Apple reveals all of HomePod’s supported audio sources

“Apple today updated its HomePod tech specs page with a new Audio Sources section that lists all of the ways in which the speaker can stream audio, setting the record straight on some conflicting information,” Joe Rossignol reports for MacRumors.

HomePod Audio Sources (via Apple Inc.):

• 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

Rossignol reports, “HomePod orders began last week ahead of the speaker’s official launch on February 9 in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.”

“Even though HomePod doesn’t ship with AirPlay 2, it can still receive audio from any device that can AirPlay,” Serenity Caldwell reports for iMore. “That includes your Macs, Apple TV, iPhones, and iPads, along with any third-party apps that support the feature (including work-arounds for Android and things like AirSonos).”

Caldwell reports, “I want to reiterate, because I’ve seen a number of people passing around conflicting information: You can stream any audio (including anything from your iTunes library on your Mac) to HomePod via the original AirPlay protocol.”

“Why does Apple support FLAC for HomePod when iTunes doesn’t stream FLAC files?” Caldwell reports. “Simply put: Because you can AirPlay FLAC (or Lossless, WAV, or AIFF) files from any device to your HomePod.”

“Despite Apple listing Bluetooth 5.0 as part of HomePod’s specifications, I haven’t heard anything that would lead me to believe it can be used as a Bluetooth speaker — AirPlay only,” Caldwell reports. “To my knowledge, Bluetooth 5.0 is in there to aid in the setup process, but again, I don’t yet have confirmation on this so can’t state definitively.”

Read more in the full article – recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: It’s a testament to how far behind Apple is on this thing – let’s face it, HomePod is another Tim Cook-era beta product for which beta testers have the privilege of paying (see numerous Apple TV and the original Apple Watch for other examples) – that Apple is updating the product’s specs page several days after it went on sale.

68 Comments

  1. Poor service. I just chatted with Apple Support yesterday and was told the HomePod was incompatible with Macs. Now they are compatible. Yes, I confirmed that with Apple Support today after reading about it online. Nobody at Apple saw this coming… a few days/ weeks/ months ago? Poor service.

    1. Four strikes: siri sucks, wireless only, hokey richochet audio is not audiophile quality, no Airport Express support.

      This is a me-too device attempting to chase Amazon and Google spy pods with an overpriced monopole that moves the audio quality from 2 to 4 on a scale of 10. Apple is obviously attempting to corral people into music subscriptions with a device that is not audiophile quality, not even as good/versatile as existing systems from B&W or Sonos or any wired speaker. It doesn’t even incorporate the simple streaming radio stations that Macs have had for over a decade. It looks like it is useless for managing podcasts, so in the end you might as well continue to use what you got already. Apple again shats out a premium priced product with too many strikes to even consider.

      News flash to Apple: Wireless devices are only as good as the network. Since Apple abandoned networking, it has no way to guarantee a solid wireless experience. We routinely experience airplay dropouts and we are much more savvy at wireless networking than the average family.

      Finally– with no alternate input like legacy wired connections, you can write off audio lovers with legacy music collections like us. How stupid can you be Apple? Your pod doesn’t add onto or replace anything in our household with a better experience in any way.

      For the record: the old B&W Zeppelin will be staying in the kitchen with the old iPod docked on it.

      1. Man, as much as I usually jump in on preordering new products from Apple, I just can’t with this one. Siri is absolutely awful. It seems like they will improve her and then back to crap. I think if Steve was alive, he would fire that entire team.

    1. @ jltnol – what a joke – we don’t care if you buy one or not – we REALLY COULD GIVE A SHIT – NO REALLY! Like who the fuck are you? before you answer this – wait – remember just so you know we don’t care!

    2. So they advertise it can actually do more than previously thought and your intelligent reply is ‘ now I’m SURE I won’t be buying one’. I guess you are the sort of guy who goes into a car show room, gets quoted a price shakes your head and haggles to have less extras for that price. You really couldn’t make this up.

