Orders for Apple’s Siri-based speaker ‘HomePod’ started January 26 ahead of February 9 launch. The HomePod is designed to reinvent the way music is enjoyed in the home, and, according to Apple, it does something that no other company or competitor has managed to do, combines a smart speaker with incredible sound. Here is everything you need to know about.
HomePod is Apple’s answer to the Amazon Echo, but again, with more of focus on music and sound quality. To differentiate the HomePod from competing products like the Google Home and Echo, Apple is focusing heavily on audio quality, and it’s just under seven inches tall but has packed a lot of technology into the device’s body.
More than that, the HomePod features a 7 tweeter array, with each tweeter outfitted with its own driver, and an Apple-designed 4-inch upward-facing woofer for crisp, clear, distortion-free sound even at loud volumes.
For a product that Apple started taking orders for on Friday, we still don’t actually know much about HomePod, and people are still figuring out exactly what it’s capable of. If you have close look at Apple’s website, which suggests that the Siri-powered voice control functionality only works with Apple Music, for example – it states “Siri works with Apple Music. Subscription required for Apple Music.” But that fact about if you use iCloud Music Library through iTunes Match, the digital music storage, and playback system that Apple Music largely superseded?
It is suggested that, for some reason, iTunes Match-only users wouldn’t be able to invoke playback requests with Siri for their music stored in iCloud. However, it has to be clarified that iTunes Match will be covered as well, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber has also heard that the HmePod works this way.
The HomePod acts as a regular AirPlay speaker as well, so you can beam content to it from any AirPlay-enabled app on your phone itself. You might even prefer this to Siri. There are several other things people who ordered HomePod will get starting February 9th onwards.
When speaking about the internal components in HomePod, they are controlled by an A8 chip, making it much more powerful than competing smart speakers. HomePod is equipped with spatial awareness, allowing it to intelligently analyze a room and adjust accordingly for the best possible sound. Included touch controls at the top of the device allow for simple navigation, and there’s 1GBof RAM.
Rest of the hardware specifications for HomePod is round, compact, and covered in a 3D mesh fabric selected for its acoustic properties. It has been designed by Apple to offer incredibly spacious, room-filling sound despite its small size. Following a software update later in the year, two or more HomePods will be able to be paired together for stereo sound and multi-room playback will also be available.
As you may all know by now that HomePod integrates with Apple Music and features built-in Siri support. With a 6 microphone array, the speaker can detect Siri commands from anywhere in a room. Siri has an improved understanding of music-related queries and can help users discover new content, serving as an in-home musicologist, as Apple says.
Activated via a “Hey Siri” command, and a visible LED waveform at the top of the speaker is designed to let users known when the personal assistant is listening. Siri can do a lot more beyond music, like provide News updates, play podcasts, offer weather reports, share traffic information, give Sports updates, set reminders, set times, send SMS text messages, and more. Essentially, Siri on HomePod can do much of what Siri on iPhone can do. Siri will also serve as a speakerphone, and users will be able to use hands-off to transfer calls from iPhone to HomePod.
It is said and admitted that HomePod is designed to work with an Apple Music subscription, it will be able to play content from third-party services from an iOS device or a Mac using peer-to-peer AirPlay. It is also not known if it will work as a standard Bluetooth speaker with non-Apple devices using a Bluetooth connection.
Like an Apple TV or iPad, HomePod serves as a HomeKit hub, which devices can be accessed remotely. Siri command can be used to control all HomeKit-command smart devices, positioning the HomePod as a centralized home control product.
Price and Availability
HomePod comes in White or Space Gray and will be priced at $349 in the United States. Apple planned officially to launch HomePod in December 2017, but in November the company announced it would be delaying the launch of the HomePod until early 2018.
But nevertheless, HomePod is now available to order from the online Apple Store ahead of an initial February 9 launch in the U.S., United Kingdom, and Australia. Debuts in France and Germany will follow later in the spring. Stay tuned for more.
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