During the ongoing Apple Worldwide Developers Conference that is held in San Jose, California this year, Apple announced their latest versions of their various operating systems and also the renewed Macbooks and MacPros. One of the most interesting new products though was the HomePod, a direct competitor to the Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers. Apple took its time to develop their own approach to this category of products, but the result is truly justifying and impressive.
What Is It?
The Apple HomePod is a smart speaker, so it consists of a high-excursion woofer, a seven tweeter array, and a six microphone array, all controlled by Apple’s A8 chip that was used in the iPhone 6S, and contained inside a stylish cylinder shrouded by a mesh fabric. The speaker itself is quite powerful as it boasts a diaphragm travel distance of 20 millimeters, pushing enough air to make it sound loud around the house. All this can fit in a 5.6″ wide and 6.8″ high body, weighing 2.5 kilograms (5.5 pounds).
What Can It Do For Us?
Sound-wise, the HomePod can deliver both focused and 360-degree audio, and it can do so while continuously analyzing the sound wave reflection patterns and the music mixing to adjust the dynamics accordingly and mitigate the chance of distortions no matter the volume. If you put two or more of them into a room, they will detect each other and combine automatically to deliver the best listening experience.
Even when playing music at the highest levels, the HomePod is listening to you for a “hey Siri” command. You can order the speaker to play something from Apple Music, play a specific genre, artist or song, ask for details about the artist, and also state your opinion on what is playing. This will gradually help HomePod learn your music taste and adjust its playlisting algorithm accordingly.
Besides playing music, the HomePod can also control other smart devices in your house as long as they are compatible with Apple’s HomeKit platform. This includes air conditioning and heating systems, light fixtures, security cameras, etc. Finally, since Siri “lives” inside the speaker, you can enjoy her endless source of information, learn the news, weather, traffic, or simply set timers and notifications.
Price and Release Date
The price that was announced by Apple for the HomePod is set at $349 and the expected release date is in December 2017. That’s almost double of the price for a Google Home or an Amazon Echo, but in terms of sound quality and music playback capabilities, the HomePod is really beyond comparison, playing in another category. The main issue with all three products of this kind is security, and buying one of them is a personal decision for everyone out there.