Breakthrough Wireless Speaker Brings Advanced Audio Technologies Into Any Home for an Incredible Music Listening Experience and Apple release updates for iOS, tvOS, watchOS, and macOS ahead of HomePod Launch
After being announced at WWDC 2017, Apple had finally released the launch date for HomePod, their innovative wireless speaker. It arrives in stores beginning Friday, February 9 and is available to order online this Friday, January 26 in the US, UK, and Australia. HomePod will arrive in France and Germany this spring.
In addition to the announcement that HomePod would be pre-orders this week, Apple also released updates for its major operating systems.
- iOS 11.2.5: This update goes hand-in-hand with the release of HomePod. iOS 11.2.5 includes support for HomePOd and introduces the ability for Siri to read the news. The update also includes bug fixes and improvements.
- watchOS 4.2.2: Minor update with bug fixes and improvements
- tvOS 11.2.5: Minor update for performance improvements and bug fixes to address issues that were discovered following the release of tvOS 11.2 and tvOS 11.2.1.
- macOS 10.13.3: Update is recommended for all users. It includes updates to improve security and stability of your Mac and addresses an issue that could cause Messages conversations to temporarily be listed out of order.
HomePod delivers stunning audio quality wherever it’s placed — in any room in the house, playing any style of music. Using just your voice, it’s easy and fun to use, and works together with an Apple Music subscription for a breakthrough music experience, providing access to one of the world’s largest cloud music libraries. Siri, now actively used on over half a billion devices, has developed a deep knowledge of music and understands your preferences and tastes. And with Siri, HomePod can send a message, set a timer, play a podcast, check the news, sports, traffic, and weather, and even control a wide range of HomeKit smart home accessories.
“HomePod is a magical new music experience from Apple. It brings advanced audio technologies like beam-forming tweeters, a high-excursion woofer, and automatic spatial awareness, together with the entire Apple Music catalog and the latest Siri intelligence, in a simple, beautiful design that is so much fun to use,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “We’re so excited for people to get HomePod into their homes, apartments, and businesses to hear it for themselves. We think they will be blown away by the audio quality. The team has worked to give Siri a deeper knowledge of music so that you can ask to play virtually anything from your personal favorites to the latest chart-topping releases, simply by saying ‘Hey Siri.’”
Audio Innovations and Advanced Technologies
At just under 7 inches tall, HomePod represents years of hardware and software innovation:
- Packed with Apple-engineered audio technology, HomePod uses advanced software for real-time acoustic modeling, audio beam-forming, echo cancellation and more, powered by Apple’s A8 chip, delivering a wide, spacious soundstage. Using spatial awareness to sense its location in the room, it automatically adjusts the audio to sound great wherever it is placed.
- HomePod features a large, Apple-designed woofer for deep, clean bass, a custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters that provide pure high-frequency acoustics with directional control, and powerful technologies that preserve the richness and intent of original recordings. With an array of six microphones, HomePod can hear “Hey Siri” from across the room, even when loud music is playing.
- Setup is as easy and intuitive as setting up AirPods — simply hold an iPhone next to HomePod and it’s ready to start playing music in seconds. The Siri waveform appears on the top to indicate when Siri is engaged, and integrated touch controls also allow easy navigation.
HomePod is a convenient way to send messages, set timers and reminders, check the weather and listen to shows on Apple Podcasts. The latest business news, headlines and sports updates stream directly to HomePod from NPR, CNN, ESPN, and others. HomePod can also be used as a speakerphone with iPhone for crisp and clear audio quality.
With support for HomeKit, HomePod can control hundreds of home accessories or set scenes like, “Hey Siri, I’m home,” to control a number of different accessories at the same time. HomePod can turn on the lights, raise the shades, set the desired temperature or make other adjustments and serves as the perfect home hub, enabling remote access and automation.
SiriKit for HomePod
Through SiriKit, HomePod supports third-party messaging apps, so users can ask Siri to send a message to a friend or colleague using apps like WhatsApp. Reminders, note-taking and to-do list apps like Things and Evernote will automatically work with HomePod, so Siri can set reminders, create a new list, mark items as complete, or create and modify notes. For developers interested in adding SiriKit support, more information is available at developer.apple.com/sirikit.
Multi-Room Audio and Stereo
Coming this year in a free software update, users will be able to play music throughout the house with multi-room audio. If HomePod is in the kitchen, users can ask Siri to play jazz in the dining room or play the same song in each room — perfectly in sync. If there’s more than one HomePod set up in the same room, the speakers can be set up as a stereo pair for an even more immersive sound experience.
Security and Privacy
Security and privacy are fundamental to the design of Apple hardware, software, and services. With HomePod, only after “Hey Siri” is recognized locally on the device will any information be sent to Apple servers, encrypted and sent using an anonymous Siri identifier.
Pricing and Availability
HomePod is available at an Apple retail price of $349 (US) in white and space gray in the US, UK, and Australia and available to order beginning Friday, January 26, from apple.com and the Apple Store app. HomePod will be available in Apple Stores and at select Apple Authorized Resellers, including Best Buy in the US; Argos, Dixons Carphone (Currys PC World), John Lewis, Shop Direct (Very and Littlewoods), EE and Apple Premium Resellers in the UK; and The Good Guys, Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, Myer and Telstra in Australia, beginning Friday, February 9. HomePod will be available in France and Germany this spring.
HomePod is compatible with iPhone 5s or later, iPad Pro, iPad Air or later, iPad mini 2 or later, or iPod touch (6th generation) with iOS 11.2.5 or later.