With Google and Microsoft both throwing their hat into the intelligent assistant speaker fray that Amazon created, we all knew it was only a matter of time before Apple followed. That happens at the end of the year when the Apple HomePod makes its debut.
Like the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Harman-Kardon Invoke, it’s a wireless speaker that doubles as an intelligent virtual assistant that you can interact with via voice commands, whether to find information, perform a digital task, or control music playback. Unlike them, it comes with Apple’s Siri, the OG virtual assistant that iPhone users have come to know through the years.
The Apple HomePod takes on a chubby cylinder shape that’s wrapped in a fabric mesh cover, with a disc on top that houses a multi-colored lighting unit at its center. Unlike similar products in the category, it’s designed to function as a speaker first and a virtual assistant second, ensuring it can serve as a proper replacement for any great-sounding speakers in your home. Inside, it houses a high-excursion woofer with a custom amplifier and seven tweeters with individual amplifiers each to ensure high-quality sound, while a six-microphone array ensures it will pick up voice commands from anywhere in the room.
Features include multi-room speaker support (via AirPlay 2), built-in Wi-Fi, and intelligent music playback that automatically analyzes a room’s acoustics then adjusts the sound based on its findings. It measures 6.8 x 5.6 inches (height x width).
Slated for a December release, the Apple HomePod is priced at $349.