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Apple HomePod – Sound & Music Quality Better Than Google Home, Amazon Alexa?

Now, we can’t give you a good review on the sound and music quality of Apple’s answer to Google and Amazon – The Apple HomePod. That is still to come, be rest assured!

But, for now, we will cover what we can with the information we have gathered thus far.

We have to presume that the HomePod will have fantastic music and sound quality, because in all fairness, the price for the HomePod certainly doesn’t add up just yet.

Apple HomePod Spatial Awareness

The first thing we’ll go through is the smart technology that allows the Apple HomePod to “sense where in the room it’s playing” – Apple have said that the HomePod senses where it has been placed in any given room, and automatically analyses the acoustics, adjusts sounds based on the location and “steers the music in the optimal direction”

Apparently, if you’re placing this Apple HomePod in a corner of a room, you won’t get that ugly tinny sound bouncing off two walls – It will instead adjust the several tweeters to adapt to its surroundings and play the best acoustics it possibly can.

Apple’s HomePod is able to detect the centre vocals and use beam forming to direct them. It uses the information it’s given by the A8 chip inside to precisely detect how to play music with the most optimal settings. It can detect something called direct energy to best make instrumentation as good as it can. The direct energy also helps with ambient audio (backing vocals and reverb), giving a fantastic boost that provides a rich mix to fill any room.

Two Are Better Than One

If you are excited to hear the Apple HomePod play your favourite tracks with its smart ability to adjust the acoustics to suit where it has been placed in any room, you should be excited to hear two of them (we don’t expect the average consumer to do this, as it will set you back a cool $700USD or $1000AUD)

But, if you wish to add another HomePod to your collection, and place it in the same room as your other one, you’re bound to hear a far greater music experience.

Not to forget, that with AirPlay 2, when you add multiple HomePod’s to different rooms of the house/office, the speakers can communicate with each other so you can play your favorite tunes throughout the whole house (or office, to liven it up a bit)

Now for the original question?

If you remember the title of this article asked, “Is the Apple HomePod’s music/sound quality better than Amazon Alexa/Google Home?” – The short answer to this is yes.

As both Alexa and Home are fantastic (and likely better home assistants than Siri), they are not purpose built for music and sound quality. Of course they both play a decent quality, but not the quality you’d expect after spending a few hundred dollars on a sound system type quality. This is where you see the price difference for these with Amazon’s Alexa fetching for about $229AUD and Google Home for $199AUD.

We hope that Apple’s promises of a superior music quality that will “blow us away”, as CEO Tim Cook said, are true, but we will wait, like the many other millions of Apple fans waiting to listen.

What is the best iPod for kids?

One of the most popular electronic devices among children is the Apple iPod. Which leaves parents asking the popular question – What is the best iPod for kids?

Lets face it… kids today are better at operating electronic devices than some adults. Children are always adapting quickly to modern technology and new devices. So its natural for a parent to second guess themselves when buying electronics for children.

Currently you have three options when purchasing a kids iPod – the iPod touch, iPod nano or iPod shuffle. Lets review each and find the best iPod for kids.

iPod touch

ipods for kids

  • Most expensive
  • Largest Screen (4″)
  • Only iPod with Camera
  • Wireless/Bluetooth Capable
  • iOS Software

If you were to take the Apple iPhone and remove the phone capabilities you would in fact have an iPod touch. Though because it has wireless capability you can send iMessages and make calls via FaceTime as long as you have a wireless connection. The iPod touch is the flagship iPod, the top of the line, the best. If money is no issue this is the iPod for you.

It comes with the latest iOS software built-in just like the iPad or iPhone. So if your child is already familiar with those product they will have no issues. Additionally iOS allows you to download apps to your iPod, for children this means mostly games and educational apps. The iPod touch allows for parental controls so you can limit what your child has access to, a big plus for parents of younger children.

The iPod touch takes beautiful photos and video and is the only iPod to do so. The iPod touch price range is between $199-$399 depending on the amount of storage 16GB-128GB. Given that, the iPod touch is the best iPod for kids who are crazy about music, video, photos, games and apps but are not yet old enough to be given an iPhone.

iPod nano

best ipod for kids

  • Mid-Range Price
  • Smaller Screen (2.5″)
  • No Camera
  • Bluetooth Capable
  • Generic Built-in Software

The iPod nano closely resembles the iPod Classic (now discontinued) in that its main objective is to play music. Theres nothing too fancy about this iPod however it does have some unique features.

