Apple's HomePod is finally launching on February 9, but the reviews are already pouring in. Overall, it sounds as though Apple managed to make a great-sounding speaker while leaving out many of the features that might qualify it as smart. However, there is one "smart" feature the HomePod does offer that you're probably better off not using: Personal Requests.
On the surface, Personal Requests sounds pretty useful. The basic idea is that it lets HomePod access your personal information to read recent messages, dictate a response, set reminders, create lists, and add notes using voice controls.
The problem (as The Verge notes in its review) is that Apple doesn't offer any sort of individualised voice recognition. That means anyone with access to your Wi-Fi (such as a roommate or your kids) can walk up to your HomePod and use it to read your recent text messages and respond to them as you.
By comparison, Google Home and Amazon Echo can both be trained to tell the difference between various voices. So until Apple adds a similar feature, you're better off switching Personal Requests off (or never enabling it at all). Thankfully, that part's pretty easy.
When you turn on your new HomePod, Apple will ask you whether you want to use Personal Requests. Just say no and continue with the rest of the set up process. If you already enabled the feature (or you weren't paying attention during setup) you can switch it off at any time from the HomePod settings screen on your iPhone.
Apple clearly has plenty of work left to do before the HomePod can really compete with Amazon and Google in the smart speaker race. Until then, at least it still sounds great, right?