Meet HomePod! Apple's new smart speaker aims to rock the house and reinvent home audio

It's WWDC day! Apple has just announced its intentions to join the smart speaker market by introducing HomePod – an intriguing competitor to Amazon Echo and Google Home.

How will HomePod differentiate itself?

HomePod seems to be geared towards bringing a superior audio experience in addition to going toe to toe with competing devices in the AI assistant department. Essentially, the device is designed to be a combination between a wireless speaker (like UE Boom series or Bose SoundLink) and a smart home speaker. Let's see how Apple has tried to achieve this feat.

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Rocking the house

The HomePod sports several interesting features which are designed to provide an immersive audio experience. The gadget measures at just under 7 inches, but packs quite a punch.

On the outside, it's covered in a seamless mesh fabric which, according to Apple, possesses "incredible acoustic properties". Its internal components include a 4-inch woofer, six microphones that are said to detect your voice even if you're playing loud music, and an array of seven tweeters that are used for directing and focusing the sound.

All of these components are managed by a custom A8 chip. This is quite the processor for a home speaker, as a chipset of the same grade is used to power the iPhone 6.

The HomePod also possesses spatial awareness – it is able to automatically detect the spaces inside a given room, after which it adjusts the sound in accordance in order to provide a better listening experience. Apparently, if one puts two HomePod units in the same room, the devices will recognize each other and work together to maximize the effect.

Integration with Apple Music and Siri

What turns the HomePod into a smart device is its deep integration with Apple Music and Siri. If you happen to be subscribed to Cupertino's music-streaming service, you'll have access to its entire library and your own playlists and preferences.

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Meanwhile, Siri will be improved to serve as a musicologist. The AI assistant will understand context better and answer more freeform questions and respond tasks such as "Who's singing this song?", "Play some lullabies in the baby's room", and "Play something new". 

Of course, Siri will also possess its current and recently announced capabilities, which means that you get a smart home speaker as well. It will be able to provide information about news, the weather, sports, while it can also be used to set up appointments, alarms, reminders, doing translations and so on.

Last but not least, HomePod can also be used for managing Apple's HomeKit devices, allowing you to control any smart accessories and appliances you might have at your house.

Pricing and availability

So, all of this might sound neat, but when will the HomePod hit the shelves? The device will be available starting December 2017, with the US, UK, and Australia being the first markets to get it. Additional countries will be included in the following year.

The gadget will carry a $349 (US) upon release, with white and space gray being the two color variations.

Story timeline



1. Sakeem

Posts: 862; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

Curious to see real world usage and reivews.

2. ahmuzencab

Posts: 192; Member since: May 12, 2017

Looks solid. Reasonably priced as well. If Google Home doesn't deliver anything better than what it's giving me by December, I'll be purchasing this and testing it out.

9. Landon

Posts: 1245; Member since: May 07, 2015

How is $350 reasonably priced? Look at what you could buy for equal or less than $350: (3) Google Homes @ $109 = $327 (1) Amazon Echo Show @ $230 + (2) Echo Dots @ $50 = $330 (1) Amazon Echo @ $180 + (3) Echo Dots @ $50 = $330 (7) Amazon Echo Dots @ $50 = $350

11. nctx77

Posts: 2540; Member since: Sep 03, 2013

This is a Sonos competitor with a built in assistant. It's basically an echo/Google home and a sonos speaker combined. Now that you have that info, go look up how much similiar Sonos speakers cost...

12. alexkim92

Posts: 21; Member since: Mar 29, 2017

Sonos is overpriced as hell as every Apple product is.

17. sgodsell

Posts: 7451; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The Google Home home has music sync between other Google homes and it's only a fraction of Apples homepod. So you could get 3 Google homes for the price of one Apple Homepod. Plus Google's Assistant runs is very intelligent, and you can even play music, videos, and movies on your TV using Google's home. Now that you have the info. Look it up, and you will see that Apple is a rip off.

32. izim1

Posts: 1600; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Not only is sonos overpriced but you can still get a sonos speaker that works with the echo dot and still save over $100 over buying this. So what point were you trying to make, again?

33. j_grouchy

Posts: 180; Member since: Nov 08, 2016

Keep in mind Echo is expected to gain Sonos support this current Sonos owners (like me) wouldn't need to spend another $350.

