HomePod sounds incredible, and with access to more than 90 million songs in the global Apple Music catalog and deep integration with your Apple devices, it’s the must-have smart speaker for iPhone users. HomePod fits in even more places and delivers amazing sound, the power of Siri, and simple and secure smart home controls, all while protecting your privacy. In this article, we’ll highlight 7 benefits of owning an Apple HomePod, kicking off with the room-rocking audio.
7 Benefits of Apple HomePod
Here are some of the advantages of having an Apple HomePod in 2022:
1. Genuinely Impressive Audio
This is arguably the most important thing about HomePod. Sure, whether it’s smart or not matters, but remember that Apple is promoting this as a hi-fi speaker, aiming to blow other smart speakers out of the water by offering greatly superior audio chops. Apple found that people who had smart speakers already, even cheap mini-model ones, were mostly being used for music, so that was Apple’s priority. If it doesn’t sound good, the implication is, the HomePod would be a disaster.
Not just compared to other smart speakers, though it certainly is better than any other I have heard, but also compared to regular, non-smart speaker systems that are similarly priced or more expensive.
The sad truth is that the vast bulk of smart speakers fail roundly to deliver on the audio front.
At first glance, it might seem unthinkable for a product to miss the mark in terms of core functionality, but that’s the thing.
For many smart-speaker customers, these dinky devices are simply portals for controlling other devices with voice commands.
Here is where being honest about your needs and usage habits can help you get the best device first time round. Think about how you will use the device, not what features it has and how you could theoretically use it.
Despite what smart speakers permit in terms of controlling other connected devices hands-free, for most people who buy Echo, Home or HomePod speakers, the main reason for purchase is listening to music.
HomePod is designed first and foremost as a speaker, so if you place real value on the quality of the audio you’re listening to, you won’t regret the stiff investment. Apple packed a lot of audio power into a small speaker. It’s loud enough to fill a room with sound. Bass, mids and treble are all distinct and easy to detect. Compared to the latest Echo Dot and Nest Mini, the HomePod Mini is clearer and less distorted.
Apple’s S5 processing chip powers some behind-the-scenes software to help make the audio clearer, pick up audio commands even when the music is loud, plus sort out direct and ambient sounds with echo cancellation.
Room-sensing tech baked in means Apple HomePod will optimize the soundscape to the living space. Using the multi-directional speakers, microphones, accelerometer and S5 chip, a lot of processing happens for real-time adjustments with the audio. The HomePod analyzes the room by listening to reflections of the sound off of surfaces, so it knows when it’s on a shelf, against a wall or in the middle of the room.
Energy is beamed into the centre of the room and reflects off the walls so that no matter where you are, the music sounds full and clear. You can stand behind the HomePod, in the corner of a cluttered room or directly in front of the speaker and you’ll have a consistent sound, much to my surprise. The impressive technology means there isn’t just one sweet spot for listening like other speakers have.
Room-sensing tech baked in HomePod works well with just one speaker, but when you have two HomePods set up through a simple stereo pairing process, the audio quality is even more full with an extra dimension and the hardware creates even better low and high frequencies. If money is no option, using stereo HomePods is the way to go.
In short, the technology makes for a very impressive music listening experience. Detail can be heard at all volume levels, making for crisp acoustics and deep bass. It is impressive that the high quality and detail in the sound can come from such small speakers.
You’ll be able to use AirPlay to stream audio from your phone to HomePod without needing to pair like you would with a Bluetooth set-up. AirPlay delivers superior audio compression, too. Connectivity with AirPlay is robust, but you will need to hook up to a WiFi network.
Analyze how you intend to use your smart speaker. If music is your first love, Apple makes sure you’ll hear all your music at its very best.
2. HomePod is the best way to listen to Apple Music
Apple Music doesn’t yet have the same global dominance as the music streaming service Spotify. As of 2021, Apple Music has estimated about 98 million users worldwide. Spotify, which has scored first place, has approximately 116 million users as of 2021.
Still, 98 million users is nothing to scoff at, and many of them are most likely looking for a way to get the most out of their music.
The iteration of Siri built into HomePod can be sorely lacking in places. Fortunately, Siri comes fully to the fore with Apple Music.
Siri will gradually become accustomed to your tastes and can soon start presenting you with playlists based on artists and genres you listen to on a regular basis. You can say things like, “Hey, Siri, I don’t like this song,” and the device will adjust the music accordingly and remember for the future.
It also learns what you like over time, so if you say, “Hey, Siri, play some party music,” it will present you a playlist full of the types of artists and genres it knows you like.
Ask, “Hey Siri, play my station” and you’ll get a customized playlist based on the contents of your Apple Music library.
AirPlay yourself a podcast and listen to something stimulating as you get ready for your day.
While these capabilities may not be must-have features, they’re certainly enhancements to any listening experience. Plus, everything syncs between the Apple Music you’re enjoying on the HomePod and the version on your phone, so your preferences will carry over when you leave the house.
If you’re already a committed Apple Music fan and iOS user, you’ll find Apple HomePod the perfect way to get the very most from the service.
3. Tight Integration with Apple Ecosystem
When you buy an Apple HomePod, you’re not only getting a HomePod, you’re getting a small cog in the grand symphony that a machine is. In this case, you’re buying a part of Apple’s Ecosystem. This is basically a fancy way of saying that almost every if not every piece of tech Apple makes works well with the rest of their devices.
The way HomePod slides in with the Apple ecosystem is made clear right out the box.
The setup process for the HomePod is simple. You simply hold your iPhone next to speaker and an automatic pop-up takes you through the process — a couple of minutes at most. Your iPhone’s Apple ID will be the profile associated with the HomePod and its calendar, reminders, messages and music library.
