Apple‘s HomePods are great products when it comes to audio quality, but when it comes to connectivity options things change. There are many questions about how they can actually be used, so let’s answer those questions that still make you see them as the least versatile smart speakers on the market. Because, can they be used with non-Apple devices? Could they be used as system speakers?
HomePod, big on sound and limitations
Anyone who has tried Apple’s HomePods will agree that the sound quality they offer is very high. However, compared to the rest of similar solutions that already exist on the market, it must be recognized that they are very limited in terms of connectivity. But if you think we are going to go by parts.
Leaving aside the original HomePod that has been discontinued, although it can still be purchased while supplies last , the HomePod mini is a device that can only be used through WiFi connections . That is, it does not give the option to send the audio via Bluetooth and it does not include any type of auxiliary connection as other proposals such as the Amazon Echo do.
What’s more, the 4th generation Amazon Echo is one of the most versatile. And it is that, for an identical price if we do not count the promotions that the Amazon proposal enjoys, this is a product that offers more connectivity options. To begin with, the 3.5mm Jack connection can be configured for both input and output. So, if you want you can use it as a conventional wired speaker connected to any sound equipment.
In addition, the Amazon Echo also allows you to connect it via Bluetooth to any device with that connection and use it as a conventional Bluetooth speaker. This is ideal when you don’t have internet to access any of the music streaming services that it supports or you simply want to improve the sound quality of your smartphone or computer, share music with others, etc.
However, this with the HomePod does not happen. As we have said, it lacks an auxiliary audio input and despite having Bluetooth 5.0 it cannot be used. The purpose of this type of wireless connectivity is to allow discovery and pairing with Apple products. Because once the configuration is finished, the audio is sent through AirPlay. But so that everything is clearer, let’s go by parts.
Can I use the HomePod as a Bluetooth speaker?
The answer to this question is: no, the HomePod cannot be used as a conventional Bluetooth speaker. What’s more, only Apple devices can actually send content via AirPlay. This is why its use within an ecosystem that has devices from other manufacturers and other operating systems other than Apple’s is less attractive.
Can the HomePod be used as a system speaker?
Yes, but only with Apple devices thanks to the use of AirPlay . Still, you should know that while you can play the audio heard on an iPhone, iPad or Mac through the HomePod, the experience can be very uneven.
For example, so that you are clear about what to expect in each of the most common situations that you might encounter in your daily use. When you play video through applications or platforms such as YouTube, Netflix and the like, there are usually not many problems and both the image and the sound are synchronized. If at any time this synchronization is lost, you just have to pause and play again so that everything is solved
However, if your intention is to use the HomePod as a system speaker that you will later use with applications such as Final Cut Pro to edit video and audio, then you should know that you will not be able to because lag is a big problem . And it is that we are not talking about thousandths of seconds but about a considerable amount that makes it not recommended at all.
Therefore, if the device is already limited in its use with other devices that use operating systems other than iOS, iPadOS, tvOS or macOS, you also have to know that with Apple equipment things improve, but continue being insufficient for those who seek to squeeze a little more its great quality when it comes to playing audio.
HomePod as a stereo sound system?
Finally, it must be said that while on an iPhone, iPad or Mac the use of video platforms such as YouTube or Netflix does not generate any problem, the best way to take advantage of it in situations of multimedia content playback is with Apple TV .
Here Apple has shown interest and allows the use of two HomePods to create a stereo audio configuration that does provide quality and improves the entertainment experience. In addition, as we already have, the configuration is very simple:
- Once your HomePods are configured, open the Home App from your iOS or iPadOS device
- Hold down on Apple TV and then tap on the gear icon to access settings
- Now, in the Default Audio Output option select the HomePod or the HomePod pair of speakers if you have opted for a stereo configuration
- Ready, you can now enjoy improved sound with Apple’s set top box
Hopefully Apple in a future version of the product or update of its operating system of some kind of solution to this type of use. Because the product is worth a lot for its audio quality. But if you are looking for something versatile, for now it is not.