Apple consistently tries to be on the cusp of technology and offer its customers cutting-edge products that are above the rest, even with a steep price tag.
As the Field of Dreams saying goes, “If you build it, they will come.” That’s typically always the case for Apple, as its loyal customer base typically flocks to stores to grab the latest and greatest products from the company.
It’s called the HomePod, and it offers all sorts of features that aim to make living in your home easier.
The announcement was made at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The HomePod Retails at $349
Amazon’s Echo costs $179.99, while the Google Home is cheaper, retailing at $129. Both products offer virtually similar features and have been on the market for years, so it’s always seemed rather strange that Apple didn’t have a product to directly compete with the two companies.
But now, is does.
Apple had an opportunity to look at those two pricing points, determine features that separate it from the others, and decide where it targeted itself in the competitive market with the HomePod.
As was stated during Monday’s keynote address, Apple decided on a $349 price for the HomePod. It comes in either white or gray, and will start shipping to customers in December.
2. Apple Placed an Emphasis on the Speaker of the HomePod
As Apple head of marketing Phil Schiller said when introducing the product at WWDC, the goal was to combine quality speakers with smart speakers that you’re able to talk to while delivering robust sound to the user.
Schiller said that the HomePod needed to “rock the house” while also having “spatial awareness” of the room that it’s in. Therefore, the sound is solid no matter where it’s moved from.
The device will be powered by an A8 processor, and Apple said that enables that it to tap into the cloud. The speaker will deliver a series of options for users to select their favorite music, too.
3. It’s Powered by Siri & There Are 6 Microphones Inside
The HomePod will be 7 inches tall, and it’s covered in no-seam mesh fabric which make for a unique look compared to other similar products. In addition to the A8 processor and cutting-edge audio capabilities, it includes six microphones around its rim which allow you to talk to the speaker and request it to perform tasks.
Of course, the HomePod can be voice controlled by Siri, whose voice is a staple of many of its other products. In order to summon Siri’s assistance with a task, whether it be setting an alarm or asking who is the drummer of a song you’re listening to, all you need to say is, “Hey Siri” before her voice responds to your request.
4. It’s Capable of Controlling HomeKit Devices
In addition to asking the speaker to play basically whatever song you desire, HomePod is able to control any devices that are enabled with Apple’s HomeKit.
That means you can control the air conditioning, lights, heat and much more with just your voice and the HomePod.
But of course, that’s not it. You can also ask HomePod to deliver the latest news, weather and traffic reports while also updating you on any sports scores and a number of other things. It can even text those in your contacts and set alarms and reminders.
For those concerned about the security of the HomePod, Schiller said in his speech that no data is ever being sent anywhere until you say “Hey Siri.” It also uses an anonymous ID, therefore whatever you search cannot be tracked back to you.
5. Jokes & Parodies Hit Social Media After It Was Announced
Almost as soon as the HomePod was announced, jokes and parodies were quick to hit social media, with many commenting on its look and price point.
Many thought that it looks like a wheel of string or yarn.
Others thought that the design was tacky while another Twitter user thought the company missed out on an opportunity at an epic name.