Apple recently released their answer to the Amazon Echo and Google Home with the HomePod. Just like other smart speakers, the HomePod has a built-in voice assistant, with Siri in this case.
While Apple has not officially launched the HomePod in Canada, you can still use it with a few small workarounds that will be covered in this review.
Once you plug in your HomePod for the first time, all you need is an iOS device to set it up. Apple says you’ll need an iPhone 5s or later, iPad Pro, iPad Air or later, iPad Mini 2 or later, or iPod touch (6th gen) with iOS 11.2.5 or later.
The HomePod setup process is similar to connecting your iOS device to AirPods.You bring your iOS device near the HomePod, you should see a prompt to set up your HomePod. Then you’ll be taken through the setup process; you’ll also need to turn on two-factor authentication for your Apple ID.
Setting up two-factor authentication doesn’t take that long, you’ll be taken to the Apple ID settings to turn it on. Two-factor authentication essentially makes your account more secure by adding an extra step when logging into your account.
I setup the HomePod using my Canadian Apple ID and there were no issues during the setup process.
If you run into any issues while setting up the HomePod via the quick setup, the other way to setup your HomePod is to go to the Home app, press the plus icon in the top right, press add accessory, press “Don’t Have a Code or Can’t Scan?” and then select HomePod.
Hey Siri, what can you do?
Once you’ve set up your HomePod, you’re probably wondering what the HomePod can actually do. Well, it can do a few things.
The first is that you can ask Siri questions, whether it's about the weather or how tall the CN Tower is, and she should be able to answer your questions. Keep in mind that Siri won’t be able to answer all questions, not as many that you can ask Alexa or Google but general knowledge and weather.
If you do ask Siri questions, like “How tall is the CN Tower?”, Siri will tell you the answer in ft instead of meters. To get around this, you can just add on “in metres” to your question.
One thing to keep in mind when asking your HomePod the weather, she’ll tell you the weather in fahrenheit, if you have it set to English (United States). If you want the weather in celsius, you’ll need to say, “Hey Siri, what’s the weather in celsius?” and she’ll tell you the weather in celsius.
Even if you change the Language to English (United Kingdom) or English (Australia), Siri will still tell you the weather in fahrenheit. But at least Siri can detect your location, so you won’t need to say where you want the weather from.
If you change the language of Siri, you’ll also get either a British or Australian accent and you can choose either a male or female voice for each language.
The HomePod can also be used to control your smart home devices. Any HomeKit support device should work. I tested the HomePod with the ecobee3, and I was able to change the temperature of my home thermostat using my voice on the HomePod.
Music on the HomePod sounds great. That’s thanks to the high-excursion woofer, seven-tweeter array, and six microphones. The HomePod can get decently loud, just by saying, “Hey Siri, put the volume at max volume,” and Siri will say, “that’s very loud, are you sure?” and you can say either yes or no. I put it at max volume and then I asked Siri to turn it down and she was still able to hear me over the loud music.
Apple says that the HomePod should give you “stunning audio quality” no matter where you put in your house. That’s mostly true and the device is very bass-heavy.
As of right now, the HomePod can only play music from Apple Music via voice. If you want to play music from Spotify or another streaming service on the HomePod, you still can but you’ll need to AirPlay via your iOS device. Once you do that, you can control playback via your voice but you won’t be able to ask for a specific song to play, if you do, it’ll default to play from Apple Music.
Buying the HomePod
For those in the U.S., U.K, and Australia, the HomePod can be purchased from Apple’s website for $349 USD. While the HomePod has not officially been released in Canada, you can buy the HomePod from Wantboard.
The HomePod is available in two colours, space grey, and white.
The HomePod is for those who want Apple’s latest and greatest along and a device that has an awesome sound.
Canadian Compatibility: There isn’t much that doesn’t work in Canada, but that’s because the HomePod can’t do a lot. There are a few workarounds for weather but Canadians should easily be able to use the HomePod in Canada without issues.