Apple HomePod materializes on February 9 for $349

Siri was the first AI-powered digital assistant to gain major traction in the market, but it's not her you'll be talking to in most assistant-equipped households. Even though Apple showed the HomePod over six months ago at WWDC 2017, the product has failed to materialize until now. The Cupertino corporation just announced that you'll be able to put Siri on a shelf on February 9.

Apple originally put the HomePod down for a December 2017 release date, but the standalone speaker silently slipped past that date. The product seems unchanged from what Apple originally showed, and the company didn't give a reason for the delay. In any case, the HomePod is a small unit with six microphones, eight speakers, and Wi-Fi to connect users to Siri's library of voice commands.

Like its contemporaries Google Home and Amazon Echo, the HomePod can be used for almost anything you would normally use Siri for: playing music, performing searches, setting timers and reminders, and other tasks. The HomePod lacks a feature its competitors already have, though: multi-room audio. Apple says a free software update will enable multi-room audio and stereo audio playback through multiple HomePods in the same room "this year."

Along with the release date, Apple also announced the HomePod's pricetag: $349 (£319 in the UK). There's no two ways about it—that's three and a half times what Amazon asks for an Echo. Apple's device seems to have an emphasis on audio quality and it's difficult to judge it without listening, but then another $50 gets you a Google Home Max. Of course, Google's device isn't very useful to an Apple Music subscriber. The Apple HomePod will be available for online ordering this Friday.

Comments closed
    • blastdoor
    • 2 years ago

    If I choose to buy a device whose main purpose is to listen to everything that everyone in my house says, 24/7, then it will be bought from the company most disliked by the FBI for their privacy protections.

    • xeridea
    • 2 years ago

    Meh

    • chuckula
    • 2 years ago

    So if it materializes then let’s make sure that, just like the TARDIS, the de-materialization circuit is operational and is turned on automatically here.

    • DPete27
    • 2 years ago

    I thought Siri was inferior to Google and Alexa when it comes to actually understanding what you’re saying?
    (not a Siri user)

      • Neutronbeam
      • 2 years ago

      Siriously?

        • soccergenius
        • 2 years ago

        Apple is marketing the HomePod against Sonos products ($$$), not really the Echos or much cheaper Google Home speakers. You can see this from Apple highlighting music and sound fidelity, rather than focusing much on Siri.

        The Echo is loud but doesn’t sound great playing music, and Google’s most equivalent offering costs $50 more.

        (Whoops, I meant to reply to [url=https://techreport.com/news/33150/apple-homepod-materializes-on-february-9-for-349?post=1066332#1066332<]#5 tay[/url<].)

          • demani
          • 2 years ago

          And I’d wager you’d need a pair of Sonos 1 speakers (actually, the Play:1 and the One) to get voice capability and better sound (I don’t think a single Play:1 sounds too good, but in a pair they are decent enough). So for the grand total of $348 you get the Alexa/Sonos version. Now we’ll see if this HomePod actually has solid sound or not, but its not unreasonable to expect that it will sound as good as a Play:3 and have Siri features. It’s all tradeoffs (particularly since it doesn’t look like Homepod will support other music services natively) but for some people it won’t nbe any more expensive or kludgy than any other current device.

          • Chrispy_
          • 2 years ago

          There’s nothing to stop you pairing your cheap Amazon Echo with a better sound system via bluetooth.

          My Google Home talks to me and streams stuff via my 5.1 surround system because it’s hooked up to the Android-powered TV. There’s no way in hell any single speaker like Apple’s Smart Pod can compete with a separate audio system. My subwoofer alone is something like 27x (3^3) the size of the smartpod.

          The audiophile in me hates this trend of small, mono, all-in-one speakers that these digital assistants and popular battery-powered bluetooth speakers are starting to saturate the market with. They’re touted as music playback devices, amongst other things, but the quality of their sound rivals the woeful built-in speakers of ultra-thin LCD TVs. “They sound better than a phone or laptop” is about the most praise I can give them.

      • tay
      • 2 years ago

      It’s inferior to Google in every way that i can think of. Alexa is great at understanding what you’re saying provided what you need is a known ability.

      • davidbowser
      • 2 years ago

      disclaimer – I work for Google.

      Tom’s did a review a few months back and they came out essentially in a 3-way tie.
      [url<]https://www.tomsguide.com/us/alexa-vs-siri-vs-google,review-4772.html[/url<] There are several other reviews out that will favor one over the others, but based on my experience with them (I am an iPhone user that owns Echos and Google Homes), so much depends on the connected services and use cases. If you use GMail (calendar and contacts integration) and maybe have Nest devices in your house, then Google is probably the best for you. If you are an Apple home with lots of iTunes stuff, and use iCloud for email/calendar, then the new Homepod will likely be your thing.

    • Neutronbeam
    • 2 years ago

    I’m shocked, SHOCKED that Apple would price its products higher than similar devices! Does anyone else know about this travesty? Who could have foreseen this?!

      • tay
      • 2 years ago

      The equivalent Google speaker is $50 more.

      • drfish
      • 2 years ago

      At $6.25/per speaker less than an Echo, they’re practically [i<]giving[/i<] it away!

        • Neutronbeam
        • 2 years ago

        Okay, so give ME one!

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