What are the requirements before becoming a staff writer? You are wrong about multiple timers, and you are wrong about handoff and Spotify. It is true that the HomePod & HomePod mini don't have direct support for Spotify (something Spotify can take care of if it wants to) but the handoff feature allows for you to play anything your phone can play. Oh ya! and to refer to he HomePod as giant stretches credibility. It is 8 inches tall and about 6 inches in diameter.
Finally, although alexa has had a feature called drop in for a while the intercom feature is more like a cross between that and announcements. Unlike drop in which opens a two way conversation, intercom on HomePod just allows you to send an audio file to 1 or more HomePod's and potentially other apple devices (watches, phones, CarPlay, AirPods etc). The person receiving can say reply and talk back more like a walkie-talkie. Both have their advantages but Apple's solution is far less creepy!
Everyone should simply be excited for the differences the platforms showoff, because the best will be borrowed from each other and we all benefit.
The HomePod has handoff as well, just need to place your phone over the top of the HomePod. Haven't tried, since the update, if you just need to be near the HomePod for handoff to work. I use Siri more than handoff.