Apple’s Phil Schiller talks HomePod

“When Apple announced in June its intention to deliver the HomePod by the end of the year, we were intrigued if not a bit puzzled over what took them so long to enter a market headed for billions of dollars in sales,” Bob Ankosko reports for Sound & Vision. “To learn more about the HomePod, which begins shipping February 9 at the premium price of $350, we reached out to Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing.”

A few snippets from Schiller:

We think we can create a new kind of music experience in the home that sounds incredible, and is fun to interact with. That’s what’s driving us with HomePod. And it can also be the hub for your smart home. Voice technologies like Siri are also gaining in popularity with Siri responding to over 2 billion requests each week. This helps us understand how people actually interact with their devices, what they ask, and helps us create a product for the home that makes sense.

When we set out to design HomePod, we knew we wanted to create a great music experience in the home. An intelligent speaker that is easy to set up and use, automatically adapts to its environment, and sounds amazing wherever you place it [a feature Apple calls spatial awareness] …And with advancements in Siri, and deep knowledge of your music preferences and tastes, HomePod understands what you want to listen to, when all you say is, “Hey Siri, play some music.”

From the moment you plug in HomePod and start listening to music, it automatically and instantly senses its location in the room to take full advantage of the environment it’s in… Using advanced software and the A8 chip, HomePod intelligently beams center vocals and direct energy away from the wall while reflecting the ambient reverb and back-up vocals against the wall for dispersion into the room. The end result is a wide soundstage with a feeling of spaciousness and depth. This entire process takes just seconds and it doesn’t stop with the initial setup. Every time you move HomePod, it uses the built-in accelerometer to detect a change in its location and continues to make sure the music sounds great and is consistent, wherever it’s placed.

The detection of “Hey Siri” happens on the device, so nothing is being sent to Apple until that trigger is detected and the Siri waveform lights up. At that time, the request is sent to Apple using an anonymous Siri ID, and of course that communication is all encrypted. We’re able to do this because we designed audio technology, advanced software, and Siri to work together as one system… With HomePod, you can do many of the same things you’re used to doing with Siri on iPhone, like turn on the lights, set scenes when you say good night or say “I’m home.” And again, one of the biggest benefits of HomeKit, is that it’s secure and private.

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’re interested to see if Apple can really capitalize on their commitment to privacy or if it’ll take a major breach to wake up the majority of people or if even that would be enough to make privacy a real selling point.

Given how many gullible and/or ignorant people are willing to hand over their personal data for free to the likes of Google and Facebook (while mailing their DNA to other companies, no less), we’re not seeing Apple’s devotion to privacy as very salable versus the extra capabilities of other personal assistant from companies that wipe their feet on user privacy every second of the day.

BTW, only Apple can trumpet the importance of quality audio while shipping a speaker that’s incapable of being set up as a stereo pair out of the box*.

*Capability is “coming this year in a free software update.”

SEE ALSO:
Apple’s Siri isn’t HomePod’s biggest problem – January 31, 2018
How Apple’s HomePod will handle software updates – January 30, 2018
What Apple’s HomePod 2 should offer – January 29, 2018
Apple debuts four commercials for HomePod’s debut – January 27, 2018
Apple’s HomePod is actually a steal at $349 – January 26, 2018
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

[Attribution: The Loop. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

31 Comments

  1. But will it play all my music in my iTunes Library that is on my 27″ iMac. I have over 7,550 songs. If it won’t, then I will not spend $350.00 on it. I like all the other things that the HomePod can do, but it has to play my iTunes Library. It looks pretty cool though…

    1. You already know the answer don’t you?

      It’s a speaker. With airplay. You can stream anything to it including the music on your iMac. You just can’t use Siri to choose songs.

      1. put his 27 inch iMac on a shelf next to the HomePod and plug the iMac into the HomePod? Or limit where the HomePod can be placed because it has to be physically plugged into his iMac? That’s not very practical. Airplay is exactly a “line in port”, but much more convenient. The person asking the question probably just forgot about Airplay.