Phone calls and text messages are both supported, which is not the case with Alexa.
One potential flashpoint to be aware of is that you can only sync Apple HomePod to a single iPhone. This is less than ideal in the average household. The problem is that anyone could read your text messages or potentially send a message to anyone in your contacts. Think closely about the environment where you’ll be placing your speaker and ask yourself whether you’re comfortable with this or not. You can disable access to messages if required.
In a sense, the situation is the same with Apple HomePod as with all smart tech. If you’re heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem—Macs, iPhones, iPads, and HomeKit security devices—HomePod is your best bet. That makes for simple setup, more interoperability, and smoother functioning. If you’re not already a convert, buckle up for an expensive but rewarding journey!
4. Privacy Comes Uppermost
It seems like everybody and their mother is harvesting personal data from technology users these days. A lot of people are hesitant to buy a smart speaker because of this fear, and tech companies like Apple are keenly aware of this.
Apple assures users that the HomePod only listens after hearing the wake phrase, and you can disable Siri by saying, “Hey Siri, stop listening.” You can later re-enable Siri in the Home app. You can also disable the HomePod’s location services. Your verbal requests are associated with a random identifier rather than your Apple ID when they are sent to Apple to be processed, which prevents Apple from storing this information about you. When you ask Siri to read your messages or notes aloud, the HomePod doesn’t send that information to Apple, but rather the communication occurs directly between the HomePod and your iPhone.
Sending or receiving personal messages can only be tied to a single iCloud account. When your phone is not connected to the WiFi network, messages won’t shoot through to Apple HomePod. This is a nice touch if you’re concerned about your kids or housemates getting into your inbox.
Apple doesn’t adopt the same cavalier approach to monetizing your data as you can expect from Amazon and Google. Their business model is more fluid and you can remain quietly confident your data is as safe as it could be.
If you dislike the idea of inviting always-on devices from Amazon, Facebook, and Google into your home in the wake of so many privacy breaches, HomePod is a sea change. You can install a smart device without worrying about the manufacturer probing into your personal information.
5. Enjoy Basic Smart Home Control
It’s no secret that most people invest in a smart speaker at least in part due to the ability to control other compatible connected devices.
If you’re interested in Apple HomePod, this is quite likely not your primary motivation. We’ll assume, though, that you’ll want to enjoy at least basic control of other devices in your ecosystem.
While you might not be able to have items re-ordered from Amazon on your behalf or engage in a round of trivia questions, when the frippery is stripped away, Apple HomePod allows you to control other devices hands-free or in-app.
Smart Home control is improving with Siri as more companies add HomeKit support into their products. Third-party app integration has also been getting considerably better thanks to SiriKit. You won’t get the reach of control or interoperability that you’ll enjoy with Alexa or Google Assistant, but you’ll be able to get the job done.
And you can get that job done while listening to your favorite tunes in fine style rather than enduring a tinny whine.
6. You can use Your HomePod as a TV Speaker
Speaking of entertainment, another advantage of HomePod speakers is as the output for Apple TV, making for an immersive audio experience no matter what you’re watching.
The experience used to be fiddly, but it has improved with newer tvOS releases. A pair of HomePod speakers will certainly sound better than the speakers built into your TV so it’s worth taking the time to set this up if you have HomePods in the same room as your Apple TV. It’ll be a huge improvement over your TV’s stock speakers, turning movie night into a true surround-sound cinematic experience.
The bonus advantage of using Apple HomePod instead of regular external speakers is that you’ll also get all the perks of a Siri-powered smart home. You’ll be able to control your TV with voice commands like, “Hey, Siri, play Dexter season 4, episode 1,” and you won’t even need to bother with the remote control.
You’ll need to make sure your TV supports ARC or eARC technology to use your HomePod as a TV speaker, but most modern smart 4K TVs do, so you likely won’t need to upgrade to an entirely new TV at least.
7. It sounds more human.
Much has been made of the superior sound quality of Apple’s speaker, but the improvements go beyond technical specs for audiophiles. Siri’s communication on the HomePod is more human-like than that of Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home.
Specifically, after asking a question, [Siri] does not repeat the whole thing back to you as is the case with Google Assistant and Alexa, which makes for a subtly smoother process.
The HomePod is also a better listener than the Echo or Google Home. Thanks to a noise-cancellation feature, you could use your regular speaking voice with HomePod even in a situation where you’d have to raise your voice to talk to others in the same room. This is the HomePod’s most stellar feature.
Amazon’s weakness in that sense has been with listening: users like myself often have to shout several times to be heard by Alexa. Google’s is personality, and the fact that users still have to say “Ok, Google” to activate its speaker. (I still can’t make peace with the idea of regularly addressing a multibillion dollar corporation in my living room.)
Advantages of having an Apple HomePod: now you know!
So, these, according to us, are the seven of the most important benefits of owning an Apple HomePod. If you’re an Apple Music convert and you’re looking for a primary listening device that delivers, HomePod is a smart bet. For music lovers already invested into Apple’s ecosystem, this is undoubtedly the neatest match. AirPlay 2 means you can send the audio from your Apple TV or Mac to the HomePod, for example. You can also use your iPhone to control all the HomePods and other AirPlay devices in your home, plus individually switch which one is playing what. It’s very seamless and useful.
Being able to read and send messages, add reminders and notes, use the HomePod as a speaker phone and other native iOS features is very useful and not in other speakers. Plus if you use Apple Music as your primary music source like I do, then suddenly the HomePod feels like the smart speaker that opens up the floodgates. Other smart speakers don’t play nearly as well with the service.