Apple HomePod only for Apple Aficionados

Eight months ago, GadgetGuy carried an article about Apple’s ‘groundbreaking HomePod’. Well, the long gestation is over, and a bouncing baby HomePod is here.

In our earlier advisory, we said, “At a glance, it looks just like another neat wireless speaker. But it’s far from that. Two main things set it apart. First and most obvious is Siri support. Secondly, and perhaps more significantly (for we music lovers) is that it’s acoustically smart. They are my words, not Apple’s.”

Channel 7 Sunrise GadgetGuy Val Quinn had a private briefing at Apple and will be reviewing the HomePod speaker soon. His first impression is that it is a hell of a speaker, it opens access to Apple Music subscriptions, and it can access Siri, but that is not presently its focus.

What we know

  • Automatic room-sensing technology: The HomePod can “quickly learn its position in a room” and then optimises the sound.
  • It has an “upward-facing” woofer and “seven beam-forming tweeters”. Each driver has its amplifier. “Beam-forming” means that the signal is processed so that groups of tweeters can work together to produce sound focused in particular directions.
  • Apple’s A8 chip includes digital signal processing (Apple calls it “real-time software modelling”) to manage all this and tune the subwoofer so it produced the best bass it can without being pushed into unseemly distortion.
  • When AirPlay 2 is rolled out later this year, two HomePod speakers can connect for stereo.
  • Dimensions: smaller than you expected at 172 (h) x 142 (round) and 2.5kg.
  • Plays Apple Music (with a subscription), iTunes purchases, iCloud Music Library with an AppleMusic or iTunes Match subscription, Beats 1 Live Radio, Podcasts, AirPlay other content to HomePod from iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV, and Mac
  • Wi-FI AC MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0
  • As is traditional for Apple no specs are provided for the speakers, e.g. Watts RMS, THD, Frequency response etc.
  • Works only with recent Apple iOS devices

Price and Availability

A$499

Major retailers, Apple Store, and Telstra.

Telstra customers can access a Telstra Accessories Repayment Option, which costs $15 per month with $139 upfront for 24 months when you take up an eligible mobile plan at selected stores. For complete pricing details, please visit https://accessories.telstra.com.au/apple-homepod-smart-speaker.
New Telstra customers can sign up for the exclusive offer of six months of Apple Music free on selected Telstra mobile plans and enjoy over 45 million songs. For additional details, visit https://www.telstra.com.au/applemusic.