First look: Apple's HomePod is loud, heavy and powerful

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Comments

  • Reply 121 of 134
    Am I the only person around who has tried to play a video on my iMac (pro) through HP and found it to be a complete failure? There's like a 1 (or greater) second latency. I see lips move and a second later I hear the dialog. My iMac Pro is connected directly to an Apple Time Capsule (providing the wireless connection to the HP).  Haven't tried using the HP with Apple TV yet, but from my iMac it's worthless (for video). Also a bit annoying to press the pause button when playing music on my iMac and have sound continue to come out of the HP for a second or two.

    Not quite ready for prime time in my opinion. Given that they solved the latency problems with the AirPods, I'm surprised this problem exists with the HP right out of the box.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 122 of 134
    Heh, just clearing out email and got this from Rogue Amoeba today:

  • Reply 123 of 134
    jumejume Posts: 153member
    Nice to see Apple stepped up the game in the sound quality but very depressing to see SIRIS missed out on many "smart" features that Google and Amazon have since years.  
    williamlondon
  • Reply 124 of 134
    timmychunkstimmychunks Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    I'm on iOS 11.3 beta 2 as well and it appears AirPlay 2.0 is at least partially working in Control Center. If you open Control Center and tap the AirPlay icon in the Music card you get a new window with a card for Music on the iPhone, one for the HomePod and each Apple TV running tvOS 11.3 beta. You can tap on the HomePod card and this gives you control of the play/pause, skip to next track and go back and the volume. When you tap on the the title of the track it opens your Music app and allows you to browse your collection and select something to play on the HomePod. You can use Up Next. You can then go back to Control Center, switch back to your iPhone card and select something different to play there. Similar functionality exists for the Apple TVs; however it appears it's limited to just control music at the moment and not videos (as far as it takes you to the Music app - you can you play/pause, volume to control video already playing on the Apple TV).
    edited February 10 williamlondon
  • Reply 125 of 134
    rattlhed said:
    Got my HomePod today.  Installed and have listened to it for about an hour.  First impressions:

    1)  It sounds great.  Really has a good balance of sound.  It is a bit bass heavy at times, but never to the point I don't like it.  Really depends on the album.  Listening to Devon Townsend Project right now, incredible balance.  The bass has a huge range, from deep deep lows from electronic sounds to a nice punchy bass drum.  When I play some albums from the 80's (tried Metallica's "Trapped Under Ice") I can hear the bass but it definitely doesn't have the overall sound that a more modern album has, but it still sounds good.   I have always preferred a deep bass and high upper range with a slightly muted midtones (a u shape on an equalizer) and the HomePod seems to deliver that sound. I wish there was some control over the equalizer (tried adjusting the EQ in my iPhone settings but that doesn't do anything). 
    2)  It can get pretty loud for such a small package.  Not room shaking, but definitely loud enough to fill my living room and kitchen.  What is amazing, is when I turn it up all the way, IT DOESN'T DISTORT!  That's right, they made the HP capable of playing at max volume without sounding like crap (why make a device that can go to "10" when it sounds like crap at 9 or 10???").  Yes, the tone of the music does change a bit at different volume levels.  At higher volumes the mid range starts to creep in more.  At lower volumes that bass it a little more dominant. 
    3)  Siri isn't bad at all.  Her microphones can pick up my Hey Siri even when the music is quite loud, and I don't have to say "hey siri" and then pause, I can just keep talking and it will understand me.  Music control with my voice works very well.  I also dig the fact she can read my text messages and even reply back.
    4)  I subscribe to iTunes (such an awesome service).  It works so well.  I can either play music on my iPhone and airplay to the HP, or I can play music directly through the HP.  What is cool is when I play through my phone, I can control the volume, track, etc with my watch.  Switching between phone and HP is very easy to do.

