First look: Apple's HomePod speaker

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 2017
Apple took the wraps off HomePod, a competitor to so-called "smart speakers" like Amazon Echo, on Monday, later offering WWDC attendees a closer look at the device prior to an expected debut in December.




Apple had both white and black HomePods on display at the San Jose Convention Center, though neither model was fully functional. Whether the HomePods contained speaker hardware, a processor and other components is unclear, as the only functioning feature was the Siri graphic on top of the unit.

Aside from a single power cable, the sneak peek versions do not feature input/output ports, suggesting Apple plans to rely solely on wireless connectivity for audio transfer. The decision comes as no surprise considering the company's efforts to slowly remove wired connections from its product lineups.



From a design standpoint, HomePod is an elegant piece of equipment that should fit in with most modern home decors. A 3D mesh acoustic fabric hides away functional bits like a 7-tweeter pack, 6-microphone beamforming array, central up-firing subwoofer and chassis.

An A8 chip sits below the speaker cap to handle realtime acoustic modeling, audio beam-forming, and multi-channel echo cancelation. Perhaps most importantly, the A8 also powers Siri, making HomePod an intelligent assistant device capable of accepting commands, answering queries, controlling HomeKit accessories and more.

HomePod is expected to ship in December for $349.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 61
    retrogustoretrogusto Posts: 690member
    In case you ever wondered what a Mac Pro wearing fishnet stockings would look like.
    StrangeDaysfastasleepbloggerblogalmondrocapotatoleeksouppscooter63lostkiwi
  • Reply 2 of 61
    It's pricey compared to Amazon and Google but not overpriced for a piece of audio kit. It needs to be better than Amazon/Google though and based on the price/performance of Beats gear, we can't be sure. Worth getting as long as it'll last like normal hifi speaker. Not sure it'll be worth $700 for stereo but as a back-up speaker I'm sure it'll do
  • Reply 3 of 61
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 6,264member
    yeah ill get one of these for use in our large master bathroom. perfect for when taking a bath -- currently use either an AirPlay speaker or a BT portable, but the sound on either aint great. if this is as good as they said, and the voice control for music is optimized as they've said, then it could be worth it.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 61
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,835member
    Several people I've spoken to thought it was stated it would only work with the paid Apple Music.  Surely it will work with Air Play as well?  My take that was referencing how you got the 'Music expert' not implying that was all it could do.  I hope I am not wrong.
  • Reply 5 of 61
    shapetablesshapetables Posts: 201member
    Home automation for the masses is something that has to work 100% of the time (like electrical outlets themselves) and be secure from hackers (not just for the benefit of their owner's privacy, but also to prevent the owner's devices from being weaponized against others, in other words, the common good), so I do totally understand the real value that Apple is bringing with its mandated quality assurances and chip-level encryption in their ecosystem vs. say the junk that the local big box peddles for half the price. But most people don't understand that value proposition and so it was brilliant to kick it up a notch with the inclusion of a high fidelity digital speaker that cosmetically appeals to their sense of luxury and ego. Apple is truly way ahead of the game and hopefully will be an example for the government to hold up to others when it eventually reigns in all of the get-rich-quick-and-worry-about-consumer-safety-later players peddling very dangerous home automation peripherals programmed in Asia by electrical engineers concerned mainly with pinching pennies and passing UL/FCC certification.


    morkyeightzero2old4funpscooter63longpathradarthekat
  • Reply 6 of 61
    dachardachar Posts: 330member
    Looks to be a bit bigger than a Sonos Play 1 and about 1.75 times the price. I look forward to hearing  how the sound quality between the two compares. There are cheaper wireless speakers than the quality Sonos products, so the for some the difference in price could be 3 times the price. Will the added features like Siri be attractive enough to justify the extra cost? Perhaps for those who are already using various Apple products but not for those  customers with other Apple products just looking for wireless home speakers. 
  • Reply 7 of 61
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,209member
    Becha it doesn't arrive December 1st.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 8 of 61
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,070member
    I'll have to hear the sound quality before I judge this speaker. For now, I think the best one on the market that is both wireless and audio in jack is the Marshall Stanmore. 
  • Reply 9 of 61
    morkymorky Posts: 171member
    I think the price point may be confusing to those who see it as an Echo or Google Home competitor, which it is. I understand they are competing with Sonos here as well, plus providing a secure home automation platform, but it might make sense to have a cheaper version without the high-end audio to compete directly with Amazon and Google. I actually need a good audio system and may consider this, despite also owning a Google Home. Plus I'd rather buy into the HomeKit world than use competing platforms, for integration with my existing Apple-based home tech, and for security reasons. I'll keep the Google Home, though, as Siri is not to good at answering questions.
    entropysalmondrocalostkiwi
  • Reply 10 of 61
    NY1822NY1822 Posts: 561member
    Will this speak all the languages of Siri, bc on the apple website is just says: Languages: English
    ireland
  • Reply 11 of 61
    jcdinkinsjcdinkins Posts: 114member
    dachar said:
    Looks to be a bit bigger than a Sonos Play 1 and about 1.75 times the price. I look forward to hearing  how the sound quality between the two compares. There are cheaper wireless speakers than the quality Sonos products, so the for some the difference in price could be 3 times the price. Will the added features like Siri be attractive enough to justify the extra cost? Perhaps for those who are already using various Apple products but not for those  customers with other Apple products just looking for wireless home speakers. 
    Honestly, maybe, but not if you already own a half dozen Sonos Play 1's...While I like the hands free functionality, Sonos just flat beat Apple to market with a very well constructed, high quality sound system that is interconnected.  While having to use an app to control music, it isn't that big of a deal, and I can't see replacing the Play 1's with this any time soon, unless they just start flaking out for some reason, which I don't see happening.  New purchase?  Possibly.  Existing Sonos users, nah.
  • Reply 12 of 61
    darkpawdarkpaw Posts: 119member
    I like the idea of having Siri somewhere other than my iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, but I think they've got the price wrong here. Given that in the UK this will sell for a direct $ - £ conversion, I could get 7 Echo Dots for £349. 7 Echo Dots covers my house and garden summer house. I don't have £349 for every room. The Echo Dot does everything I need to, and it does more than one timer!

