The HomePod is finally here. For hardcore Apple fans, the 9th February cannot come soon enough. It has been a long road for Apple. Bring the innovative wireless speaker to market was a treacherous road for the tech company. The device was initially supposed to go on sale before the end of 2017, but in mid-December, a delay was announced. Now with a definite date released, HomePod arrives in stores beginning Friday 9th February 2018 but is available for pre-order this Friday 26th January 2018 in the US, UK and Australia. With the arrival in France and Germany scheduled for this spring.
Apple-engineered Audio Technology
Apparent competition to the Amazon Echo and Google Home, the 7-inch tall HomePod device has the advantage of having Apple’s revolutionised personal technology. All about the music, the company’s first smart speaker delivers stunning audio quality powered by Apple’s A8 chip that provides a wide, spacious soundstage. Using spatial awareness to sense its location in the room, it automatically adjusts the audio to sound great wherever it is placed.
Working together with an Apple Music subscription, the HomePod also uses advanced software for real-time acoustic modelling, audio beam-forming, echo cancellation and more. Packed with Apple-engineered audio technology, Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing shared, “HomePod is a magical new music experience from Apple. It brings advanced audio technologies like beam-forming tweeters, a high-excursion woofer and automatic spatial awareness, together with the entire Apple Music catalogue and the latest Siri intelligence, in a simple, beautiful design that is so much fun to use.” Adding, “We’re so excited for people to get HomePod into their homes, apartments and businesses to hear it for themselves. We think they will be blown away by the audio quality. The team has worked to give Siri a deeper knowledge of music so that you can ask to play virtually anything from your personal favourites to the latest chart-topping releases, simply by saying ‘Hey Siri.’”
HomePod also features a large, Apple-designed woofer for deep, clean bass, a custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters that provide pure high-frequency acoustics with directional control, and powerful technologies that preserve the richness and intent of original recordings. With a range of six microphones, HomePod can hear “Hey Siri” from across the room, even when loud music is playing. Setup is as easy and intuitive as setting up AirPods — simply hold an iPhone next to HomePod, and it’s ready to start playing music in seconds. The Siri waveform appears on the top to indicate when Siri is engaged, and integrated touch controls also allow easy navigation.
HomePod Maketh The Smart Home
HomePod is designed to work with an Apple Music subscription for access to hundreds of genres, moods and activities. It also learns preferences and tastes that are shared across devices. Using Siri to deliver in-depth knowledge of artists, songs, albums and more, HomePod can handle advanced searches within Apple Music’s catalog, so users can ask questions like, “Hey Siri, when was this song released?” or “Hey Siri, can you play something totally different?” to change the mood. Apple Music subscribers can enjoy a catalogue of more than 45 million songs, combined with their entire iTunes library, for online or offline listening — completely ad-free.
“HomePod is a convenient way to send messages, set timers and reminders, check the weather and listen to shows on Apple Podcasts.”
Siri intelligence helps users discover new music, control home accessories and more.
HomePod is a convenient way to send messages, set timers and reminders, check the weather and listen to shows on Apple Podcasts. The latest business news, headlines and sports updates stream directly to HomePod from NPR, CNN, ESPN and others. HomePod can also be used as a speakerphone with iPhone for crisp and clear audio quality.
With support for HomeKit, HomePod can control hundreds of home accessories or set scenes like, “Hey Siri, I’m home,” to control some different accessories at the same time. The smart home device can turn on the lights, raise the shades, set the desired temperature or make other adjustments and serves as the perfect home hub, enabling remote access and automation.
Introducing the SiriKit for HomePod
Through SiriKit, HomePod supports third-party messaging apps, so users can ask Siri to send a message to a friend or colleague using apps like WhatsApp. Reminders, note-taking and to-do list apps like Things and Evernote will automatically work with HomePod, so Siri can set reminders, create a new list, mark items as complete, or create and modify notes. For developers interested in adding SiriKit support.
Coming this year in a free software update, users will be able to play music throughout the house with multi-room audio. If HomePod is in the kitchen, users can ask Siri to play jazz in the dining room or play the same song in each room — perfectly in sync. If there’s more than one HomePod set up in the same room, the speakers can be set up as a stereo pair for an even more immersive sound experience.
Another thing worth mentioning is the security and privacy. Apple has stated that security and privacy were fundamental to the design of Apple hardware, software and services. With HomePod, only after “Hey Siri” is recognised locally on the device will any information be sent to Apple servers, encrypted and sent using an anonymous Siri identifier.
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HomePod will retail price for $349 (US). Available in white and space grey, the HomePod is compatible with iPhone 5s or later, iPad Pro, iPad Air or later, iPad mini 2 or later, or iPod touch (6th generation) with iOS 11.2.5 or later.