HomePod is Apple’s venture into the digital assistant/home theater realm, but is it worth the wait? Likely, yes. Apple is known for many things, iPod, iPhone, Macbooks, iPad, nano’s minis and much more. They gave us Siri, Facetime, and Steve Jobs. Or Steve Jobs gave us Apple; maybe they don’t have to be mutually exclusive; anyway, the one thing you don’t think about when you hear Apple, is audio. Well, except for that thing with the headphones and the iPhone 7.
It would seem the innovation station over at Apple R&D had decided that void wasn’t something they could live with anymore. Apple’s new home page literally says, “Welcome HomePod”. It would seem some of us can anticipate our parents making any number of terrible home related puns when they go to flip on their new holiday playlist next time they are over for a family game night.
Home sweet HomePod
Jokes aside, Apple has decided not to enter a market thoroughly saturated by portable speakers and stereo systems but instead looks to unilaterally outperform and outmaneuver the in-home digital assistant market. Echo’s Alexa, Google Home, and to a lesser degree, Microsoft’s Cortana, as well as a couple other less adept in-home digital assistants, have been finding their way into customer’s lives at a fairly high rate of adoption. Reasonably user-friendly and moderately priced, these digital whiz kids in a box have been improving our moment to moment micro-catastrophes, like forgetting you were supposed to make dinner as you walk through the door and being able to order pizza in fractions of a second. There is no doubt the market for these devices is ready, willing and able.
Is 350 bucks for a fancy speaker going to be too much? I seriously doubt it. Market trends have shown consumers clearly willing to shell out the few extra bucks for the legit Apple experience. Also, it is worth mentioning that it is not just for the name that customers keep coming back to those fruit inspired tech geniuses. The truth is they do make a great product.
Apple devices are generally very user-friendly, aesthetically pleasing, retain value, and yes, give buyers something to show off. That said we are not just talking about the next version of the iPhone here either, nor are we talking about a prettied-up Alexa. The HomePod is a next level micro smart home device wrapped up in a seven-inch speaker that competes with Bose quality sound and incorporates next-gen technology to improve the user experience again and again.
“Alexa, why is HomePod so great?”
So, what makes this thing so great? Is it the future tech worthy A8 chip that Apple has exclusive to the device? Or maybe it is the fact that even when the music is bumping the floorboards Siri can still hear your voice when you ask her to change tracks or turn it down when your upstairs neighbors start banging on the floor again. Oh, did I forget to mention that this little baby has Siri built right in? Well yes, she’s in there all right, the familiar lady you have wasted countless time with while asking ridiculous questions and occasionally using rude language toward, is once again ready to respectfully take whatever you can dish out.
With the A8 and Siri built-in, the device is capable of being installed anywhere. Whether singly or in a pair with AirPlay 2 for serious stereo sound, indoors or out, and utilizing only your voice and the data collected and processed by the A8 chip, HomePod instantaneously modifies the sound being projected, and can, through the aid of an algorithm that determines time, space, volume and frequency, upmix direct and ambient sound to affect the most perfect, acoustically defined music you may have ever heard. A unique term, which you may be hearing for the first time, known as “Beamforming” allows the 360-degree, six microphone, array to detect a speaker’s voice from moderate distances while the tunes are blasting.
Music, music everywhere
Tunes there will most certainly be. The HomePod is connected to Apple Music and will make use of a library of over 40 Million songs. That’s Million, so you know, more than your CD collection. Not to mention the access to all of Siri’s near limitless resources to search the web for just about anything you could need to know.
Perhaps one of the coolest functions that wonderful little lady can now, with the aid of the HomePod, perform, is the ability to be tuned to the internet of things that exists within your home. HomePod can adjust your lights individually, change the thermostat, close the garage door when you forget, or lock up and set the alarm. It could likely do your laundry if you gave it a hand! Which of course you can use to highlight the LED function at HomePod’s center as it responds to talk and touch alike.
With echo cancellation, 360-degree sound detection and custom amplification, a proportionately enormous 20mm, diaphragm driven high-excursion woofer, seven high-performance tweeters and more science than you know what to do with, packed into a 6.8 x 5.6 inch elegantly designed, black or white speaker system, the Apple HomePod is about to change the game again. This device effectively turns any apartment into a smart home with a few upgrades to appliances, or a smart home into a brilliant one.
Waiting for Winter
Unfortunately, to listen to the sweet sound of the future, we will have to wait until December; just in time for Christmas of course, well played Apple. Well played, indeed.