Joe Cieplinski hits the nail on the head with his look at the smart speaker battle in Good vs. Better at Bad. Specifically with smart assistant technology:
But it’s not good. Not for most people. It’s barely past the point of being a parlor trick, if we’re being honest. Answering trivia questions? Turning on the lights? There’s a reason even early adopters generally resort to using these devices for a small set of simple tasks. That’s about all they can do reliably.
That's what I was alluding to in my quick HomePod reaction last weekend:
I do have an Echo Dot and while the breadth of the skill library is impressive, a vast majority of the skills have very limited use cases. It is like shopping on Amazon, you know you can get almost anything there, but you keep buying the same small number of things you actually need.
HomePod reviews read as if the smart assistant race is over or at the very least, Apple is miles behind. The reality, as Joe points out, is we're early stages -- we haven't even gotten to "good" yet. I'm not saying Apple/Siri will win, by any stretch. I'm not even concerned with Siri winning or being best, just good enough for my needs.
For many people, Siri handles enough to make the "smart" part of HomePod acceptable. Especially when the speaker part is well past the "good" cutoff. I write this as I listen to the Black Panther soundtrack through HomePod. Every listening experience reinforces this fact.