Apple introduced its first smart speaker, HomePod, back in WWDC 2017 (June). The HomePod is a direct competitor to what Google Home and Amazon echo devices are currently offering. The HomePod was supposed to launch at the end of 2017, but delayed. Finally, Apple announced the HomePod’s pre-order and shipping dates.
According to Apple, the HomePod is aiming to combine both a great speaker and a smart assistant into a single package, similar to the Google Home Max. Inside the HomePod’s 7-inch tall pill-shaped enclosure, there are seven tweeters and one woofer covered with mesh fabric. With the help of an A8 processor and a six-microphone array, the HomePod can detect its location in a room to adjust the directions of audio (beam-forming) and cancel out unwanted echo. Multi-room speakers support will be coming later in 2018, in the form of software update.
The HomePod also features Siri, Apple’s own smart assistant, that can be used to control music playback or smart home appliances, as well as other simple commands (e.g. send messages and set alarms).
The HomePod will cost USD $349 (MSRP), in either white or space gray color. It will be available for pre-order on 26 January (Friday) from Apple Online Store and will be released on 9 February. The HomePod will first launched in the US, UK and Australia, while France and Germany in Spring 2018.
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