WWDC: Apple Enters Internet of Things Market with HomePod

The device boasts 'incredible acoustic properties' to become the iPod of home speakers.

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Apple hopes to do to home speakers what the iPod did to music via the HomePod, a speaker that has "incredible acoustic properties" per the Apple impresarios who debuted it at today's WWDC.

Positioned as a competitor to the Amazon Echo, the HomePod prioritizes music usage. It runs on an Apple A8 and houses a custom woofer, as well as real-time acoustic modeling and multi-channel echo cancellation. What that means is HomePod will optimize audio based on where you put it.

HomePod will recognize voice commands and play any songs you've got stored in Apple Music. If you like the song that just played and want to listen to more tunes in that vein, just say "I like this song" or "Play more songs like that." HomePod responds to other questions Apple users have been asking Siri for years, such as requests for the weather.

The device will sync up with HomeKit-friendly devices, so you'll be able to tell it to control components of your home such as air conditioning and garage doors. Not coincidentally, Apple also announced AirPlay 2, which you'll be able to use to pair up speakers and play music in different rooms of your house.

HomePod will be listed for $349. 

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  • reply
    June 5, 2017 12:17 PM

    David Craddock posted a new article, WWDC: Apple HomePod 'Will Reinvent Music in Our Homes'

    • reply
      June 5, 2017 12:34 PM

      ... Nope.

    • reply
      June 5, 2017 12:35 PM

      They'll sell dozens of these!

    • reply
      June 5, 2017 3:36 PM

      Chances of it being better than Sonos : 0%

        • reply
          June 5, 2017 3:41 PM

          Who is this guy?

            • reply
              June 5, 2017 3:45 PM

              I'm sure his assessment of the sound quality is... sound, but I doubt it'll touch Sonos simplicity and ease of multi platform music and multi room coverage. We'll see.

              • reply
                June 5, 2017 3:48 PM

                I doubt it'll work as seamlessly with multiple music services but as far as actual simplicity and ease of use I don't know why you'd doubt Apple here, their brand is built on being the best at that. Look at the AirPods for a recent example of the degree to which their solution comes out simpler and easier than anyone else's similar option.

                • reply
                  June 5, 2017 3:54 PM

                  Have you used Sonos? That's what makes me doubt it, Apple is more competent than most, but Sonos for what it does blows everything else I've ever tried out of the water. Everyone who comes over is amazed at how simple it is, how easily they can take control of my system and play their own music in whatever room they want, group and ungroup rooms, create stereo pairs etc.

                  I only doubt it because I'm amazed at what Sonos has achieved, so I wouldn't expect anyone to do it as well, even Apple.

                  I honestly hope they do though, because competition is good.

                  • reply
                    June 5, 2017 4:14 PM

                    No I haven't. I don't doubt that it's well done. But Apple is famous for going a step beyond everyone else once they apply their vertically integrated solutions to a space, like the AirPods vs the best wireless headphones from someone else.

                    • reply
                      June 5, 2017 9:54 PM

                      you mean like Ping? or the first version of Apple music? or the cube? You are acting like Apple bats 1000% ... and they clearly dont.

                      • reply
                        June 5, 2017 10:17 PM

                        If you just blindly group all failures together then you won't do a very good job predicting the future.

                        Ping was an obvious failure from the moment it was announced. Apple has/had no experience in social or services. Apple failing to sell an overpriced Mac at the height of Windows' dominance does not seem like an instructive comparison either. Apple Music also falls into the services category that they're bad at along with being hamstrung by a decade+ of iTunes/Music app legacy.

                        That's why I focused on a recent and similar example with AirPods. A category that had premium players delivering decent results and then Apple came in with their vertically integrated solution and significantly improved the experience even on axis people didn't expect (Bluetooth pairing). It promptly garnered Apple's cliche "magical" in reviews. A home speaker integrated with the phone, watch and headphones is exactly in that wheelhouse, not Ping's.

