Apple HomePod Review – Everything you want in a voice activated smart speaker
One thing I must mention at the beginning of this post that Absence of Steve Jobs is felt desperately while you see such beautiful product launched half-heartedly by Apple 🙁 Being a big fan of Steve … I will again say I miss you Steve
Update as on March 2018:
Multiple websites and users have now reviewed the Homepods and information is available on performance of homepod. I am summarizing the points as below for your quick reference.
- People say that it is the best sounding smart speaker in market
- But they also complain about the Voice assistant compatibility issues as well as no multi-room availability
- The looks are appreciated by many, with small speaker taking very less space delivering great sound.
- Woofer at the top with twitter arrays at bottom works great at loudest volume settings
- Even Apple says it automatically identifies location in room and re-calibrates itself, best results are experienced by people when kept on side of room (near the wall) rather than center of the room.
Update as on 11 Feb 2018:
Guide by Apple on homepod contains
- Getting started,
- Apple Music,
- Apple Podcasts,
- Control your home,
- Support and safety.
Update 10 Feb 2018:
People as so quick to launch accessories for the new products.
First accessory Leather HomePod Travel Case available for sale on Amazon
Apple HomePod Speaker – review
|Launch date||February 9, 2018.|
|The Apple promise||Re-imagination of how music should sound in a home|
|What will work at Launch||Traditional peer-to-peer AirPlay 1,
so you can operate playback control from iOS apps that support original AirPlay (including Spotify and YouTube).
|What will not work at Launch||Multi-room audio playback with AirPlay 2 and stereo pairing.
However since iTunes on the Mac supports multi-room audio playback with traditional AirPlay 1, you have still fallback till the updates get releasedAirPlay 2 launch is expected this spring along-with iOS 11.3
Homepod Features As found on Apple website
|Advanced algorithm||Program that analyses continuously the music and dynamically tunes so as to lower the boom, delivering extra rich Bass|
|Precision acoustic horn array of Seven||Seven beam forming speakers with individual amplifiers provides tremendous direction control over sound|
|Brain behind the speaker – A8 Chip||Super control over the speaker, including advanced beam forming allowing microphone to listen carefully in between the music, echo cancellation, real time buffering of music and so many.|
|Aesthetic and Acoustic||Uses a seamless mesh fabric wrapped to 7 inches only supposed to deliver most powerful sound, beautiful combination of Style & acoustics.|
|Room sensing||Most important part of algorithm is to analyze the acoustics and adjusts the sound based on the speaker’s location, so you need not be thinking on searching the right position of speaker in your room 🙂|
|HomePod pair [Awaited feature]||Just place second speaker and it will automatically pair, and balance with each other, no expertise needed.|
|AirPlay 2 [Awaited feature]||Allows multi-room speaker pairing, allowing synchronized play or different songs play|
|Apple music||Enjoy over 45 million songs|
|Siri controlled||Obviously Siri can control the songs as well as home automation, nothing new to it… latest news, traffic, sports, and weather .. reminders … sending messages …
Siri won’t be able to play Spotify songs using voice commands.
It can’t recognize different voices. Good is all members of family can use it. Bad is you can’t use voice recognition for purchases etc.
It can’t create new calendar appointments as well as can’t read existing calendar appointments
Good thing is that when you call Siri, Homepod responds audibly to your call, which is better as compared to Alexa or Google where it responds only visually.
|Processor||Apple’s A8 processor
(Also used the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, iPad Mini 4 and the fourth generation Apple TV)
|Audio Formats||HE-AAC (V1), AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Apple Lossless, AIFF, WAV, and FLAC|
|Bluetooth connectivity||Bluetooth 5.0
But can connect to only Apple devices, hence can’t be called as Pure Bluetooth Speaker
|Wireless connectivity||802.11ac with MIMO|
|Wired connectivity||No headphone jack or external audio input port provided, no 3.5 mm Jack available|
|Volume Controls||Touch display on speaker top with integrated plus and minus signs for adjusting the speaker’s volume (manually)
Note : It does not have Mute button
|Siri Activation using button||Touch and hold the center of the display which is located on speaker top|
|Track control from top display||Single Tap = Play or pause music or to stop Siri mid-sentence.
Double tap = Skip a song
Triple tap = skip back and replay a song
|Display color codes||White = it’s ready for initial setup
Green = a phone call
blue-green-purple = Siri is listening
|Power||Standard power supply, two-prong power cord which is attached to the homepod|
|Weight||5.5 pounds (2.5 kg)|
|Dimensions||6.8 H x 5.6 W (inches)
172 H x 142 W (mm)
Supported Audio sources on your HomePod speakers
|Latest update on HomePod’s tech spec webpage
Click here to see “audio sources” section on Apple website
|Home Automation Support||You can use Siri via HomePod to connect to something which meets the Apple’s HomeKit standard interface to operate lights (plugged into Belkin’s Wemo Smart AC Plugs).|
|Compatible ONLY with iOS 11.x devices – iPhone 5S and newer, and iPad Air and newer|
Homepod care & cleaning – Refer to Apple cleaning guide here
|Note by Apple : Keeping Homepod on wooden surfaces can leave mild marks ! This is due to the silicon base which may cause oil diffusion with wooden surfaces.
Also Apple suggest not to use it near heat or water sources, means its not Spalsh proof or water proof
More information about Apple Airdrop on HomePod:
- HomePod uses AirPlay & only AirPlay !! (This is BAD) Further it needs a device that’s running on iOS 11 or higher
- Latency issues reported:
When connected to a MacBook or iMac, latency observed for movies, music videos, or anything on YouTube. its nearly impossible to stream movies on Netflix or Hulu. (Refer report on Forbes)
- Hence any streaming audio from third-party apps like Spotify will only be available via Apple’s AirPlay from Apple ONLY i.e. the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV, and Mac PCs.
- NO ANDROID SUPPORT:
You can’t stream audio from Android smartphone to play music on the HomePod, not even using the Android version of the Apple Music app installed on your Android phone.
- So once you connect to your home Wi-Fi network, you will be able to send an audio to any AirPlay speaker (HomePod in this case).
- HomePod speakers will be shown as a destination in any AirPlay-compatible audio or video app.
- Remember AirDrop uses Bluetooth to discover available AirDrop destinations first, and then shifts to a fast, direct Wi-Fi connection during actual music transfer.
How do I stream music from Spotify to my HomePod?
- Connect your Apple device to Home WiFi network (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch)
- Select Music Playback tile from Music Playback controls tile panel, Tap on homepod
- Now it is immaterial if the music is coming from Spotify or any other source.
- YouTuber and technology reviewer Jonathan Morrison demonstrated in his youtube video that Siri can work in limited way while streaming Spotify to the HomePod over AirPlay. He was able to skip track in Spotify by saying “Hey Siri, next track”. Few others have also confirmed that while streaming from non-Apple services Siri can play, pause, adjust the music volume. (refer review by The Verge)
But this Siri interaction is limited only to ask track name or artist, not more than that, but at least you will be able to use your Spotify subscription and need not buy Apple Music as new subscription.
HomePod OFFER on Apple Music subscription:
- FREE 3-month subscription to Apple Music with HomePod.
- After 3-months, music service costs
- $10 per month for one person
- $15 monthly for a family plan
- $5 per month for a College students