What is Apple Homepod?
Apple HomePod sees Apple looking to change how you listen to music jumping on the iPod nomenclature to come up with the HomePod name.
Apple Homepod Design
*Almost 7-inch tall cylindrical design
*Acoustic mesh sides
*Available in space grey or white
The Apple HomePod adopts a cylindrical design standing 6.8-inches tall (17.2cm) and wrapped in mesh. It looks a little like the last Apple Mac Pro converted into a speaker with a similar shape design; it also looks a bit like the UE Wonderboom but larger. It weighs in at 2.5kg or 5.5 pounds. The flattened top is where the Siri wave appears when you say Hey Siri, offering a similar sort of effect as you get from existing smart speakers, like the Amazon Echo or Google Home. It’s designed to give you a visual clue that it’s working. There are also touch controls on top, which you can use as follows:
*Tap or hold + or – for volume up/down
*Touch and hold for Siri
*Tap to play/pause music or Siri
*Double-tap to skip
*Triple-tap to skip back
As with all Apple products, you’re looking a clear and uncluttered design, very minimal in its presentation. In terms of what the HomePod requires, you’ll need to have an 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. And yes, it will work with AirPlay on a Mac or Apple TV, too.
Apple HomePod: The audio hardware
*4-inch central woofer
*7 beam-forming tweeters
*Apple A8 chip
In terms of audio quality, there’s a central 4-inch high-excursion woofer that’s upward firing in the centre of the device. This should provide depth to the music, with
Apple saying that it uses real-time software modelling to ensure that any distortion is minimalised (there’s an internal mic for this purpose), so you should be able to turn it up loud without it losing quality.
There are seven beam-forming tweeters wrapped around the core of the HomePod, providing 360-degree sound. This isn’t uncommon as there are a number of speakers that use this sort of arrangement to offer 360-degree sound.
Apple has said that HomePod will adapt to the room, something we’ve seen from companies like Sonos, meaning that if you place it in a corner, the sound will adapt so that you get the most from it.
What can – and can’t – you do with Apple’s HomePod?
Powering the speaker is the Apple A8 chip, the same as you’ll find in a number of Apple devices.
There are seven microphones on board so that the speaker can listen to you; again, this isn’t uncommon, as the existing devices on the market do the same thing, providing plenty of mics to hear what you’re saying and listen to your commands.
Apple HomePod: Connectivity
*The Apple HomePod is both a music speaker and a home controlling hub, as it is HomeKit compatible.
Apple is pushing the security of HomeKit with the HomePod, saying that nothing is sent to Apple until you say “Hey Siri”, and even then it’s all encrypted.
The speaker will connect to the internet using your Wi-Fi network, streaming music from Apple Music, iTunes purchases or playing Beats 1 radio. You can also listen to podcasts via Apple’s own app. You can ask for all of these things via Siri on the HomePod.
AirPlay is supported, of course, so you can play music or other audio from iPhone, iPad, Macs and Apple TV. So, for example, you will be able to AirPlay non-Apple audio like Spotify or BBC Radio from your phone, but you won’t be able to ask Siri for this stuff on the HomePod.
You will be able to pair with a phone instantly, so we guess it uses the same W1 chip as some of the recent Beats headphones and the Apple AirPods (mind you, this isn’t detailed in the specs) but it does feature Bluetooth 5.0 for the purpose of pairing – you can’t Bluetooth audio to the speaker from other devices unfortunately. This is a major drawback.
Apple has also confirmed that you’ll be able to pair speakers so that they sync up to make the music even better.