Apple is taking on Amazon, Sonos and Google with the HomePod, a wireless speaker for the home that promises to deliver amazing audio quality while spatial awareness senses its location in a room and automatically adjust the audio.
Designed to work with an Apple Music subscription, HomePod provides knowledge of personal music preferences and tastes and helps users discover new music. HomePod features a large, Apple-designed woofer, a custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters and technologies built right in to preserve the richness and intent of the original recordings. HomePod will be available starting in December, initially in Australia, the UK and the US.
HomePod is designed for voice control with an array of six microphones, so users can interact with it from across the room, even while loud music is playing. By saying, "Hey Siri, I like this song," HomePod and Apple Music become a musicologist, learning preferences from hundreds of genres and moods, across tens of thousands of playlists, and these music tastes are shared across devices. Siri can also handle advanced searches within the music library, so users can ask questions like "Hey Siri, who's the drummer in this?" or create a shared Up Next queue with everyone in the home.
HomePod also provides a way to send messages, get updates on news, sports and weather, or control smart home devices by simply asking Siri to turn on the lights, close the shades or activate a scene. When away from home, HomePod isproviding remote access and home automations through the Home app on iPhone or iPad.
At under 7 inches tall, HomePod features:
- Apple-designed upward-facing woofer, paired with the custom A8 chip, enables bass management through real-time software modeling that ensures the speaker delivers the deepest bass possible, with low distortion;
- Custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters, each with its own amplifier, provides well-balanced smooth timbre as well as precise directional control of a multitude of beam shapes and sizes;
- Powered by an Apple-designed A8 chip
- Automatic room-sensing technology allows HomePod to learn its position in a room, whether it's in a corner, on a table or in a bookshelf, and within seconds, is optimized to deliver great music;
- Six-microphone array with advanced echo cancellation enables Siri to understand people whether they are near the device or standing across the room, even while loud music is playing;
- Siri waveform appears on the top to indicate when Siri is engaged, and integrated touch controls also allow easy navigation;
- Automatic detection and balance of two speakers using both direct and reflected audio to deliver audio wirelessly; and
- Easy setup that is a easy as setting up AirPods - hold an iPhone next to HomePod and it's ready to start playing music in seconds.
With HomePod, only after "Hey Siri" is recognized locally on the device will any information be sent to Apple servers, encrypted and sent using an anonymous Siri identifier.
HomePod will be available for $349 (US) in white and space gray starting in December initially in Australia, the UK and the US.1 HomePod is compatible with iPhone 5s and later, running iOS 11.