HomePod Overview Updated February 20, 2020

HomePod

The new sound of home

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290 'HomePod' stories

May 2016 - February 2020


At its Worldwide Developer Conference in 2017, Apple officially took the wraps off of its oft-rumored speaker in the form of HomePod. The device acts as a standalone way for users to interact with Siri, play music, and more. Tim Cook touts this as Apple’s effort to “reinvent home music” just as it did with products like the iPod.

Prior to announcing Apple’s product, Phil Schiller explained that Apple has worked to take what companies like Sonos and Amazon have done and create a “breakthrough home speaker.”

Schiller explained that a successful speaker must “rock the house,” have “spatial awareness,” and “be a musicologist.”

To offer strong sound quality, the devices features a 7 tweeter array with precision acoustic horns and directional control. There’s also an Apple-designed 4-inch woofer and it’s powered by Apple’s A8 chip. It measures in at just under 7-inches tall and features a mesh design.

Here’s how Apple describes HomePod:

HomePod is a powerful speaker that sounds amazing, adapts to wherever it’s playing, and together with Apple Music, gives you effortless access to one of the world’s largest music catalogs. All controlled through natural voice interaction with Siri. It takes the listening experience to a whole new level. And that’s just the beginning.

HomePod 11.4 Software Update

HomePod

HomePod’s 11.4 update shipped with two notable features — AirPlay 2 and Stereo Pairing (originally promised at launch, but was delayed). It also included Calendar support, which lets you check, add, edit, and delete appointments to configured calendars.

AirPlay 2

The flagship feature of the 11.4 update was the long-awaited launch of AirPlay 2. The biggest advantage that AirPlay 2 brought to the table is multi-room audio support. AirPlay 2’s multi-room audio allows iOS users to stream music or podcasts to supported devices in any room using Control Center’s destination controls, in-app controls, or Siri.

With AirPlay 2 you can do things like:

  • Quickly see what’s playing in every room on every speaker
  • Play the same song, in sync, in every room
  • Play different songs on different speakers
  • Use Siri to play different songs in different rooms
  • Stream to rooms without grouping speakers

Because speakers are configured via the Home app, they are easily assigned to rooms, and users can address those specific rooms when using Siri.

Stereo Pairing in HomePod

Stereo pairing utilizes an Apple-designed wireless peer-to-peer direct link to talk with each other and play music in sync. Thanks to the A8 SoC, each HomePod is able to automatically sense its location in the room, and establish its own audio channel (left or right). In other words, there’s very little end-user configuration needed once a stereo pair is established.

The advanced beamforming provides a wider soundstage than a traditional stereo pair setup. Apple says that by stereo pairing two HomePods, an almost three-dimensional soundstage is created, providing room-filling sound with enhanced bass extension, and a deeper, more accurate reproduction of low frequencies.

Creating a HomePod stereo pair is straightforward, and when two HomePods are set up in the same room, users are automatically prompted to create a stereo pair.

HomePod Pricing

HomePod originally launched at $349, but it saw a price cut to $299 on April 4th, 2019.

Grab HomePod at low prices at Best Buy and eBay or check for the latest deals at 9to5toys.com.

Top Stories

HomePod Stories February 20

Apple is said to be discussing adding the ability for users to set third-party apps as defaults, overriding the built-in preference for Apple’s Safari and Mail. The news comes as Apple faces increasing scrutiny over how it operates the App Store whilst giving preferential treatment to its own apps and services.

In addition, Bloomberg says that Apple is considering opening up the HomePod to third-party music services like Spotify or Amazon Music. Right now, the HomePod can only natively interact with Apple Music.

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HomePod Stories February 13

Strategy Analytics is out with a new report today covering the smart speaker industry during 2019. According to the data, global smart speaker shipments hit a new record of 146.9 million units  — and Amazon is still the far and away leader.

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HomePod Stories January 30

So much of Apple’s history is tied up between two periods: Pre-iPod and Post-iPod. The iPod took Apple from a computer company, and it set them up to become a consumer electronics company that would go on to become one of the most valuable companies in the world. What most people forget is that the iPod didn’t become the iPod until the iPod mini was released. The original iPod was $399, where the iPod mini had a lower price of $249.

Despite holding including 4GB of storage compared to the 20GB model that the “Classic” introduced that year, the iPod mini is what caused the iPod line to take off. The HomePod is at that exact point in its timeline. The HomePod needs its iPod mini moment.  expand full story

HomePod Stories January 29

Apple announces HomePod is officially coming to India

The HomePod was launched in the United States back in 2017 and since then its expansion around the world has been quite slow. And after being launched in Japan last year, the company confirmed today that the HomePod will also be available shortly in India.

HomePod Stories December 23, 2019

I can’t believe I actually have to ask Apple to add stereo-paired HomePods as a Mac sound output device! It’s the most ridiculous Feature Request yet, because it’s absolutely nuts that this isn’t already built into macOS — especially that it isn’t baked into Catalina.

Apple’s own audio apps will happily allow you to select stereo-paired HomePods as a single output device. You can see in the photo above that the Music app sees both my Office and Winter Garden HomePods as a single device.

Not so the Mac itself, however…

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HomePod Stories December 1, 2019

Apple has been playing the slow game with HomeKit compared to Amazon’s Alexa ecosystem. Where Apple is working on detailed projects like HomeKit Secure Video, Amazon and Google are being bundled into nearly every device that has Wi-Fi in it. I love HomeKit, and I prefer it over Alexa or Google Assistant, but as we come to the end of 2019, I have four Amazon Echo Dots in my home and no HomePods. One of the key reasons I finally succumbed and bought a few Echo Dots was when Apple Music support launched and I found them on sale. If someone who loves Apple has started to dip his toes into the Alexa waters, what should be on Apple’s HomeKit plans for 2020? expand full story

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