A white HomePod on display at WWDC 2017
|Units sold||1-3 million|
|System-on-chip used||Apple A8|
|Memory||1 GB LPDDR3 RAM|
|Display||272 x 340 LED matrix|
|Sound||7 tweeters, 4-inch (10 cm) woofer, 6 microphones|
|Input||Multi-touch screen, voice commands via Siri|
|Connectivity||802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi‑Fi with MIMO|
Direct peer-to-peer access from iPhone 5S or later; iPad Pro, iPad (2017), iPad Air, iPad Mini 2 or later; or iPod Touch (6th generation); devices running iOS 11.2.5 or later
|Dimensions||6.8 in × 5.6 in (170 mm × 140 mm)|
|Weight||5.5 lb (2.5 kg)|
HomePod is a smart speaker developed by Apple Inc. It was announced on June 5, 2017, at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, and originally scheduled for release in December 2017. The release date slipped to early 2018. Apple ultimately began taking preorders on January 26 (having announced them three days earlier), and the first orders began arriving on February 9. It was initially released in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States and was released in Canada, France, and Germany on June 18, 2018.. It is available in two colors: White and Space Gray.
The HomePod has a rounded, cylindrical shape, and has a small touchscreen on its top. It has seven tweeters in its base and a four-inch woofer (Apple does not specify Hz frequency range) towards the top, as well as six microphones used for voice control and acoustic optimization.
The device runs an iOS variation known as "audioOS" and features an Apple A8 system-on-chip. It integrates Siri, which can be used to control the speaker and other HomeKit devices, and can be used to conduct text messaging and voice calls from an iPhone. The HomePod supports only proprietary Apple platforms and technologies, including Apple Music, iTunes Store purchases and Match, iTunes podcasts, Beats 1 radio, and AirPlay, while an iOS 11 device is required for initial setup. The HomePod does not officially support Bluetooth audio. AirPlay 2 and multi-room, multi-speaker support was initially announced, but not included in the February 2018 release. Andrew Faden of Akamai has developed a solution he calls "BabelPod" to allow line in and bluetooth input to the HomePod through the use of a Raspberry Pi.
The HomePod received mixed reviews. The review from The Verge praised the HomePod's automatic acoustic calibration system, and felt that it sounded "noticeably richer and fuller" than competitors such as the Sonos One (described as sounding "a little empty") and Google Home Max (described as being a "bass-heavy mess"). The review from Ars Technica stated that the sound quality of the HomePod was "pretty good, rich and full for its size, better than the Sonos One but probably not $150 better, [and] a galaxy ahead of the Echo."
Its lack of support for third-party services and platforms was criticized, with Ars Technica arguing that it gave the device "intense inflexibility". Siri on the HomePod was also criticized for its limited functionality in comparison to assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant; The Verge cited the inability to actually place phone calls from the speaker (they must be made on an iPhone and transferred to the HomePod), set multiple timers at once, or distinguish between multiple voices, and only supporting basic commands when using AirPlay, among other limitations. Multiple reminders can be used in lieu of multiple timers, albeit with less precision than a timer.
The Verge gave HomePod a 7.5 out of 10, arguing that it "does more to make music sound better than any other speaker of this kind has ever done before", but that consumers should consider other options "unless you live entirely inside Apple's walled garden and prioritize sound quality over everything else." Wired shared similar criticisms over its lack of Siri functionality and support for third-party services, concluding that the HomePod would be of little interest to those who are not heavily invested in Apple's software and hardware ecosystem.
It was reported by some owners that the HomePod's silicone base stained oiled wooden surfaces with a white "ring" mark. Although Apple states that "it is not unusual for any speaker with a vibration-dampening silicone base to leave mild marks when placed on some wooden surfaces", and that the marks would eventually "improve" on its own, Stuart Miles (founder of the British technology blog Pocket-lint) reported that in his experience, the stain occurred after only about 20 minutes of use on a wooden surface, and that he had to sand and re-oil the surface to remove it. John Gruber criticized Apple for this abnormality, remarking that he had never seen an Apple product damage surfaces in such a manner before, and that it "seems like an issue that should have been caught during the period where HomePod was being widely tested at home by many Apple employees."
Strategy Analytics estimated that 600,000 HomePods were sold in first quarter of 2018, making Apple the fourth best selling smart speaker brand after Amazon, Google and Alibaba, giving Apple a 6% market share in the industry. The HomePod also has 6% market share in the United States according to a report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners and sold an estimated 700,000 units worldwide in the second quarter of 2018. Also in the second quarter of 2018, Strategy Analytics estimated that the HomePod outsold all smart speakers that cost more than $200, giving Apple a 70% market share in premium brand smart speakers.
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