No speaker pairing: As we said ahead of the HomePodâ€™s launch, the device is unfinished. Thatâ€™s disappointing considering Apple first unveiled its speaker last summer. Itâ€™s been a sad but common theme for the company over the past several monthsâ€”iOS still hasnâ€™t received features Apple promised at WWDC in 2017.
In particular, the HomePod is unable to connect with a second HomePod. Itâ€™s unclear why the feature has been delayed, but Apple promises two HomePods together will create a â€œwider, more immersive soundstageâ€ compared to a traditional stereo pair. Unfortunately, thereâ€™s no way to test this at the moment.
HomePod owners will also be left waiting for AirPlay 2, which will allow users to play the same music (or different music) in multiple rooms. Again, this would have been a nice feature to test. Many of Appleâ€™s biggest competitors already offer similar features.
Siri is limited: Then thereâ€™s Siri, Appleâ€™s digital assistant. Many iPhone owners will be very familiar with what the technology can and canâ€™t do. Weirdly, the Siri found on your phone isnâ€™t the same Siri found on the HomePod.
You canâ€™t train Siri to recognize your voice, and for whatever reason you canâ€™t set more than one timer. Siri also canâ€™t make phone calls, play content on Apple TV, or create calendar appointments, among many, many other things. If it wasnâ€™t clear already, the HomePodâ€™s version of Siri proves that Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are far superior assistants.
That being said, Siri does the basics well, like give a weather forecast, and the assistant is attentive even with loud music playing. After multiple listening sessions, Siri hasnâ€™t had any issues hearing me. I imagine Apple will improve what Siri can do in the future, but right now the assistant is seriously lacking.
Other limitations: With the iPhone, Apple has committed to a wireless future by eliminating the headphone jack. That same approach extends to the HomePod. You canâ€™t plug the speaker into another device like, say, a turntable, which further limits the deviceâ€™s utility.
If you donâ€™t own an iPhone, the HomePod pretty much doesnâ€™t acknowledge you exist; Appleâ€™s decision to exclude such a large userbase is asinine to say the least. Even if someone with an Android phone did buy a HomePod, they wouldnâ€™t be able to set it up or play music through Bluetooth. These are very basic functions Appleâ€™s speaker canâ€™t perform.
Also worth mentioning is the fact that the HomePod may damage your wood furniture. I have mine on a wooden media center and havenâ€™t noticed any residue, but a number of reports led to a statement from Apple, which explained why the speaker was leaving behind marks. To be fair, the marks can easily be cleaned, but the fact is that the HomePod does leave behind a white ring.