          1. You have got to be joking. This isn’t the 90s. Airplay is essentially a line in, not totally open but people with a lot of non-Apple devices are not the target market. Apple is allowed to choose their target market BTW.

        1. have reading comprehension issues? From the Apple spec page, audio sources are:

          Apple Music, iTunes Music Purchases, iCloud Music Library with an Apple Music or iTunes Match subscription, Beats 1 Live Radio, Podcasts, AirPlay other content to HomePod from iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV, and Mac

          HomePod was never meant to be an open platform, but it’s open enough for the people it’s for. Why not be more open? I would think that’s obvious. Security. HomePod is going to be part of a mesh in the home. Privacy and security matters for this product.

            1. more risks associated with security and privacy. There are advantages with a more open platform but you’re lying to yourself if you think being more open as a platform doesn’t increase security and privacy risks. Apple has made a choice here and it is their right to make that choice. Should the government tell Apple what they can and cannot build and sell? I thought America was all about freedom? Apple will succeed or fail on their own merit. If most people agree with you then HomePod will fail. However I’m betting you’re in the minority and that’s what makes you mad.

            2. that the future of HomePod is to be part of a wireless mesh. A physical line in is unnecessary in this scenario. Apple could have added a line in if they wanted to but it is their right not to and the market will decide. You need to think about the future and the future is wireless.

            3. is definitely a problem here. I said there are more security and privacy risks the more open your platform becomes.

              Your argument seems to be that Apple should be made to add features you agree with and you want. Are you really arguing that Apple is not allowed to make their own choices when it comes to designing their own products?

            4. “PS a physical line is necessary if you want to hook up an otherwise incompatible playback device. You are covering.”

              My point is Apple has future plans for the HomePod beyond just music and a physical line in isn’t part of those plans. Whether Apple could add a line in isn’t the issue, their product roadmap doesn’t include that functionality and that’s Apple’s right.

              Are you saying Apple shouldn’t be allowed to design their products according to their own roadmap?

          1. Thank you, Apple. I never realized that wanting better performance, service, and choices was so bad. Thank you, Apple, for limiting my options and crushing my desires.

    2. “We think we can create a new kind of music experience in the home that sounds incredible, and is fun to interact with. That’s what’s driving us with HomePod.”

      Wow Phil. I mean words escape me here. This, in the face of the Amazon Alexas of the world? Really? A voice-powered iPod? In this day and age, this is dead. Convergence of technology is far too great now for something that is hyper focused on music to be that valuable to anyone.

      This isn’t enough. It needs to be SMART. But we all know it’s not, it’s Siri… it’s dumb. And not industry leading. It’s beat out by Amazon and Google.

      This is shocking. If Phil really believes this and isn’t erecting a smokescreen for competition to make them think that’s all they’re really doing with HomePod… I’m at a loss.

  2. I asked at the Apple Store if this HomePod would connect to my existing AirPlay network which consists of 3 Tivoli Radios connected with Airports and a Wren Speaker with built in AirPlay. All this shows up on my iTunes AirPlay speaker list and I can choose multiple speakers. The Apple Store guy said he didn’t know if this would work with HomePod, since version 1 has no AirPlay listed in the Wireless section of the specs.

    If this is true it is amazing. I guess it means that out of the box it is shipping as a Mono Bluetooth only device. That would be pathetic.

  3. “Hey siri play some music”……

    Is it going to recognize who is asking …. and personalize what it plays according to the individuals preferences?

    Is it going to support multiple users through voice recognition ?

  4. Wouldn’t it be great to have HomePod technology replace the “squawk box” PA systems airports, shopping centers and other public places use? Yes, these places are very noisy and achieving audio quality such that people can actually always hear what’s being said may well be beyond possibility. But even so, it is 2018 and it should be much better, at least to the point where most times we can hear something!

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