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

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  • Reply 41 of 134
    nhughes said:

    joe28753 said:
    How does Hey Siri work with multiple devices in the same room? Is it still buggy? As it is now for me on the latest software, if I raise my wrist and say Hey Siri to my Apple Watch, my iPhone also activates Siri at the same time. Will I now have three devices activating Siri every time?
    I haven't had the problems you describe here with my watch and iPhone, so my experience may be different. That said:

    If my iPhone is laying in front of me and I say "Hey Siri," the phone lights up but then stops listening, defaulting to the HomePod. However, if my iPhone is unlocked, it takes precedence over the HomePod. Works well for me.
    Ok, thanks for the response. Maybe one day I'll try factory restoring my devices or something. I know I've read they're supposed to automatically just choose one device, but it's always been hit or miss for me. Rarely it will just choose one, usually I get Siri surround sound.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 42 of 134
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 749editor

    The "loud, powerful, and heavy" in the headline sounds like a warning.  But since this isn't addressed in the article, can we assume that it also sounds good at low or moderate volumes?

    My wife has the hearing of a bat and I have the hearing of a middle-aged person who listened to too much loud music when younger, so we always have arguments about turning up or down the TV volume. Therefore, I'd like to be sure that "it's loud" isn't really a complaint about the device. 
    It sounds good at low and moderate volumes. Powerful and heavy can be used to describe both the quality of the audio and the physical speaker itself (it's dense, and it has a beefy A8 chip). Just a double entendre, not a warning.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 43 of 134
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 749editor
    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.
  • Reply 44 of 134
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,748member
    nhughes said:

    Soli said:
    nhughes said:

    Later this year, when iOS 11.3 is made public and the HomePod is also updated, AirPlay 2 will be available. This means users will be able to stream music to multiple HomePod units at once, or even combine playback on HomePod with other AirPlay 2 devices, like the Apple TV. For now, it's one HomePod only, and I couldn't find a way to stream to both my Apple TV 4K and HomePod.


    From what I've read, with iTunes running on a Mac, you can stream to multiple output speakers -- including the homePod.  Can you verify this, please?
    Streaming to multiple AirPlay speakers from iTunes on a Mac has always been possible with AirPlay 1. What's unique about AirPlay 2 is it will allow multi-speaker streaming from an iOS device.

    So to answer your question, yes, you can output to multiple speakers via iTunes on a Mac, but that's not new. You don't need to buy a HomePod to do that. You could do it with a couple of AirPort Expresses and any speaker of your choosing.
    It’s my understanding that AirPlay 2 will being much needed audio syncing for multiple speakers.
    I used to have much, much worse audio syncing issues when AirPlay was known as AirTunes. Over the years, it has gradually improved, to a point now where I don't have any noticeable "audio drift" problems. Improvements are always welcome, but this was not (for me) a problem area anymore.
    Me too. Airplay connection reliability has improved dramatically over the last year or so. I think some, but not all, of that was due to a new router.
    nhughes
  • Reply 45 of 134
    nhughes said:
    iTunes on your computer is streaming to multiple devices over AirPlay 1, and HomePod supports AirPlay 1, so it works fine.


    So, how 'bout the Equalizer on the homePod over Airplay 1:


  • Reply 46 of 134
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 749editor

    mike1 said:

    Soli said:
    nhughes said:

    Later this year, when iOS 11.3 is made public and the HomePod is also updated, AirPlay 2 will be available. This means users will be able to stream music to multiple HomePod units at once, or even combine playback on HomePod with other AirPlay 2 devices, like the Apple TV. For now, it's one HomePod only, and I couldn't find a way to stream to both my Apple TV 4K and HomePod.


    From what I've read, with iTunes running on a Mac, you can stream to multiple output speakers -- including the homePod.  Can you verify this, please?
    Streaming to multiple AirPlay speakers from iTunes on a Mac has always been possible with AirPlay 1. What's unique about AirPlay 2 is it will allow multi-speaker streaming from an iOS device.

    So to answer your question, yes, you can output to multiple speakers via iTunes on a Mac, but that's not new. You don't need to buy a HomePod to do that. You could do it with a couple of AirPort Expresses and any speaker of your choosing.
    It’s my understanding that AirPlay 2 will being much needed audio syncing for multiple speakers.
    Did I also hear that AirPlay 2 will allow different streams to be played on different HomePods?
    I'm not sure if this is an iOS 11.3 beta thing or not, but I assume that if you had two HomePods right now, you could manage two different streams from one phone. I can currently do this with my Apple TV and HomePod (tell Siri on HomePod to play one song, then choose a different one on iPhone to AirPlay to Apple TV).




