In an announcement at WWDC, Apple is aiming to reinvent home music. After detailing how the iPod revolutionized music and then the iPhone did so again, Cupertino had one last announcement. To revolutionize the home music experience, Apple is releasing the HomePod, a wireless smart speaker with amazing sound and capabilities.
Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vide president of Worldwide Marketing, was extremely enthusiastic about how HomePod will reinvent home music.
Apple reinvented portable music with iPod and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes. 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 smart speaker features an Apple-designed upward-facing woofer, paired with a custom A8 chip to provide bass management through real-time software modeling. This makes sure the speaker delivers the deepest, cleanest bass possible, with little to no distortion.
Not to leave out the high end, there’s a custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters in the base of HomePod. Each has its own amplifier, providing well-balanced, smooth timbre and precise directional control of a multitude of beam shapes and sizes.
With automatic room-sensing technology, HomePod can learn its position in a room, whether it’s in a corner, on a table, or on a bookshelf. Within seconds, it optimizes the sound output to deliver an immersive music listening experience wherever your HomePod is placed.
Finally, if you have two HomePod speakers, they automatically detect each other and balance the sound, using direct and reflected audio, to deliver a much more immersive experience.
The HomePod, at its heart, has Siri to help you. Six microphones are arrayed on top of the device, with echo cancellation, to understand people whether they are near the device or standing across the room. HomePod can even hear it being called when loud music is playing.
As a musicologist, Siri can answer questions like who the drummer is in a song, learn your music preferences across hundreds of genres and moods, and share your music tastes across your devices. You can create a queue, and stream anything from your iCloud Music Library or Apple Music.
For the privacy of its users, HomePod doesn’t transfer any information to Apple until it recognizes “Hey Siri” locally on the device. Even then, the communication is encrypted and sent using an anonymous Siri identified. This means that Apple doesn’t know who is using the HomePod, and you can rest assured that your privacy is protected.
As a home assistant, HomePod will be able to send messages, get news and weather updates, or control smarthome devices using HomeKit. When away from home, HomePod can act as a remote access hub for your smarthome devices, as Apple TV and iPad do currently.
HomePod will begin shipping in December 2017, and will retail for $349. It will be available in white or space gray.