The Apple Homepod is one of the most anticipated smart speakers that came directly from Apple. When Apple first announced this in 2017, everyone was excited about this as they can finally have a great smart speaker to add to their Apple-ecosystem. However, it’s release date got delayed from the early December 2017 to February 2018.
The Apple Homepod serves as a direct competitor to the Google Home, Amazon Echo and other smart speakers on the market. It does however pack a different set of technology both in the exterior and interior parts of the speaker which is a huge treat for many especially to Apple users. So today, we are going to look at the Apple Homepod and see if it is the right smart speaker for you.
Exterior Design and Features
When you first receive the Apple Homepod, the first thing you might noticed is the size and design. The Apple Homepod is surprisingly big. It has round edges as opposed to a flat edge like the Amazon Echo Dot thus making this speaker looks less than a cylinder. It is also heavy weighing in at around 2.5KG or 5.5lbs. This home smart speaker makes it heavier than the Google Home or Amazon Echo but somehow lighter than the Google Home Max (that one has a massive weight of 5.3KG).
The design of the Apple Homepod is pretty much like other smart speakers, but it is different too in many ways. The entire smart speaker is covered in mesh fabric cover with the exception on the top and bottom. On the top of the speaker it has a round LED screen that is touch enabled.
Using the screen, you can do numerous touch gestures that performs specific tasks for the Apple Homepod. Examples of these gestures include tap to play/pause, double-tap to move to the next track and, triple-tap to return to the previous track. You can even touch and hold the screen to activate Siri to hear your voice commands. The screen also has a plus and minus buttons included. These are used to control the smart speaker’s volume by tapping or holding either buttons.
The Apple Homepod does come in 2 colors which are white and space grey. Although I do recommend to you the space grey color as it won’t confused you from the other smart speakers. But if you do like the color of white, go ahead. So overall, in terms of design. The Apple Homepod is a great looking smart speaker that is simplistic and perfectly sized to be placed around your home. Plus, it has some great feature like the touch enabled LED screen.
Although the Apple Homepod does not look that much on the outside as it is designed to look simple and artistic. What’s inside the smart speaker that really makes it a difference from the competition. The Apple Homepod packs in a lot of internal features that turns this smart speaker into a simple yet powerful powerhouse.
First, the Apple Homepod has an excellent A8 chip used and designed by Apple. This processing chip can also be found within the iPhone 6 which I find to be a very efficient. Plus having that chip makes this smart speaker powerful. The processor chip controls all the excellent components both external and internal. It also contains a 1GB RAM and 16GB internal flash storage. All these features are located directly below the LED touch-enabled screen.
Underneath the A8 chip, there is a woofer that is pointed upward giving that deep yet strong bass. Apparently unlike the others smart speakers where the woofer is located at the bottom, this one is stacked up on the very top. Six microphone arrays are placed underneath the woofer which are used to record and recognize your voice. These are also used to activate Apple’s Siri. Finally, at the very bottom of the Apple Homepod contains seven tweeter arrays (or also the speakers themselves) that are arranged neatly in a circular form thus making a 360-degree sound available. The sound quality is what I would describe as loud and clear and that is great.
Let’s go on with what you can do with the Apple Homepod smart speakers. Unfortunately, if have an Android smartphone, you are unable to connect to the speaker for obvious reason that it is exclusive to the Apple iOS ecosystem. Although it is not a deal-breaker for many, I find that the other smart speakers like the Google Home and Amazon Echo are able to accept any compatible smartphone whether it has iOS or Android thus maximizing flexibility.
A disadvantage that the Apple Homepod used to have is that it can only play exclusively from Apple Music and cannot use other third-party streaming like Spotify. However, with the release of the iOS 13 for Apple smartphones, users are now able to play Spotify.
A powerful feature of the Homepod is Siri. Siri, like Alexa, controls everything inside the smart speaker. Siri can understand any complex command such as changing music depending your mood and will even a select a song for you. Even with a noisy environment, Siri can utilize and adjust the six arrays of microphones to recognize your voice. You can also answer your messages and phone calls through the smart speaker itself. Before iOS 13, Siri inside the Apple Homepod cannot distinguish voices which poses a problem when it comes to securing your personal messages as anyone can access it with the right command. But this problem was successfully fixed with the new update.
So, is the Apple Homepod the right smart speaker for you? If you are looking for a great companion around your home that can play songs at your command, then this is the one is for you. However, this smart speaker is not the best among the competition. It is good enough especially for Apple users but with the other smart speakers out there that is flexible enough to accept any type of smartphone even Apple ones leaves the Apple Homepod behind.
So, what do you think? If you have any experience in using the Apple Homepod, please let me know and I’d love to hear your thoughts.