Apple Unveils $349 HomePod Smart Speaker
Apple has announced HomePod, a home music speaker powered by Siri, and also its answer to Amazon Echo and Google Home. The device is powered by Apple’s A8 processor — yes, the same chip that backs iPhone 6 — and has six microphones to help Siri pick your voice from across the room.
Apple HomePod pretty much fairs with the Apple design inside and out, with just under 7 inches in height, coming in a cylindrical shape. The home music speaker uses spatial awareness to sense its location in the room and automatically adjust the audio. You can use HomePod with Siri from across the room to listen to Apple Music, even when loud music is playing, and control HomeKit-enabled devices. The Siri waveform appears on the top of the device to indicate when Siri is engaged. The colors, oh yes!
HomePod isn’t just a good music companion, but also a great home assistant. It allows you to send messages, get updates on news, sports and weather, and control smart home devices. When away from home, you can remotely access the device through the Home app on iPhone or iPad. As far as security and privacy are concerned, HomePod sends information to Apple servers only after “Hey Siri” is recognized locally. The information is encrypted, and sent using an anonymous Siri identifier.
“Apple reinvented portable music with iPod and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “HomePod packs powerful speaker technology, Siri intelligence and wireless access to the entire Apple Music library into a beautiful speaker that is less than 7 inches tall, can rock most any room with distortion free music and be a helpful assistant around your home.”
HomePod is compatible with iPhone 5s or later running iOS 11. Offering white and space gray color choices, HomePod will be available for $349 in December initially in Australia, the UK and the US.