  • Reply 47 of 134
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 749editor
    nhughes said:
    iTunes on your computer is streaming to multiple devices over AirPlay 1, and HomePod supports AirPlay 1, so it works fine.


    So, how 'bout the Equalizer on the homePod over Airplay 1:


    Can confirm that iTunes for Mac equalizer works with HomePod over AirPlay 1. Chose a few different options and the sound definitely changed.


  • Reply 48 of 134
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,206member
    Soli said:
    For a small, 5lb, single unit, it’s great, but it’s definitely not as loud as I expected from the reviews. In-store you ger a square paper bag made for HomePod.

    Setup was a breeze, like with AirPods. I don’t think that BT process can be streamlined any more than it already is.

    It’s definitely not creating any stereo-like sound. Maybe beamingforming audio is coming in a future update, but at this point if the device to one side all the sound will clearly be coming from that one side. It pretty much has to be directly behind or in front of me to not be able to determine the side the device was placed relative to my head in my simple tests.

    If you already have a good home entertainment center (which could have an echo or Google Home attached)  then HomePod won’t sound better.

    The far-field microphones are impressive. The Echo was impressive 3 years ago in this regard, which was always the first reason Siri would come across as incompetent. The HomePod outpaces even the new Echo Plus insofar that you have have the volume maxed out and Siri will still be able to hear you, even over spoken audio, at a normal speaking voice from across the room or from a different room. The Echo Plus will require you to raise your voice a little when the volume is maxed. (Caveat: My Echo Plus is connected to other, better, louder, and more speakers that aren’t centreally locates which even the HomePod’s A-series chip probably couldn’t process as well, either.)

    Sirius XM spoken audio does sound more crisp on the HomePod. And while that’s an EQ setting on the HEC, it’s nice that it’s automatic.

    I am disappointed that it can tell me what’s on my Calender next. I assume that was covered in a review, so I must have missed it or it needs some additional setup.
    Beamforming audio is operational. 

    Could you give us some details on how the HomePod is located in your room/space? A diagram would be great.

  • Reply 49 of 134

    Just for comparison, you can pick up one of these little babies, a Beolab 90 speaker for only $40,000:



    https://www.bang-olufsen.com/en/collection/speakers/beolab-90

  • Reply 50 of 134
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,587member
    nhughes said:
    airnerd said:
    Looks good. Needs a banana for scale. :)
    Is there some reason why every single review of this thing doesn't show an item next to it for scale?  I find it really odd that I've read 3-4 reviews of this thing but I have NO idea how big it is because every single review shows the device by itself.

    Take a picture of it with an iPhone sitting next to it, or a business card, or *something*.  Even a banana would work, yes, but they come in different sizes, but it would at least give us an idea.  





    iPhone X for scale.


    Damn! The thing is tiny!
    randominternetpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 51 of 134
    nhughes said:
    Can confirm that iTunes for Mac equalizer works with HomePod over AirPlay 1. Chose a few different options and the sound definitely changed.

    All right!  Thx Neil!  

    Mine just arrived...  It's a bit early, but I think I'll have a glass of wine and play some music!

    nhugheswatto_cobra
  • Reply 52 of 134
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,206member
    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. ;)
    Likely not ferrite magnets for the tweeters, but rare earth Neodymium or Samarium Cobalt. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 53 of 134
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,374member
    tmay said:
    Soli said:
    For a small, 5lb, single unit, it’s great, but it’s definitely not as loud as I expected from the reviews. In-store you ger a square paper bag made for HomePod.

    Setup was a breeze, like with AirPods. I don’t think that BT process can be streamlined any more than it already is.

    It’s definitely not creating any stereo-like sound. Maybe beamingforming audio is coming in a future update, but at this point if the device to one side all the sound will clearly be coming from that one side. It pretty much has to be directly behind or in front of me to not be able to determine the side the device was placed relative to my head in my simple tests.

    If you already have a good home entertainment center (which could have an echo or Google Home attached)  then HomePod won’t sound better.

    The far-field microphones are impressive. The Echo was impressive 3 years ago in this regard, which was always the first reason Siri would come across as incompetent. The HomePod outpaces even the new Echo Plus insofar that you have have the volume maxed out and Siri will still be able to hear you, even over spoken audio, at a normal speaking voice from across the room or from a different room. The Echo Plus will require you to raise your voice a little when the volume is maxed. (Caveat: My Echo Plus is connected to other, better, louder, and more speakers that aren’t centreally locates which even the HomePod’s A-series chip probably couldn’t process as well, either.)

    Sirius XM spoken audio does sound more crisp on the HomePod. And while that’s an EQ setting on the HEC, it’s nice that it’s automatic.

    I am disappointed that it can tell me what’s on my Calender next. I assume that was covered in a review, so I must have missed it or it needs some additional setup.
    Beamforming audio is operational. 

