Tagged With smart speakers

Do you know someone who loves smart home stuff? Or perhaps they are looking to dip their toes in the water for the first time? Then check out our gift guide for people who are all about that smart home life.

The idea seemed silly at first. Bose made an Alexa-powered wireless speaker with a little screen, a big $U600 price tag (though can get it for $478 on Amazon right now) and a promise “to fill any room with an astonishing stereo performance.” I’ve been using the Bose Home Speaker 500 for a little more than a month, and there are a few things I don’t like about it. But it sure does sounds great.

When it comes to smart speakers, the Sonos Beam is about as versatile as you can get. Of course, there is Sonos sound - but you've also got support for over 80 music services, Amazon Alexa - at launch - and even more assistants planned in the future.

Here's when and where you can get your hands on one - and how much it will set you back.

Do you own a HomePod, Apple's needlessly expensive smart speaker? Have you ever wished you could connect your multiple HomePods, the ones that sit lovingly in your magnificent house, so they could all play the exact same song at the exact same time? Does that kind of technology sound like it should have already been included when the HomePod launched in February this year?

Well, better late than never - today Apple announced the ability to sync music between multiple HomePods. Two HomePods can also now work as a stereo pair.

What's the most terrifying thing you can imagine an Amazon Echo doing? Think realistically. Would it be something simple but sinister, like the artificially-intelligent speaker recording a conversation between you and a loved one and then sending that recording to an acquaintance? That seems pretty bad to me. And guess what: it's happening.

When Amazon launched the Echo back in late 2014, it kicked off one of the biggest trends in tech. Almost overnight, it seemed like every company wanted to get in on that sweet smart speaker action. However, largely because Amazon was first to market, the Echo has consistently been the top-selling smart speaker for the last three and a half years.

Surprise, surprise, turns out Apple's debut foray into the world of voice assistant-enabled speakers isn't quite living up to the company's initial expectations. According to a Bloomberg report, the company has lowered the number of HomePods being manufactured by one of its partners, Inventec Corporation and is looking to make a second smart speaker, one a bit less expensive than its current $499 offering.

It seems like every new wireless speaker on the market comes with a voice assistant now. Since 2014, when Amazon announced the Echo, the idea of a smart speaker has taken the gadget world by storm. Apple has finally thrown its hat into the ring with the release of the HomePod, leaving us to wonder which smart speaker is the best smart speaker. So we tested them to find out.

While it produces fantastic audio, Apple's new HomePod smart speaker has also annoyed early users with obtuse software limitations, a lack of real Bluetooth connectivity, and missing multi-room playback support that won't come until later this year. And now there's one more irritation to add to that list, as it seems the HomePod can damage your wood furniture.

Sometimes, years pass before Apple creates a completely new product like the HomePod. During that parade of iPhone redesigns and MacBook upgrades, it can be easy to forget that when Apple enters a new space, the company does it with swagger. The products are beautiful. They work well. But they are also usually exclusively designed to work with other Apple products and services. The $449 HomePod is all of these things, and it drives me crazy.

When unexplained delays pushed Apple's smart speaker back from a 2017 debut, Apple said it needed "a little more time before it's ready" and promised an "early 2018" release. Now it seems Apple is making good on its revised launch window, as the HomePod will officially go on sale on February 9.