Apple HomePod to be available from next week

Macworld Australia Staff
24 January, 2018
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Apple’s long-awaited HomePod arrives in stores beginning Friday, 9 February 2018 and can be ordered online this Saturday, 27 January (AEDT) in the US, UK and Australia.

HomePod works with an Apple Music subscription. 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.

© Apple

HomePod uses advanced software for real-time acoustic modelling, audio beam-forming, echo cancellation and more, powered by Apple’s A8 chip. Using spatial awareness to sense its location in the room, it automatically adjusts the audio to sound great wherever it is placed.

It 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 — 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 navigation.

HomePod is designed to work with an Apple Music subscription. It also learns preferences and tastes that are shared across devices and can handle advanced searches within Apple Music’s catalogue, so users can ask questions like, “Hey Siri, when was this song released?” or “Hey Siri, can you play something totally different?” to change the mood.

The latest business news, headlines and sports updates stream directly to HomePod from ABC NEWS, SBS News, SEVEN NEWS and FOX SPORTS News. HomePod can also be used as a speakerphone with iPhone.

With support for HomeKit, HomePod can control 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, lock the front door or make other adjustments and serves as the perfect home hub, enabling remote access and automations.

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.

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.

Security and privacy are fundamental to the design of Apple hardware, software and services. With HomePod, only after “Hey Siri” is recognised 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 RRP A$499 inc. GST in white and space grey and is available to order beginning Saturday, 27 January (AEDT), from apple.com/au and the Apple Store app.

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.

One Comment

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  1. Vince says:

    $500!! LOL, no.

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