After reinventing the music industry with the introduction of the iPod and iTunes, the computer industry with the introduction of the Mac – and redefining what would forever be expected from the wearable category with Apple Watch, Apple on Monday previewed its vision for the future of home audio …
Set to see its launch officially later this year, the firm’s completely reimagined home speaker solution previewed for the first time this week will aim to rival not only other wireless speakers, such as SONOS and Bose, but, perhaps more notably …other intelligent speakers.
“HomePod combines Apple-engineered audio technology and advanced software to deliver the highest-fidelity sound throughout the room, no matter where it’s placed. This elegantly designed, compact speaker totally rocks the house,” the company explains.
As for the technicals behind that sound:
[…] seven beamforming tweeters that precisely focus the sound, from very narrow beams all the way to true, consistent 360º audio.
Measuring 6.8 in. (172 mm) in height by 5.6 in. (142 mm) across, and powered by the company’s own A8 chip, HomePod will specifically feature; a high-excursion woofer with custom amplifier, an array of seven horn-loaded tweeters each with their own custom amplifier, six-microphone array for far-field voice control and room sensing, internal low-frequency calibration microphone for automatic bass correction, and direct/ambient audio beamforming alongside being able to process audio at a transparent, studio-level dynamic.
In addition to reportedly sounding great – thanks to its directional speakers that were shown during Schiller’s talk as being able to throw each underlying part of a track around the room, separately, HomePod will also arrive with a few other tricks up its sleeve …
Arguably the most important of those is tight integration with Siri.
Finally unlocking the doors for music fans everywhere to wirelessly control what they choose to listen to through the company’s accompanying streaming service – Apple Music, (a feature notably missing from most of the major official home audio solutions already out there), HomePod will -in addition- also allow for control of HomeKit-enabled appliances and accessories that already exist in your home…
Siri has all kinds of answers.
Because it has Siri, HomePod can hear and answer questions in the most popular categories. Timers. Clocks. Measurements. Translations. News. Sports. Weather. Traffic. And general knowledge. It’s great at the things you want to know, and do, in your home.
How to command a room.
Just say “Hey Siri, turn on the lights” or “cool the room” or “lower the shades.” A wide range of accessories work with Apple’s HomeKit platform — from air conditioners to garage doors to security cameras. Just add an accessory to the Home app, then control it with your voice on HomePod.
Just as with Apple Music on the iPhone, iPad and Mac – the firm reiterates that using Siri on HomePod to indicate whether you like or dislike what is currently playing, will ultimately also influence HomePod’s understanding of your music tastes.
“[…] Which means you can also just let it pick the songs. And when you open Apple Music on any other device, your playlists and preferences are right where you left them. Wherever you go, the beat goes on,” Apple says.
Perhaps one of the lesser-talked about features of HomePod so far, though, is its ability to respond to your touch …
“Tap the top of HomePod to play, pause, or adjust the volume,” the company explains on the product’s official mini-site, as it adds that the top of the speaker “also shows you when Siri is listening,” with ”an LED waveform that animates with your every word.”
HomePod will see its debut this December. The speaker will be available in two colour variants (black or white) and will retail for $349.