Apple to Charge $279 to Repair Out of Warranty HomePod

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They're all abstract pieces that say little specific about Apple's smart speaker.

The Apple HomePod was available for pre-order starting January 26th and has just sold out of units yesterday.

Apple stores and retailers such as BestBuy start selling the speaker today.

Considering Apple spent more than six years in design and development, not to mention for the price point ($499), you'd want HomePod to sound this good.

Apple has officially launched in-store pick-ups, sales and synchronised deliveries of HomePod in the United Kingdom.

In answering to your "Hey Siri" vocal commands, Apple's assistant can perform numerous same table-stakes tasks as Amazon's Alexa on Echos or the Google Assistant on Google Home speakers - from setting timers and reminders to informing you of the weather and traffic, turning on smart lights or solving math. The HomePod's Siri makes the iPhone's Siri look like a genius.

Apple Music can be controlled by voice commands to Siri.

HomePod was delayed from its original December release date until today, which initial reports blamed on unspecified software issues, and later reports suggested were due to problems with multi-HomePod synchronization - specifically two units in one room, or more units across a house.

Amazon Begins Whole Foods Delivery Service to Prime Members in Select Cities
That means you can't mix together items offered by Amazon's shop and Whole Foods' shop and expect them to be delivered together. Amazon also failed to mention how many items are available for quick delivery, but this is nonetheless a promising start.

The voice of Siri also lacks the natural flow of either Amazon's Alexa or Google Assistant - among the artificial intelligence systems it still sounds the most robotic.

Select Apple Authorised Resellers, including Best Buy in the US; Argos, Dixons Carphone (Currys PC World), John Lewis, Shop Direct (Very and Littlewoods), EE and Apple Premium Resellers in the United Kingdom; and The Good Guys, Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, Myer and Telstra in Australia, have also started selling the HomePod locally. Alexa and Google can draw upon lots of information even before you add third-party skills; Siri on HomePod can get stumped by requests an iPhone can handle.

How does Apple´s HomePod compare to Amazon Echo and Google Home? Indeed, Google is reaching out to the same audience of people who have a discerning ear for music as Apple is with HomePod.

The device has two main purposes...

- Do I need an existing Apple device for it to work? Until now, Google Home Max was the sweetest sounding smart speaker I've listened to. Nor can Siri identify your voice as opposed to another family member's voice, something the other assistants can do. The HomePod also exclusively uses Apple Music, so Spotify and Pandora users won't be able to control their music from the HomePod, limiting the device's broader appeal.

Voice recognition is obviously critical in any Apple HomePod vs. Amazon Echo vs. Google Home comparison, and it will be disappointing for potential Apple consumers that Siri is somewhat behind the other two intelligent operating systems here as well.

Commands such as "Hey Siri, what's the weather like in New York City?" and "Hey Siri, play Kanye West" work without a hitch.