Homepod - let's get this started...


Searched and nothing on Apple Homepod yet so I'll start this inevitable discussion.

I see the Homepod announcement as an opportunity for Sonos rather than an end. Now that they know what the Apple play in this area is, Sonos has little choice but to move more aggressively in a direction that may be better for most of it's present and future customers. That direction, in my opinion, is one of greater openness, increased integration with Google Home, Amazon Echo and other "smart home" technologies and an overall increased pace of innovation.

As someone who is quite heavily invested in Sonos, I look forward to watching this play out.

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35 replies

There’s really no reason to buy a HomePod now

https://qz.com/1298704/theres-really-no-reason-to-buy-a-homepod-now/
The Sonos Beam is everything the HomePod should have been. :D

https://www.macworld.com/article/3279804/hardware/the-sonos-beam-is-everything-the-homepod-should-have-been.html
Userlevel 7
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Darzel - I'm not sure why you are asking Apple Homepod questions on the board of a competitor in that market (Sonos). Answer is currently Sonos can pair Right / Left. Apple Homepods can not (promised feature they are having trouble with).
I already have a HomePod,if I buy another HomePod in the future,can the 2 device be paired as left and right speakers for stereo?I read some guidelines in https://devicebase.net/en/product/apple-homepod-speaker/99990090 .However, your inputs is greatly appreciated.
This is a question only Apple, the manufacturer, can answer.
Hi All,

I already have a HomePod,if I buy another HomePod in the future,can the 2 device be paired as left and right speakers for stereo?I read some guidelines in https://devicebase.net/en/product/apple-homepod-speaker/99990090 .However, your inputs is greatly appreciated.

Thank you
I live in Australia and got the HomePod today. Keen to hear other people's impressions. Below are my initial thoughts.

- well rounded, much richer particularly the mids when compared to Play 1s (expected given the speaker array)
- software can't fake stereo, my pair of Play 1s are much better when it comes to giving a wide sound stage
- microphone sensitivity for Hey Siri is really good
- looks really nice in white, makes me wonder if Sonos should've used the same mesh colour as the top colour for their white Play 1s
- Play 5 much better than HomePods
- Yet to test my Play 3s.
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David Pogue, a long-time Apple fanboy, compares, in a test controlled by Apple:

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/david-pogues-sneak-preview-apple-homepod-190227102.html

In a devastatingly effective demo, Apple lines up four of these things: The Google Home Max ($400), Sonos One ($200), Amazon Echo ($100), and the HomePod. They’re volume-matched and rigged to an A/B/C/D switch, so a single song can hop from one to the other. (Apple even installed a halo backlight behind each speaker that illuminated to show you which one was playing.)

The HomePod sounded the best. Its bass, in particular, was amazing: full and deep, but also distinct and never muddy — you could hear the actual pitch of the bass notes, not just the thud. That, unsurprisingly, is where other small speakers have trouble.

The Amazon Echo is a much smaller, slimmer device, one-third the price, so it’s forgiven for sounding thin compared with the HomePod. The Sonos One came awfully close to the HomePod’s rich sound; you’d really have to hear the A/B test to declare a difference.. The real shock was the Google Home Max, a massive, 12-pound machine that’s supposed to be all about the sound; it sounded like cardboard compared with the HomePod and Sonos.


Now, this was a single Sonos One vs the HomePod. A stereo pair of Sonos Ones, in my experience, sound significantly superior to a single One. Real, very effective stereo image, for starters. Better bass, due to twice the speaker surface area. At exactly the same price as a single HomePod (with fake, though reportedly pretty good, simulated stereo). I’ve no doubt, then, that a pair of Ones will sound significantly better than a HomePod. We won’t even talk about the Sonos Sub, and Apple’s lack of one, lol.


I wonder if they performed True Play prior to that test.
I’ve no doubt, then, that a pair of Ones will sound significantly better than a HomePod.
I think how people listen to music will also have a bearing on this. Those that do this from one sweet spot in the room that can be addressed by a pair of speakers to one side of it will agree with you. But those that are happier to use the room with music playing from a speaker located somewhere in the centre of the room, reaching more of the room with the same sound everywhere in it, may prefer Apple. At my home I can see this divide arising between my wife and I; she is already using the Echo in the kitchen a lot more than Sonos systems set up to my listening preferences; even the one in the open plan dining room close to the cooking areas.