    In conclusion, I'm quite impressed.  Sure it doesn't sound as good as my home audio system in my rec room, but it shouldn't.  It's a 8" high single device but the sound that does come from it is quite amazing.  It takes up very little room on my fireplace mantle and fills my living room with rich, wonderful sound.  It connects to my entire music library without having to reach for my phone if I don't want to.  It looks amazing, another high quality piece of hardware from Apple.  To me it's definitely worth the $350.  I don't have room for a full audio system in my living room.  Right now I have an echo (which for music sounds like crap), a sound bar for my TV (good for movies, bad for music) and really wanted something small that would sound good for music.  The HP fits the bill perfectly.  Very happy customer, and looking forward to future updates that make it even more powerful.
    Either you regurgitated my reviews or we both had consistent experiences with the HP. :wink: 

    https://forums.appleinsider.com/discussion/comment/3032582/#Comment_3032582
    https://forums.appleinsider.com/discussion/comment/3032617/#Comment_3032617
  • Reply 126 of 134
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,303member
    nhughes said:
    nhughes said:
    mike1 said:
    nhughes said:
    mike1 said:
    nhughes said:
    mike1 said:
    Looking forward to getting one soon.
    I do have a question, though, and maybe it will be covered in the full review.

    How does/will it respond to multiple voices? By design, this is not a personal device. It sits in a home and should be able to be used by more than one person. Can Siri be trained to recognize more than one voice? And if it recognizes different people, can it access different music profiles, different reminders or text messages based on who is making the request?

    Siri does not distinguish between people nor does it allow multiple accounts. If you enable access to messages, notes and reminders, and your iPhone is within range, anyone can access them by voice.
    If there are two people in the same room, in range, which does it go to?
    It doesn't distinguish voices, but does it respond to all voices? Currently, my wife's devices ignore my "Hey Siri" and vice-versa.
    I'm not really sure what you're asking here. Are you both saying Hey Siri at exactly the same time? It listens to whoever prompted it. I don't see where this would be a problem.

    It responds to all voices.
    OK. Gotcha regarding the voices.
    To clarify my other question. If there are two phones (sorry I typed people earlier) within range and you ask it to set a reminder or read back a text, which phone does it grab it from? Thanks for the responses, Neil.
    It can only be set up with one phone and one account, that's it. So if you ask it to pull text messages, it will only do so from the one authorized phone that was used to set up the account.

    Alternatively, as part of the initial setup, you can disable HomePod access to messages, reminders and notes. This means that not you nor anyone else will be able to read messages from your phone (or whatever one it is paired with).

    If you have access to messages enabled, there is no security feature. If your phone is within range, anyone can ask Siri to read your unread messages.
    How does the “Hey Siri” canceling work with multiple people in the room with multiple devices? I mean you initially set up HP with some voice samples, but that doesn’t matter as far as account recognition as it’ll respond to anyone, right? So what if someone else says Hey Siri but they’re talking to their watch or phone, both on a different Apple ID, and the HomePod on the other account is in the room and “takes” the request? Honestly confused how this thing works with potentially several people using Siri in proximity of the HP and how having only a single user setup for your personal information/etc makes any sense at all unless you live alone and have no visitors ever. 
    HomePod gets priority over all other devices as long as they are not active (ie, iPhone is locked, wrist is not raised). If you want to do an iPhone-specific command without HomePod, while HomePod is within earshot, grab your phone and unlock it first.
    Can the HomePod play HiRes audio files from a Mac? Does it down sample to do it?
    williamlondon
  • Reply 127 of 134
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,847member
    k2kw said:
    nhughes said:
    nhughes said:
    mike1 said:
    nhughes said:
    mike1 said:
    nhughes said:
    mike1 said:
    Looking forward to getting one soon.
    I do have a question, though, and maybe it will be covered in the full review.

    How does/will it respond to multiple voices? By design, this is not a personal device. It sits in a home and should be able to be used by more than one person. Can Siri be trained to recognize more than one voice? And if it recognizes different people, can it access different music profiles, different reminders or text messages based on who is making the request?

    Siri does not distinguish between people nor does it allow multiple accounts. If you enable access to messages, notes and reminders, and your iPhone is within range, anyone can access them by voice.
    If there are two people in the same room, in range, which does it go to?
    It doesn't distinguish voices, but does it respond to all voices? Currently, my wife's devices ignore my "Hey Siri" and vice-versa.
    I'm not really sure what you're asking here. Are you both saying Hey Siri at exactly the same time? It listens to whoever prompted it. I don't see where this would be a problem.

    It responds to all voices.
    OK. Gotcha regarding the voices.
    To clarify my other question. If there are two phones (sorry I typed people earlier) within range and you ask it to set a reminder or read back a text, which phone does it grab it from? Thanks for the responses, Neil.
    It can only be set up with one phone and one account, that's it. So if you ask it to pull text messages, it will only do so from the one authorized phone that was used to set up the account.

