Apple has touted a new intelligent speaker called HomePod at its WWDC 2017 keynote today.
Apple CEO Tim Cook himself announced the powerful device saying, “We want to reinvent home music.”
Together with Apple Music, it gives you easy access to one of the largest music catalogs today with 40 million songs. And you can control it through the company’s integrated voice assistant Siri.
The HomePod is a music-first device and a voice-enabled speaker next. It delivers powerful sounds and adapts to its surroundings.
“We completely reimagined how a speaker should make music in the home,” Apple added.
The speaker combines Apple-engineered audio tech and innovative software to produce hi-fi sound wherever it is playing. Coming in white and space grey variants, the HomePod is stylish, elegant and smart.
Despite its compact appearance, the HomePod comes with the following hardware components:
- Apple A8 microchip
- 4-inch, high-excursion woofer
- Six microphones for far-field Siri and room sensing
- Seven horn-loaded tweeters
- Internal low-frequency calibration microphone for automatic bass correction
- Direct and ambient audio beamforming
- Transparent studio-level dynamic processing
All components are inside a seamless mesh black or white fabric designed for acoustic performance and aesthetics.
The woofer has a custom amplifier for a wide range of deep bass. And a motor drives the diaphragm a full 20 millimeters despite the device’s small size of 6.8 inches tall and 5.6 inches wide.
Apple said the HomePod uses an algorithm that analyzes music nonstop and tunes low frequencies to avoid distortions.
The array of seven tweeters form a narrow beam that delivers sounds from all angles.
“By aiming those beams throughout the room, the tweeters create an immersive sense of space–no matter where HomePod is or where you’re sitting,” it added.
An Apple-designed A8 chip provides the processing power behind the most complex audio technologies in this device, including direct and ambient audio and echo cancellation.
User-friendly, smart and automatic
Apple said, “HomePod is smart enough to sense where in the room it’s playing. Or that you added another HomePod. Or that you’re telling it what you want to hear–even from across the room. Then it responds to all this information automatically, so all you have to do is listen.”
You place the HomePod anywhere you like, and it auto-analyzes the acoustics, tunes the sound based on your location, and directs the music in the best direction.
“Whether HomePod is against the wall, on a shelf, or in the middle of the room, everyone gets an immersive listening experience,” it added.
If you place a second HomePod in the same room, the two automatically balances each other for the best sound experience.
When added to multiple rooms, the speakers connect through AirPlay 2 so you can play music anywhere inside the house. And these are compatible with other AirPlay 2 speakers.
Apple also touts multiple security layers, including anonymous ID and encryption.
Apple Music and Siri
In addition, you can tell Siri that you like the song currently playing to play something different. With your choice of songs, Apple Music dynamically learns your taste in music.
Siri also answers simple queries such as the latest news, weather, timers, clocks, measurements, translations, traffic and more.
Other nifty features
You can tap the top to play, pause, or adjust the volume. It also shows you when Siri is listening thru an LED waveform that animates with your every word when using an iPhone or iPad.
Several Apple HomeKit accessories work with Siri. Just ask Siri to cool the room or close the garage door. It can automate commands for air conditioners, garage doors, security cameras and more. To do this, just the accessory to the Home app.
Pricing and Release
The HomePod costs $349 and starts shipping in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia this December. You have to wait until next year if you live outside those countries.