Video: Apple gets ready to ship HomePod after month-long delay

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2018
The HomePod was previously scheduled to hit the market before the end of last year, but Apple issued a statement in November saying it needed more time before the product is ready for customers, giving it an "early 2018" release date.





The Taiwanese company Inventec has reportedly shipped 1 million HomePod units to Apple, hinting that Apple will soon be releasing the product. But not enough information is out there to know exactly how soon. Inventec also assembles Apple's AirPods.

Foxconn is the other alleged HomePod assembly partner, but its not clear how many units they're rolling out right now, if any. Together the two firms are expected to ship between 10 to 12 million units in 2018, splitting orders equally.

So if you're planning on buying a HomePod, you'd better get your card ready and keep your eyes open, since there's no way to know how quickly they'll go out of stock.

The HomePod is Apple's $349 smart home speaker, aimed at competing with devices like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, which both run around $100-130.




Now you may be thinking, how can the HomePod possibly compete with other smartspeakers at that high of a price?

First of all, it's touted as a high-quality speaker, instead of just a smart home speaker, and even the new model of the Amazon Echo is somewhat lacking in audio quality. It's loaded with hardware like 7 tweeters, 6 microphones, a subwoofer, and Apple's A8 processor, taken directly from the iPhone 6. There's potential for the HomePod to put out sound comparable to some speakers above the $349 price point, but we'll just have to see.

It has software to back it up, including Apple Music, Siri, and HomeKit integration, real-time acoustic monitoring, microphone beamforming (so the HomePod can hear you over loud music), multi-channel echo cancellation, spatial awareness, beamforming tweeters, and AirPlay 2 compatibility.

Physical controls on top let you play, pause, and adjust the volume, and show an LED waveform that animates with your every word when making a Siri command, just like on your iPhone.

The HomePod definitely has the looks to back up the price, with 3D mesh acoustic fabric enshrouding the device, and it should fit in with most modern home decor. For color options, you have a simple and clean white or black.

You can also pair two HomePods in the same room, and they'll be aware of each other, working as a team to fill the room.
applesnorangeslolliver
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 54
    Wasn’t planning on buying one but the second they’re released I probably will!
    welshdograre commentk2kwlolliverpichaelbshankwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 54
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,735member
    Meh, already pre-failed by the AI denizens.
    StrangeDaysJWSCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 54
    thrangthrang Posts: 908member
    I'm in...
    lolliverbshankwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 54
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    I'm buying this thing day one cause I think this kind of live processing to feel the room, and even react real time to the position of listeners is very powerful.

    Creating effective soundscape is one use that people don't mention and I find fascinating. Effectively, sounds could inhabit the room (creating a kind of AR sound layer for every aspect of the room).
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 54
    T A K E
    M Y
    $ $ $ $ $

    Getting Two
    applesnorangeslolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 54
    What’s it’s USP? There has to be a fundamental reason to its delay. Surely all thT processing power is there for something special?

    Siri is still way behind Alexa, crack Siri and it’s a winner, also enabling open source apps is a must. I love it but i’m Out until it makes a compelling case.
    dtb200
  • Reply 7 of 54
    SendMcjakSendMcjak Posts: 66unconfirmed, member
    Come on Apple, finish AirPlay 2 and allow manufacturers to build/release small "Siri Dots". 
    Solilolliver
  • Reply 8 of 54
    What’s it’s USP? There has to be a fundamental reason to its delay. Surely all thT processing power is there for something special?