    Alternatively, as part of the initial setup, you can disable HomePod access to messages, reminders and notes. This means that not you nor anyone else will be able to read messages from your phone (or whatever one it is paired with).

    If you have access to messages enabled, there is no security feature. If your phone is within range, anyone can ask Siri to read your unread messages.
    How does the “Hey Siri” canceling work with multiple people in the room with multiple devices? I mean you initially set up HP with some voice samples, but that doesn’t matter as far as account recognition as it’ll respond to anyone, right? So what if someone else says Hey Siri but they’re talking to their watch or phone, both on a different Apple ID, and the HomePod on the other account is in the room and “takes” the request? Honestly confused how this thing works with potentially several people using Siri in proximity of the HP and how having only a single user setup for your personal information/etc makes any sense at all unless you live alone and have no visitors ever. 
    HomePod gets priority over all other devices as long as they are not active (ie, iPhone is locked, wrist is not raised). If you want to do an iPhone-specific command without HomePod, while HomePod is within earshot, grab your phone and unlock it first.
    Can the HomePod play HiRes audio files from a Mac? Does it down sample to do it?
    I was surprised to see that filea over AirPaly will get downsampled despite being steamed as lossless.

    • https://www.kirkville.com/how-apples-airplay-streams-audio/
  • Reply 128 of 134
    epicurus said:
    so will this work in playing audio for movies or tv shows purchased or rented through apple Tv? if it’d work for that and act like a sound bar of sorts i’d be all in.. but if it only plays music i’m not to sure i’ll jump on it
    Yeah, although it doesn’t stay paired if you end up using the speaker for something else.  

    One cool feature I was suprised to find, it can act as a remote control for the Apple TV by voice.  When paired, you can ask it to pause, ask it to rewind for a certain length of time, etc.  it was a nice surprise.
    edited February 10 zroger73
  • Reply 129 of 134
    dougddougd Posts: 182member
    Don't forget the $10/month fee for Apple Music to fully exploit this thing.  More of Apple sucking you dry
    williamlondon
  • Reply 130 of 134
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,847member
    dougd said:
    Don't forget the $10/month fee for Apple Music to fully exploit this thing.  More of Apple sucking you dry
    To “fully exploit” the device you need to be able to use Siri, it’s primary UI, but you don’t need Apple Music for that. You can use iTunes Match or iCloud Music.
    edited February 10
  • Reply 131 of 134
    epicurus said:
    so will this work in playing audio for movies or tv shows purchased or rented through apple Tv? if it’d work for that and act like a sound bar of sorts i’d be all in.. but if it only plays music i’m not to sure i’ll jump on it
    I have it and you can definitely airplay from Appletv to the HomePod. I don’t have the 4K I just have multiple 4th gens in my place. Waiting for my plasmas to die before going 4K. 
  • Reply 132 of 134
    Ok folks. Just got my Home Pod, set it up and it is pure delight.  The sound is off the chart, Siri works just fine, although it cannot do everything. But, then again, that is not what Apple intended. Those folks writing what they consider good reviews, are comparing the Home Pod to the Amazon Echo or Google home.  If you want an inferiro sounding device that will answer all your questions, and even sell you stuff, get an Echo or Google. On the other hand, if you want a superior listening device, that also performs basic functions get a Home Pod NOW. Waiting for the next version of the Home Pod is like waiting for the next version the airpods.  These products are off the charts. Those reviewers who told you to wait until the Home Pod becomes an Echo are just plain off base.    And lets not forget that Siri already does virtually everything on the iphone, whether you pick it up or just leave it sitting there.  I 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 133 of 134
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 1,521member
    MplsP said:
    "It's heavier than you'd expect, which undoubtedly helps the audio pack a serious punch."

    Well, the weight is most likely from the ferrite magnets used in the speakers, and although speakers are arguably necessary for audio, weight doesn't necessarily correlate with volume or quality. ;)
    Or, they built the frame out of lead instead of their trademark aluminum. :)

    tmay said:
    Soli noted he was configuring a mirror image of what Apple was demoing, and was achieving poor separation results, which I think would have been expected by that configuration and position of the listener.
    I think most people who get one of these will be more concerned with the quality of the sound (frequency response, how it fills the room, etc.) than how good the stereo separation is. If it's a room-speaker kind of thing, they aren't likely to be sitting in some perfect spot like they might attempt with a traditional 'stereo system' in relation to the couch, etc.

