UPDATE: Apple HomePod is finally available for pre-order. Here is everything you need to know about it.
Apple HomePod is a smart speaker that should be at the center of your home experience, and it’s great news especially for iPad and iPhone users.
It is an impressive start for the HomePod which commands a high price, but considering its premium polish that we expect from Apple, it would be worth its price.
• Powerful audio
• Varied use cases
• Lock down ecosystem
After the Apple’s WWDC keynote, we got an opportunity to see the HomePod, but we were not given a chance to touch it.
We tried to activate the HomePod with ‘Hey, Siri,’ but it didn’t work maybe because the software is not activated yet.
However, we were able to listen to the power of its audio and compare to other powerful speakers like Amazon Echo and Sonos Play:3 and it was excellent.
Apple HomePod price and release date
Apple claimed HomePod speaker combines both a smart speaker and the powerful source of music.
Apple said the speaker price is expensive because the speaker combines the best idea. With the price of the HomePod, Apple said the price is even a big discount.
So how much will it cost? You will pay $349 for the new Apple speaker, but it is not available yet. The release date of HomePod is December 2017 in the UK, US, and Australia while the rest of the world will get theirs in 2018. It means the US, UK, and Australia will get it before Christmas.
When the HomePod is turned on the first time, it will learn how the environment where it is looks by sending out a 360 beam sound to discover whether there is any surface nearby. If it finds out it is on a bookcase or a shelf, it will use the wall behind it to reflect a different level of sound.
This multi-room speaker is similar to what Sonos offered, although HomePod relies on you walking around the room where it is with your phone that uses a microphone to measure the space.
The HomePod will automatically detect another speaker nearby and connect to it and then balance the sound.
You can hold your device near the speaker to pair it. Apple has not confirmed whether you will be able to use non-Apple devices with the speaker or not.
HomePod audio performance
We were able to experience the HomePod in action and listen to the audio performance before it finally launches later this year.
If you compare the HomePod to both Amazon Echo and Sono Play:3, HomePod is easily the best in terms of performance.
HomePod size and features
HomePod is 7-inch with a 4-inch upward facing woofer that Apple said will rock any room with distortion-free audio. The speaker has 7 beam-forming tweeters in its base.
This speaker is more than a loud wireless speaker because it has Siri baked into it; the reason why everyone was calling it Apple Siri Speaker before launch. It means the speaker will be able to answer inquiries and access Apple Music’s catalog with a simple voice command.
The six-microphone array built in the speaker will pick the voice command. Unfortunately, Apple did not say anything about it working with other music services, but the AirPlay will allow you to play any music from your iPhone. It is not yet clear whether you will be able to use Siri to control playback.
Apple said you would be able to easily pair the speaker with your Apple devices, just like the Apple AirPods.
HomePod colors and design
HomePod will come in space gray and white. While it is possible that Apple reveals new colors, nothing was said about it.
It’d be great that Apple comes out with more colors or at least a way to personalize the speaker. If this didn’t happen before the launch in December 2017, the two colors picked by Apple are at least non-offending and subtle.
There is more to explore about the Apple HomePod smart speaker because the company really wants to take on both Amazon Echo and Google Home and aiming to be the best iPad and iPhone connected speaker around.
We are still waiting to test the performance of the HomePod voice interaction and recognition, but its sonic performance showed it is a speaker to reckon with.
If Apple can improve the HomePod Siri to match the Alexa, then it will be a great buy.
We can’t say why Apple offered an early look at the speaker despite the fact that it will launch in December (six months to this time), but we think it is using the strategy to keep people from buying rival speakers for their loved ones during the holidays.
We are keen to try out the HomePod voice performance to see how it really works, but the early performance is really promising.