• I got a chance to demo Apple’s new HomePod smart speaker.
  • The $350 device went on sale Friday and will begin shipping February 9.
  • In a short demo, HomePod sounds impressive, but had a few drawbacks: a hefty price tag, limited “smart” abilities, and a reliance on Apple Music.

After spending an hour demoing Apple’s new HomePod smart speaker, I can say one thing with confidence: it sounds incredible.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the new $350 device, which became available for presale on Friday and starts shipping February 9. After all, HomePod was delayed by several months, and Apple is late to the game on the device in the first place — Sonos, Google, and Amazon have already beaten it to the punch.

But in my limited time with HomePod, I was impressed. It sounds fantastic on its own, and even better when compared to other high-end smart speakers on the market. From all outward appearances, HomePod is an excellent speaker.

The only problem is, that might be all that HomePod is.

Sounds great — and it’s loud, too

When HomePod first debuted in June, I was disappointed by how unoriginal the design seemed. It looked to me like a very symmetrical marshmallow, or a chubby, upright Beats Pill. Months later, I’m still not wowed, but I’m coming to understand the advantages of the design.

From an aesthetic standpoint, there was one design touch I loved. When you activate Siri — either a long touch or a “Hey Siri” — a glowing, multicolored orb will appear, just like Siri on your iPhone. It’s a fun little design touch that helps tie in HomePod to Apple’s product lineup, plus it adds a little character.

Inside HomePod are seven tweeters spaced evenly around the base of Read More Here