13. Cat97

Posts: 1933; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

This is an Apple product. How do you think Apple took home 88% of the mobile profits year to date ? By milking its loyal customers ! :) Edit: sorry, this reply was meant for another post, not sure what is happening with this site's comment system.

14. sgodsell

Posts: 7451; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

At $350 for a Siri speaker with mics. There is a lot of milking for this item. Especially when you see Amazon's Echo or Echo Dot ($50). Even Googles Home is only $119.

21. ahmuzencab

Posts: 192; Member since: May 12, 2017

Google Home runs off of a little weak Chromecast chip lol.. "Lower the volume 40%" .. too late. 35 seconds has gone by.

31. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

ahmuzencab, a man-baby pretending to be a grudged Google Home owner which in reality are just trying to root for an unreleased Apple product. You are pretty stupid if you think I am not happy that you are buying an expensive smart speaker for double the price that can't even steam main music providers like spotify, amazon and google music. GET LOCK-IN, baby!

26. KingSam

Posts: 1476; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

It does seem to be a more powerful speaker with that 4" subwoofer and that A8 chip should add to the cost. But I still agree with the apple premium they add.

34. bucknassty

Posts: 1353; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

Echo Dot does not compare on the audio side... nor does the google home... look beyond the "smart" features. Imagine a bose speaker with Siri

35. izim1

Posts: 1600; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

I have a dot connected to my 9.2 home theater. Only cost me an extra $50. Explain to me how this is better.... "imagine a bose speaker with siri". So a speaker with no bass with an underwhelming AI? No thanks, id rather Alexa with a heos 5 or sonos play 3 for less than the price of this thing.

36. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 969; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

2x as much as it needs to be, so hopefully the sound quality is good. This is definitely a milking job.

15. ahmuzencab

Posts: 192; Member since: May 12, 2017

@Landon: Google Home doesn't do anything I ask it to, with reasonable question. Half of my smart home doesn't work with a Google Home, but is HomeKit compatible. I should have bought Alexa instead, as she is way better developed and designed.

20. ahmuzencab

Posts: 192; Member since: May 12, 2017

I'll take the A8 chip over Google Home's chromecast chip any day hah

3. slannmage

Posts: 289; Member since: Mar 26, 2013

$350 lol, this better be a bloody good speaker.

6. airoid

Posts: 130; Member since: Dec 13, 2016

Only ifans pay this price for Google home wannabes

28. ahmuzencab

Posts: 192; Member since: May 12, 2017

I was in love with Google Home when buying it for Christmas, but my love immediately fell through the roof... the speaker is such crap.

4. omnitech

Posts: 1131; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

Looks like a roll of yarn. Lol

7. Lumbergh

Posts: 463; Member since: Feb 14, 2016

Yawn. Not funny.

18. omnitech

Posts: 1131; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

It does though. I gurantee guests will think it's just that.

30. tbacba

Posts: 134; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Actually it was pretty funny. P.S. wake up

5. omnitech

Posts: 1131; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

Or some kind of ghetto IKEA lantern

8. Lumbergh

Posts: 463; Member since: Feb 14, 2016


10. Lenny86

Posts: 301; Member since: Sep 20, 2012

Once in a lifetime this pussy Cook would do a surprise release, what is he doing by Apple!?He slowed down the development of the company by 50-60%.Was waiting for a SE 2 introduction, anyways. At least the ios 11 looks promising. On the other side, can't wait to see a fresh blooded leader on the of the Apple. No hope for the iphone 8,anymore just will be a 10-15% less bezelless iphone 7.

16. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2253; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

Apple did a quick marketing spin by saying that this is a HomePod for music then Phil threw in can also do weather, etc...It's essentially Apple Amazon Echo. Bottomline...

19. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

$350....? DOA No speaker is worth $350, I don't care who makes it. I bought a whole 7.1 Surround for roughly 2 times that. From what I read, I don't see anything worth $350. Apple always aggressively pricing something. I bet it was less than $50 to make. When I first bought the DOT, I didnt think it was worth the $49 I paid. I bought 2. But the DOT, connects to any BT, my Wifi, give me all the info I need. I mosky use it for music. I have one in the kid room for his stories at night and music and in my room, I have a premium SoundBar/Subwoofer that even with the DOT, cost me less money vs the Apple speaker. Looks like a smoke detector!

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