HomePod Overview Updated December 1, 2019

HomePod

The new sound of home

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285 'HomePod' stories

May 2016 - December 2019


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 December 1

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

HomePod Stories November 25

Bizarre Huawei Devialet speaker looks like cross between Mac Pro and HomePod

A bizarre Huawei Devialet partnership has resulted in the Sound X, a smart speaker that looks like the love child of a trashcan Mac Pro and a HomePod

HomePod Stories October 30

Earlier this week, Apple released a HomePod 13.2 software update. After installing that update, however, some users reported bricked HomePod units, causing Apple to pull the update. Now, Apple has released HomePod 13.2.1 to the public.

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HomePod Stories October 29

HomePod adds new Ambient Sounds feature, here’s every command to try so far

Along with the release of iOS 13.2 for iPhone and iPad, Apple rolled out the same update for HomePod, bringing highly anticipated features like Handoff, support for multiple users, and Ambient Sounds. Read on for how to use HomePod Ambient Sounds to play all the available options including white noise, rain, fireplace, ocean, forest, and more.

HomePod Stories October 28

Apple today is releasing the HomePod 13.2 software update with several new features, including multiple users support, Handoff and Ambient Sounds. The update was announced in June at WWDC 2019, but was postponed until October.

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HomePod Stories October 21

We’ve known since the spring of last year that Amazon Alexa and Google Home smart speakers can eavesdrop on owners, and even phish them via voice. However, new research shows that new malicious apps with these capabilities continue to be approved by both companies.

The two vulnerabilities, demonstrated in videos below, occur because both companies make their speakers smarter by allowing third-party developers to create apps or “skills” for them. Apple’s HomePod is safe because the company doesn’t allow this type of third-party access…

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