Apple Announces HomePod, Further Establishes Dominance Over Your Music Choices
As if you didn't rely on Apple devices in your day-to-day life already, the Cupertino company just announced HomePod, its entry into the smart speaker arena.
After more than two hours of chit chat about iOS 11, the MacBook and iPad Pro at the Worldwide Developers Conference this morning, Apple finally announced something the general public might be very interested in. Typically WWDC is fully of technical details for the people that create software for the Apple ecosystem. This year however, the talk also included the first look at the new HomePod, Apple's oddly name smart speaker.
The market has seen some stiff competition in the home assistant/speaker/streaming music device arena. Particularly, Amazon, Google and Sonos have all been vying for consumers with varying makes, models and success. The HomePod won't be out until December (in the US, UK and AU), but its simple and sleek design will already have Apple aficionados clamoring to get their hands on one. Or two.
The device itself will come in white and space gray, and will retail for $349 when it hits this holiday season. The HomePod has seven tweeters and a 4" woofer inside, all of which run off an A8 chip, which is the very same one found in your iPhone. That makes it arguably the smartest speaker you can buy, but it remains to be seen whether or not that makes it the best.
HomePod does plug into an outlet for power, but will stream from your iPhone, iPad or connected Apple device wirelessly. With the addition of Siri, HomePoad can also act as home assistant for you, which means you'll be able to schedule appointments, check the weather, listen to podcasts, set alarms, and run your Home app if you have one. Being able to listen to Apple Music is nice and all, as are the smart predictions the software can make, but it's all about being able to set that mood lighting while your jamming out.
On the technological side, Apple's virtual demonstration of why HomePod is a superior speaker was all about the device's ability to recognize the space it was filling. By sensing the room size, space and what occupied it, HomePod can best determine how to project your music throughout. In practice, it looked like a lot of smart "Waves" being sent from the device that were reflected in the acoustics of the room to give HomePod an idea of its surroundings. You'll have to wait until December to see how that will translate to the actual product once in your home.