Sneak peek of Apple-designed home music speaker
06 June 2017
Apple announced HomePod, a wireless speaker for the home that uses spatial awareness to sense its location in a room and automatically adjust the audio.
Designed to work with an Apple Music subscription for access to over 40 million songs, HomePod provides knowledge of personal music preferences and tastes and helps users discover new music. HomePod will be available starting in December, initially in Australia, the UK and the US.
“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 7in tall, can rock most any room with distortion free music and be a helpful assistant around your home.”
HomePod is designed for voice control with an array of six microphones, so users can interact with it from across the room, even while loud music is playing. By saying, “Hey Siri, I like this song,” HomePod and Apple Music become the perfect musicologist, learning preferences from hundreds of genres and moods, across tens of thousands of playlists, and these music tastes are shared across devices. Siri can also handle advanced searches within the music library, so users can ask questions like “Hey Siri, who’s the drummer in this?” or create a shared Up Next queue with everyone in the home.
As a home assistant, HomePod can be used to send messages, get updates on news, sports and weather, or control smart home devices by simply asking Siri to turn on the lights, close the shades or activate a scene. When away from home, HomePod is the perfect home hub, providing remote access and home automations through the Home app on iPhone or iPad.
Audio innovation and advanced technologies
At just under 7in tall, HomePod represents years of hardware and software innovation:
• Apple-designed upward-facing woofer, paired with the custom A8 chip, enables bass management through real-time software modeling that ensures the speaker delivers the deepest and cleanest bass possible, with low distortion;
• Custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters, each with its own amplifier, provides well-balanced smooth timbre as well as precise directional control of a multitude of beam shapes and sizes;
• Apple-designed A8 chip provides the brains behind the advanced audio innovations;
• Automatic room-sensing technology allows HomePod to quickly learn its position in a room, whether it’s in a corner, on a table or in a bookshelf, and within seconds, is optimised to deliver an immersive music listening experience wherever it is placed;
• Six-microphone array with advanced echo cancellation enables Siri to understand people whether they are near the device or standing across the room, even while loud music is playing;
• Siri waveform appears on the top to indicate when Siri is engaged, and integrated touch controls also allow easy navigation;
• Automatic detection and balance of two speakers using both direct and reflected audio to deliver audio wirelessly for an even more immersive experience; and
• Easy setup that is as intuitive as setting up AirPods - simply hold an iPhone next to HomePod and it’s ready to start playing music in seconds.
Security and privacy are fundamental to the design of Apple hardware, software and services. With HomePod, only after “Hey Siri” is recognised locally on the device will any information be sent to Apple servers, encrypted and sent using an anonymous Siri identifier.
Pricing and availability
HomePod will be available for £270 ($349) in white and space grey starting in December. HomePod is compatible with iPhone 5s and later, running iOS 11.