I got two HomePods last week. Quick reactions:
- They sound great, especially as a pair.
- macOS doesn’t handle linked HomePods well. The Sound menu extra shows “Living Room” twice, where as iTunes will show “Living Room” and “Living Room (2)”.
- They can only play music I bought on iTunes, as opposed to my iTunes library. This means I can play almost nothing on them, unless I re-subscribe to Apple Music.
- AirPlay from my computer introduces a time-lag. People say there was always a time-lag with AirPlay, but this is not true. When I AirPlay to my AppleTV, the AppleTV gets sync’ed and constantly streams. The problem with AirPlay to HomePod is that no sync occurs, and it seems that whichever app outputting audio establishes a new connection with the HomePods. So it only works for music.
- The HomePods and my iPhone seem to compete to decide which handles a “Hey Siri” request. That’s fine. HomePod can’t handle phone calls, which it should since macOS can by piping through an iPhone just fine. That would be fine if Apple let the iPhone handle phone calls. But Apple’s algorithm seems to decide to hand over phone call duties to the HomePods, which it ought to know can’t handle them. This is a big step back, as I now have to hold my iPhone’s Siri button manually to make calls instead of saying “Hey Siri call X on speaker”.
In summary, the HomePods sound great, but are positively terrible at everything else. The good news is that all of this can be fixed via software updates. I just hope it will be.