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How Apple's New HomePod Smart Speaker Works

A quick look at Apple's new Siri-based home speaker taking on Google Home and Amazon Echo.
By Marissa Ciampi
June 06, 2017
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How Apple's New HomePod Smart Speaker Works

A quick look at Apple's new Siri-based home speaker taking on Google Home and Amazon Echo.
By Marissa Ciampi
June 06, 2017
  shares

Apple has set its fair share of technology trends, but today it seems more accurate to say they're chasing one — Apple has today announced HomePod, a seven-inch wireless speaker which acts as your voice-activated DJ and home assistant. Their newest product will be available just in time for the December holidays in the Australian, US and UK markets, but, at around $470 AUD a unit, this gift will be reserved for your nearest and dearest.

HomePod will feature an Apple-designed upward-facing woofer with A8 chip, a custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters, automatic room-sensing technology, a six-microphone array with advanced echo cancellation, siri waveform, automatic detection and a balance of two speakers using both direct and reflected audio.

To put it in plain terms, this means the speaker can sense its location in a room and automatically adjust audio. The six microphones allow users to control the speaker from across the room, as Siri can supposedly distinguish your voice among even the loudest music. Apple's new nuts and bolts should make for distortion-free, quality sound and means this tiny speaker can get seriously loud.

Of course, this one is designed to work with an Apple Music subscription and Siri can track your personal music preferences for different moods, as well as handling advanced searches within the music library — meaning users can ask specific questions about the musicians they're listening to or create an 'up next queue'.

As a home assistant, HomePod can provide remote access throughout the house, even if you're not home, including turning on lights and closing shades, sending messages and getting all internet updates or searches read out to you. In typical Apple fashion, there's a catch — HomePod is only compatible with iPhone 5s or later and must run on iOS 11.

We wouldn't quite call HomePod the "breakthrough" they're positioning it as, with multiple home speakers already on the market that serve nearly identical functions at a much cheaper price point — HomePod is nearly double the price of Google Home and Amazon Echo and even more than Sonos' Play:3, which was previously the more expensive home speaker at $300 USD. As with any Apple device, it looks great, but with so much competition, they'll need more than looks to sell this one.

Image: Apple.

Published on June 06, 2017 by Marissa Ciampi

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