Apple’s HomePod Speaker is Really Super Cool

HomePod

Apple’s new HomePod is an intelligent speaker, It comes in black and white, and it’s really cool. It has seven tweeters in the bottom, along with a four-inch woofer, and six microphones at the top. It’s about the size of two large grapefruits stacked on top of each other.

When you say “Hey, Siri,” it lights up at the top with a little waveform, and you can ask for a lot of Siri-type things, like reminders, timers, and random questions.

The bit on top that lights up is great, though. It looks a lot like the waveform you see on Siri when you speak to it on your phone — though, of course, this doesn’t look like a complete LCD here.

HomePod

There’s also an A8 chip inside that does automatic EQ and echo cancellation with beamforming for the tweeters — it detects the size and shape of a room to tune the best sound. Again, this isn’t something Apple is showing in the demo area, but given the company’s ability to make great hardware, I bet it works well.

Apple’s also promoting the privacy aspects of the HomePod — it doesn’t send anything to Apple until you say “Hey Siri,” and then it sends data using an anonymous encrypted Siri ID.

Apple’s billing the HomePod as a home music speaker, first of all, connecting it to the iPod, iPhone, Apple Music, and AirPods. So there’s a lot of focus on Apple Music integration. Even still, with integrated microphones and Siri, it obviously competes with Amazon’s various Echo devices and Google Home, and Apple hasn’t really discussed in detail how Siri and HomeKit will match the extensibility of those platforms. But it’s exciting, and we’ll see when it ships in December for $349.

Unfortunately, that’s about all we can say about this thing for now.

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