Apple launched its upcoming HomePod speaker at WWDC this year. The HomePod speaker will be available starting December this year in key markets, and we expect Apple to bring the HomePod to India by early next year.
Apple’s love for music is well known. The iPod was an iconic device that brought about a major shift at Apple. It was also a massive transition for the music industry that moved from analog to digital audio. The Apple iPod isn’t something people asked for, but it was something they could really use once they knew about such a device.
Things are much different with the HomePod.
Apple launched the HomePod speaker at its WWDC keynote. As you’re probably aware, WWDC is Apple’s biggest developer conference that takes place once a year. And it keeps on getting bigger by the year, as the numbers keep multiplying. Apple’s developers fuel its AppStore, be it on iOS, Mac, Watch or for the Apple TV. The developers play a key role in how well Apple’s devices are perceived by its customers.
The HomePod speaker, according to the company, is a powerful and smart speaker built for modern day listeners who want seamless Apple Music experience and a plug-and-play option. The HomePod also includes support for Siri to control your music playback. Apple’s product listing for the HomePod clearly claims, “And that’s just the beginning”. HomePod is all set to become Apple’s response to the Amazon Echo range of devices.
Apple didn’t intentionally announce the HomePod as a smart assistant for several reasons. The biggest of them being – Apple knows Siri isn’t there yet. No matter what they claim, Siri isn’t anywhere close to Amazon’s smart assistant Alexa, or in some cases even Google Assistant. There’s a lot of distant that Siri still needs to cover up. That’s probably why Apple wants to keep the smart assistant part in the backburner for now.
For now, just consider the HomePod as a fascinating little smart speaker that is good at reproducing sound. It includes all the bells and whistles one could expect from an Apple product. The speaker is capable of producing a high-quality sound no matter what part of the room it’s sitting at. HomePod is powered by Apple’s A8 processor and includes a high-excursion woofer along with a seven-tweeter array. There are six microphones to make sure the speaker doesn’t miss any of your Siri-based commands.
You’ll need an Apple Music subscription to use the HomePod. Don’t expect Apple to go easy on this requirement anytime soon. An added advantage here is suggesting songs via Siri, based on your listening experience. Siri can learn your taste in music and follow up with recommendations accordingly.
The top of the HomePod includes touch controls. You can play, pause, or adjust the level of volume using touch. You’ll also be able to know when Siri is listening, much like the Amazon Echo.
Apart from the music, you can access the smart assistant functionality via Siri too. You can control compatible accessories at home, or ask Siri questions just like you do on a normal iOS and Mac-based device. You can even pair multiple HomePod speakers for a multi-room streaming experience. Considering the price of the HomePod, it might be a slightly expensive option though.
The Apple HomePod is priced at $349 and will start shipping in December this year. This roughly translates to Rs.22,600 if simply convert currencies. Add a layer of tax to it, and local markup, I am guessing the price sh0uld go to nothing less than Rs.30,000-35,000 once it lands in India. That’s quite a premium to pay for a small speaker. HomePod may appeal to a niche audience here in India, but there are plenty of prospective customers who would rather wait for a price drop.