Apple’s smart speaker HomePod has been available on the market for some time now, but it has never been considered a success like iPhone, Apple Watch, or even AirPods. Still, rumors suggest that Apple has been working on new HomePod models. While having new HomePods would be great, I believe Apple should focus on improving the software on the current HomePods.
Apple’s strategy with the HomePod is somewhat confusing. First, the company introduced an impressive smart speaker in terms of sound quality. However, when it comes to the HomePod software and smart features, HomePod was clearly behind its competitors. More than that, the product was considerably more expensive than other smart speakers.
The impressive sound quality of the original HomePod wasn’t enough to convince people that they needed to buy one – or more than one. At the same time, Apple itself never seemed to have much faith in the product. The first-generation HomePod was only released in a very few countries.
Then the HomePod mini came as a cheaper alternative to the original HomePod, which was later discontinued. Unlike its larger-sized brother, HomePod mini is not exactly a hi-fi sound speaker. However, it is much cheaper and still has smart features thanks to the HomePod software, which was supposed to make it more appealing to consumers.
I’ve bought a few HomePod minis since its launch in 2020 to put them all over my apartment. And while I see potential in the HomePod mini, there’s a lot Apple should do before thinking about introducing a new HomePod.
The problem with HomePod
Personally, my experience with the HomePod mini is not the best. I’m not talking about the sound quality (which I wish was better, but we’re talking about a small speaker), but about smart features. Most interactions with the HomePod are done through Siri, and we all know that Siri is not exactly smart.
I can’t even count how many times I’ve asked Siri to do simple things like play a song, set a timer, or create a reminder and Siri has failed to do so. This alone makes the experience of using HomePods frustrating. But my problems with the HomePod go far beyond that.
HomePod relies on the AirPlay 2 connection, which is a wireless audio streaming standard created by Apple. While AirPlay 2 enables great features like multi-room audio, it is not exactly reliable. Sometimes my HomePods simply refuse to connect with my iPhone or iPad to play a song.
And at least once a week I have to reboot one of the HomePods because it randomly loses connection to the internet. It’s also frustrating when I’m watching something on my Apple TV with a stereo pair of HomePods and suddenly one of them loses connection. I wish this was a hardware issue with my units, but I have multiple friends who experience similar issues every day with their HomePods.
HomePod software needs improvements
At the end of the day, the problem with the HomePod mini is that it’s not exactly the best in terms of sound quality, and it’s also not the best when it comes to smart features. And yet it is more expensive than almost all of its competitors. Not to mention that the HomePod mini is still unavailable in a lot of places around the world.
It’s hard to imagine the HomePod mini (or any other HomePod model that Apple will ever introduce) becoming a hit when the product isn’t the best at anything it sets out to do. I wish Siri was better, I wish AirPlay 2 was more reliable, and I also wish HomePod had more features like an open SDK for developers and a true surround mode.
And if Apple wants the HomePod to become a success, the company should work on making the HomePod software better. After all, what’s a smart speaker without a smart and reliable software?
But what about you? Is your experience with HomePod good or bad? Let me know in the comments section below.
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