WWDC 2017 | Apple announces HomePod smart speaker
First, it was a digital assistants. Now, it’s a WiFi-enabled speaker housing the digital assistant. Amazon developed the Echo with Alexa, Google has the Home with Assistant, and now Apple has the HomePod with Siri.
The HomePod looks like a capable speaker on paper. The 6.8-inch by 5.6-inch, 5.5-pound machine features 7 tweeters arranged in a ring along the bottom of the unit and a subwoofer suspended in the middle. While these speakers should offer stellar sound on their own, the main draw is the inclusion of Apple’s A8 SoC beating at the heart of the device. The relatively powerful chip makes the HomePod “smart enough to sense where in the room it’s playing,” according to Apple.
In essence, this means that the HomePod is able to detect where it’s placed within a room and better direct the audio output for a fuller, more focused overall sound. The speaker can also alter individual aspects of whatever music it’s playing to tweak and optimize the sound profile.
In addition to being an advanced speaker, the HomePod can also connect to the internet via 802.11ac WiFi. This also brings the other main feature of the device into play: Siri. The HomePod can be controlled by Siri and also fetch music and information, much like the digital assistant can on iOS. There are six microphones built into the HomePod that allow Siri to hear a user say the familiar “Hey, Siri,” keywords over the music that it’s playing. The HomePod can also control any smart home appliances that are connected to the network through Siri, and can sync up with another HomePod for improved spatially-tailored sound.
The HomePod will be available in Space Grey and White in the US, UK, and Australia “later this year,” according to Apple, and will retail for $349.