    Could you give us some details on how the HomePod is located in your room/space? A diagram would be great.
    The room dimensions ans setup seem pretty much identical to what Apple demoed, except flipped to the left side of the room in relation to the Tv and couch.

    As previously stated, I did had it moved the different locations so I could try to discern where the sound was coming from when on the couch, but on he side table would be ideal in terms of where it would look best.


    edited February 9 watto_cobra
  • Reply 54 of 134
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,316member
    Soli said:

    I am disappointed that it can tell me what’s on my Calender next. I assume that was covered in a review, so I must have missed it or it needs some additional setup.
    Your calendar isn't yet supported on the HomePod Soli. 
  • Reply 55 of 134
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,206member
    Soli said:
    tmay said:
    Soli said:
    For a small, 5lb, single unit, it’s great, but it’s definitely not as loud as I expected from the reviews. In-store you ger a square paper bag made for HomePod.

    Setup was a breeze, like with AirPods. I don’t think that BT process can be streamlined any more than it already is.

    It’s definitely not creating any stereo-like sound. Maybe beamingforming audio is coming in a future update, but at this point if the device to one side all the sound will clearly be coming from that one side. It pretty much has to be directly behind or in front of me to not be able to determine the side the device was placed relative to my head in my simple tests.

    If you already have a good home entertainment center (which could have an echo or Google Home attached)  then HomePod won’t sound better.

    The far-field microphones are impressive. The Echo was impressive 3 years ago in this regard, which was always the first reason Siri would come across as incompetent. The HomePod outpaces even the new Echo Plus insofar that you have have the volume maxed out and Siri will still be able to hear you, even over spoken audio, at a normal speaking voice from across the room or from a different room. The Echo Plus will require you to raise your voice a little when the volume is maxed. (Caveat: My Echo Plus is connected to other, better, louder, and more speakers that aren’t centreally locates which even the HomePod’s A-series chip probably couldn’t process as well, either.)

    Sirius XM spoken audio does sound more crisp on the HomePod. And while that’s an EQ setting on the HEC, it’s nice that it’s automatic.

    I am disappointed that it can tell me what’s on my Calender next. I assume that was covered in a review, so I must have missed it or it needs some additional setup.
    Beamforming audio is operational. 

    Could you give us some details on how the HomePod is located in your room/space? A diagram would be great.
    The room dimensions ans setup seem pretty much identical to what Apple demoed, except flipped to the left side of the room in relation to the Tv and couch.

    As previously stated, I did had it moved the different locations so I could try to discern where the sound was coming from when on the couch, but on he side table would be ideal in terms of where it would look best.


    Just curious; do you have a wall behind the couch?

    Edit;

    I'm just thinking how HomePod creates the sweet spot, vs how we decide HomePod's placement. It would be nice if a user could stand or sit at the sweet spot and send a beacon signal covering the audible range to the HomePod, which could then use that as a basis for the algorithms to create the sound balance.
    edited February 9 watto_cobra
  • Reply 56 of 134
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,374member
    tmay said:
    Soli said:
    tmay said:
    Soli said:
    For a small, 5lb, single unit, it’s great, but it’s definitely not as loud as I expected from the reviews. In-store you ger a square paper bag made for HomePod.

    Setup was a breeze, like with AirPods. I don’t think that BT process can be streamlined any more than it already is.

    It’s definitely not creating any stereo-like sound. Maybe beamingforming audio is coming in a future update, but at this point if the device to one side all the sound will clearly be coming from that one side. It pretty much has to be directly behind or in front of me to not be able to determine the side the device was placed relative to my head in my simple tests.

    If you already have a good home entertainment center (which could have an echo or Google Home attached)  then HomePod won’t sound better.

    The far-field microphones are impressive. The Echo was impressive 3 years ago in this regard, which was always the first reason Siri would come across as incompetent. The HomePod outpaces even the new Echo Plus insofar that you have have the volume maxed out and Siri will still be able to hear you, even over spoken audio, at a normal speaking voice from across the room or from a different room. The Echo Plus will require you to raise your voice a little when the volume is maxed. (Caveat: My Echo Plus is connected to other, better, louder, and more speakers that aren’t centreally locates which even the HomePod’s A-series chip probably couldn’t process as well, either.)

    Sirius XM spoken audio does sound more crisp on the HomePod. And while that’s an EQ setting on the HEC, it’s nice that it’s automatic.

    I am disappointed that it can tell me what’s on my Calender next. I assume that was covered in a review, so I must have missed it or it needs some additional setup.
    Beamforming audio is operational. 

