It’s a big day for the tech world. Apple has finally unveiled their much-anticipated HomePod, and everyone wants to get their hands on it. Apple had previously announced they would be releasing a HomePod for December 2017, but the release was pushed so that they could have more time to work on it. As of Friday, January 26th, it’s available for preorder. But before you whip out your credit card, you probably want to know a little more about it.
The HomePod follows the same idea as the Amazon Echo and Google Home that came before it. It’s a smart speaker that doubles as a home assistant. It’s sleek, small, and features a minimalist design. At $349, it’s the most expensive smart speaker on the market.
Critics seem to be saying that the most impressive thing about the HomePod is the speaker itself.
It’s tiny, at only 7 inches tall, but has a deep bass. It also features seven beamforming tweeters all around, which basically means it delivers smooth, consistent sound. According to testers at TechCrunch, “the speaker is particularly adept as isolating vocals and maintaining often muddled aural aspects, like background singers and audience sounds in live recordings.”
The HomePod uses Siri technology so that you can give voice commands, and you can control the smart speaker by talking to Siri or using the app. Like every other Apple product, it only works if you set it up with other Apple products: an iPhone, iPad, or iPod. This makes things easy if you have one of those devices — the official Apple site says all you have to do is plug the HomePod in and your iPhone will detect it — but it’s kind of a bummer if you don’t have other Apple items on hand.
That also extends to listening to music. TechCrunch says,
The HomePod is available to preorder from Apple right now in the U.S., U.K., and Australia in black or white, and is slated to start shipping on February 9th. It will be available in France and Germany in the spring. Just keep in mind: if you receive it right away, the speaker won’t have certain features, like AirPlay, which allows stereo pairing and multiroom audio. Sometime in 2018, these will be available in a free software update as Apple continues to perfect the speaker.