  2. You get the feeling Apple would have preferred to release the product under government “classified documents” arrangements where all details are blacked out. It seems embarrassed by the whole thing. No real product keynote launch. No real marketing. Very sad.

    1. Me too. I ordered two. Looking forward to pairing them up once (finally) enabled via software update. I have also been looking for a way to simplify and modernize my speakers around the house. As it is now, they are a hodgepodge of speaker systems (in each room) controlled by iTunes on my Mac Pro via a slew of AirportExpresses. Can’t wait to get rid of all the wires. Hope HomePod is a successful solution.

    1. Apple users can use HomePod with all their devices. HomePod is not for people who aren’t in the ecosystem. Not right now, but that could change. Apple has done that more than once, launch a product and expand compatibility later. Not sure I see that happening with HomePod though, it really is targeted just at Apple users.

      1. Yes, look at what a fine job Apple has done with the Apple TV. More expensive, harder to use, and less technically capable and versatile than the competition. Toss in a shitty remote and the customary 35% Apple markup, plus app management and subscription fees as high as anywhere else. What do tou have to show for it? a shitty value with a fashion label on it.

        The homepod follows the same script. You would achieve superior capability and performance pairing your old iPod or iPhone into any stereo speaker. The B&W T7 costs $350, coincidentally. Even this highly compromised speaker will outperform the homepod. Instead of wasting money on siri and microphones, which you already have, you could invest in vastly superior speaker quality.

        1. The highly technical reviews I’ve seen say you cannot beat the HomePod audio quality for under $1,000. Two HomePods together for $700 should be incredible sound at a fantastic price. I always reserve judgment for myself but skilled sound engineers are raving about HomePod.

          1. Please post objective performance tests when you take standard frequency response and signal/noise measurements. At least that will give us some basis for comparison. Until then, I will tune out Apple’s uninformative marketing, the usual fanboy claims, and the customary naysayer opposition.

            As someone who knows how a soundbar works, however, I won’t order one of these things without detailed auditioning. Anyone who buys before trying can’t say that sound quality was their motivation.

      2. It might not be, in which case it makes the absence of a Line-in all that more disappointing.
        In other words, there’s no motivation to buy it, if not as a speaker. If it’s limited as a speaker, then one is left wanting.

      3. does mr. apple have a learning disability ?

        making this thing only useable to those in the apple eco system?

        did they forget the lesson of the iPod ? once it was opened to all it became th top selling music device.

        this strikes me as nuts. locking themselves out of a large segment of the market

      4. does mr. apple have a learning disability ?

        making this thing only useable to those in the apple eco system?

        did they forget the lesson of the iPod ? once it was opened to all it became th top selling music device.

        this strikes me as nuts. locking themselves out of a large segment of the market

    2. On sound quality alone your B&W A7 might not be better than a HomePod. I imagine it depends how much you care about music vs more tech spec options for inputs. I would buy whatever sounds better. Since I have an iPhone and an iMac input options don’t matter. Your mileage may vary.

        1. All the reviews I’ve seen so far are extremely positive. It is looking like HomePod blows normal speakers (that don’t do beam forming) out of the water.

            1. I don’t see it as selfish. Wireless is where everything is going. It is much more convenient. If Apple doesn’t include an audio port on iPhones why would anyone expect that on the HomePod? Apple does not take a kitchen sink approach and try to please all use cases. You can disagree with their choices but it isn’t selfish and there’s nothing to excuse. It’s just a design decision that you don’t agree with. Apple takes the approach of if you don’t like it don’t buy it. Looking at their recent quarterly results, and I read 1.3 billion active devices, Apple may know what they are doing.

            2. I don’t see this as hurting or not hurting anyone, it’s just a design decision. Apple is betting on wireless. They know the market for a wired speaker like the HomePod is tiny. It doesn’t make business sense.

