Apple has done it again! A new techy product is about to hit shelves and it’s set to be a hot topic for months to come. The Apple HomePod is joining the Apple family set to be available in December 2017.
The Apple HomePod was unveiled at WWDC 2017 (Worldwide Developers Conference) and is ready to compete with the existing Google Home and Amazon Echo.
What is the Apple HomePod?
Rumours first surfaced in September 2016, when it was suspected that Apple employees were testing out the new speaker in their own homes. Later rumours suggested the speaker was going into production, and now we know it all to be true!
Quite simply, the Apple HomePod is a home speaker equipped with a voice assistant. That’s right, Siri is back in an all-new role!
After her debut on smartphones around the world, Siri has changed the way technology operates in a big way. Now, she is getting in on the action of smart speakers.
Siri is about to compete with Google’s own voice assistant that released with the Google Home speaker last year. Siri and the HomePod, however, are changing the game.
With the new Apple HomePod, Siri is ready to help with everyday tasks, play music on demand and control your smart home. Pity, she can’t do laundry too.
The Apple HomePod will be available in space gray and white to seamlessly integrate into any home space and look awesome, too. The HomePod will be 7 inches tall, and feature 7 tweeters on the base and a 4-inch upward facing woofer, for superior sound quality.
The speaker is equipped with 6 microphones, to ensure Siri hears your voice commands accurately. These enable you to control the music you’re listening to, as well as ask Siri questions about the music, like who the band members are on the track that’s playing.
You’ll also be able to tell the speaker when you like a particular song, enabling Apple Music to recommend similar music in future.
The HomePod is said to be as easy to set up as the W1 chip-equipped Apple AirPods that were released in December 2016. It will require iOS 11 and an iPhone 5s or a later device to be compatible with the speaker.
Unlike any other speakers on the market, the HomePod features an A8 chip, which Apple claims to be the most powerful processor ever used for a speaker. The A8 chip was first introduced in 2014 with the iPhone 6, justifying just how powerful it is for a speaker.
This speaker will have the capabilities of being spatially aware that is, being able to perfectly optimize its sound to suit your home. Being able to detect the space that it’s in, the speaker will direct its channels accordingly for the perfect sound.
The HomePod will additionally have the feature of pairing 2 speakers up for a stereo-type configuration. There is no information available as yet to determine if it will be able to configure into a 5.1 home cinema system, like rival company Sonos Gear’s speakers.
The speaker will be compatible with an Apple Music subscription and run using iTunes. If is unknown as to whether Apple will change their ways and allow third-party apps to run on the speaker.
When you were beginning to think that this was just a speaker, Apple throws in a few extra features. These include iMessage, weather, reminders and controlling of home kit supported smart home devices.
Retail and Release
Now for the important questions. When can we get it? And how much will it cost? The release can be expected for December 2017 in the US.
The speaker will set you back a good $349. If you’re desperate to get your hands on one come December, best you pre-order one now, as quantities will be limited.
A New Challenger in the Arena
With a few existing smart speakers on the market, namely Google Home and Amazon Echo, Harmon Kardon is said to be readying a version with Microsoft’s voice assistant, Cortana.
The market is getting crowded and yet Apple remains with a real chance to stand out given their unique HomeKit system for home automation.