HomePod Overview Updated May 23, 2020

HomePod

The new sound of home

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300 'HomePod' stories

May 2016 - May 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 May 23

Ex-Apple designer Christopher Stringer set to compete against HomePod and Sonos with new home audio startup

A long time Apple designer Christopher Stringer is set to launch a new home audio product as part of a new startup ‘Syng’. Stringer left Apple in 2017 after more than 20 years at the company. Stringer is believed to have left Apple partly because of Jony Ive’s retirement from product responsibilities.

HomePod Stories April 23

A combined research team from Apple and Carnegie Mellon University have shown dumb devices made smart. They created a demonstration video (below) to accompany an academic paper.

Rather than every device you own having to be smart, the approach proposes that something like a HomePod be trained to work out what is happening in the home …

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HomePod Stories April 17

Apple’s HomePod has faced two consistent criticisms right from the start.

First, people said, it’s the dumbest of the smart speakers — that both Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers can do more.

Second, it was said to be way too expensive. If you want a smart speaker, the thinking went, you could get an Amazon Echo Dot for $50, and sometimes as little as half that during promotions. Why pay Apple $349 then (and $299 now)?

Hearing both criticisms repeated recently, I couldn’t let it pass…

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HomePod Stories April 13

The Denon Home 150 is the latest speaker aiming to compete with Apple’s HomePod.

Denon has an impressive track-record in audio products, dating back to gramophone players in 1910, and created its own range of multi-room speakers back in 2014. At the time, it decided to create a sub-brand for those: HEOS. With its latest Home models, however, it has returned to Denon branding …

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Bloomberg today reports that of the four new iPhone models in the iPhone 12 lineup, at least two will feature a redesigned chassis with flat stainless steel edges, with flat sides and more sharply rounded corners like the current iPad Pro design.

The size of the Face ID notch is also expected to get smaller this year. Echoing previous reports, Apple is also working on a cheaper HomePod that would be about half the size of the current product. Bloomberg says the iPhone 12 and HomePod are expected to launch later this year.

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HomePod Stories April 9

Last week, 9to5Mac reported that Apple is discounting HomePod to $149 for employees, perhaps in an anticipation of a new model. The response to that news was largely that Apple should make such a price drop permanent. What do you think?

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