    Could you give us some details on how the HomePod is located in your room/space? A diagram would be great.
    The room dimensions ans setup seem pretty much identical to what Apple demoed, except flipped to the left side of the room in relation to the Tv and couch.

    As previously stated, I did had it moved the different locations so I could try to discern where the sound was coming from when on the couch, but on he side table would be ideal in terms of where it would look best.


    Just curious; do you have a wall behind the couch?
    Yes. An exterior, load bearing wall with a window, like the other walls. No sliding glass doors or anything like that on any wall. The couch isn’t up against it. You can walk behind it.
    edited February 9 watto_cobra
  • Reply 57 of 134
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,748member
    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.
  • Reply 58 of 134
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,748member
    nhughes said:

    mike1 said:

    Soli said:
    nhughes said:

    Later this year, when iOS 11.3 is made public and the HomePod is also updated, AirPlay 2 will be available. This means users will be able to stream music to multiple HomePod units at once, or even combine playback on HomePod with other AirPlay 2 devices, like the Apple TV. For now, it's one HomePod only, and I couldn't find a way to stream to both my Apple TV 4K and HomePod.


    From what I've read, with iTunes running on a Mac, you can stream to multiple output speakers -- including the homePod.  Can you verify this, please?
    Streaming to multiple AirPlay speakers from iTunes on a Mac has always been possible with AirPlay 1. What's unique about AirPlay 2 is it will allow multi-speaker streaming from an iOS device.

    So to answer your question, yes, you can output to multiple speakers via iTunes on a Mac, but that's not new. You don't need to buy a HomePod to do that. You could do it with a couple of AirPort Expresses and any speaker of your choosing.
    It’s my understanding that AirPlay 2 will being much needed audio syncing for multiple speakers.
    Did I also hear that AirPlay 2 will allow different streams to be played on different HomePods?
    I'm not sure if this is an iOS 11.3 beta thing or not, but I assume that if you had two HomePods right now, you could manage two different streams from one phone. I can currently do this with my Apple TV and HomePod (tell Siri on HomePod to play one song, then choose a different one on iPhone to AirPlay to Apple TV).




    That's cool. Multi-room, multi-source.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 59 of 134
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,206member
    Soli said:
    tmay said:
    Soli said:
    tmay said:
    Soli said:
    For a small, 5lb, single unit, it’s great, but it’s definitely not as loud as I expected from the reviews. In-store you ger a square paper bag made for HomePod.

    Setup was a breeze, like with AirPods. I don’t think that BT process can be streamlined any more than it already is.

    It’s definitely not creating any stereo-like sound. Maybe beamingforming audio is coming in a future update, but at this point if the device to one side all the sound will clearly be coming from that one side. It pretty much has to be directly behind or in front of me to not be able to determine the side the device was placed relative to my head in my simple tests.

    If you already have a good home entertainment center (which could have an echo or Google Home attached)  then HomePod won’t sound better.

    The far-field microphones are impressive. The Echo was impressive 3 years ago in this regard, which was always the first reason Siri would come across as incompetent. The HomePod outpaces even the new Echo Plus insofar that you have have the volume maxed out and Siri will still be able to hear you, even over spoken audio, at a normal speaking voice from across the room or from a different room. The Echo Plus will require you to raise your voice a little when the volume is maxed. (Caveat: My Echo Plus is connected to other, better, louder, and more speakers that aren’t centreally locates which even the HomePod’s A-series chip probably couldn’t process as well, either.)

    Sirius XM spoken audio does sound more crisp on the HomePod. And while that’s an EQ setting on the HEC, it’s nice that it’s automatic.

    I am disappointed that it can tell me what’s on my Calender next. I assume that was covered in a review, so I must have missed it or it needs some additional setup.
    Beamforming audio is operational. 

    Could you give us some details on how the HomePod is located in your room/space? A diagram would be great.
    The room dimensions ans setup seem pretty much identical to what Apple demoed, except flipped to the left side of the room in relation to the Tv and couch.

    As previously stated, I did had it moved the different locations so I could try to discern where the sound was coming from when on the couch, but on he side table would be ideal in terms of where it would look best.


    Just curious; do you have a wall behind the couch?
    Yes. An exterior, load bearing wall with a window, like the other walls. No sliding glass doors or anything like that on any wall. The couch isn’t up against it. You can walk behind it.
    I'm not versed in the HomePod's placement obviously, but does the HomePod have a orientation that we would consider "front"? There would definitely be a "back" orientation where the cord connects. Otherwise, all I see is the HomePod optimizing for the room, whatever its position, not the position of the "sweet" spot of listening.

    In my view, the best position would be placement a few feet away from the wall opposite of the couch, if you were maximizing for separation, but as you state, that isn't ideal for you.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 60 of 134
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 749editor
    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.
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