Head to head, does the Apple HomePod really sound the best?

David Pogue has some reservations about the smart speaker comparison test Apple subjected the tech press to.

Still, when I tweeted about the test, a couple of people were suspicious of the setup, which of course was entirely controlled by Apple. What was the source material? What was the wireless setup?

An Apple rep told me that the test songs were streaming from a server in the next room (a Mac). But each speaker was connected to it differently: by Bluetooth (Amazon Echo), Ethernet (Sonos), input miniplug (Google Home), and AirPlay (HomePod), which is Apple’s Wi-Fi-based transmission system.

Since the setup wasn’t identical, I wondered if it was a perfectly fair test. (Bluetooth, for example, may degrade (compress) the music it’s transmitting, depending on the source and the equipment.)

So I decided to set up my own test at home.

I’m not really interested in the HomePod or Google Home Max or any other “smart” speaker, but I love how Pogue basically laments much of the technology press for not questioning Apple’s test and test setup. A good read.

24 Comments

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