              The original iPod is 17 years old. How much backwards compatibility do you want? However, HomePod will play my original iPod’s music. I keep all my music in iTunes and transfer playlists to a few devices. They will all play music on the HomePod. I’m not losing any real world functionality with HomePod just because it is wireless. Do you believe a large number of people have their music libraries on 17 year old iPods?

            3. PS-No one is saying to make it “just” a wired speaker either. Choice is good.

              Oh, and who is anyone to tell anyone else what to find valuable. Should a working 17 year old iPod be thrown away?

            4. Apple has decided to sell HomePod as a wireless speaker. Adding a physical wire option to it muddies Apple’s vision for the product. It’s your opinion that HomePod has less utility without a wired option, it isn’t fact. I don’t want a wired speaker. It is not convenient. That has less utility for me.

              “Oh, and who is anyone to tell anyone else what to find valuable.”

              Apparently, you. That’s what you are doing. You are telling me the HomePod should have features I don’t find valuable and have no use for. If you think Apple shouldn’t be doing that then you should stop it yourself.

            5. Apple is not exempt from criticism, you seem to ignore that.

              “Apparently you…”

              No sir, not at all…
              My suggestion is far more inclusive of a much more diverse set of users and devices. It’s precisely YOU position that doesn not play well with other’s and, in fact, advocates subjugation.

              But to your point, Apple is indeed free to sell what they want. I’m free to point out reasons one might not want to buy them, because I’m a a potential buyer. I can certainly lay out my logic why I won’t. Maybe others agree (It seems so).

              What exactly are you advocating that would not be available to you under my scheme? I clearly indicated what I would be missing under yours.

            6. Having an audio jack would require a base or a redesign of the current HomePod. Probably a base since any other way of doing it would mean repositioning the speaker array and that would negatively affect how it works. It was built as a 360 degree array of speakers for a reason. An audio jack is a point of entry for dust and moisture as well. A base might cause vibration issues also. The Google Home Max is having a hardware issue with its audio jack right now. They aren’t foolproof. It is also possible that what the HomePod is doing in software with the audio it outputs can’t be handled properly or as well through an analog input. A physical jack also isn’t necessary. It is also less convenient, adds a point of possible hardware failure, encourages a corded environment, there are a lot of good reasons not to have an audio jack. I’m also sure you’ll dismiss all of them.

              Subjugation? That’s dramatic. Did you gasp and put one hand to your mouth as you wrote that?

              I would bet against your take on the HomePod. While some on this site agree with you and pundits love to complain about Apple the general public doesn’t share your concerns. You’re part of a tiny minority that constantly complains about anything Apple does.

            7. Apple could figure out how to add an audio jack. They have chosen not to for good reasons. You seem to think Apple did this out of spite or purely selfish reasons. That is silly. It was a perfectly reasonable design decision. You disagree with that decision. Who is being selfish exactly? You sound like a selfish child demanding what you want. I’m all for reasonable criticism but you’ve gone far beyond that.

              I know you meant it BTW, I was pointing out how overly dramatic and silly you are being.

              Reasonable criticism would be that an audio jack would make the HomePod more compatible with a wider range of devices. That is a reasonable statement. You wander off into la la land when you say stuff like “selfish omission”, “hurts no one, except Apple”, “a major miss”, “advocates subjugation”. You’d think the world is ending. Dial it down about ten notches and people might take you seriously. Advocates subjugation? Come on man.

            8. The world is not ending. Buy or don’t buy. Be informed, or not.

              But it is a pity that such an allegedly stellar speaker does not play well with other’s. Oh, and lock-in, which is the real reason things are as they are, IS evil ,and IS subjugation.

            9. “Be informed, or not.”

              See, here’s the problem. I’m just as informed as you are. You’re implying I’m not just because I care about different things, which is BS. You’re putting yourself above others as if you’re some kind of guru departing wisdom and truth to the poor uninformed masses. You’re not.

              “Oh, and lock-in, which is the real reason things are as they are, IS evil ,and IS subjugation.”