    We can probably guess it isn't going to sounds like having 2, 3-way speakers with 8" woofers placed 6+ feet apart. But, on the other hand, people have also been used to listening to compact 'stereos' or bookshelf speakers that sometimes are only a couple feet apart anyway. I wouldn't imagine the stereo separation of this would be that much worse.

    But, I am curious how it might compare to something like a typical set of small bookshelf speakers in a similar price range (as w/o caring about the Siri aspect, that's what it's competing with... stuff like powered computer speakers or powered bookshelf speakers someone might plugin into an AirPort Express or other similar device.)

    Soli said:
    I also noted that when I placed in the center line of the room (under the wall mounted TV) it was still obvious when the location moved a little to the left or right.
    While it still sounds like a great little device... it seems expectations have plummeted for the people who thought it was going to send individually optimized sound to each person in the room (or even separate audio some were initially hoping for). Another example of people watching just a tad bit too much Hollywood tech and sci-fi shows. :)

    jSnively said:
    So here's my takeaway so far. Please be advised I've had mine for about an hour. 

    It sounds alright for its size. VERY heavy on the highs, and the crossover frequency for woofer seems problematic as well. Bass is good for a 4" woofer, but will sound shallow to people who are used to more robust offerings. This feels like it was EQ'd by Beats. Mids get completely drowned when there's a lot going on. Listening to one of the fuller parts of Zero 7 - Home i literally winced because it sounded so bad. I'm not doing the review for this, but i figure i'd let you guys know what i think so far.

    I think it's the sound king of the smart speakers, but that's not exactly a prestigious title.
    Yea, this is more what I'm looking for in terms of review. :) Thanks.

    (Something more like... great for a smart speaker; questionably better or worse than a Logitech Z523 (or something like that) depending on what qualities you prefer; and a pair of Kantos YU2s hooked to an AX would give better sound, but lacks siri, or such. Comparisons with something that isn't a smart-speaker are helpful, even though it is a semi-smart-speaker.)

    Am I the only person around who has tried to play a video on my iMac (pro) through HP and found it to be a complete failure? There's like a 1 (or greater) second latency. I see lips move and a second later I hear the dialog. My iMac Pro is connected directly to an Apple Time Capsule (providing the wireless connection to the HP).  Haven't tried using the HP with Apple TV yet, but from my iMac it's worthless (for video). Also a bit annoying to press the pause button when playing music on my iMac and have sound continue to come out of the HP for a second or two.

    Not quite ready for prime time in my opinion. Given that they solved the latency problems with the AirPods, I'm surprised this problem exists with the HP right out of the box.
    Hmm, this is what I would expect to happen, but it seems others have used it with video (movie trailers, for example) and it seemed to handle the delay/sync OK. I guess we'll need more details to understand the difference.
  • Reply 134 of 134
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,909member
    cgWerks said:
    Soli said:
    I also noted that when I placed in the center line of the room (under the wall mounted TV) it was still obvious when the location moved a little to the left or right.
    While it still sounds like a great little device... it seems expectations have plummeted for the people who thought it was going to send individually optimized sound to each person in the room (or even separate audio some were initially hoping for). Another example of people watching just a tad bit too much Hollywood tech and sci-fi shows. :)

    jSnively said:
    So here's my takeaway so far. Please be advised I've had mine for about an hour. 

    It sounds alright for its size. VERY heavy on the highs, and the crossover frequency for woofer seems problematic as well. Bass is good for a 4" woofer, but will sound shallow to people who are used to more robust offerings. This feels like it was EQ'd by Beats. Mids get completely drowned when there's a lot going on. Listening to one of the fuller parts of Zero 7 - Home i literally winced because it sounded so bad. I'm not doing the review for this, but i figure i'd let you guys know what i think so far.

    I think it's the sound king of the smart speakers, but that's not exactly a prestigious title.
    Yea, this is more what I'm looking for in terms of review. :) Thanks.
    https://forums.appleinsider.com/discussion/204082 The promised review is up
    cgWerks
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