One of the most anticipated announcements expected from Apple was its Siri-powered home speaker, which the Cupertino-based giant finally unveiled towards the final moments of its WWDC 2017 keynote address. Apple's newest product is called HomePod, which the company says will "reinvent music in the home".
The Apple HomePod is a wireless speaker that promises to deliver amazing audio quality. The speaker uses spatial awareness to sense its location in a room and automatically adjusts the audio output. The HomePod is designed to work along with Apple Music, so it essentially requires one to have a subscription to music streaming service, which will give access to over 40 million songs. Apple says "the HomePod provides deep knowledge of personal music preferences and tastes and helps users discover new music."
The cylindrical-shaped HomePod is roughly 7-inches in height and features a large, Apple-designed woofer for deep, clean bass, an array of seven beam-forming tweeters for pure high frequency acoustics with directional control. The HomePod is powered by Apple's A8 chip and will be available from December in Australia, the UK, and the US, which will be getting the initial batch of speakers in White and Space Grey at $349 (roughly Rs. 22,500).
"Apple reinvented portable music with iPod and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "HomePod packs powerful speaker technology, Siri intelligence and wireless access to the entire Apple Music library into a beautiful speaker that is less than 7 inches tall, can rock most any room with distortion free music and be a helpful assistant around your home."
The HomePod features six microphones for users to interact with across the room. Siri will be able to handle advanced searches within the music library. For example, you can say "Hey Siri, who's the drummer in this?" And Siri will be able to give you an answer. Siri will also be able to create a shared Up Next queue with everyone in the home.
The HomePod is Apple's answer to Google Home and Amazon Echo. So apart from its well-rounded music ecosystem, the speaker will also be able to send messages, get updates on news, sports and weather, or control smart home (read HomeKit-enabled) devices by simply asking Siri to turn on the lights, close the shades or activate a scene. It can also provide remote access and home automation through the Home app on the iPhone or iPad. Setting up the HomePod is as easy as setting up the AirPods. Simply hold your iPhone next to the speaker and it will pair with the device.
We discussed everything Apple announced at WWDC 2017 on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast. You can subscribe to it via Apple Podcasts or RSS or just listen to this episode by hitting the play button below.