    Siri is still way behind Alexa, crack Siri and it’s a winner, also enabling open source apps is a must. I love it but i’m Out until it makes a compelling case.
    Not a super compelling USP but if the screen does more than just show a siri waveform, that would be useful.  The LACK of a screen on echo and google home is a real handicap - needing to ask how much time is on a timer rather than just glancing is cumbersome.  Also, again not a compelling USP but an interesting one - leveraging Apple's ability to extend a single phone number to multiple devices would be very interesting.  I guess we'll see when it comes out but my guess is no USP beyond high quality sound.
  • Reply 9 of 54
    What I'd really like to do with HomePods, apart from playing music on them, is to use a pair of them as TV speakers for an Apple TV setup. It's always seemed a waste to me to need two sound systems in my living room, one for music playback, and one for the TV. I realize that for audiophiles, and for home cinema fans, having two speaker systems, whether or not they're fed from the same receiver/amp, is the way to go, but for ordinary mortals like me, having one reasonably high-quality speaker pair serving both use-cases would be pretty compelling.
    applesnorangesbrertechlolliverJWSCwatto_cobragoodbyeranchimat
  • Reply 10 of 54
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,309member
    SendMcjak said:
    Come on Apple, finish AirPlay 2 and allow manufacturers to build/release small "Siri Dots". 
    Since when does Apple give third-party manufacturers access to control their core platforms? Oh, that's right. Never.

    Siri control goes in the other direction on AirPlay 2. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 54
    What I'd really like to do with HomePods, apart from playing music on them, is to use a pair of them as TV speakers for an Apple TV setup. It's always seemed a waste to me to need two sound systems in my living room, one for music playback, and one for the TV. I realize that for audiophiles, and for home cinema fans, having two speaker systems, whether or not they're fed from the same receiver/amp, is the way to go, but for ordinary mortals like me, having one reasonably high-quality speaker pair serving both use-cases would be pretty compelling.
    Exactly what i would use it for.

    If you have an Apple TV, it should definitely be able to hook up using Airplay 2. 

    Other than that, I'm not sure if it'll hook up like that with a Smart TV. Would be nice. 
    lolliverJWSCwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 54
    Sure a speaker is fine and all - but when I have siri on my wrist, in my ear buds, on my phone and on my mac.. chances are that i really don't need her sitting on a shelf somewhere too, I already have very good access to her. Amazon however needs Alexa sitting on a shelf because they don't have a single product in the market that is in the personal space of their users. This whole category is tiny in the market, I don't see that changing after apple's introduction.
    mike54watto_cobraGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 13 of 54
    I’ve been anticipating the HomePod ever since the Amazon Echo was announced. The ability to access Siri from a central home location for HomeKit devices and information, not to mention a great sounding speaker for music, audiobooks, etc will be a welcome addition. My mother lives with me and, as someone who does not use her iPad mini 2 to it’s full potential, she will now be able to access HomeKit devices and information a lot easier. Wallet at the ready, Vadim!
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 54
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,041member
    What I'd really like to do with HomePods, apart from playing music on them, is to use a pair of them as TV speakers for an Apple TV setup. It's always seemed a waste to me to need two sound systems in my living room, one for music playback, and one for the TV. I realize that for audiophiles, and for home cinema fans, having two speaker systems, whether or not they're fed from the same receiver/amp, is the way to go, but for ordinary mortals like me, having one reasonably high-quality speaker pair serving both use-cases would be pretty compelling.
    I have my sound bar 5.1 system that is doing exactly that: HDMI (ARC) to connect to TV HDMI (ARC) while Optical port and Bluetooth are for other music devices.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 15 of 54
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,032member
    I'm in for 2 if they do what I want them to do.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 54
    What I'd really like to do with HomePods, apart from playing music on them, is to use a pair of them as TV speakers for an Apple TV setup. It's always seemed a waste to me to need two sound systems in my living room, one for music playback, and one for the TV. I realize that for audiophiles, and for home cinema fans, having two speaker systems, whether or not they're fed from the same receiver/amp, is the way to go, but for ordinary mortals like me, having one reasonably high-quality speaker pair serving both use-cases would be pretty compelling.
    I don't understand. I have a single stereo/speakers set that outputs audio from the TV as well as music (radio, AirPlay by way of Airport Express, etc). Why do you need two?
    GeorgeBMacStrangeDays
  • Reply 17 of 54
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,246member
    What’s it’s USP? There has to be a fundamental reason to its delay. Surely all thT processing power is there for something special?

