The Apple HomePod and Bose Home Speaker 500 are two of the best smart speakers on the market, and their prices reflect that. At $299.99 apiece, quality sound doesn’t come cheap. Both devices also serve as a smart hub for you to add new devices and control your smart home. Apple is known for its premium quality products, while Bose is known for designing exceptional sound systems. So how do the two smart speakers stack up?
The two smart speakers stack up very well, though they are different in aesthetics, software, and sound distribution. Below, we’ll take a look at these differences and more so you can decide which speaker is best for your smart home setup.
Bose Home Speaker 500 vs. Apple HomePod
As smart hub devices, both products are loaded with features. While Apple HomePod is limited to a single voice assistant, Siri is every bit as useful as Alexa or Google Assistant with the Bose Home Speaker. Still, both devices have their pros and cons:
|Bose Home Speaker 500||Apple HomePod|
|Dimensions||8.0 x 6.7 x 4.3 inches||6.8 x 5.6 inches|
|Sound||Two 2.5-inch full-range drivers for 360 degrees sound / digital signal processing / QuietPort for low-frequency response||7 tweeters / 4-inch woofer / 6 microphones + spatial awareness|
|Colors||Triple Black / Luxe Silver||Space Gray / White|
|Compatibility||Most third-party smart home devices, iOS and Android, Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri||Most third-party smart home devices and all iOS devices from iPhone 6 and up and Siri|
|Wi-Fi||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac with MIMO|
|OS||N/A||tvOS / iOS|
|Price||$299.99||$299.99 / Discontinued|
|Memory||Cloud storage||1GB LPDDR3 RAM / 16GB storage|
Despite the discontinuation of the Apple HomePod—in favor of the Apple HomePod Mini—the comparison with Bose Home Speaker 500 is still valid, especially considering that Apple sold roughly 3 million HomePods during its life cycle.
Apple has a distinct advantage in hardware, software, and memory, with its A8 processor, iOS, and 16GB of storage along with 1GB of RAM. Also, Apple has MIMO technology, which uses multiple radio antennas to provide several pathways for data to stream.
The Bose Home Speaker 500 takes advantage of more digital assistants. In February of 2021, Bose added Apple integration to its smart speaker lineup. This is in addition to Alexa and Google Assistant. The Bose Home App also works with Android and iOS devices.
One reason Apple has such a loyal and lifetime user base is its stance on privacy. AirTags and iOS update 14.5 are indications that Apple isn’t poised to change anytime soon. Google and Alexa, on the other hand, are a different story entirely.
Google and Amazon take in massive hauls from selling user data to third parties. Luckily, Bose has joined with Apple, giving users another option outside of Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
Many people don’t take into consideration the lengths Google and Amazon will go to invade privacy. There are many examples of Amazon or Google employees listening to private conversations, selling user data, or even manipulating security systems.
The Bose Home Speaker 500 doesn’t have the option of muting the mic, so when using Alexa or Google Assistant, that is something to consider. The Apple HomePod gives you the option to turn the mic off, in addition to the multitude of security and privacy features that Apple offers, including a constant stream of updates to address the latest security concerns.
Apple and Bose take two vastly different approaches when it comes to audio. Bose is known for the depth and rich bass of their sound, and the Bose 500 is no exception, despite lacking the overall punch of some of its predecessors.
Bose Home Speaker 500
The Bose 500 is dependent on its physical location. This is because it uses its two drivers to deliver audio from its sides—from the left and the right—and bouncing the sound off of surrounding walls to give listeners the feeling of immersion. The effect is outstanding and free of distortion, despite originating from such a small speaker. But this is something Bose has done (and done well) for a long time.
Apple went a different direction and, despite lacking the bass levels of its Bose counterpart, the HomePod produces a slightly better sound quality head-to-head. The HomePod employs seven tweeters, a single, 4-inch woofer, and six microphones.
Why so many when the Bose only uses two drivers? Well, Apple combined these speakers with the A8 chip and a built-in accelerometer to achieve what it calls spatial sound or, from the listener’s perspective, spatial awareness.
For example, the HomePod beams up-front sounds, such as vocals, away from obstructions or walls, while bouncing background sounds, such as a bass guitar, off of walls. This creates a natural sense of immersion.
Apple Home App vs. Bose Music App
No smart speaker is complete without its respective app. A garbage app will quickly destroy an experience with what would otherwise be a quality device.
Apple Home App
The Apple Home app is simple to use; however, it lacks the visual pop you usually expect in Apple products. The Home screen displays a Discover Home (get started) guide, an Add Accessory tab, and a + symbol that opens a drop-down menu containing Add Accessory, Add Room, Add People, and Add New Home options.
Adding the HomePod to your Home app is as simple as selecting Add Accessory and typing in the code found on the bottom of the device or using your camera to scan the QR code on the HomePod. Once added, all of the HomePod’s features are available to control from the app.
Bose Music App
Bose Music app is more visually appealing than the Home app, but it’s set up in essentially the same way. The Set Up New Product tab will take you to a page where Bose has grouped its devices into two categories: Headphones/Frames and Speakers/Soundbars.
Selecting either will begin an automatic search for the device you are adding, which in this case, would be the Bose Home Speaker 500. The app is very popular and maintains an aggregate review score of 4.8 on iOS and 4.7 on Android.
Since the discontinuation of the Apple HomePod, the only Apple choice remaining is the Apple HomePod Mini—which is essentially the same thing in a smaller package—because the HomePod is becoming scarce.
The three major factors boil down to whether or not you already have Apple devices, privacy concerns with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and better sound quality versus better bass.
If you’re an Apple enthusiast, the choice is the HomePod. No one integrates a family of devices better than Apple. If you’re concerned with privacy, remember, Bose Home Speaker 500 supports Apple as well. When it comes to quality sound or better bass, the choice comes down to personal preference. Either way, you’ll get a quality smart speaker and a great addition to your smart home setup.