Originally rumored to be called Siri Speaker, the HomePod is a smart speaker with Wi-Fi capabilities intended to compete against Amazon Echo devices and Google Home—although it will be significantly more expensive. During the WWDC keynote, Apple’s senior VP of marketing Phil Schiller boasted about the HomePod’s audio quality, its built-in room sensors, and the integration with Apple Music.
With its always-on voice assistant and ability to control connected devices, the HomePod is very similar to Echo devices and Google Home, but with a few notable differences. (We were able to get a closer look after the keynote, and you can check out our first eyes-on impressions here.) Here are the must-know HomePod features, specs, and sales info showcased during WWDC.
Homepod's Release Date:
The HomePod will be available for sale starting in December, initially in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia. So it’s will only support English-language voice commands during the initial rollout. It will then be available in other countries starting in 2018.
The HomePod comes with an A8 fusion chip, the same one that powers the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. That definitely puts it up at the top when it comes to “smart” speakers. Like the AirPods (which sport an A1 chip), setting up the HomePod is just as easy and intuitive. All you have to do is hold your iPhone next to the HomePod and it’ll be ready to start playing music in seconds.
How to Activate?
The HomePod has six microphones so that it can be activated verbally using the “Hey Siri” voice command. We’re not sure what happens if you have “Hey Siri” activated on your nearby iPhone as well. Hopefully, Apple implements a way for you to customize which device responds and fulfills the voice commands, or for the iPhone and the HomePod to communicate with each other and figure it out. We’ll let you know once we do our full review.
Commands that should be given to Siri:
You can ask Siri to send a text message to your friend, start playing the latest episode of your favorite podcast, and get the latest updates in news, sports, traffic, and weather. You can also use voice commands to set alarms, timers, and reminders. In addition, Siri on the HomePod can help you answer some of your most burning questions like, “What’s the best Korean barbecue restaurant nearby?” or “Did the Warriors win last night?”
No, the HomePod does not have a touchscreen like the more-recent Amazon Show, but it can still responds to touch controls. You can tap the top of HomePod to play, pause, or adjust the volume. This panel also animates with an LED waveform to indicate whenever Siri is listening.
HomePod is compatible with iPhone 5s and later, running the latest iOS 11.