                        If you want to pick a case for failure (for some definition of failure) it'd be easier to criticize it for Siri not being good enough vs the competition and that turning out to be more important as a differentiator than sound quality (even though for now Apple is clearing positioning it as a speaker more than an assistant). But then that doesn't make Sonos position vs the Echo and Google Home sound good either. Especially given the difficulty 3rd parties have had interesting other's assistants.

                        • reply
                          June 6, 2017 5:58 AM

                          You just can't understand how people disagree with you and think apple can do wrong, do you?

                          Jesus - time to move on to other conversations.

                          • reply
                            June 6, 2017 6:52 AM

                            no I just don't think "Ping was bad so this could be too" is any kind of reason to predict failure. I offered an example of what is a believable argument for failure. There are others too.

                    • reply
                      June 5, 2017 11:18 PM

                      Sonos is pretty damn close to Apple quality for ease of use.

                  • reply
                    June 5, 2017 7:02 PM

                    Man, if the HomePod has Apple's ease of use it'll be hard to beat.

                • reply
                  June 5, 2017 4:05 PM

                  Yeah and the new AirPlay 2 multi-room stuff seems to solve that problem very easily.

                  • reply
                    June 5, 2017 9:53 PM

                    so far, its locked to the apple ecosystem. what if someone has an android phone? or wants to control it from their computer? or a friend comes over and you want them to seemlessly connect? remember folks, apple had a speaker before. It was cancelled within it's first year. Not everything they do is a home run. Sonos is fucking amazing today - and Apple has a long way to go to get there.

                    • reply
                      June 5, 2017 10:23 PM

                      no one is confused about Apple's ecosystem plays. The entire pitch is that if you go all in you get a better experience than the more open system. That's the trade off you make.

                      Consider the future where your friend comes over with an Android phone. What do they want to do with your sound system exactly? Gone are the days where their local music collection is important. You're both using a streaming music service with essentially the same catalogs. So when your friend says "you gotta hear this song" all they do is say "Hey Siri play blah". You control it with your phone or your voice or your Mac or your watch and it works better than the alternative (compare iMessage on MacOS vs Android SMS sync on Windows). Sonos should be much more concerned that they're a GPS company in 2002 than Apple should be worried about a product with a ceiling likely in the 10s of millions unit near term not meeting expectations.

                      • reply
                        June 6, 2017 5:59 AM

                        You are totally wrong. Keep sucking the apple nipple.

                      • reply
                        June 6, 2017 6:03 AM

                        Hmm, the "more open system", I dunno, but Google has Chromecast capability on pretty much all new TV's, so anyone with any kind of device that supports that can just pew pew pew hand off the stream to the built-in Chromecast functionality or just cast their device right on up there (or with Miracast, which is part of WiFi) like magic boom boom swish boom

      • reply
        June 5, 2017 10:02 PM

        I just need a Sonos Connect.. 430 dollars!!! actually i need 2 :-/

        • reply
          June 5, 2017 11:19 PM

          Tell me about it, I'm going to order a Sonos Amp for outdoor speakers.

        • reply
          June 6, 2017 4:16 AM

          I only need 7 more play 1s and maybe a play 5 and then my setup will be complete. Maybe a sub and play bar too

    • reply
      June 5, 2017 4:15 PM

      Sounds like magic.

      • reply
        June 5, 2017 4:50 PM

        The amount of people that will jump all over this is indeed magical.

    • reply
      June 5, 2017 6:50 PM

      Or get an Echo and harmony hub for half the price and way more functionality.

      • reply
        June 5, 2017 6:55 PM

        Maybe more functional, but not as visionary.

      • reply
        June 5, 2017 8:21 PM

        Echo won't sound as good, though

        • reply
          June 5, 2017 8:22 PM

          Ya on it's own but I connect it to my receiver via Bluetooth.

