Apple announced on Tuesday their much-anticipated HomePod smart speaker will arrive in stores on February 9, and will be available for order beginning this Friday, January 26 in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. The speaker will be available in France and Germany this spring.
HomePod delivers stunning audio quality wherever it’s placed — in any room in the house, playing any style of music. Using just your voice, it’s easy and fun to use, and works together with an Apple Music subscription for a breakthrough music experience, providing access to one of the world’s largest cloud music libraries. Siri, now actively used on over half a billion devices, has developed a deep knowledge of music and understands your preferences and tastes. And with Siri, HomePod can send a message, set a timer, play a podcast, check the news, sports, traffic and weather, and even control a wide range of HomeKit smart home accessories.
HomePod will offer a large number of features, including:
- Packed with Apple-engineered audio technology, HomePod uses advanced software for real-time acoustic modeling, audio beam-forming, echo cancellation and more, powered by Apple’s A8 chip, delivering a wide, spacious soundstage. Using spatial awareness to sense its location in the room, it automatically adjusts the audio to sound great wherever it is placed.
- HomePod features a large, Apple-designed woofer for deep, clean bass, a custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters that provide pure high frequency acoustics with directional control, and powerful technologies that preserve the richness and intent of original recordings. With an array of six microphones, HomePod can hear “Hey Siri” from across the room, even when loud music is playing.
- Setup is as easy and intuitive as setting up AirPods — simply hold an iPhone next to HomePod and it’s ready to start playing music in seconds. The Siri waveform appears on the top to indicate when Siri is engaged, and integrated touch controls also allow easy navigation.
HomePod is designed to work with an Apple Music subscription, which will allow access to the over 45 million strong Apple Music library. The device learns preferences and tastes that are shared across devices. HomePod uses Siri to offer knowledge about artists, songs, albums and more, HomePod can handle advanced searches within Apple Music’s catalog.
Users can ask music-related questions such as, “Hey Siri, when was this song released?” or “Hey Siri, can you play something totally different?”
Users can also make use of the HomePod to send messages, set timers and reminders, check the weather, and listen to podcasts. The device can also be used as a speakerphone with the iPhone.
HomePod offers support for HomeKit, which acts as a home automation hub, providing voice control for HomeKit-compatible accessories which provide the ability to use voice commands to turn on lights, adjust the temperature, and more.
Apple says multi-room audio won’t be ready at launch, but will instead be enabled in a free software update, “coming this year.” Multi-room audio will allow multiple HomePods to play music in different rooms, or to play the same song in every room. if two HomePods are in the same room, they can be set up as a stereo pair.
HomePod is available at an Apple retail price of $349 (US) in white and space gray in the US, UK and Australia and available to order beginning Friday, January 26, from apple.com and the Apple Store app. HomePod will be available in Apple Stores and at select Apple Authorized Resellers, including Best Buy in the US; Argos, Dixons Carphone (Currys PC World), John Lewis, Shop Direct (Very and Littlewoods), EE and Apple Premium Resellers in the UK; and The Good Guys, Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, Myer and Telstra in Australia, beginning Friday, February 9. HomePod will be available in France and Germany this spring.
The speaker is compatible with iPhone 5s or later, iPad Pro, iPad Air or later, iPad mini 2 or later, or iPod touch (6th generation) with iOS 11.2.5 or later.