The bluetooth connection allows you to connect to other devices say your car radio or home entertainment system. So if your child is begging you to play their music in your car, the iPod nano has no problem allowing you both to sing along. Speaking of radio it comes with FM radio built in. It also comes with Nike+ support so you can get your child interested in fitness early and teach them to track their fitness goals.

Your child will be able to store images and watch videos but the iPod nano does not have a camera to take videos or photos. The main objective of the iPod nano is to allow kids to store and play music and even podcasts. If your child has no desire to play games and download apps but wants to be a DJ, then the iPod nano is for you. Reasonably priced at around $149 the iPod nano is the best iPod for kids who love music.

iPod shuffle

kids ipod

  • Lowest Price
  • Smallest iPod
  • No Screen
  • No Camera
  • No Wireless/Bluetooth
  • No Built-in Software

The main feature of the iPod shuffle is its size, about 1″ square. If your children are active and play sports the iPod shuffle includes a clip which will allow them to keep playing to their favorite songs. This is about as simple as a modern device can get.

The iPod shuffle plays music in two ways either by “shuffling” or playing yours in order, thats it. If you or your kids are good with iTunes you can sync playlists so that songs go in the order you prefer. Additionally, you can turn the volume up and down or move to the next/previous track that is about it.  It’s only standout feature is the VoiceOver button which lets you hear the names of the songs. At $49 the iPod shuffle is the best iPod for kids and parents on a budget.

Bottom Line

Simply put we recommend buying the iPod touch. The iPod touch has the most features and benefits and generally is the best iPod for kids. Additionally the iPod touch has the most accessories available. If you are on a budget and looking for a children’s iPod the nano and shuffle are great low cost options.

Thinking about an iPad or Tablet?  Check out our article about the best iPad or Tablet for kids here.

How to reset Time Capsule and other AirPort Base Stations to factory default settings

How to reset time capsule or other AirPort Base stations.  If your Apple AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme or AirPort Time Capsule is failing to respond to your commands it may be time to do a factory reset. Additionally, this is an option if you’ve lost your password or your AirPort base station isn’t functioning as it has in the past. Lets learn how to reset Time Capsule and others with these quick tips.

Reset button location for: AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule 802.11ac

It should be noted that a factory reset will not erase any of your files from the AirPort base station. However, as in other articles, we always recommend having a fail proof backup system or at least a quick temporary backup.

Apple likes to make things a little confusing when it comes to resetting. In fact, there are three types of resets: Soft, Hard and Factory Reset.

hard reset time capsule
Reset button location for: AirPort Extreme 802.11n (top) and AirPort Time Capsule (bottom)

For this how-to article we are going to assume you have a Time Capsule for simplification purposes. Don’t worry if you have an Express or Extreme you can follow the same procedures.

reset apple time capsule
Reset button location for: AirPort Express 802.11n (2nd Generation)

If you are interested how to reset Time Capsule and you still have control of your AirPort Utility (Applications > Utilities) then you can try a soft or hard reset first. You should start with a soft reset first and the main difference between a soft and hard reset of your Time Capsule is the amount of time you hold the reset button. If you can not access the AirPort Utility then do a full factory default reset of your Time Capsule.

Soft Reset

  1. Press and hold the Time Capsule reset button for 1 second, then release (LED will begin flashing).
  2. Open the AirPort Utility (Applications > Utilities).
  3. After you select the Time Capsule, Click Edit.
  4. The Time Capsule is now in Soft Reset Mode.
  5. Simply move through the settings tabs and make adjustments as you see fit.
  6. Click Update or Continue as needed.
  7. Quit AirPort Utility.

Hard Reset

    1. Press and hold the Time Capsule reset button for 5 seconds (LED starts to flash rapidly).
    2. The Time Capsule will restart. (Takes about 1-2 minutes)
    3. Open the AirPort Utility (Applications > Utilities).
    4. Select the Time Capsule from Other Wi-Fi Devices, then click Edit.
    5. Select the Other Options button, Click Restore Previous Settings and then Done.
    6. Quit AirPort Utility.

Factory Default Reset

  1. First unplug your Time Capsule’s power cord.
  2. Press and hold the Time Capsule reset button.
  3. While continuing to hold the reset button plug in the power cord to your Time Capsule.
  4. Continue holding until the LED starts to flash rapidly.
  5. Your Time Capsule has now completed the Factory Reset.

Always reset Time Capsule before trying other options. If the soft, hard and factory reset do not solve your problems with your Time Capsule it may be a sign of a more significant problem like hard drive failure. In that case we recommend contacting Apple support or visiting your local Apple store for help.