Six things you should know about Apple’s smart speaker HomePod
After launching its latest offering HomePod in countries like the US, the UK, and Australia in January last year, iPhone maker Apple officially launched its smart speaker in India earlier in May – a frontrunner to become the best smart speaker of the year.
With Amazon Echo and Google Home already dominating the Indian market, Apple may have entered the party late. But, it may become the life of the party, literally!
The Cupertino, California-based technology company offers some stunning features in HomePod, and we at YourStory, have compiled everything you need to know about the new smart speaker.
The 6.8-inch tall Apple HomePod weighs 2.5 kg and has a width of 5.6-inch. HomePod uses Apple’s proprietary audio technology that comes with a high-excursion woofer, equipped with a custom-engineered amplifier. The device also has an array of seven tweeters — each of which has its own amplifier and a transducer — and six different microphones. The iPhone maker has also provided its A8 chip in the speaker that enables smart features through a Siri integration.
To set up HomePod, you need to plug it in, and the iOS or iPadOS device will detect it. Apple says that HomePod automatically tunes itself to give you optimal sound –wherever it is placed.
Various reviews of the HomePod read that the smart speakers are really smart. If you ask it to play music on full volume, the Siri on HomePod may refuse and tell you that it “would be too loud.” Analysts also say that if you are already an Apple device user, the speakers will automatically know what you like and what you don’t. For instance, if you ask it to ‘play music,’ HomePod will most likely play your favourite music you have been listening to on your other Apple devices. For Indian users, HomePod also supports Indian English as well.
The connectivity options on the HomePod include Wi-Fi 802.11ac with MIMO and Bluetooth v5.0. It also supports various audio formats such as HE-AAC, AAC, protected AAC, MP3, MP3 VBR, AIFF, WAV, and FLAC. The speaker also has built-in power support.
The HomePod offers a touch panel that supports gesture controls. Furthermore, the speaker has AirPlay 2 support to deliver a multi-room audio experience when using multiple HomePod units.
You can also connect your Apple Home devices to the HomePod, and multitask with your voice commands.
A good assistant
Siri on Apple’s HomePod can do a lot — it can place a call for you, read the news, play ambient sounds, and many other things — you would want an ‘assistant’ to do, even compose a text message and send the same. It can also receive calls, as well as help schedule and stay up to date with your calendar appointments.
In terms of security, Apple as a brand, offers a lot more built-in privacy features than other companies. In HomePod, no data is shared with Apple. The wake word for HomePod is ‘Hey Siri.’ Apple writes on its website that, “after HomePod recognises the words ‘Hey Siri,’ what you say is encrypted, and sent anonymously to Apple servers without being tied to your Apple ID.”
Price and availability
The HomePod is available at Rs 19,900 in India, as compared to Amazon Echo that starts from Rs 4,000, and Echo Studio that costs about Rs 23,000. The Google Home falls in the price range between Rs 3,000 and 9,000.
The Apple India site shows a “Buy” option, which takes you to the page providing the option to find your nearest Apple reseller. However, ecommerce companies such as Amazon and Flipkart, have not started listing it yet.
HomePod comes with a seamless mesh fabric designed for aesthetics and acoustic performance. Available in white and space grey, it looks gorgeous from every angle.
Edited by Suman Singh