Notebookcheck

Apple HomePod up for pre-order on Jan 26, arriving Feb 9

The Apple HomePod packs a powerful CPU, directional speakers, and a 6-microphone array. (Source: Apple)
The Apple HomePod packs a powerful CPU, directional speakers, and a 6-microphone array. (Source: Apple)
Apple's wireless HomePod speaker is finally launching on February 9 for US$349 with pre-orders starting tomorrow in the US, UK, and Australia. The HomePod features an enhanced Siri experience, spatial awareness, and a wide soundstage.

The Apple HomePod will be available in stores starting February 9 with pre-orders starting on January 26 in the US, UK, and Australia. France and Germany will receive the HomePod this spring according to an Apple press release. With the HomePod's release, Apple will be vying for space alongside the likes of Amazon Echo, Google Home, the Cortana-powered Harman Kardon Invoke, and the Alexa-powered Sonos One.

The main USP of the HomePod will be the close integration of Siri with Apple Music. Siri will also be able to work with HomeKit enabled smart home accessories and developers can incorporate SiriKit support into their apps to work well with the HomePod. On the hardware front, the HomePod comes with an Apple A8 chip for machine learning and spatial awareness in the room. The smart speaker features 7-tweeter and 6-microphone arrays along with an Apple-designed woofer for excellent sound clarity and voice recognition. 

An update for the HomePod is slated to arrive later this year that will enable multi-room audio and stereo. This will enable the HomePod to play different music in different rooms or can be synced with another HomePod for a more immersive listening experience. Those having concerns about privacy and security of their data can be rest assured that the information sent to Apple is encrypted and sent using an anonymous Siri identifier.

The HomePod comes in white and space gray variants and works with all iOS devices running iOS 11.2.5 and above. At a launch price of US$349, the HomePod isn't exactly cheap. For perspective, Amazon Echo and Google Home have smart speakers in the US$50-US$199 range, with products from other OEMs such as the Amazon Alexa-powered Sonos One going up till US$400. Microsoft Cortana, too, has a high quality option with the Harman Kardon Invoke retailing at US$199. Alexa and Google Assistant are also better at third-party skills and internet searches with Cortana not too far behind. It remains to be seen how Siri matures with time and while the adoption of the HomePod might not be dramatic, it will definitely help in adding to Siri's language skills as it rolls out across the world.

Siri on the HomePod is trained to wade through the huge Apple Music catalog. (Source: Apple)
Siri on the HomePod is trained to wade through the huge Apple Music catalog. (Source: Apple)
The HomePod is spatially aware and can tune the audio output accordingly. (Source: Apple)
The HomePod is spatially aware and can tune the audio output accordingly. (Source: Apple)

Source(s)

+ Show Press Release
static version load dynamic
Loading Comments
Comment on this article
Please share our article, every link counts!
> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 01 > Apple HomePod up for pre-order on Jan 26, arriving Feb 9
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2018-01-25 (Update: 2018-01-25)
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - News Editor
I am a cell and molecular biologist and computers have been an integral part of my life ever since I laid my hands on my first PC which was based on an Intel Celeron 266 MHz processor, 16 MB RAM and a modest 2 GB hard disk. Since then, I’ve seen my passion for technology evolve with the times. From traditional floppy based storage and running DOS commands for every other task, to the connected cloud and shared social experiences we take for granted today, I consider myself fortunate to have witnessed a sea change in the technology landscape. I honestly feel that the best is yet to come, when things like AI and cloud computing mature further. When I am not out finding the next big cure for cancer, I read and write about a lot of technology related stuff or go about ripping and re-assembling PCs and laptops.