically adjusts itself to its placement in the room using a series of test tones and complex algorithms to minimize reflections from nearby walls or other objects. HomePod is also able to integrate with Apple's Home app for iOS, letting you control HomeKit accessories such as light switches and garage door openers.

The 7-inch tall speaker ($349) can play music and podcasts, read you the news and control other connected devices in the home via built-in Siri voice assistant. Further, there is Siri integration to let you interact with the HomePod directly using your own voice.

The Verge's Nilay Patel describes the HomePod as a "lonely" piece of technology, asking whether "beautiful sound quality [is] worth locking yourself even more tightly into a walled garden" of Apple's services.

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Apple has provided gesture controls on the HomePod that are featured on its top panel.

Bluetooth streaming: You can't just stream music from any Bluetooth source to the HomePod, even though it has Bluetooth 5.0 hardware inside.

Apart from the launch markets, Apple has revealed plans to bring the smart speaker to France and Germany this spring.

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TrendForce reveals who is winning the smart speaker race