As the HomePod hits stores, Apple shares tips to get the most out of it

It costs almost as much to fix a broken HomePod as it does to replace it

apple homepod
Jeremy Kaplan/Digital Trends
Apple’s long-awaited smart speaker landed in stores on Friday, February 9. The HomePod is a new type of product for the tech giant, and to ensure owners get the most out of it, Apple has posted a bunch of tips in a useful guide.

One tip you might not find, however, is an extremely important one — that is, not to break your HomePod. As it turns out, it will cost $279 to repair your smart speaker if it is out of warranty. If you’re trying to mail it in for a fix, you have to hand over an additional $20. That means that for $50 more, you could just … buy a whole new HomePod. Luckily, if the only damage to your HomePod is the power cable, you only have to pay $29 to replace that particular part.

That aside, according to Digital Trends’ recent review of the HomePod, setup is, as you expect with Apple kit, “dead simple,” involving little more than holding your iPhone close to the speaker and following a few prompts on the display.

But if you get in a pickle from the start, Apple’s new user guide will set you straight.

It’s split into various sections, including: Get started, Apple Music, Apple Podcasts, News, Control your home, Assistant, and Support and safety. Most have sub-sections where you can find out more about the HomePod’s various features and discover ways to get the most out of it.

News junkies, for example, can quickly receive updates from major sources around the world simply by saying, “Hey Siri, what’s the news today.” If you want to switch to another source, you can say, “Hey Siri, switch to the BBC instead,” or whatever outlet you prefer. Of course, you can also ask for specific types of content by asking Siri for “sports news” or “business news,” and so on.

But of course, as the guide’s different sections suggest, the HomePod does a whole lot more than just respond to your requests.

Brilliant sound but pricey

In DT’s review, the $349 HomePod was warmly received, praised for its “gorgeous design, brilliant sound, simple setup, and effortless control of HomeKit devices.”

Downsides, however, include lack of multi-user support and the inability to use Siri for third-party music streaming services. We should also point out that the HomePod has no regular Bluetooth support, and that you need an Apple device that runs iOS 11 in order to set up the device at all. That means that unless you’re an Apple junkie who has outfitted your entire life with devices from Apple, this speaker may be difficult to use.

It’s also one of the more expensive smart speakers on the market, and more expensive than similar offerings from major rivals, including Amazon’s new Echo ($99), and Google Home ($129), though Google Home Max is pricier at $399.

If you’re getting interested in smart speakers but have yet to take the plunge, be sure to check out DT’s recent piece comparing offerings from the three leading players in the space. As you might expect, we discovered that each of the devices has strengths and weaknesses, though depending on your needs, some will matter more than others.

Updated on February 12: The HomePod will cost at least $279 to fix. 

Product Review

Amazon's new Echo is smaller and cheaper; firmware upgrade improves sound

The all-new Echo is shorter, cuter, and comes with several different color and fabric choices. Our Amazon Echo review reveals that while the acoustics initially weren't great upon release, a firmware upgrade has improved the sound.
Home Theater

A recent Twitter leak may show the upcoming AirPods 2 model

Apple plans to release new AirPods much the same as it does new iPhones, and a wireless charging case, water resistance, and better Siri integration are among the improvements we can expect in future models.
Smart Home

Ecobee announces Black Friday deals on smart thermostats and smart switches

Ecobee's 2018 Black Friday deals are live. Ecobee's smart thermostats and smart wall switch are compatible with smart home voice assistant systems including Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit, and Samsung SmartThings.
Smart Home

Amazon has a huge team dedicated to enhancing Alexa and Echo

An Amazon executive on Tuesday, November 13 revealed the huge size of the team that's tasked with developing the Echo, the company's smart speaker, and Alexa, the digital assistant that powers it.
Deals

Here are the best Amazon Echo and Google Home deals for Black Friday

Google Home and Amazon Echo smart speakers compete head to head when it comes to smart home tech. Whether you're a fan of Alexa or Google Home, we've found the best prices on your favorite smart home devices.
Product Review

You don't need Alexa in your microwave, but you'd be surprised what she can do

Amazon has added to its long portfolio of products with the AmazonBasics Microwave, a small appliance that works with Alexa. We took the microwave for a test drive to find out more.
Smart Home

Wynd’s new air-purifying bundle lets smart home owners breathe easier

Wynd is already well known in the tech industry for its popular Kickstarter-backed air purifier and now the company is launching two new products designed to improve air quality to inform smart home owners.
Smart Home

Google Assistant adds smart home bells and whistles in time for the holidays

Just in time for the holidays, Google Assistant is introducing a bunch of new smart home features, including the ability to reply to broadcast messages, create and use cookbooks, and access enhanced storybook content for kids.
Smart Home

Brew it fast, hot, and flavorful with our favorite coffee makers

Whether you're looking for a simple coffee maker to get you through the morning or a high-end brewer that will impress your taste buds and your friends, you'll find some of the best coffee makers around on this list.
Emerging Tech

These Alexa-stuffed retro phones don’t listen until you take them off the hook

Looking for an Amazon Echo with a cool vintage touch? Los Angeles-based Grain Design is taking old, non-working antique phones and transforming them into amazing Alexa smart speakers.
Smart Home

This alarm clock uses targeted light and sound to wake you, but not your partner

The Wake v2 isn't like your typical bedside alarm. Instead, it wakes you by shining a soft light directly into your face, thereby not disturbing the person sharing a bed with you. Pretty smart, huh?
Deals

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…
News

Xfinity indoor/outdoor camera zooms in on Grinch’s faces and license plates

Comcast's Xfinity Home security cameras can help the police catch Grinches who steal delivery packages from your home. The cameras use artificial intelligence to analyze moving objects and zoom in on faces at your door and license plates.
Smart Home

Airbnb hosts are offering free rooms to those displaced by California wildfires

Several thousand Airbnb hosts in California are opening their homes to help those displaced by the devastating wildfires in the state. Free accommodation is being offered to those affected through November 29.