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Apple’s HomePod: More than just a ‘smart speaker’

HomePod is your very own, at-home personal assistant. With kick-ass speakers.

From your TV to your watch, it seems that just about everything is becoming ‘smart’. Of course, at the very heart of this new trend is the all-encompassing smart speaker; a home assistant that you can interact with on a day to day basis.

Already available on the market, there’s the Amazon Echo and the Google Home devices, which are growing increasingly popular. So, it’s no major shock that Apple just announced its offering in this genre. Introducing…. *drum roll*… the HomePod.

Since smart speakers are relatively new devices, many of you will surely be wondering what the HomePod actually does. While we by no means have all the deatials here yet, we do know a few things that the connected home accessory will bring to the table. Presuming you position it on your table, and not the dresser. Here’s what we know so far.

HomePod: Siri Voice Commands

Of course, one of the biggest selling points of the HomePod will be the fact that it has built-in Siri functionality. And with the upcoming launch of iOS 11, Siri will be smarter than ever before, with the ability to contextually learn new things.

So, to control the HomePod, you’ll simply talk directly to it. Since the speaker will be packing an A8 Chip (like the one inside the certain iPhones), you’ll find that the speaker is 100% interactive.

The main function of HomePod, though, will be to play music. Apparently the sophisticated design means you can place anywhere in any room, and it still delivers high-fidelity audio.

But you’ll find other uses for HomePod, too, like asking it to give you the news headlines, and to control other connected devices like your lights. Basically, it operates as your very own personal assistant, living in your home.

HomePod: Made for Music

One of the most interesting things about the HomePod is that Apple is positioning it more as a speaker, with the added functionality of being able to complete commands and instructions.

What that means, though, is that it really has to impress when it comes to the sound quality and overall audio features. So, what does the HomePod have to offer, in the audio department?

According to the latest reviews, HomePod’s sound performance is pretty darn suave. The two speakers provide a loud, full sound that’s more than enough to qualify as a standalone home speaker.

What’s more, HomePod is apparently ‘spatially aware’, i.e. that it adapts the sound to fit the shape and size of the room it happens to be in. There’s no doubt about it — the HomePod will lead the way when it comes to speaker systems.

HomePod: Design and Colours

Like Amazon Echo and Google Home, the HomePod’s design looks really quite futuristic. The curved style of the speaker gives it the appearance of something almost out of this world.

Keeping in tune with Apple’s minimalist theme, HomePod has few notable physical features. At just seven inches high, it looks extremely simple and sleek. Just like an iPhone, really.

Colour wise, though, we are lacking just a little. Apple has announced only two available colours: white or space grey. While there’s no doubt that these two tones will be popular, they lack a little vibrancy. Many of us are hoping that between now and the release date, Apple decides to bring more colours to the market. Fingers crossed, eh?

HomePod: Familiar Lightshow

On the top of HomePod, every Apple user will recognise the lightshow. The colourful lighting feature is very similar to the Siri graphics you’ll be used to either on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. That means that everything will feel utterly familiar from the moment you start using the device.

HomePod: Easy Device Pairing

If you’re already an Apple user, equipped with an iPhone or iPad, you should have no problem at all pairing your devices with the HomePod. The W1 Chip means that Apple-to-Apple pairing will be faster than ever before.

If you have an Android phone or tablet, though, we can’t really comment just yet. We’re not sure how compatible they’ll be with HomePod, but it’s safe to say that it’s in Apple’s interest to make it straightforward.

HomePod: Release Date

Apple has set the launch date for the HomePod right before Christmas. Yes, in the UK, US, and Australia, you’ll be able to buy one this December. That means that it’s certain to be on a whole load of people’s wish lists towards the end of the year. So, how much will it set you back?

Right now, the HomePod launch price is set at $349 in the US, and will likely be around the £300 mark here in the UK. While be higher than you hoped, Apple is keen to point out that you’re not just getting a home assistant here, you’re also getting a super Bluetooth speaker to boot.

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