“Don’t make the mistake of comparing HomePod to rival smart speakers and lamenting its $349 price tag,” Killian Bell writes for Cult of Mac. “There are good reasons why the device costs more than three times as much as an Amazon Echo — and yet is still an absolute steal.”
“The technology packed into HomePod is what makes it so special — and unlike anything else in its price range. Its seven tweeters, six microphones, and a high-excursion woofer come together to deliver high-fidelity sound that’s tailored to your room,” Bell writes. “This creates ‘an all-encompassing sense of space — and consistent, high-fidelity audio everywhere in the room.'”
“Audiophiles have been discussing this technology on Reddit,” Bell writes. “They’re blown away by what Apple has achieved, and they point out that for a similar audio experience, you’d have to pay in excess of $85,000. You can’t get this kind of technology cheaper.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote last May:
Once they finally get something shipping in quantity, it’ll be fun to watch how quickly Apple takes the top end of the market away since Apple’s solution will certainly have unique advantages within Apple’s ecosystem that makes it the obvious choice for Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch users.
As Reddit user Arve stated after HomePod’s unveiling:
1. They’re using some form of dynamic modeling, and likely also current sensing that allows them to have a p-p excursion of 20 mm in a 4″ driver. This is completely unheard of in the home market. You can read an introduction to the topic here. The practical upshot is that that 4″ driver can go louder than larger drivers, and with significantly less distortion. It’s also stuff you typically find in speakers with five-figure price tags (The Beolab 90 does this, and I also suspect that the Kii Three does). It’s a quantum leap over what a typical passive speaker does, and you don’t really even find it in higher-end powered speakers
2. The speaker uses six integrated beamforming microphones to probe the room dimensions, and alter its output so it sounds its best wherever it is placed in the room. It’ll know how large the room is, and where in the room it is placed.
3. The room correction applied after probing its own position isn’t simplistic DSP of frequency response, as the speaker has seven drivers that are used to create a beamforming speaker array,. so they can direct specific sound in specific directions. The only other speakers that do this is the Beolab 90, and Lexicon SL-1. The Beolab 90 is $85,000/pair, and no price tag is set for the Lexicon, but the expectation in the industry is “astronomical”.
So yes, compared to the typical sub-$2000 speaker, the technology they apply may just as well be considered “magic”.
When it finally ships, HomePod will take the high end of the smart speaker market, however large or small that may be. Its seamless integration into the Apple ecosystem will make it the go-to smart speaker for the very best customers – those with strong, coveted demographics (disposable income and the proven will to spend it). — MacDailyNews, January 9, 2017
Digital Trends previews Apple’s HomePod: Impressive sound coupled with strong privacy – January 26, 2018
Hands on with Apple’s HomePod: Attractive, ultra-high-quality speaker, an excellent Siri ambassador – January 26, 2018
Apple’s HomePod, the iPod for your home – January 25, 2018
One hour with Apple’s new HomePod smart speaker – January 25, 2018
Apple’s iOS 11.3 beta delivers AirPlay 2 with multi-room playback – January 25, 2018
How Apple is positioning the HomePod and why – January 24, 2018
How I got talked into buying an Apple HomePod despite my reservations – January 24, 2018
Tim Cook says audio quality puts HomePod ahead of ‘squeaky-sounding’ competition – January 24, 2018
Apple’s HomePod arrives February 9th, available to order this Friday, January 26th – January 23, 2018
Apple delays HomePod release to early 2018 – November 17, 2017
Apple reveals HomePod smart home music speaker – June 5, 2017
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Ara G” for the heads up.]