Apple has announced that HomePod, their highly anticipated wireless speaker with built-in Siri intelligence will be available for customers to orders in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia on February 26th, with order arriving in-store and to doorsteps two weeks later on Friday 9th February.
HomePod was first previewed in June at Apple’s annual World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), and was given the release date of December 2017 which was later pushed back to “Early 2018”, a move believed to of been made due to a delayed approval from the US Federal Communications Commission.
What is HomePod?
HomePod is a new wireless speaker with built-in Siri controls by Apple. Customers will be able to speak to the device and use voice commands to perform actions such as “Send a text to Deanna”, “Set a timer for 10 minutes”, “Play songs by Flume”, and more. – The speaker features an Apple-designed 4-inch woofer and unique array of seven beamforming tweeters to provide deep base and pure high frequency acoustics.
What will it do?
The device has two main purposes… One, a home speaker that Apple hopes will “reinvent home music” and 2, an intelligent home assistant to help perform tasks such as playing music, reading the news, sending and receiving iMessages, setting reminders, providing answers to general questions, checking the weather and more.
How much will it cost?
HomePod is priced at $349 in the United States, £319 in the United Kingdom and A$499 in Australia. – An additional $39 AppleCare+ warranty service can be purchased additionally for an extra year of AppleCare coverage.
What does it look like?
HomePod is wrapped in a mesh fabric designed for both aesthetic and acoustic performance. Available in white and space grey, the speaker stands at under 18 centimetres tall and has been designed to fit anywhere in the home.
Are other similar products out there?
Yes. HomePod isn’t the first home speaker to feature a voice activated personal assistant. The Amazon Echo has been available since November 2014, with Google launching Google Home most recently in November 2016. – Apple has made it clear they want to stand apart from similar concepts by offering rich audio and the power of Siri’s artificial intelligence.
Do you need an Apple Music subscription to use HomePod?
Unfortunately, HomePod requires a paid Apple Music membership to stream music… The device isn’t compatible with third-party services such as Spotify, Pandora or Deezer. Apple notes that users who don’t wish to pay the monthly subscription fee for Apple Music will be limited to the songs purchased on their iTunes account.