              There you go again. Nobody takes you seriously when you say silly things like this. There’s a whole world of consumer goods and services that are locked in as much as Apple products. Even Google is moving to being more locked down and less open. Please don’t tell me you buy the BS that Google is ‘open’.

              There is real evil and subjugation in the world. Talking about consumer goods lock-in as equal to that is downright disrespectful.

            10. I did not say YOU, I mean anyone. I’m not a guru, I’m speaking literal logic. My way serves all, including those like you. Your way does not serve those like me. Broadness is without exclusion is what makes me right. You are supporting an agenda. One that is in conflict with users.

              Google is and will remain open as long as one could chose app store and at least be able to sideload. Anyone can program for Android (or MacOS, or Windows, or WP, or Linux, or….) without anyone’s permission. It’s an uncensored environment. The only obstacle is the law, not my manufacturer.

              Yes, there is much more SEVERE subjugation, but my use of the word fits all the criteria. EVen if it weren’t technically correct, then consider it a metaphor. I consider censorship a moderately severe form of subjugation. Granted a speaker is trivial, but it’s consistent. It need not be this way.

              So I repeat, be my guest, buy a HomePod, it’s your money. Hopefully highlighting the shortcomings, by me and other’s, will give some people something else to consider. The criticism of the design stands.

            11. You’re definitely trying to imply that you are more informed than others. Why are you now trying to hide that?

              “My way serves all”

              No, it serves you. I don’t want a wired speaker. I like the design of the HomePod. It’s all speaker. It looks great. The design is seamless. You don’t get to crap that up with your audio jack. It might affect the sound output too. You. Don’t. Get. To. Decide. What. I. Want.

              “Broadness is without exclusion is what makes me right.”

              By your logic then every consumer product should be outfitted with every possible feature just in case someone might be excluded if some feature isn’t there. That’s just poor design, and it might give you a clue why competitors can’t do what Apple is doing. You’re not right, you’re just a bad designer.

              “The criticism of the design stands.”

              Sure. If you were criticizing the design of the HomePod. You’re not. You’re railing against evil and subjugation and generally sounding like a conspiracy nut. It’s no wonder nobody here takes you seriously. I can’t continue this with you. Get help.

            12. “I don’t want a wired speaker”
              Then don’t wire it. Are you telling me the 2.5mm hole bugs you? I’m not saying you HAVE to wire it.

              “By your logic then every consumer product should be outfitted with every possible feature just in case someone might be excluded”

              No just with what is customary and versatile as other competing devices. I will only give you this much, it’s NOT a general purpose speaker. And that’s a pity. So the PSA should be…

              “Beware folks, this is an excellent sounding speaker that is not general purpose, though it could easily have been, but is artificially being limited to work only with Apple sources. $350”

              This whole thing began with criticizing the HomePod, that it fits with Apple’s evil pattern of behavior of lock-in, censorship, and not playing well with others is along for the ride…

            13. David Hatchel: “Having an audio jack would require a base or a redesign of the current HomePod. Probably a base since any other way of doing it would mean repositioning the speaker array and that would negatively affect how it works.”

              https://www.theverge.com/2018/2/2/16963722/apple-homepod-audio-sources-no-bluetooth-support

              Based on the photo of the HemePod in the article above, it has a cable coming out of it which I am going to assume is the power line. Why would there be a need for a huge redesign of the HomePod? Wouldn’t it be reasonable to put the audio port right next to the power cable entry?

            14. “No just with what is customary and versatile as other competing devices.”

              Then you ARE telling me what I should want in a product. Thanks Tech Dictator. If we follow your idea to its conclusion then all products will cost more because everyone is required to add more features, products will break down more often, and be harder to support. Oh but the advantage is everything will have the same feature set all the time so nobody will have any incentive to do anything new or different. They won’t be allowed to. Why? It’s evil!

              Innovation will stagnate because everyone has to support all features that are “customary”, as decided by who? Not customers because you’re telling me I HAVE to get an audio jack in any speaker I buy because that is customary? Just don’t use the audio jack. Hmm, sounds a lot like “You’re holding it wrong” which was criticized by people like you.

