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For Apple, being late to the smart speaker party isn't necessarily a sin. The company's ethos -- as explained by CEO Tim Cook time and again -- is that Apple cares more about being the best than being first. The $349 HomePod is proof that's not always true. Apple put considerable time and effort into making its first smart speaker sound better than its rivals, and I'd argue they succeeded. After a few solid days of testing, I can honestly say the HomePod is the best smart speaker I've ever heard -- it's just not very smart in the ways I was hoping. EMBRACING THE ECOSYSTEM. Just to be clear up front: anyone who isn't an ardent Apple user should probably just move on. The HomePod requires yo... Full story

13 February