13/03/2018 – 1:55pm
6 ways Apple’s HomePod smart speaker could be much better.
Apple’s latest device is the HomePod. It’s the company’s foray into the increasingly crowded smart speaker market. That market is, of course, dominated by the Echo, Amazon’s smart speaker which runs its Alexa assistant. After the Echo, the next most popular smart speaker is probably the Google Home, which features the immensely powerful Google Assistant. And then we get back to HomePod≤ Apple’s smart speaker with its Siri assistant. The HomePod has generally been praised for its acoustic quality–with many reviewers saying it out-performs both the Echo and the Home in sound tests. However, there’s still much Apple can do to improve the HomePod. Here are our suggestions:
Add An Equalizer
This is perhaps the most baffling omission from the HomePod–and it’s probably the #1 most-requested feature. As acoustically perfect as the HomePod sounds, the speaker lacks an equalizer. For some reason, Apple didn’t think users wanted to be able to customize sound levels. While that may be true for many people, true audiophiles love to tweak their tunes. Maybe Apple just didn’t know how to build a voice-controlled equalizer in?
Display Lyrics On Apple Devices
Yeah, yeah–how would HomePod display lyrics? It has no screen. Hear me out though: one of the benefits of HomePod is its tied so well into Apple’s ecosystem, it’s virtually effortless to have it picked up by your other Apple devices. It would then be cool if you could tell HomePod “Display the lyrics of this song on my Apple TV (or iPhone)” and then see the lyrics appear on-screen on those devices.
Smarter Voice Controls
HomePod is great at simple voice-commands, like playing, pausing, stopping, or fast forwarding a song, but when it comes to other commands HomePod is pretty dumb. For example, you can’t tell it to “stop playing music after the next song.” Well, you can tell it to do that–it just won’t follow your command. Likewise, HomePod can’t understand when you say things like “Stop playing music in 15 minutes.”
Better Playlist Support
HomePod will let you add a song to an existing playlist you have–but that’s all. Right now HomePod doesn’t let you create new playlists or edit existing ones (ie: deleting songs from a playlist). It would be awesome if Apple added this capability as it would make voice control feel like it’s finally “arrived”.
HomePod has a few issues with timers. The first is that you can’t set multiple timers–a big problem for cooks who often have multiple dishes cooking at the same time in the kitchen. But HomePod’s timers also lack the ability to be customized with music instead of just the default sounds. It would be awesome if you could both tell HomePod to play a song “in 20 minutes” as well as set a song or tune to be the sound the timer makes when the time runs out.
Give Us A Smaller, Cheaper HomePod
At £349 HomePod isn’t cheap. We’re really hoping Apple both drops the price and also expands the HomePod lineup to come out with smaller, cheaper units. Amazon did this to great success with its Echo lineup, and Google followed suit with its smart speakers. This is one time where Apple should follow the trend.
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