              Nobody can drop any features and innovate because a product might be temporarily less “versatile”. The original iPhone would never have been created because it took away a lot of features that were “customary”.

              You probably saw removing the audio jack from iPhones as evil. That must have hurt iPhone sales tremendously if everyone agrees with you. Right? Right?

              Thanks for your vision of tech future but no thanks.

            15. ” I will only give you this much, it’s NOT a general purpose speaker.”

              Yes, HomePod was never meant to be a general purpose speaker. It is meant to be part of an integrated whole, for Apple customers. Nobody is hiding that. Apple built a great speaker for THEIR customers. Expanding HomePod beyond the Apple ecosystem is not trivial as you seem to think. AirPlay is significantly more capable tech than other input methods. Apple would have to dumb down the HomePod to make it universal or include two different feature sets. Then Apple would have to deal with supporting all input devices and issues that crop up will be widely reported on, fairly or not (likely not). There is a lot of downside in opening up HomePod. You seem to think it’s easy, no work at all. You’re wrong.

            16. THEIR customer don’t only but THEUR products so they are failing THEIR customers. The HomePod is thus found wanting, and you are an apologist. Does Bose need to support every device that line-ins to them? They don’t, and if so, then Apple is taking the easy and lame way out.

            17. I don’t need an arbiter, I have the logical facts. You are defending, in support of Apple, and against user’s interests, for something that does not effect your desires or needs at all. Further, this addition, I repeat hurts no user, but does impede Apple control over the user.

  3. I love all the complaints about not having an audio in – looks like the Amazon speakers don’t either – they just have an out to hook to a good speaker – Can’t wait for my HomePod

    1. Not having Audio-In puts it at a disadvantage as compared to Sonos. Not having Audio-Out puts it at a disadvantage to Sonos and Amazon.

      Likewise, not being able to run 3rd party apps puts it at a disadvantage to Sonos, as does not having “skills” puts it at a disadvantage to Amazon.

      Only having one model also puts it at a disadvantage to both, and not having a portable (battery powered model) puts it at a disadvantage to Amazon.

      I have a large house with Sonos and Amazon devices, but I’ve ordered a HomePod to check it out.

      I’m just really disappointed that Apple is (1) so late to the game and (2) limited in features/options. Apple had the opportunity to take what was great about the Amazon devices and what was great about the Sonos devices and make a line of devices to rule them all.

    2. Yes, and it’s a fault. I got the Dot, not the Echo.
      But the Echo DOES stream Bluetooth, and it ONLY costs $100, and they don’t claim to be the best speaker in the world (sort of).

      If I bought such a good speaker, I would want it to work with everything, but that’s me looking after my needs, not Apple’s.

  4. Where’s Pandora and Spotify support? Hahaha. The way I see it, Apple will sell a fair number of HomePods to loyal Apple fans but Amazon and Google will still own 95% of the smart assistant market with their cheap-ass devices leading the charge. With a cost of $30 to $50 per unit, most homeowners can put one in every room and the garage. The cost of the HomePod is just too expensive for most cheapskates. If Siri really is that stupid when compared with Alexa and Google Assistant, then there’s almost no point in owning a HomePod with a voice assistant.

    Apple is really weird. Siri came out years ago and hardly ever got smarter. The HomePod is released later than most other smart speakers and many touted features are missing. What’s Apple doing with all that money it’s supposed to have?

    1. Quality at Apple use to be Priority 1, but not now. Its all about pushing out new macOS’s every year and iOS and now the HomePod which should not see the light of day until it is working at least at 85% or more. And that applies to the new macOS & iOS again as I said above. I would rather see a new macOS or iOS every two or three years when all the bugs are worked out. I would gladly pay for the new OS, like it used to be. IMO though. I’m the end user, not the damn beta tester for their products. Or should I say the Software Engineer, that is He/She’s job. Seems like Apple is mainly interested in just making money and not creating great products. Just my opinion though.

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