Apple has been rumored for the longest time to announce a competitor to Amazon’s wildly successful Echo line of Artificial Intelligence smart connected speakers. At WWDC 2017, all of those rumors were laid to rest with the official announcement of the HomePod. Apple claims that the HomePod will “reinvent music in homes like the iPod did for music on the go.”
The HomePod is shaped like a mesh-wrapped Mac Pro, with a seven-speaker array of tweeters. There are six microphones that surround the top of the device for voice recognition, which is just like what is found on Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot. Additionally, there is a four-inch upward-facing subwoofer alongside an Apple A8 processor. The reason for the A8 processor is for “spatial awareness,” which allows the device to automatically tune the sound to the space that the speaker is in.
Setting up the HomePod is very simple, just hold a compatible iPhone (iPhone 5S and up) next to the speaker, go through various screens and you’re all done. The process is very similar to the AirPods. Additionally, you can connect more than one HomePod in a single room for improved sound quality. The HomePod plays nicely with Apple’s new AirPlay 2 multi-room audio solution, so you can use more than one device as well as other AirPlay 2-enabled speakers around the house.
Because the HomePod is made by Apple, the device will have full compatibility for streaming with Apple Music. Since Siri is enabled, you can ask the assistant various questions about the music that is playing. Apple is claiming that the six-microphone array is good enough to pick up commands from far away, even when there is music playing at full volume. Just like Amazon’s Echo and the Google Home, a little LED indicator pops up when it hears a command.
The HomePod can also function as an assistant since it has Siri built right in. You can ask it the usual unit conversion questions, asking it for the latest news, weather, traffic, sports, reminders, timers, etc. Siri on the HomePod will also be able to control HomeKit enabled devices as well as fulfil queries such as sending a message through iMessage, plus more. To activate the HomePod all you have to say is “Hey, Siri,” and its ready to answer any of your burning questions. Apple also highlighted that, for security purposes, until a command is not heard, recorded data from the speaker will not be sent to Apple servers.
The device will cost about $349 and will be available in two colors: white and space gray. It’ll ship to Australia, the US, and the UK in by December. So what are your thoughts on this device? Let us know in the comment section down below. Get caught up on all of our WWDC news coverage right here.