Apple’s new HomePod sounds incredible!

“I did eventually hear one [of Apple’s new HomePod units] next to a Sonos PLAY:3 and an original Amazon Echo,” Chris Velazco writes for Engadget. “Musically, it blew them both out of the water.”

“But first, it’s worth discussing the HomePod’s design,” Velazco writes. “It looks like a speaker. The Echo, meanwhile, looks like a tube, and Google Home could be mistaken for an air freshener.”

“The existing crop of intelligent home assistants sort of suck at audio,” Velazco writes. “The HomePod however, sounded crisp and bright no matter the musical genre fed through it — it rendered The Eagles as well it did Kendrick Lamar. As a reminder, there’s a huge woofer and seven tweeters inside, all meant to make audio sound as vivid as possible no matter where you are in a room. It works.”

Apple’s HomePod offers room-filling sound:

“If listening to the HomePod was like listening to a CD,” Velazco writes, “then audio through the Echo sounded like AM radio.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Cupertino, we have winner!

We just wish, like nearly everything that comes out of Tim Cook’s Apple, that it shipped at least 12 months earlier. (That goes especially double for Multi-Touch Drag and Drop and the Files app (read: Finder) for iPad Pro!)

So, HomePod is obviously late, but it’s not nearly too late (this is a nascent market, after all) and it will quickly own the profitable premium end of the smart speaker market shortly after it begins to ship. Also, there are two other important things it has that no competitor has: The Apple brand and “Pod” in the name. The power that those two wield should never be discounted.

SEE ALSO:
Apple HomePod takes on Amazon Echo – June 6, 2017
Apple reveals HomePod smart home music speaker – June 5, 2017

24 Comments

  1. One more important thing, MDN: just like the original iPhone, when the announcement came five months before the launch, the entire market is now locked. Whatever Amazon, Google or anyone else manages to sell between now and December is sheer luck for them, since anyone and everyone who hears about this Apple device (and don’t doubt it, there will be plenty of press coverage) will wait until December for their purchase.

      1. Let’s see. There are those who buy Bose and Sonos, and then there are those who buy Axess (cheap no-name brand from China). When people go to Best Buy and compare the sound on these with Sonos, Bose, JBL, Sony and other big brands, Apple will win easily (based on the first reviews coming out).

        1. MDN: “name and brand” are laurels Apple has been breathing for a long time. Linking to Apple Music is an obvious choice, but it’s like Amazon linking to their Store? Great sound is obviously good, but it better be, no? I expected a jump in technology compared to Amaz’n/Gggl…but it’s just Apple’s stab at the speaker sector. Is it like Apple’s entry into the phone, or tablet market? Absolutely not. It’s iterative. Why in the hell isn’t this ready for prime Christmas sales?

    1. The only wild card is the quality or lack of quality of the coverage. For example, I read an announcement yesterday from one of the largest news organizations regarding the HomePod. Its “depth” of coverage came down to comparing the price to the much less expensive products from Amazon and Google. Nothing about the quality of sound, etc… I am quite sure that Amazon and Google will be pumping money out to get articles and “analyses” that misrepresent the facts. Welcome to the post-truth world of “alternative facts” (one of our time’s saddest oxymorons). Truth seems to be seen by many as a barrier to their efforts to make money (or influence public opinion or gain power). This is not new, of course. It just seems that this practice, with the ubiquity of the internet has become turbo-charged.

      1. Here is the real issue @solafide. You are right, their sound quailty is what they are touting. But that is the problem (even if news outlets would mention that). People that want a digital assistant will cringe at that price point, audiophiles will cringe at the all in one design or go with a brand they trust more (YG acoustics, cerwin V, whatever is cool these days). Apple is late and doesn’t seem to have a target customer.

        1. They are probably two different markets, looking for different things – but you make a valid point. I think another major selling point for those who want a digital assistant will be the security and privacy issues, along with secure HomeKit control. We have already seen the hackability of other systems and components of home automation systems. The HomePod will also not be listening all the time or gathering data to potentially sell information to advertisers. Apple first adopters will certainly be the first to jump on board. It will be interesting to watch the longer term uptake after that. The home automation market is still in embryotic form (It is still seen as a novelty/luxury, not a necessity). I imagine this is another reason that Apple’s marketers wanted to focus on music mainly to start. It would be interesting if Apple would integrate the HomePod with AppleTV so that movies streamed through it could have the soundscape shaped by one or two HomePods. That might disrupt the market for speakers/amplifiers further. For pure audiophiles, or for those who already have a significant investment, I can’t see them jumping on the HomePod as a replacement, but they might use it elsewhere in the house, or for HomeKit control (their more likely to have the financial situation to invest in further “toys”, even with potential overlap in function).

