Everything We Know About the New Apple HomePod — Siri Enabled Smart Speaker
Today at WWDC, Apple announced their Siri enabled smart speaker, the HomePod. The name is inspired by the iPod, but for the home.
The price, when available, will be $349.
At launch, HomePod will be available in the US, UK and AU. Canada was not included.
The HomePod will start shipping in December, presumably in time for holiday sales this year.
There will be two options, dubbed “white” and “space gray,” which is effectively black.
Apple released a 30 second teaser you can see here:
What does it do?
For starters, HomePod plugs directly into an outlet for power, and streams music right from your iPhone, iPad or connected Apple device wirelessly using AirPlay 2. Although Apple has gone all-in on USB-C with their MacBook line, the announcement did not feature any input/output ports, suggesting all communication is meant to be wireless.
The device was being touted as a music player first and foremost, seemingly taking on Sonos at the entry level. It can automatically tune to its surroundings, so in theory it should sound good no matter where its placed. And possibly more important, you can connect multiple HomePods to create a surround sound system, a feature often lauded from Sonos.
Apple has been pushing the fact that HomePod has seven tweeters, a 4" woofer, and runs off an A8 chip. In other words, it should sound great for its size, but don’t expect this to compete with pro-level audio equipment.
Interestingly, HomePod is being advertised as only working with Apple Music, which touts some 40 million songs.
This device comes equipped with a 6 microphone array (for comparison, the Echo has 7). You can wake it up by saying “Hey Siri,” and it can handle music commands, messaging, HomeKit-compatible device control, and other features we’re used to seeing in Siri. This device is clearly taking on the Amazon Echo and Google Home, aimed at being your voice assistant at home.
HopePod is 6.8 inches high (172 mm), 5.6 inches wide (142 mm), and weighs 5.5 pounds (2.5 kg).
Unfortunately, that’s about all we know for now. The demo at WWDC was purely aesthetic, with no working models in terms of the microphone or the speakers (that we’re aware of). The top of the device appears to be a touch screen, but not too much of the UX was revealed.
For more, see the official HomePod page at: https://www.apple.com/homepod/
This was written by Alex Capecelatro, Co-Founder & CEO of Josh.ai. Previously, Alex was a research scientist for NASA, Sandia National Lab, and the NRL. Before that, Alex worked at Fisker Automotive and founded At The Pool and Yeti. Alex has an engineering degree from UCLA, lives in LA, and likes to tweet about AI, Startups, and Design.