    Siri is still way behind Alexa, crack Siri and it’s a winner, also enabling open source apps is a must. I love it but i’m Out until it makes a compelling case.
    Do you actually use any of these voice assistant devices? I do!!!! Siri is not way behind. Alexa is far from better. Personally, I think the Apple Watch which can do pretty much most anything these things can do is the better device to own as it works everywhere you're at. You don't have to litter your house with these speakers to even make them useful and still doesn't cover outside in your yard or maybe your garage. As someone who has a growing Homekit house.
    <br><br>
     I happen to have a Ecobee 4 which has built-in Alexa. So to even use Alexa, I have to stand there in the Hallway. I have to talk loud enough for it to hear me. I wouldn't count that against Alexa, and more so the Ecobee. Though I have an Alexa Dot showing up at my house to play with in my Bedroom along with my Google Home Mini, and then use my iPad Pro for Siri. That way I can better sit there an ask each one the same thing to compare. Guess which one works better to control the Ecobee by Voice? Alexa which is built in. Google Home, or Siri?
    <br><br>
    Alexa is actually the WORST of the 3. Here are my real reasons. First off, I got it installed, programmed all up. Using the iPhone to set it up to the Network quicker was a nice feature. So anyway I was able to set a timer, play a song. I tried setting the temp and it didn't know what I was talking about. Ops, Oh ya, I have to go to AMAZON and setup the Ecobee Plus Skill for Voice control to even work with it. Strange when it's built into the device and is still clueless. But OK. Did it. Now what? I also have it setup for Siri control and Google Home Control. So with Siri or Google for that matter I can just go "Hey Siri, set the temp to 68" and Siri will just set the temp on the Ecobee to 68. Google on my Mini works the same. Alexa, on the other hand, seems to be dumber. First off you have to TELL it, or ASK it to do something and with what. So I have to say something like "Alexa, Tell Ecobee to set the temp to 68" So while I don't have to add a Hey, I do have to TELL it and to DO it with what device. Alexa has a ton of Skills. Have you taken a look? So to do anything more than the Basic, you have to install these SKILLS. To use these skills, you first have to know that exist on that Alexa, and then you have to know how to get them to work, which requires saying to correct wording or it'll FAIL.
    <br><br>
    Going through, most of the stuff is crap. I've installed a couple Star Trek sound effects, but It's been a few weeks, I don't know if I can even get them to work again without looking up the commands once again. It's really like Apple's App store was in the early days with a ton of Fart Apps!!! That's kind of what it's like there. Just a lot of crap you'll never use. Are you really going to be playing Jeopardy on Alexa?
    <br><br>
    Where I think these things shine and are the most useful is really Home Automation. Home Control. I can lift my wrist and go "Hey Siri, Open Garage" and BAM my garage door starts opening up!!! I'm doing that NOW. What's even better, my garage lights are on Homekit controlled Switches. So the one side I'm walking though normally to get in/out of my house, I have those lights linked to the garage door using Apple's HOME app. So that when the door Open's, the garage lights also come on. When the door closes, the garage lights go off. Even if you use the real button mounted on the wall and push that to open and close, the garage lights still go on and off with the door. It's a huge deal for me. It's just so much brighter in my garage when it's dark now. Because the garage door opener lights don't lighten up the garage all that good.
    <br><br>
    When I can lift my wrist to set a timer, a reminder, an appointment, see a Message, reply to a message, receive and answer voice phone calls. Ask when the 49er's play next. I can go on and on, and this is on my ORIGINAL Apple Watch. I little slow, but it does it just fine. My Google Mini, Locked in my Master Bedroom. My Alexa, Locked in the hallway. My Alexa Dot that will arrive today will also be locked in the Master bedroom. That's the problem. Locked in their rooms by a power cable. Apple's HomePod is the same. Google comes out and releases 3 devices at 3 price points. Amazon now has 7-8 of these things for sale. Apple? 1 $350 device, that's really more focused on Music. So that's really a $10+ device on top of the $350 you pay up front, in the name of having to pay for a Apple Music Subscription to even make it useful. It's focused on Music after all. Google, ya, they support Google Music, but also Pandora and Spotify. I think I can use them with Alexa also?!?! I think I saw some skills for those. How well? I don't know yet.

