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The 2 Best Apple Speakers of 2023 Reviews

Updated
Best Apple Speakers

Apple is a tech brand known for making phones, laptops, watches, and tablets, though they've also made some speakers. The best Apple speakers have built-in Siri capabilities, making them suitable for home use. We've tested three Apple speakers, though only two remain on the market, as the first-generation Apple HomePod has been discontinued. However, you can still choose between the Apple HomePod (2nd generation) and the Apple HomePod mini.

Updates

Best Apple Speakers


  1. Best Apple Speaker

    The best Apple speaker we've tested is the Apple HomePod (2nd generation). Released in 2023, this sleek, wired-only smart speaker retains a similar design to its predecessor but with an improved sound quality overall. The most noticeable difference between the two models lies in their bass performance—and this speaker can bring much more thump and rumble than the original model, making it a great choice for listening to bass-heavy music like EDM and hip-hop. Plus, its bass-EQ microphone is designed to improve your listening experience at lower volumes, as it keeps a steady response in the lower frequencies, meaning you can hear all the punch in the bass without issue.

    This speaker is designed for easy integration with your other Apple products. Since it supports Apple AirPlay, streaming audio from your iPhone is a breeze. Plus, you can link the speaker to other compatible Apple devices to spread audio throughout multiple rooms in your home. As with Apple's other speakers, you won't find any customization tools, but its automatic room calibration device provides a solid sound by adjusting the device's output based on the acoustics of the room you're in. Built-in Siri support means you enjoy hands-free control right from the comfort of your couch.

    See our review

  2. Best Budget Apple Speaker

    If you want a more affordable smart speaker, check out the Apple HomePod mini. It's the smaller and more lightweight version of the Apple HomePod, with a similar marshmallow-like design that's available in several different colors. Thanks to built-in Siri, this speaker supports hands-free control, so you can add ingredients to your grocery list, check the weather, or skip to the next song easily. If you don't want the speaker to listen to you, you can even mute the microphone, which is nice.

    Naturally, Apple's smart speakers are designed for easy integration with your iPhone. The HomePod mini supports Apple AirPlay, so you can easily stream audio from your iPhone or iPad with low latency, which is great if you watch many videos. You can pair multiple speakers together to spread audio throughout multiple rooms in your home using the Apple Home app. Like other Apple audio devices, though, the lack of sound customization features is a bit disappointing, especially if you want to have lots of control over its sound, and the small size of the device means that it can't bring as much rumble in the bass as the Apple HomePod (2nd generation). That said, if you mostly listen to content without a lot of bass mixed in, like voice-heavy music or podcasts, you won't notice much difference. Overall, you may find it's a better value for your needs.

    See our review

Compared to other brands


  • Compatible with Apple AirPlay. Generally, Apple speakers support Apple AirPlay, so you can pair your iPhone to the speaker to wirelessly play audio content. The speaker and your iPhone both need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network to use Apple AirPlay.
  • Built-in voice assistant. Apple speakers typically come with a built-in Siri voice assistant. Siri can usually understand you even if you're far away, though the Apple HomePod performs a bit better in noisier environments than the HomePod mini.
  • Good soundstage. The Apple speakers we've tested have incredible directivity thanks to their 360-degree design, resulting in soundstages perceived as open and spacious. They have to downmix stereo content into mono, resulting in a less immersive-sounding soundstage.
  • Can't easily stream audio content over Bluetooth. While you can use Bluetooth for audio handoff, which lets you transfer audio from your iPhone to the speaker, Apple speakers don't support Bluetooth pairing for playing audio content. If the speaker and your iOS device are on the same Wi-Fi, you can stream audio content using this configuration.
  • No EQs. The Apple speakers we've tested don't have an EQ to let you tweak their sound profile. They have fairly balanced sound profiles out-of-the-box, though.
  • Wired design. You need to plug the Apple speakers we've tested into a power source for use, which reduces their versatility. They're more suitable as home speakers than portable speakers.
  • Not impact or water-resistant. Since the Apple speakers we've tested are generally for home use, they aren't impact-resistant or water-resistant. They typically aren't rated for dust resistance, either.

Apple vs Amazon

Apple and Amazon both manufacture smart home speakers with built-in voice assistant support. Amazon's Echo series offers well-designed wired speakers for home use, available in several different sizes and price points to meet your needs. Naturally, they rely on Amazon Alexa voice assistant instead of Apple's Siri. Also, they have more customization tools in general.

Apple vs Google

While Apple's speakers are designed for easy integration with the Apple ecosystem, Google's speakers are designed with other Google products in mind. You'll find built-in Google Assistant rather than Siri and Chromecast built-in support rather than Apple AirPlay compatibility. These sleek wired-only home speakers are available at similar price points, though Google's speakers come with some more customization tools.

Apple produces premium smart speakers that are designed for home use, as well as easy integration into your existing Apple ecosystem. However, they don't come with an EQ to customize their sound. Additionally, they're hard to pair with devices over Bluetooth, and some of their functions aren't compatible with Android devices.

Lineup

Apple has only manufactured three speakers as of our publication date. The "HomePod" series represents their top-of-the-line premium speakers that are larger and come with some additional features compared to the smaller "HomePod mini" series.

Recent Updates

  1. Mar 15, 2023: With the release of the Apple HomePod (2nd generation), we've updated the text and added the speaker as the 'Best Speaker' pick.

  2. Feb 09, 2023: No changes in product picks; minor updates to the text regarding the second-generation HomePod release.

  3. Oct 14, 2022: Removed the Apple HomePod from the Notable Mentions and made small adjustments to overall text for accuracy.

  4. Jun 16, 2022: Minor updates to text for consistency.

  5. Feb 17, 2022: Verified product availability, and updated text for clarity.

Conclusion

Apple speakers generally have a Siri voice assistant built-in and need to be plugged into a power source to use them. They're compatible with Apple AirPlay for streaming audio content from an iPhone, but you can't easily pair them with devices via Bluetooth. Typically, they're not water or impact-resistant since they're designed for home use.

Test results