Apple’s HomePod arrives February 9th, available to order this Friday, January 26th

HomePod, the innovative wireless speaker from Apple, arrives in stores beginning Friday, February 9 and is available to order online this Friday, January 26 in the US, UK and Australia. HomePod will arrive in France and Germany this spring.

HomePod delivers stunning audio quality wherever it’s placed — in any room in the house, playing any style of music. Using just your voice, it’s easy and fun to use, and works together with an Apple Music subscription for a breakthrough music experience, providing access to one of the world’s largest cloud music libraries. Siri, now actively used on over half a billion devices, has developed a deep knowledge of music and understands your preferences and tastes. And with Siri, HomePod can send a message, set a timer, play a podcast, check the news, sports, traffic and weather, and even control a wide range of HomeKit smart home accessories.

Apple's all-new HomePod
Apple’s all-new HomePod

 
“HomePod is a magical new music experience from Apple. It brings advanced audio technologies like beam-forming tweeters, a high-excursion woofer and automatic spatial awareness, together with the entire Apple Music catalog and the latest Siri intelligence, in a simple, beautiful design that is so much fun to use,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “We’re so excited for people to get HomePod into their homes, apartments and businesses to hear it for themselves. We think they will be blown away by the audio quality. The team has worked to give Siri a deeper knowledge of music so that you can ask to play virtually anything from your personal favorites to the latest chart-topping releases, simply by saying ‘Hey Siri.’”

Audio Innovations and Advanced Technologies

At just under 7 inches tall, HomePod represents years of hardware and software innovation:

• Packed with Apple-engineered audio technology, HomePod uses advanced software for real-time acoustic modeling, audio beam-forming, echo cancellation and more, powered by Apple’s A8 chip, delivering a wide, spacious soundstage. Using spatial awareness to sense its location in the room, it automatically adjusts the audio to sound great wherever it is placed.

• HomePod features a large, Apple-designed woofer for deep, clean bass, a custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters that provide pure high frequency acoustics with directional control, and powerful technologies that preserve the richness and intent of original recordings. With an array of six microphones, HomePod can hear “Hey Siri” from across the room, even when loud music is playing.

• Setup is as easy and intuitive as setting up AirPods — simply hold an iPhone next to HomePod and it’s ready to start playing music in seconds. The Siri waveform appears on the top to indicate when Siri is engaged, and integrated touch controls also allow easy navigation.

Apple Music

HomePod is designed to work with an Apple Music subscription for access to hundreds of genres, moods and activities. It also learns preferences and tastes that are shared across devices. Using Siri to deliver deep knowledge of artists, songs, albums and more, HomePod can handle advanced searches within Apple Music’s catalog, so users can ask questions like, “Hey Siri, when was this song released?” or “Hey Siri, can you play something totally different?” to change the mood. Apple Music subscribers can enjoy a catalog of more than 45 million songs, combined with their entire iTunes library, for online or offline listening — completely ad-free.

Home Assistant

HomePod is a convenient way to send messages, set timers and reminders, check the weather and listen to shows on Apple Podcasts. The latest business news, headlines and sports updates stream directly to HomePod from NPR, CNN, ESPN and others. HomePod can also be used as a speakerphone with iPhone for crisp and clear audio quality.
With support for HomeKit, HomePod can control hundreds of home accessories or set scenes like, “Hey Siri, I’m home,” to control a number of different accessories at the same time. HomePod can turn on the lights, raise the shades, set the desired temperature or make other adjustments and serves as the perfect home hub, enabling remote access and automations.

Apple's all-new HomePod
Apple’s all-new HomePod

 
SiriKit for HomePod

Through SiriKit, HomePod supports third-party messaging apps, so users can ask Siri to send a message to a friend or colleague using apps like WhatsApp. Reminders, note-taking and to-do list apps like Things and Evernote will automatically work with HomePod, so Siri can set reminders, create a new list, mark items as complete, or create and modify notes. For developers interested in adding SiriKit support, more information is available at developer.apple.com/sirikit.