    2. You guys are forgetting that the big hit products from Apple as of late have rarely shipped when they were supposed to and have been on backorder for months – Apple Watch, Airpods… Maybe with a price tag of $349, this one has a chance of sitting on the shelves for a bit but I still wonder if Apple will take the time to gauge the market and have ample supply on hand for its “release date.” I’m still wondering if I even need it – Hey Siri with Airpods works just fine for me. But it appears they did take care of one of my complaints – talking to Siri has been like talking to a computer. I do hope they got the voice to be more human and it sounds like they did. Now if they can just get organization for the 1000’s of existing pictures in the Photos app that I STILL can’t figure out which are in albums and which are not (meaning Photos is a piece of shit app for me), I can be happy until the next missed delivery date.

  2. As someone from audio and music production, I see that it could be a breakthrough to entire sound monitor business, if delivered as promised. Very excited about future possibilities on ambient adaptation thru digital analisys capacity. Finally something completely new about sound. Finally Apple, a winner.

  3. Why is it no one cares about sound quality. All I hear about is the higher cost of the HomePod costing Apple market share percentage. That’s the way people think nowadays. Supposedly, Apple can’t touch Amazon because Jeff Bezos is smarter than everyone at Apple. I think Amazon has at least three virtual assistants from high to low price range. They say anyone can buy at least a half-dozen Echo Dots for the price of one HomePod. Naturally, Amazon will get the nod from the news media and Wall Street because it’s a FANG stock. To hell with quality, they all say. Make it cheap and become a winner.

    Apple is said to be too late to catch up with Amazon and Alphabet with the HomePod and that’s the sad state of affairs for Apple and Apple shareholders. Apple is taking a different spin on the virtual assistant with onboard processing and critics hate the idea for reasons I don’t quite grasp. I think that’s worth the extra $50.

    Why is it that Apple is always said to take the wrong approach just because they take a different approach from other companies? There’s always this assumption that an Apple product is going to be a failure because it costs more. It just seems like a stupid conclusion.

    1. The presentation of this product yesterday was more focused on the speaker element of the HomePod over the other functions. They glossed over the much of the Siri and HomeKit capabilities. I think part of this is due to the continued work on Siri improvements that won’t be ready until the new OSs are released later in the year with new iPhones. That’s my prediction, at least. I think we will see more in depth demos of enhanced Siri and HomeKit capabilities, at which time we will see more of these interactions on the HomePod.

      1. They sold it as an Apple Music accessory, not as a smart home hub. I don’t see a reason to buy it unless the Siri/Homekit functionality is useful ( I don’t want to subscribe to Apple Music). That part of the presentation was a dud IMHO, the audience wasn’t excited and the sound demo was corny.

  4. From the price standpoint, may I remind you all of a particular quote: “$500.00? fully subsidized?? And it doesn’t appeal to business because it doesn’t have a keyboard.” There will ALWAYS be those who purchase the cheapest item simply because it’s the cheapest….and they think they got a bargain. So it was with iPhone, so it will be with Homepod.

    1. @themusicdoc, the difference is that the iPhone brought touch, and real web browsing to people’s iPods. Their digital assistant has no other features to tout except a better speaker. Not a good comparison. No one else offered what the iPhone was promising, so they can charge a price no one has paid before. People have Siri on the phone, Alexa in a speaker (which probably won’t sounds as good (but unless you are doing a side by side comparison, who cares? )

      PS. Homepods will have apple fanboys become audiophiles now. “I can’t believe you are listen to such a bad speaker”

  5. Experiencing music has always been an important part of Apple. I am absolutely certain that this reality was responsible for the HomePod design and the reference to it as a speaker It’s clear that the Echo for Amazon and Google Home were just gadgets. If there was any thought at all about how music would sound through them, it was just an afterthought. Apple’s ability to envision a different future is why the HomePod will be successful,.. and why Amazon and Google will be redesigning their products to upgrade sound as fast as they can.

  6. That’s great, they have redeemed the iPod Hifi. Are there speakers with comparable quality and lower price if one isn’t interested in the assistant functionality, though? If so, I will buy one of those instead, I don’t tell Siri much other than ‘Shut up, Siri.’, when I accidentally invoke it (your mileage may vary, and that’s fine). Would love to see a comparison of sound with other speakers when it is released. If it’s better, than I’ll bite.

  7. everyone bitches and moans about Apple- they’re too slow- not enough products – the wrong products .I think they came out with a lot of good stuff and its not late. Who cares if the homepod is later and more money . If its a better product people will buy it. Everyone hated the watch and its killed the watch industry . It is a good seller. and now with the diabetes monitoring coming theres even more reason to have one.

  8. I wonder if Apple will make a complementary speaker to provide stereo sound. If the designers were thinking ahead the circuitry in the Homepod would already be capable of splitting the stereo audio signal and sending the Left channel to companion speaker. It could also play the audio portion of a TV program whether streamed on line or through cable with a few enhancements.

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