SAN JOSE — Apple has revealed HomePod at its Worldwide Developers Conference, a breakthrough wireless speaker for the home that delivers high audio quality and uses spatial awareness to sense its location in a room and automatically adjust the audio. Designed to work with an Apple Music subscription for access to over 40 million songs, HomePod provides deep knowledge of personal music preferences and tastes and helps users discover new music. HomePod features a large, Apple-designed woofer for deep, clean bass, a custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters that provide pure high frequency acoustics with incredible directional control and powerful technologies built right in to preserve the richness and intent of the original recordings.
Apple is entering a new field that is currently dominated by Amazon Echo and Google Home. Apple said its HomePod won’t go on sale until December, initially in Australia, the UK and the US.
“Apple reinvented portable music with iPod and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “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.”
HomePod is designed for voice control with an array of six microphones, so users can interact with it from across the room, even while loud music is playing. By saying, “Hey Siri, I like this song,” HomePod and Apple Music become the perfect musicologist, learning preferences from hundreds of genres and moods, across tens of thousands of playlists, and these music tastes are shared across devices. Siri can also handle advanced searches within the music library, so users can ask questions like “Hey Siri, who’s the drummer in this?” or create a shared Up Next queue with everyone in the home.
HomePod will be priced at $349 in white and space gray starting in December initially in Australia, the UK and the US. HomePod is compatible with iPhone 5s and later, running iOS 11.
At just under 7 inches tall, HomePod represents years of hardware and software innovation from Apple:
- Apple-designed upward-facing woofer, paired with the custom A8 chip, enables bass management through real-time software modeling that ensures the speaker delivers the deepest and cleanest bass possible, with low distortion;
- Custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters, each with its own amplifier, provides well-balanced smooth timbre as well as precise directional control of a multitude of beam shapes and sizes;
- Apple-designed A8 chip provides the brains behind the advanced audio innovations;
- Automatic room-sensing technology allows HomePod to quickly learn its position in a room, whether it’s in a corner, on a table or in a bookshelf, and within seconds, is perfectly optimized to deliver an immersive music listening experience wherever it is placed;
- Six-microphone array with advanced echo cancellation enables Siri to understand people whether they are near the device or standing across the room, even while loud music is playing;
- Siri waveform appears on the top to indicate when Siri is engaged, and integrated touch controls also allow easy navigation;
- Automatic detection and balance of two speakers using both direct and reflected audio to deliver amazing audio wirelessly for an even more immersive experience; and
- Easy setup that is as intuitive as setting up AirPods — simply hold an iPhone next to HomePod and it’s ready to start playing music in seconds.