Multi-Room Audio and Stereo

Coming this year in a free software update, users will be able to play music throughout the house with multi-room audio. If HomePod is in the kitchen, users can ask Siri to play jazz in the dining room, or play the same song in each room — perfectly in sync. If there’s more than one HomePod set up in the same room, the speakers can be set up as a stereo pair for an even more immersive sound experience.

Security and Privacy

Security and privacy are fundamental to the design of Apple hardware, software and services. With HomePod, only after “Hey Siri” is recognized locally on the device will any information be sent to Apple servers, encrypted and sent using an anonymous Siri identifier.

Pricing and Availability

HomePod is available at an Apple retail price of $349 (US) in white and space gray in the US, UK and Australia and available to order beginning Friday, January 26, from apple.com and the Apple Store app. HomePod will be available in Apple Stores and at select Apple Authorized Resellers, including Best Buy in the US; Argos, Dixons Carphone (Currys PC World), John Lewis, Shop Direct (Very and Littlewoods), EE and Apple Premium Resellers in the UK; and The Good Guys, Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, Myer and Telstra in Australia, beginning Friday, February 9. HomePod will be available in France and Germany this spring.

HomePod is compatible with iPhone 5s or later, iPad Pro, iPad Air or later, iPad mini 2 or later, or iPod touch (6th generation) with iOS 11.2.5 or later.

Source: Apple Inc.

MacDailyNews Take: Finally!

Unfortunately, this being Tim Cook’s Apple (read: incomplete and late as usual), multi-room audio isn’t here yet, just “coming this year.”

SEE ALSO:
Apple to ship crippled, incomplete HomePod months late – January 23, 2018
Apple’s Phil Schiller: We feel bad about the HomePod delay – December 8, 2017
Echo Dot was Amazon’s Black Friday – Cyber Monday bestseller as Apple’s delayed HomePod waits for 2018 release date – November 28, 2017
Apple’s late, delayed, limited HomePod is looking more and more like something I don’t want – November 27, 2017
Why Apple’s HomePod is three years behind Amazon’s Echo – November 21, 2017
Under ‘operations genius’ Tim Cook, product delays and other problems are no longer unusual for Apple – November 20, 2017
Apple delays HomePod release to early 2018 – November 17, 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook: The ‘operations genius’ who never has enough products to sell at launch – October 23, 2017
Apple reveals HomePod smart home music speaker – June 5, 2017
Apple’s desperate Mac Pro damage control message hints at a confused, divided company – April 6, 2017
Apple is misplaying the hand Steve Jobs left them – November 30, 2016
Apple delays AirPod rollout – October 26, 2016
Apple delays release of watchOS 2 due to bug – September 16, 2015
Apple delays HomeKit launch until autumn – May 14, 2015
Apple delays production of 12.9-inch ‘iPad Pro’ in face of overwhelming iPhone 6/Plus demand – October 9, 2014
Tim Cook’s mea culpa: iMac launch should have been postponed – April 24, 2013

35 Comments

    1. I can’t find anywhere that says it’s Airplay only. We will soon know whether whether Bluetooth streaming is supported, but your iPhones and Macs already have WiFi, and support AirPlay, so why does it matter?

    2. pulled the rip cord on our conversation on the other HomePod article. I’ll make this point again. I agree with you that HomePod as hardware is locked down, but your music is in no way locked in. As I said in the other thread:

      Music is a digital file. Hardware is not. I can put any song in the world on my iPhone and then play it through the HomePod. You can separate the two because they are separate.

      I agree HomePod should have other options for playing music on it but that is a different complaint. When discussing just the songs there is zero limitation on your iPhone which then means there is zero limitation for what you can play through the HomePod. Hardware complaints about no aux jack or bluetooth are legitimate but not related.

      1. I refer you to pure prior conversation. For those just joining, hardware input restrictions (Airplay Only) are not only digital file playback restrictions, but CD, Vinyl and even other formats. The friggin thing should minimally have a headphone jack.

