Apple HomePod Release Date Announced, But Is It Too Expensive?

HomePod
HomePod Features release date and everything we know about Apple's smart speaker
Author

27 January, 2018

Sound reproduction is a primary focus of the Apple HomePod vs Google Home vs Amazon Echo battle, and this is an area that Apple has particularly focused on. The devices should be running on iOS 11.2.5 or later to work with the HomePod.

Google's best-sounding smart speaker is the Home Max, so - yet again - if top sound quality is what you're going for, then you'll actually save $50 with the HomePod, since Google Home Max is $399.

Squeezed into that small body, a custom subwoofer is joined by an array of seven beam-forming tweeters to provide the high frequency, supposedly with the added benefit of directional control. Sonos may support Apple Music, but the Sonos One uses Amazon's Alexa as its current assistant-of-choice, and that can't control Apple's streaming service by voice. Both Google and Amazon offer an ultra-affordable variant of their smart speakers, the Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot. Currently, the Apple Store app makes no mention of the speaker, but we do expect it to appear once the preorder floodgates open.

Sonos One also has more flexibility when it comes to the virtual assistant you can use with it. Apple says that only after "Hey Siri" is said to the HomePod will any information (encrypted) be sent to the servers using an anonymous Siri identifier.

I'm not the only person scratching their head over Apple's HomePod strategy.

This incredible new Apple HomePod will redefine the way you enjoy music, transforming into an incredible experience. Since Apple put Siri on the iPhone 4S in 2011, every one of its smartphones has come with the intelligent assistant baked in.

Excellent design has always been Apple's calling card, and the HomePod is a compact, stylish device available in tasteful white and space grey finishes which won't look out of place anywhere from your living room to your bedroom or kitchen.

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Amazon Echo devices and the Google Home works with multiple music streaming platform. Since these smart speakers are a fixture of your home, it's fair to go with a product based on looks.

Apple will lead you to believe that if they make it, they will come (and buy it).

The speaker will work with Apple Music and features are set to include smart home integration, voice messaging and, ultimately, multi-room audio.

Six built-in microphones mean that Siri can hear your commands from across the room even while music is playing - and this was indeed the case in our demo. I liked the design more than I thought I would, too.

HomePod is available at an Apple retail price of £319 in white and space grey in the UK.

Apple's HomePod is about to ship to customers and we all want to know as much about it as possible before it gets here.


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