I wish to hatred a HomePod. Apple’s new $350 speaker symbolizes all back and compromising about a iPhone maker’s walled garden: a orator requires we have an iOS device to use it, and it final an Apple Music comment to make use of Siri-powered voice control playback. It is antithetical to platform-agnostic Sonos and unabashedly so, as if Apple is adventurous a competitors to try and contest with a hardware bravery and height lock-in.
And yet, we find myself mulling over purchasing one for myself. I’ve been regulating a examination section HomePod, on loan from Apple, for a past week and we find it concurrently frustrating and illusory in roughly equal measure. It sounds great, improved than any Bluetooth orator I’ve attempted in new memory and on standard with some honestly labelled and distant some-more unwieldy stereo systems. I’ve also found that carrying a HomePod as a sole audio option, during slightest for a medium-sized San Francisco apartment, is some-more than adequate for roughly each listening situation.
There’s usually one issue: we am a righteous Spotify user. I’ve paid for a Swedish streaming service’s reward subscription for scarcely 6 years now and we cruise myself a happy customer. That means my HomePod use has been singular to AirPlay, that is a vital compromise. we can’t use Siri to play music, and a HomePod gets interrupted each time another audio source, like a video on Twitter or Instagram, overrides my phone’s settings. In a universe increasingly dirty with auto-play video on amicable networks and news sites, this is a outrageous problem. I’ve resorted to regulating a HomePod with my iPad as a standalone song device, and it’s a stupid workaround we feel a $350 orator shouldn’t necessitate.
And nonetheless that’s a guarantee and hazard of a HomePod, a device that works best with other Apple hardware and program products, as is a box with many of a company’s ventures. Yet as my co-worker Vlad Savov wrote final month, a HomePod is “the indicate of no lapse for Apple fans,” since it not usually requires we possess an iOS device, though since it goes one step serve by tying some of a many useful facilities to an Apple-made square of software. Buying and relying on a HomePod afterwards becomes an act of capitulation to a some-more radical ends of Apple’s walled garden philosophy. You can put Google Maps on a iPhone and reinstate Safari with Chrome on Mac, though a HomePod simply will not work as advertised though an Apple Music subscription or iTunes playback.
My options afterwards are regulating a orator other than a HomePod (like Sonos), settling for AirPlay, or switching to Apple Music. Now, I’ve attempted tons of competing song streaming services, from Google Play Music to Tidal to Apple’s own, that came maybe a closest to convincing me to switch over. But Spotify has always reigned autarchic in my mind for a some-more streamlined user interface and a recommendations engine, utterly a Discover Weekly playlist feature.
But over those elements, what keeps me regulating Spotify is a con concerned with switching to something else. we can't move myself to exhaustively send over my playlists and relearn an wholly new square of program that we use daily for hours on end, in further to carrying to spend weeks to months training this new square of program on my listening habits and tastes. we know there is paid program out there that can do many of a complicated lifting in this respect, though I’ve turn accustomed to Spotify and am altogether happy with a product.
Therein lies a executive emanate with a HomePod. While I’ve already motionless that a good home orator is not adequate to make me switch from Spotify to Apple Music, a fact that I’m even deliberation it — or that I’d be peaceful to live with a singular AirPlay functionality — is explanation in my mind that Apple is building an ever stronger box for a walled garden, one product during a time.
The Apple Watch is now a industry-leading wearable, and AirPods have set a high bar in a wireless headphone market for preference and quality. Similarly, a HomePod likewise helps Apple plant a dwindle in an existent marketplace swarming with long-time players. It tells those outward a walled garden, who might usually be peaking in, what they’re missing. Maybe a singular product isn’t adequate to make we switch from Android to iOS, from Windows to Mac, or Spotify to Apple Music, though a litany of appeals over time builds a some-more convincing case.
Apple has a gusto for regulating a signature brew of clever product pattern and aesthetics — alongside a combined advantages of height close in — to make it a options feel appealing and desirable. Even when we know you’re being enticed to spend some-more income since Apple refuses to play good with others, it can feel like a yank of war, with a act of giving adult honeyed ever so somewhat by a believe that shopping into Apple’s ecosystem means no longer worrying about how to make manifold products and services fit into your life.
I’m not utterly there yet. we still adore Spotify, and we don’t consider a use box of listening to song in my vital room warrants harassing myself over a $350 orator squeeze and my personal program choices. But we am blissful these days to possess an iPhone and use a Mac, if usually to equivocate identical problems that play out opposite other platforms and device types. For now, Apple has me in a grasp, and it seems like a association is usually watchful for me to give in.