          • reply
            June 5, 2017 9:01 PM

            I think your missing the point here. You solution is way clunkier. Plus it goes through Bluetooth. That’s a audio quality reduction right there.

          • reply
            June 6, 2017 4:04 AM

            with bluetooth audio is gonna suffer, so it will sound worse

        • reply
          June 5, 2017 10:03 PM

          The Echo sounds pretty damn good. We have absolutely no idea how the HomePod will sound.

          Also, Steve Jobs would never allow this thing to be called the "HomePod" (or be two years late to market).

          • reply
            June 5, 2017 10:05 PM

            I liek to believe that Steve Jobs is still alive hanging out with Tupac and is consulting Tim Cook via carrier pigeon

          • reply
            June 5, 2017 10:24 PM

            all the impressions so far is the HomePod sounds like high end audio gear and better than the Sonos 3

      • reply
        June 6, 2017 4:28 AM

        How do I get them to play the same music.

    • reply
      June 5, 2017 6:57 PM

      Lol

    • reply
      June 5, 2017 6:59 PM

      Still no cheap AirPlay adapter? Hell, even a not-so-cheap?

      • reply
        June 5, 2017 10:00 PM

        An Airport Express?

        • reply
          June 5, 2017 10:38 PM

          Yeah airport expresses have been around longer than AirPlay, and they’re 99 bucks.

    • reply
      June 5, 2017 8:16 PM

      HomePod will recognize voice commands and play any songs you've got stored in Apple Music

      Gee, they'll just fly off the shelves...

      • reply
        June 6, 2017 12:16 AM

        Yeah they're only limiting their potential audience to the 27 million paying Apple Music customers.

        • reply
          June 6, 2017 12:36 AM

          spotify has 100 million+ users, 50+ million with subscriptions

          27 million. thats adorable

          • reply
            June 6, 2017 12:41 AM

            which is of course just to say other such devices without those limitations (alexa & home) are obviously going to sell better, and potentially draw users to those services for simplicity/portability

            admittedly, theyre probably (hopefully?) going to add support for those sooner rather than later.

    • reply
      June 5, 2017 8:21 PM

      this awkward phase of apple is pretty interesting. they are way behind on gadgetry. the blustery terms won't help. reinvent music? yeah no. it's music. the competition is intense and there is a plethora of reasonable devices.

      • reply
        June 5, 2017 9:57 PM

        They cant keep disturbing all the time, thats not realistic to expect theyll always be the ones inventing the next big thing (home computers, ipods, smart phone, tablets).

        Would be cool if that apple car ever materializes though.... their stock would go crazy

        • reply
          June 5, 2017 10:05 PM

          The car market has passed them by. All their potential early adopters there have fallen in love with Tesla. And hell, Apple can't even get CarPlay right. Much less a CAR.

      • reply
        June 5, 2017 10:07 PM

        it's normal for them to enter a market late. they're usually good at doing things better than other companies.

    • reply
      June 5, 2017 10:19 PM

      Only if you use Apple Music.

    • reply
      June 5, 2017 11:02 PM

      I'm a big apple fan, I have lots of apple products, I have apple music... I still won't buy this over alexa. Apple has no echo dot equivalent and that is what makes whole home voice automation possible for a reasonable price. Siri on the iphone is no substitute because its voice recognition is terrible compared to a solution with 6 microphones. Noone who values money will buy lots of homepods to place around their house.

      • Zek
        reply
        June 6, 2017 12:21 AM

        Siri is clearly an afterthought on this thing, it's designed to be a bluetooth speaker first and foremost. Which is bad news for their prospects of competing with Amazon and Google in the AI assistant space if they're not investing big in improving Siri at this point.

    • reply
      June 6, 2017 3:44 AM

      It will compete with Sonos. It won't reinvent jack shit. It won't change the world. It won't be fucking magical.

      Jesus Apple. I've got an iPhone and iMac, their stuff is good, but their marketing team needs to dial down the drugs they're taking.