Sound preferences are funny things. I remember reading an article that said that the kind of sound stage that a person prefers depends on what he has been exposed to much of his life; so preferences may well differ from someone that has heard live music from the front seats of a concert hall to one that has heard most of it from a distance away in the same hall. And then there are the preferences of those that have never been lucky enough to attend a live gig.
David Pogue, a long-time Apple fanboy, compares, in a test controlled by Apple:

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/david-pogues-sneak-preview-apple-homepod-190227102.html

In a devastatingly effective demo, Apple lines up four of these things: The Google Home Max ($400), Sonos One ($200), Amazon Echo ($100), and the HomePod. They’re volume-matched and rigged to an A/B/C/D switch, so a single song can hop from one to the other. (Apple even installed a halo backlight behind each speaker that illuminated to show you which one was playing.)

The HomePod sounded the best. Its bass, in particular, was amazing: full and deep, but also distinct and never muddy — you could hear the actual pitch of the bass notes, not just the thud. That, unsurprisingly, is where other small speakers have trouble.

The Amazon Echo is a much smaller, slimmer device, one-third the price, so it’s forgiven for sounding thin compared with the HomePod. The Sonos One came awfully close to the HomePod’s rich sound; you’d really have to hear the A/B test to declare a difference.. The real shock was the Google Home Max, a massive, 12-pound machine that’s supposed to be all about the sound; it sounded like cardboard compared with the HomePod and Sonos.


Now, this was a single Sonos One vs the HomePod. A stereo pair of Sonos Ones, in my experience, sound significantly superior to a single One. Real, very effective stereo image, for starters. Better bass, due to twice the speaker surface area. At exactly the same price as a single HomePod (with fake, though reportedly pretty good, simulated stereo). I’ve no doubt, then, that a pair of Ones will sound significantly better than a HomePod. We won’t even talk about the Sonos Sub, and Apple’s lack of one, lol.
If you just can't wait for the HomePod to come out, here are some alternatives that will make an alternative for homepod: https://www.howtoisolve.com/best-homepod-alternatives/
Something tells me if Sonos had delayed release until it was fully tested, and Apple had released their Homepods with bugs, the same people complaining about Sonos being buggy would be crucifying Sonos for missing a promised release date and praising Apple for at least giving them something. Let's face it, their act is not too difficult to figure out.
Userlevel 6
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Interesting that they chose not to release it for the most lucrative period of the year because they felt it wasn't quite ready for their customers.
I suppose they could have released it not quite ready, with a USP of being able to hear you and react accordingly but actually you're often ignored and usually need to shout at it - or some seriously functionally limited beta software release..
But really, who would actually do that?
Ouch! Misses the Christmas season. Somehow Apple will convince their fans Valentines Day is a bigger holiday.
Looks like the HomePod has been delayed.

https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/17/apple-pushes-homepod-release-to-early-2018/
Hey Sonos, your kit is high quality and expensive. Just make it work in the best way with the best there is out there for home integration so yes that includes whatever Apple is doing to keep stuff secure in the web of things, plus the rest who are similarly keen to protect our networks from tech spoilers (thieves).
If you are so sure you're going to get a homepod, why not experiment and get a Dot as well?

I've been considering this. I've had a strong desire to limit the number of platforms and devices throughout the house. If my voice assistant could also be the music source for whole home audio it's a more elegant solution. I have a few routines with HomeKit I would like to incorporate with Sonos. The good news is that more and more smart home devices are supporting both platforms but I don't want to have to talk to both Siri and Alexa to change a routine. That being said the Dot is inconspicuous enough to use with some of my key components (Hue lights) and its cheap enough to be an interim solution so some things. But I'm hoping that in the near future I can turn on my Apple TV and start watching a movie (adjusting room light settings etc) with a single voice command.
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I would agree that voice integration is less for the type of person who posts here and more for the people who live with the people who post here. In my situation, it's me and my 2 kids. They could control sonos through the apps, but they really don't want to mess with Dad's stuff. The Echo's, on the other hand, are much more comfortable for them. They get to search for songs I've never even heard of. The only downside is that it's playing on the tiny dot instead of the sonos setup.

