tl;dr – Yes…eventually but not right now.
Our use-case in the household is one Apple Fanboy and one Apple Purist. We have an Echo Dot in the spare bedroom for guests to use when they want some music while they sleep or to set an alarm. It’s a minor convenience for them and we have house guests at least once a month. There’s an Amazon Alexa Gen-2 in the kitchen. I don’t use it but Heather does and I have to deal with her painfully asking it to set timers and going through all of the mumbo-jumbo required to interact with it. Yesterday, Heather was baking potatoes, cheesecake, bagels and re-heating meat for Potatoes.
“Alexa, start a 30 minute timer”
Alexa, start a 2nd time for 60 minutes”
Alexa, how’s my timer” “which one?” “the 1st one” “the 30 minute timer or 60 minute timer?” “the 30 minute one” “You have 2 timers, a 30 minute timer with 10 minutes remaining”
Then there’s the stupidity like “set a 1 hour timer” “how long” “1 hour” “how long would you like the timer?” “60 minutes” “Okay, 1 hour timer set”
Anyway, the device is stupid.
We also have a Sonos Play:3 next to my iMac that is connected via Cat6 to the Internet. We have authenticated Pandora, Apple Music, Spotify, Last.FM and Amazon Prime Music to it but I only use Apple Music. Because I have an iMac always-on with the Sonos Controller, I generally trigger music that way and use the physical pause button on the Sonos to interrupt playback if a phone call comes in. I like that a week later, I can hit Play again and it is right where I left off. It also sends played music stats to Last.FM which is a service I still love for tracking and run Last.FM on my iMac to track music I listen to on iPhone, iPod and iTunes…the HomePod won’t have that functionality as far as I can tell which is a bummer.
We have an AppleTV in the Bedroom & Living room but since audio goes into the TV And out through external speakers, the televisions each use about 65 watts of power when on so it’s not aesthetically or energy conscious to listen to music via AppleTV. I never do it. If music is playing, the television is turned off which is preferred. I don’t needlessly leave the television on when I’m not actively watching something although Heather does. She’ll pause a show, work for 4 hours and forget to turn the TV off..it drives me crazy.
Finally, we have the record player and a growing collection of vinyl as well as my iPod Classic 160GB hooked into the AudioEngine A5+ speakers so we can listen to that on shuffle and it sounds better than the Sonos or a record (usually oldies) and while the quality is great, this is a disconnected experience. No Internet connection and it works well. I still have a huge music library and yes Sonos is connected to my Plex server in the basement with 25,000 songs so I use that to shuffle my music and occasionally detest the experience only because I have some questionable teen-pop music from 2001 in iTunes still to this day but I find my music is fairly eclectic and tracks that the Apple Music Algorithm will never knowingly recommend.
Finally, in the services world we pay $14.99 a month for Apple Music and $9.99 a month for a 1 terabyte iCloud account which is shared between 14 Apple devices and one Windows notebook. The iPod Classic does not benefit from Apple Music which is really unfortunate.
So why add a HomePod? Well, I think eliminating the Alexa would be our preference along with selling the Sonos Play:3. That’d net us $100 and we’d have significantly better music. The Sonos is our music device when people are over for dinner..vinyl takes constant management that disrupts the party and again, I’m not leaving the TV on when people are over to have dinner. This would also allow me to eliminate the main personal invasion recording device in our house. We’d still have the Echo Dot in the spare bedroom for guests but that area is walled off from the rest of the house. I trust Apple in regards to my privacy far more than Amazon and always will. The additional convenience features of iCloud / HomePod integration for reading my calendar and composing messages..I already have an Apple Watch for that. I generally issue HomeKit commands to my Apple Watch. The iOS devices are always docked when I’m at home so the Apple Watch is my telephone, SMS device and HomeKit command center all in one at home. I won’t stop wearing the watch but sometimes on Sunday I don’t put it on if I’m home all day and suddenly can’t turn a light off or lock the basement door and am stuck yelling “Hey Siri” into the air and one of the 8 devices will wake up and hear my voice (wish the iMac had Hey Siri but I’m not really starving for more devices that listen to me).
I’ll finalize our use case by saying we don’t have anything connected to Alexa’s services. Every interaction with devices is through HomeKit.
Why not a HomePod right now? Well, for the more practical reasons that I think spending $300 now might be a waste because
- No AirPlay 2
- No Multi-User
- No way to send audio from Bluetooth devices
- Siri still needs some improvements
- Can’t sync up multiple devices so a HomePod in the living room and kitchen (it’s an open floor plan) would be great
HomePod may get those features through software updates and then I’d pick up one that’s refurbished or used for 20% off in 6 months but if not, HomePod 2 a year from now would likely be our time to switch.
The only reason I’d switch earlier is if I truly get tired of the Alexa-shuffle as I call it of repeating tasks many times to finally get it to take your command. I think it’s a pretty dumb assistant.