Apple announces the release of HomePod

Last June, Apple announced the HomePod, a smart speaker that was billed to reinvent music at home like the iPod did many years ago.

Scheduled to be released last December, the HomePod was delayed to early 2018, so that Apple can get some more time to get it ready. Now, the HomePod is finally here.

The device will be available in stores on February 9 with pre-orders starting this Friday, January 26 in the US, UK and Australia.

This new wireless speaker from Apple integrates with Siri to check and send messages, play music, set a timer, play a podcast, check the news, sports, traffic and weather, and even control a wide range of HomeKit smart home accessories, according to Apple. Through SiriKit, the HomePod supports third-party apps like WhatsApp, Things and Evernote. More apps will be added as developers work to integrate HomePod into their apps.

“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 catalogue 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 favourites to the latest chart-topping releases, simply by saying ‘Hey Siri.’”

Almost seven inches tall, the HomePod is powered by Apple’s A8 chip and uses advanced software for real-time acoustic modelling, audio beam-forming, echo cancellation and more. With spatial awareness, the speaker can detect its position in a room and adjusts the audio quality to fill the space and produce a great sound.

It comes with an Apple-designed woofer and seven beam-forming tweeters. It has six microphones which makes it possible for it to hear you say “Hey Siri” from across the room, even when the music is blaring.

Setup is simple, just hold your iPhone next to HomePod and in a few seconds, it will be ready to start playing music.

The HomePod is available in white and space gray and you can get it for $349 (US). It works with iPhone 5s or later, iPad Pro, iPad Air or later, iPad mini 2 or later, and iPod touch (6th generation) with iOS 11.2.5 or later.

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