Friday, February 23, 2018

HomePod Mini Review

So I got a HomePod. I did not previously own any of the other dedicated Voice assistant devices.  I could talk to my phone, and my watch, and my TV. But, the power of a dedicated, always listening assistant is just more useful. I have used the Amazon device in other environments and thought it was pretty cool. But, I'm all in on the Apple eco-system.

My short review is it's great.  I think it will get significantly better in the near future.

Sound Quality

This small speaker sounds great.  It does not sound better than my huge Stereo.   I won't be using it when I watch movies, but it is ideal for casual music in the kitchen or in the bedroom.  When cooking or preparing to start or end the day is when it shines.

Siri

Say things like:
  • "Hey Siri play some music." 
  • "Hey Siri shuffle Steely Dan."
  • "Hey Siri start a timer for 10 minutes."
  • "Hey Siri whats the weather for tomorrow."
  • "Hey Siri turn all the lights off."
  • "Hey Siri set the thermostat to 68."
  • etc.... 
Siri will most of the time hear you correctly and do what you want.  But, you need to know how to ask for what you want. Trial and error will eventually train you.  All the same issues you have with Siri on the phone are here. Contextual conversation often fails. Siri can't do some things that other devices can. You can only have one timer at a time. You can set alarms and reminders.

Siri needs more 3rd party APIs. Continue to develop and extend the limited apis already added to Siri. Add new apis. Let Spotify decide whether to develop an integration. Let Overcast develop an integration, etc...   I'm sure this will happen. I wish it would happen faster than Apple typically moves.

Siri needs to be consistent everywhere Siri can be used. The phone should be no different than the desktop, which should be no different than the HomePod.

Siri also needs to support multiple users on the HomePod.  I'm sure Apple wants this to be based on the person speaking. Not asking for a new profile to be active.  However, profile switching would be good enough for now.

Conclusion

If you use Apple Music. Don't mind talking to Siri occasionally on your phone. Have a place in your home where a good speaker would be nice. Then sure give it a try.  Don't buy it based on the possibility of future features. It does more than enough to justify the purchase.  If you already have Echo and are happy with it, maybe skip the HomePod.

I liked it so much that I already bought a second one.