Apple debuted its HomePod smart speaker last year during WWDC 2017. Since then, we haven’t heard nearly anything regarding when we might expect the device to launch. It was originally said the speaker would land by the end of 2017, but Apple had to confess and say it wouldn’t start shipping until early this year. Now, we have a concrete date for when you’ll be able to buy your HomePod.
According to a news release today, Apple will launch the delayed HomePod on February 9th. It’ll cost the same $349 it debuted with and go up for pre-order this coming Friday. Apple says the device will be available from its own stores and authorized retailers such as Best Buy in the US; Argos, Dixons Carphone (Currys PC World), John Lewis, Shop Direct (Very and Littlewoods), EE, and Apple Premium Resellers in the UK; and The Good Guys, Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, Myer, and Telstra in Australia. It’ll require an iPhone 5s or newer, iPad Air/mini 2 or newer, or iPod touch 6th-generation with iOS 11.2.5 to work.
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.
Will you be pre-ordering a HomePod?