        Argue with facts to your hearts content.

        1. let’s talk facts. Fact: I can put any song in the world on my iPhone, assuming the song is available in normal digital formats to begin with of course, which all songs are except for very rare cases. Fact: I can play any song on my iPhone through the HomePod. There is NO limitation on the music itself.

          I agree HomePod has some hardware limitations. Less so if it has bluetooth. But your original complaint was about the MUSIC, and the FACTS show there is no limitation on the music. You are limited to using an iOS device or Mac as the playback device but that is a hardware limitation, it does not limit the music you can access. If Apple devices limited the songs I can listen to I wouldn’t buy Apple devices, believe me.

          1. Can you play your CD player on the HomePod? Can I play my old iPod or Zune? Almost all other speakers let me. Again, specs are changing BT 5 may actually be on it. But you most certainly cannot play ALL media on it.

            1. play all media on it, via your iPhone, and all the songs on the devices you listed can easily be formatted and added to your iPhone.

              What matters to me is that my music collection is open, portable, free to do whatever I want with it. That is what I have on my iPhone and Mac, and I will be able to play all of it on the HomePod.

              I agree the HomePod has hardware limitations, in that you cannot plug a CD player into it, or a Zune, but that is not what I said. I said the music itself is not limited and that is a fact. You can play all the songs from your CD collection, and all digital songs you had on your iPod or Zune, on the HomePod. You only need to have those songs on your iOS device or Mac.

              To make this simple. HomePod. Is it hardware limited? Yes. HomePod. Are there any limitations on the songs you can play on it? No.

              Now you’ll complain you can’t play videos on the HomePod, or Ogg files. But you can, you simply convert the files so they are playable on your iPhone as audio files. Hardware limitation? Yes. Music limitation? No.

    1. Don’t confuse expensive with overpriced. if this is as good as I suspect it will be, $350 is a bargain. A lot of naysayers are suggesting that they won’t buy one because they already have Sonos systems, which are in the same ballpark.

      1. Does not support 3rd party services.
        Does not support Mac audio.
        Does not support Apple TV audio.
        Tied to Apple Music or iTunes Match paid streaming instead of a LAN library.
        Inferior Siri AI
        Highest price in the market
        Late to market
        Short of features.
        Looks like a Toilet Paper Roll wrapped in Fishnets, like a commenter on another site (AI) described it.

        That means is redundant in the Living Room, redundant on your Mac, a dirt magnet you will not take out of the house. Not exactly sure what good purpose it serves.

        I own stock in Apple and am the owner of an iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad Pro/Apple TV and many Macs- I would love this thing to be a home run, but that is not what this looks like.

        1. “Does not support Mac audio”? As in anything you play through your Mac via Bluetooth? This is a shock if true and a dealbreaker. After looking at the compatibility section on Apple.com it does indeed look like only iPhones, iPads and the newest iPod touch are supported. What a weird product. I have no use for this thing if it can’t play audio from my iTunes library that my $15 bluetooth speaker can!

  1. “HomePod delivers stunning audio quality wherever it’s placed — in any room in the house, playing any style of music. Using just your voice, it’s easy and fun to use, and works together with an Apple Music subscription for a breakthrough music experience”

    As I said, this is an internet radio. It’s very debatable whether there is a need for such a consumer product – much like the smart watch.

    Now, for the elderly this product looks promising. It produces clear sound to assist those with hearing loss as well as entertaining such folks. If phone calls (VOIP) can be piped through this thing it would give them the feeling the person is there with them.

  2. Sorry, not buying any of these “in-home” listening devices. Between hackers and the Spookville misconduct it will only be a short time until the hacks and private audio stuff will be revealed…….
    You’ve been warned…..

  3. How can this thing not support AppleTV?!? And the ability to play in stereo or multi-room is “later this year”?

    Those are some pretty big showstoppers. I was hoping the HomePod delay was because Apple was putting the finishing touches on some new killer feature. This is pretty underwhelming. I’m sure it will sound good but still.

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