Apple has unveiled a wireless speaker, HomePod, at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2017 in the US. Fashioned like a breathing stereo, the Homepodclaims to delivers expertise of personal music preferences, and assists users discover new music.
HomePod is a wireless speaker for the home that uses spatial awareness to identify its location in a room, and thereby adjusts the audio automatically. Designed to work with an Apple Music subscription for access to over 40 million songs, HomePod will be available starting in December, initially in Australia, the UK, and the US. The price has not been revealed.
Design and Technology:
The seven inches tall, HomePod features a large Apple-designed woofer with a custom A8 chip being the brains behind the audio innovations. It enables bass management through real-time, ensuring that the speaker provides the best bass possible, with little distortion claims Apple. Besides, it has a custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters, each with its amplifier providing high-frequency acoustics, along with a well-balanced, smooth timbre, as well as precise directional control of a multitude of beam shapes and sizes. With HomePod, only after “Hey Siri” is recognised locally on the device will any information be sent to Apple servers, encrypted and sent using an anonymous Siri identifier.
HomePod is also devised for voice control with an arrangement of six microphones, so that users can converse with it from different nooks and corners of the room, despite the fact that loud music is playing in the background. Just by uttering, “Hey Siri, I like this song,” HomePod and Apple Music become the ‘musicologist’, recognising preferences from hundreds of genres and moods, across various playlists, and shares them across devices. There is also an easy setup of simply holding an iPhone next to HomePod, and it’s ready to start playing music in seconds. Siri waveform appears on the top to indicate when Siri is engaged, and integrated touch controls also allow easy navigation. In addition to that, Siri can also handle advanced searches within the music library, so users can enquire about various artists or create a shared playlist with everyone in the home.
Apart from this, as a home assistant, HomePod can be used to post messages, gather updates on news, sports and weather, or control smart home devices by simply asking Siri to do the basic job of switching on the light, closing the shade and so on. When away from home, HomePod can act as a home hub, yielding remote access and home automation through the Home app on iPhone or iPad.
“Apple reinvented portable music with iPod, and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes,” said Philip Schiller, senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, Apple.
It needs to be seen if Apple’s HomePod can take on Amazon Echo and Google Home