Can Apple Reinvent Home Music with HomePod?
Apple believes music begins at home.
It’s why they are launching the HomePod, to bring you a new musical experience right in your living room or, for that matter, any space you want it.
HomePod will be available in early February. Apple claims it can definitely rock the house. Don’t get confused. The HomePod is not an Amazon Echo or Google Home device in a different package. While it can serve as a home assistant, the difference is in the sound.
The tech giant says the HomePod is the ultimate music authority. It actually brings together Apple Music and Siri to “learn” your taste in music. It works through a combination of Apple’s engineered audio technology and advanced software said to deliver the highest-fidelity sound throughout the room.
The device features Apple’s A8 chip. The company claims it is the biggest brain ever in a speaker. HomePod comes with seven beamforming tweeters designed with a precision acoustic horn that focuses sound for directional control. Sound will be consistent from anywhere in the room no matter where you are sitting. Those who like a lot of bass will appreciate the high-excursion woofer with a custom amplifier. HomePod uses an advanced algorithm that continuously analyzes the music and dynamically tunes the low frequencies for what should be a smooth sound.
The HomePod is just under seven inches tall. Wrapped in a seamless mesh fabric, Apple says it is designed for both aesthetic and acoustic performance. Available colors include white and space gray.
Apple claims set up is easy. Plug it in and your iOS device will detect it. The device has spatial awareness to adjust, giving you optimal sound no matter where you place it. It will even hear your requests from across the room while loud songs are playing. If your room is acoustically challenged no need to worry. HomePod automatically analyzes the acoustics, adjusts the sound based on the speaker’s location, and then separates the music into direct and ambient sound.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of the device is that it includes Apple Music and Siri. You can select from practically any song with Apple Music and train Siri to learn your music tastes. Listeners can tell Siri what you wish to hear or let it make suggestions for you. Your other Apple devices will also include your playlists as you compile them on HomePod. Those lists will appear automatically on your iPad or iPhone. Having a party? Your friends can also jump on your Wi-Fi network and stream their music right to your HomePod.
Of course, as an intelligent assistant, you can always ask HomePod for live news, sports, weather and traffic. You can even send voice messages or take a call on your iPhone and turn it over to HomePod.
Unfortunately, like other Apple products, there is no Bluetooth playback or audio plug-in. The device will only work with the Apple ecosystem so leave your Android devices in the drawer.
HomePod is a lot more expensive than Amazon Echo or Google Home. Pricing will start at $350. In a side-by-side comparison, as detailed by techradar, https://www.techradar.com/reviews/apple-homepod, the device held up well versus a Sonos One, Harman Karden Allure and the latest version of the Amazon Echo. Still the Echo compared favorably in sound quality and offers more apps for about a third of the cost.
As with other Apple products, quality in design and construction make the HomePod stand out. Apple fans will have to decide if listening is believing, and if the audio experience and functionality are truly worth the price.