Apple today announced their entry into the smart home speaker industry with HomePod during WWDC 2017. It features a design similar to that of the Mac Pro but with a height of just under 7 inches and a mesh fabric which offers higher quality acoustics.
The HomePod utilizes an in-house built upward-facing woofer paired with a custom A8 processor to for “bass management through real-time software modeling that ensures the speaker delivers the deepest and cleanest bass possible, with low distortion.” There’s also seven beam-forming tweets each with its own amp to provide “well-balanced smooth timbre as well as precise directional control of a multitude of beam shapes and sizes.” As you can see, Apple’s really capitalizing on the sound quality produced from the HomePod although it remains unknown as to exactly how well the speaker sounds.
That being said, we do know the speaker can adapt to any room you put it in. It uses room-sensing technology to figure out whether it’s in a corner, on a shelf, or on the coffee table to balance its sound output to provide an even sound throughout your home. It also uses a six-microphone array so you can activate Siri using the “Hey, Siri” hotword from wherever you are in the room.
Speaking of Siri, the voice assistant is pretty limited right now. Apple has chosen a few different commands you can ask Siri like what the weather’s like, who won the Phillies game, and how the stocks are doing while also having the ability to control everything that’s a part of Apple Music which is basically a necessity with this speaker. Of course, Siri will grow over time, but don’t think you’ll be able to take notes in Evernote by using your voice and new HomePod on day one.
Furthermore, when activating Siri, a waveform will appear on the top of the speaker indicating she’s ready to listen. You can also pair two HomePods together to deliver a more immersive sound experience in your home. Setup is also supposedly pretty easy and similar to AirPods, with users simply having to hold a HomePod close to their iPhone to immediately start playing music. We’ll obviously have to check this feature out once we get hands-on time with it.
We’ll have more to talk about regarding the HomePod later this year as it won’t be shipping until December. It also won’t be very cheap, with the Siri speaker costing $349. Hopefully, Apple cuts this price in half for a second HomePod since $700 would simply be too much to ask for while both Amazon and Google offer deep discounts on buying their smart home speakers in bulk.