June 19, 2018

You can finally pre-order Apple's $349 HomePod smart speaker

27 January 2018, 07:16 | Sam Montgomery

The Home Pod costs $349 and opens for pre-order on January 26Apple

The Home Pod costs $349 and opens for pre-order on January 26Apple

I also like that you can use the HomePod as a HomeKit hub, so you can control scenes remotely.

Inside HomePod are seven tweeters spaced evenly around the base of the device and a woofer on top. HomePod is controlled by Apple's virtual personal assistant Siri, a competitor to the Echo's Alexa. Apple created to the HomePod (which costs $349 and goes on sale February 9) from top to bottom, and it made audio a top priority.

"It's still an odd announcement; Apple provided only a short demo of the device in June, so people courageous enough to order will be going in blind". At setup, however, the light is simply white, only becoming infused with color once you turn on Siri (you have the option not to if you just want to use the HomePod as a "dumb" AirPlay speaker). Similarly, Siri can only control tunes from Apple Music, which doesn't entirely rule out Android users, but it hardly waves them in with a big "hello" and a free balloon either. What this does is ensure you can use certain Apple services - chiefly Messages, Calendar, and Reminders - with the HomePod.

Yes it's been longer coming than intended, but as of yesterday you can now pre-order Apple's music speaker with Siri built-in - the HomePod. Great surround speakers for your Sonos home theater, too ● Play songs, check news and traffic, manage smart devices and enjoy other helpful Amazon Alexa skills using a single Sonos speaker.

You may have heard of Sonos and their reign on the audio market, but recently Apple has been trying to make their move into the market as well.

The HomePod is outfitted with six beam-forming mics for this - they're also used to pick up voice commands - as well as an internal mic that listens out for noise inside the unit itself.

Apple says its HomePod is equipped with spatial awareness which means it will fill a room with sound no matter where it's placed.

A similar dynamic is shaping up in smart speakers.

While Apple positions the HomePod as a music-first device, Amazon and Google have already set the bar - and continue to raise it - when it comes to setting expectations about what a smart speaker can do. This is a bit of a bummer for families or people with roommates, since there's no way to set up multiple user accounts or tailor the music choices to each individual's Apple Music account. It is smart, powered by Siri and capable of intelligently adjusting its output to its surroundings.

What's more likely is that Siri will get better over time. Announced last June, Apple's first smart speaker finally has a confirmed release date with pre-orders starting soon.

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