    <br><br>
    During Christmas time. I was able to go to the Google Mini and say "Hey Google, Play Bing Crosby Christmas Music" It did, from Pandora, even though I don't pay. I tried it again Yesterday and it seems to no longer work. Siri, on the other hand, would tell me how it can't find that in my itunes Library. If I tried to add Pandora in, Siri tells me it can't do that.
    <br><br>
     Alexa is getting thrown onto a lot of stuff. Doesn't make that stuff any better. I would have been better off to just get a Ecobee 3 and then a Alexa Dot that I could place anywhere. But again I was trying to not litter my house up with these things. They all have their Pro's and Con's, but Siri really gets a bad rap. I keep wondering if they even use Siri? Why is Alexa so great? Most of the time I just don't get it. Siri works so well for me. It's not perfect, but then again, none of them are.
    <br><br>
     I can lay down in my bedroom and just ask the same questions to all 3. So far it's been mostly Siri and Google, and the results have been almost a tie. With Siri, for me just a bit better with the answers on a few of the questions. With getting the DOT and being able to also use that in my Master Bedroom, I can throw Alexa into the Mix more also.  They're cheap enough where you can buy them and play around with them.  Apple?  Not really.  The Apple Watch I think is a better device to have, but it's also limited to 1 person and costs more money.
    <br><br>
    edited January 2018 mike54roundaboutnowlolliverRayz2016watto_cobraStrangeDays
  • Reply 18 of 54
    What I'd really like to do with HomePods, apart from playing music on them, is to use a pair of them as TV speakers for an Apple TV setup. It's always seemed a waste to me to need two sound systems in my living room, one for music playback, and one for the TV. I realize that for audiophiles, and for home cinema fans, having two speaker systems, whether or not they're fed from the same receiver/amp, is the way to go, but for ordinary mortals like me, having one reasonably high-quality speaker pair serving both use-cases would be pretty compelling.
    I have an Oppo blu-ray player with HDMI input (and USB input), so that's connected to my receiver for audio and my projector for video and allows me to play audio from Apple TV, CD, DVD, Blu-ray and A/V files from a flash drive all through the same Blu-ray player (using its excellent D/A converter) and my 34-year-old receiver. I can also stream to that receiver over wifi via my Airport Express, or plug other things directly into the receiver. Two stereos does seem like overkill. 
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 19 of 54
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 2,057member
    What I'd really like to do with HomePods, apart from playing music on them, is to use a pair of them as TV speakers for an Apple TV setup. It's always seemed a waste to me to need two sound systems in my living room, one for music playback, and one for the TV. I realize that for audiophiles, and for home cinema fans, having two speaker systems, whether or not they're fed from the same receiver/amp, is the way to go, but for ordinary mortals like me, having one reasonably high-quality speaker pair serving both use-cases would be pretty compelling.
    Exactly what i would use it for.

    If you have an Apple TV, it should definitely be able to hook up using Airplay 2. 

    Other than that, I'm not sure if it'll hook up like that with a Smart TV. Would be nice. 
    I am wondering if Apple will come out with a full System like SONOS with sound bar and bass unit.  

    I Would like it to do 5 things:
    1. Stream music and audio from iOS to multiple units.
    2.  Home theatre with sub woofer .
    3.   Act as PC speakers for both windows and macOS
    4.    Enable home automation control via Voice where Siri finally understands me like Alexa does.
      Siri needs to be great.
    5.   Support multiple accounts for families.

    it doesn't have to have a home theatre sound bar right now, but tell me it's is coming by the end of this year.

    A HomePodMax coming in the future would be great too.
  • Reply 20 of 54
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 2,057member
    What’s it’s USP? There has to be a fundamental reason to its delay. Surely all thT processing power is there for something special?

    Siri is still way behind Alexa, crack Siri and it’s a winner, also enabling open source apps is a must. I love it but i’m Out until it makes a compelling case.
    Not a super compelling USP but if the screen does more than just show a siri waveform, that would be useful.  The LACK of a screen on echo and google home is a real handicap - needing to ask how much time is on a timer rather than just glancing is cumbersome.  Also, again not a compelling USP but an interesting one - leveraging Apple's ability to extend a single phone number to multiple devices would be very interesting.  I guess we'll see when it comes out but my guess is no USP beyond high quality sound.
    You can always get an Echo Show and CES had other smart speakers with a screen like the Lenovo Smart Display.
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