    I've no doubt people will buy this, but I think it's far too overpriced for the majority. And yes, I know that Apple isn't in it for the majority (which is a bit of a weird way to run their business), but just think what they could achieve sales-wise if they sold it at a more reasonable price.
    avon b7
  • Reply 13 of 61
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,129member
    Need to know more about the new features of Airplay2. 

    I knew it did multi-room audio sync years ago.  What else is new?   
    I'd be very happy to see 5.1 audio support and Hi-rez 

    I think Apple's doing the right thing at the 350 price point.   Any lower and your 
    market is going to get eaten up by Bluetooth speakers. 


    pscooter63
  • Reply 14 of 61
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,430member
    At that price it should come with Apple TV built in as well.
    in fact, why not a range: a cheaper entry level version; this one; one with Apple TV built in, and one that is a standalone home kit hub, apple TV and speaker all in one.  
    And to really seal the deal, have them all connect with a NAS (yeah, I'm dreaming that will ever happen).
    edited June 2017
  • Reply 15 of 61
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,433member
    MacPro said:
    Several people I've spoken to thought it was stated it would only work with the paid Apple Music.  Surely it will work with Air Play as well?  My take that was referencing how you got the 'Music expert' not implying that was all it could do.  I hope I am not wrong.
    I agree with you, since every other Apple device works with Spotify and other music services.
    edited June 2017
  • Reply 16 of 61
    Pricey...

    My IPad's audio is really good already, so I'm not interested.

    But

    It seems like an Apple docking station that includes an improved Mike and speakers would be more useful.

    The people that would be interested already have all the other hardware built into their IPhone/IPad.

    The appeal of Amazon's products are they're cheap, we'll see if theirs an upscale market...  

    Sonos would be the next logical step up. (Not this from Apple)
  • Reply 17 of 61
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,847member
    It needs battery like most BT speakers to make it really wroth a buy. 
  • Reply 18 of 61
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,070member
    tzeshan said:
    It needs battery like most BT speakers to make it really wroth a buy. 
    HopePod isn't supposed to be a portable speaker. 
    dementuschikanpscooter63
  • Reply 19 of 61
    2old4fun2old4fun Posts: 207member
    darkpaw said:
    I like the idea of having Siri somewhere other than my iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, but I think they've got the price wrong here. Given that in the UK this will sell for a direct $ - £ conversion, I could get 7 Echo Dots for £349. 7 Echo Dots covers my house and garden summer house. I don't have £349 for every room. The Echo Dot does everything I need to, and it does more than one timer!

    I've no doubt people will buy this, but I think it's far too overpriced for the majority. And yes, I know that Apple isn't in it for the majority (which is a bit of a weird way to run their business), but just think what they could achieve sales-wise if they sold it at a more reasonable price.
    And Rolls Royce runs their business in a weird way, way too over priced for most car owners. 
    pscooter63StrangeDays
  • Reply 20 of 61
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,433member
    darkpaw said:
    I like the idea of having Siri somewhere other than my iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, but I think they've got the price wrong here. Given that in the UK this will sell for a direct $ - £ conversion, I could get 7 Echo Dots for £349. 7 Echo Dots covers my house and garden summer house. I don't have £349 for every room. The Echo Dot does everything I need to, and it does more than one timer!

    I've no doubt people will buy this, but I think it's far too overpriced for the majority. And yes, I know that Apple isn't in it for the majority (which is a bit of a weird way to run their business), but just think what they could achieve sales-wise if they sold it at a more reasonable price.
    Lots of complaints, but this is just a weird comment. Did you also bitch about the Echo because you can buy almost 3 or 4 Echo Dots for the price of an Echo? Do you understand that the Echo has better speakers, mics and other HW than the Echo Dot? That's to say the Echo is right for you, but saying "I can buy x-many [McDonald's hamburgers] for the price of a [good steak dinner]" is just a ridiculous comparison/
    pscooter63MacProwatto_cobraradarthekatrezwits
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