The first time I got close to one of Apple’s HomePods was in a secluded meeting room at WWDC. Sonically, at least, it blew away the competition. After seven months — not to mention the introduction of other impressive smart speakers — Apple invited me to spend another hour with a near-final HomePod, and it still sounds like the one to beat. There’s much more to the HomePod than just its stellar sound quality, though, and my time spent with Apple’s new speaker provided answers to some key lingering questions. But first: the basics.