And then there are also guests. I don't want to have every guest download the app and learn how to use it. I'd rather they just see how easy it is to control with a couple examples, then be on their way.
This whole homepod/Alexa/voice control thing is a little ridiculous to me. I honestly don't need to control my home/lights/music/thermostat/etc. with my voice. It's cool but it's not a deal breaker for me. As long as my Sonos app on my phone continues to work, I'm good. Not to mention Siri isn't all that reliable. I very rarely use it.

I used to be skeptical about the real value of voice control as well. Then I installed a couple of Echo's and found my family took to them like a fish to water. All the complaints about trouble working the music system went away and now when things do go wrong I get an amused story about the silly thing Alexa just did rather than complaints about how fiddly and unintuitive the music control app is. Phone based control will not be returning to our house.

Siri is not a good example of true voice control since you still have to dig out a phone to use it and as you point out, it is not very reliable. Apple has a lot of work to do to get Siri ready for Homepod, assuming they truly expect to compete with Alexa and can shed their phone centric mindset.
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This whole homepod/Alexa/voice control thing is a little ridiculous to me. I honestly don't need to control my home/lights/music/thermostat/etc. with my voice. It's cool but it's not a deal breaker for me. As long as my Sonos app on my phone continues to work, I'm good. Not to mention Siri isn't all that reliable. I very rarely use it.
Yawn
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Liked and agree with some of comments posted. I am also reasonably invested in Sonos, Apple Music, Apple eco-system, Homekit, Philips Hue environment and hope/want therefore that Sonos will evolve taking into account opportunities opening in that rich and promising environment. Sonos-Homekit integration and coexistence with Apple's coming Homepod being the obvious ones right now.

Apple Homekit has the advantage of being available on and build in every iphone/ipad device out there with a splendid user interface for home automation and has therefore great potential. Hope/expect Sonos to realise that!
The most important advantages, besides multiroom, is homekit integration. With this it would be possible to start, stop, play, pause, select playlist etc. bases on events/scenes...


I would note that most of the things you want to do are already possible using other automation systems. My Homeseer system can accept commands from my Echo or use other triggers to control actions on my Sonos system. There is no need to wait for Homekit integration to do these things.

Homekit is off to a very slow start in the Home Automation arena and at this point has made no significant impact on that business. I would be surprised if Sonos made any investment in Homekit integration before there is a serious increase in the user base for that product.
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vdpoorten, I wouldn't call that an advantage, since all those things can be done without using any Apple products whatsoever. I currently do these things with sonos and a lutron hub. I haven't done much with it, but smartthings as well. I can see where it would be appealing to go all Apple, but that's going to have disadvantages as well.
The most important advantages, besides multiroom, is homekit integration. With this it would be possible to start, stop, play, pause, select playlist etc. bases on events/scenes.

For instance create an wake up homekit scene:
1. run Philips Hue sunrise scene
2. Activate switch to turn on the coffeemachine
3. Open the blinds in the livingroom
4. turn on radio/playlist on the speakers

Leaving the home
1. Turn of the Philips Hue bulbs
2. Turn of the coffeemachine
3. Close the blinds
4. Turn of, stop or pauze the speakers

Coming home on friday night
1. Turn on the Philips Hue bulbs
2. Open the blinds
3. Play playlist Late night Jazz from spotify on the speakers

Watching an movie on netflix (via apple tv)
1. Dim the Philips Hue lights
2. Close the blinds
3. Pauze the music on thespeakers

When an homekit detected notices an danger (leakage, smoke, fire, carbonmoxide etc)
1. Flash the lights
2. Play an alarm message on the peakers (waterleakage in the basement, carbonmoxide in the garage etc.)
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Airplay 1 was a severely flawed playback system and I completely understand why Sonos wouldn't embrase it. Airplay 2 sounds like it has a lot of the pull from source features as Google Casting has (and Sonos long before they were even conceived). Now that finally Apple is getting their act together with their version of Google Casting type system maybe Sonos will look to a device to integrate both (since you will then cover most of the market - where just going Google Cast before didn't keep their support of market even).