Apple's stab at the cluttered 'smart speaker' market is due to hit Aussie shops in under 24 hours. We take a look at the price, specifications and where you can buy it.
It's essentially a music speaker and digital assistant in one that can be used to play music (while simultaneously learning your tastes), and handle everyday tasks. You can also use it to control your smart home with compatible devices.
The HomePod's other main claim to fame is sound: with a large woofer and seven beam-forming tweeters arrayed 360 degrees around the HomePod's body, it purports to offer superior audio quality to other "standard edition" smart speakers on the market. (Google and Amazon both provide higher-end models with beefier speaker arrangements, however.)
If Apple can be believed, the HomePod is also equipped with spatial awareness software that automatically adjusts to give you optimal sound depending on where it’s placed.
Apple HomePod pricing
The Apple HomePod is selling in Australia for a hefty $499. This is a signficant markup compared to most competing smart speakers on the market.
For example, the Google Home sells for $199 (and can regularly be found for less) while the Amazon Echo is $149. Granted, these are the standard-edition models. But even the top-of-the-range Google Home Max and Amazon Echo Plus sell for US$399 and $229, resectively.
Apple HomePod specifications
|System requirements||iOS 11.2.5 or later|
|Dimensions (mm)||172mm high (6.8 inches)|
|CPU||Apple‑designed A8 chip|
|Audio Technology||High-excursion woofer with custom‑engineered amplifier, Array of seven horn-loaded tweeters, each with its own custom‑engineered amplifier, Six-microphone array for far-field Siri, Internal low-frequency calibration microphone for automatic bass correction Direct and ambient audio beamforming, Transparent studio-level dynamic processing.|
|Wireless||802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO, Direct guest access, Bluetooth 5.0|
|Audio Formats||HE-AAC (V1), AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Apple Lossless, AIFF, WAV and FLAC|
|Audio Sources||Apple Music, iTunes Music Purchases, iCloud Music Library with an Apple Music or iTunes Match subscription, Beats 1 Live Radio, Podcasts, AirPlay other content to HomePod from iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV and Mac|
|Touch Surface||Tap or hold + or – to turn volume up/down, Touch and hold for Siri, Tap to play/pause music or Siri, Double‑tap to skip, Triple‑tap to skip back|
|Power||Built-in power supply|
Apple HomePod availability
The Apple HomePod will be available to buy in Australia from 9 Feburary. You can pre-order it from the Apple Store right now.