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TECHNOLOGY

Apple Launches Its Smart Home Speaker – The Home Pod

Apple announced their Siri-powered smart home speaker, The HomePod, at last year’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June, but only just released into the market this month. The HomePod, according to Apple, is the ‘Ultimate Music Authority’, delivering an amazing music listening experience powered by Apple Music and Siri, and also serves as an intelligent home assistant, helping you accomplish simple tasks like controlling your smart home, texts and calls, shopping, online search and well, playing music.

The entire device is powered by an Apple A8 chip. The chip controls all of the complex stuff Apple has built into the speaker like Echo cancellation, modelling woofer mechanics, fast and smoother buffering, beamforming, which allows the microphone hear you speak over the music, and so on. There’s also 1GB RAM onboard to carry all that load.

The world of smart speakers already has a number of notable brands like the Google Home, Amazon Echo, and Sonos.  To make the HomePod stand out from the crowd, Apple focused more on delivering an impeccable audio experience for its many users. The HomePod is just around seven inches tall and packs 7-tweeter array, each tweeter having its own driver, and an Apple-designed 4-inch upward-facing woofer for crisp, clear, distortion-free sound, even at loud volumes.

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Another interesting feature is the spatial awareness, which allows the HomePod to intelligently analyze the acoustics of a room, and then, adjust its sound based on the speaker’s location, separating the music into direct and ambient sound for the best possible sound. The device also has touch controls at the top. Tapping the top of the HomePod will allow you to play, pause, skip a song, or adjust the volume. Touch and hold the top to talk to Siri.

Siri is activated via the “Hey Siri” command, and you’ll know Siri is active, when you see the LED waveform that animates as you speak. Putting privacy in mind, Siri is designed not to actively listen to what’s being said in the room until the ‘Hey Siri’ command is spoken. All communication between Siri and Apple’s servers is anonymous and encrypted.

Apart from playing music, Siri can also provide news updates, play podcasts, offer weather reports, share traffic information, give sports updates, set reminders, set timers, send text messages, and more.

To pair Apple device with the HomePod, hold your phone near the HomePod, and your phone or any iOS device will detect it and pair with it. The HomePod is another Apple-centric device that only works with iOS devices and only offers music from Apple music (which really is about 45 million songs). However, support for Spotify would come with a later update. It can also play content from third-party services from an iOS device or a Mac using peer-to-peer Airplay.

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HomePod comes in White or Space Gray colours and is priced at $349.

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Tobenna Ezike

Tobenna is a writer, programmer and musician who is passionate about God, tech, and music. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook by clicking the icons below.

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