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HomePod

The new sound of home

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At its Worldwide Developer Conference in 2017, Apple officially took the wraps off of its oft-rumored speaker in the form of HomePod. The device acts as a standalone way for users to interact with Siri, play music, and more. Tim Cook touts this as Apple’s effort to “reinvent home music” just as it did with products like the iPod.

Prior to announcing Apple’s product, Phil Schiller explained that Apple has worked to take what companies like Sonos and Amazon have done and create a “breakthrough home speaker.”

Schiller explained that a successful speaker must “rock the house,” have “spatial awareness,” and “be a musicologist.”

To offer strong sound quality, the devices features a 7 tweeter array with precision acoustic horns and directional control. There’s also an Apple-designed 4-inch woofer and it’s powered by Apple’s A8 chip. It measures in at just under 7-inches tall and features a mesh design.

Here’s how Apple describes HomePod:

HomePod is a powerful speaker that sounds amazing, adapts to wherever it’s playing, and together with Apple Music, gives you effortless access to one of the world’s largest music catalogs. All controlled through natural voice interaction with Siri. It takes the listening experience to a whole new level. And that’s just the beginning.

HomePod 11.4 Software Update

HomePod

HomePod’s 11.4 update shipped with two notable features — AirPlay 2 and Stereo Pairing (originally promised at launch, but was delayed). It also included Calendar support, which lets you check, add, edit, and delete appointments to configured calendars.

AirPlay 2

The flagship feature of the 11.4 update was the long-awaited launch of AirPlay 2. The biggest advantage that AirPlay 2 brought to the table is multi-room audio support. AirPlay 2’s multi-room audio allows iOS users to stream music or podcasts to supported devices in any room using Control Center’s destination controls, in-app controls, or Siri.

With AirPlay 2 you can do things like:

  • Quickly see what’s playing in every room on every speaker
  • Play the same song, in sync, in every room
  • Play different songs on different speakers
  • Use Siri to play different songs in different rooms
  • Stream to rooms without grouping speakers

Because speakers are configured via the Home app, they are easily assigned to rooms, and users can address those specific rooms when using Siri.

Stereo Pairing in HomePod

Stereo pairing utilizes an Apple-designed wireless peer-to-peer direct link to talk with each other and play music in sync. Thanks to the A8 SoC, each HomePod is able to automatically sense its location in the room, and establish its own audio channel (left or right). In other words, there’s very little end-user configuration needed once a stereo pair is established.

The advanced beamforming provides a wider soundstage than a traditional stereo pair setup. Apple says that by stereo pairing two HomePods, an almost three-dimensional soundstage is created, providing room-filling sound with enhanced bass extension, and a deeper, more accurate reproduction of low frequencies.

Creating a HomePod stereo pair is straightforward, and when two HomePods are set up in the same room, users are automatically prompted to create a stereo pair.

HomePod Pricing

HomePod originally launched at $349, but it saw a price cut to $299 on April 4th, 2019.

Grab HomePod at low prices at Best Buy and eBay or check for the latest deals at 9to5toys.com.

HomePod mini

9to5Mac has heard rumors about a new “HomePod mini” that is expected to be announced in 2020. According to a Bloomberg report, the HomePod mini is expected to keep the same cylindrical design as the larger version, but it would be about half the current product’s size.

Apple is unlikely to sacrifice audio quality to make a cheaper version of the HomePod, but keep in mind that having less physical space means the speakers will be reduced, and consequently, the sound may be lower than in the current HomePod model.

Besides, the HomePod mini should also have Siri for voice commands and AirPlay 2 for pairing it with other compatible speakers.

Should you buy a HomePod now or wait for the HomePod mini? Read our HomePod buyer’s guide.

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Roundup: Here’s everything Apple has been working on for its lineup of smart home products

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Apple entered the smart home accessories segment back in 2014 with iOS 8, which introduced the HomeKit API to integrate such products with Siri. But it wasn’t until 2017 that Apple announced HomePod, its first smart speaker and overall first smart home device.

The company now has two different models of HomePod, but according to rumors, Apple wants to further expand this lineup in the near future. Here’s everything we know about what Apple has been working on for its smart home product lineup.

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Feature Request: Please send help for HomePod’s ‘I’m not sure who is speaking’ bug

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One of the handy capabilities of Siri on HomePod that’s been available since 2018 is Personal Requests. It allows users to make voice commands that deal with what can be more private information from their specific iPhone and iPad. However, as it turns out, Personal Requests are still broken with Siri on HomePod often replying “I’m not sure who is speaking.”

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Kuo: New HomePod with built-in 7-inch display to be announced in early 2024

kuo: New HomePod with built-in 7-inch display to be announced in early 2024

Apple this year introduced a new HomePod that looks exactly like the original model announced in 2017 and discontinued in 2021. However, amid rumors of the company working on a new product that combines the iPad, Apple TV, and HomePod into a single device, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has now reported that Apple will announce a new HomePod with a built-in 7-inch display in early 2024.

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HomePod communicates with status lights, but what do all the colors mean?

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While HomePod is primarily a speaker, it communicates its state with colored lights across the top surface. A static white light and a multicolored spinning light are the two most common status light colors. HomePod users will occasionally come across four or five other status light animations, and what they’re trying to say isn’t obvious from their appearance.

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Multiple HomePods responding to Siri requests, instead of one taking priority

Multiple HomePods responding | HomePod mini on a desk

A significant number of users are experiencing multiple HomePods responding to Siri commands simultaneously. This is something that is normally prevented by Apple devices communicating with each other.

Many of us have multiple Apple devices within earshot, any of which could potentially respond to a “Hey Siri” command. In my home office, for example, I have my Watch, my iPhone, the stereo-pair HomePods on my desk, and another HomePod in a nearby bathroom …

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iFixit HomePod 2 teardown finds a lot less glue, a lot more repairability

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The iFixit HomePod 2 teardown isn’t the first one we’ve seen since the launch of the new model, as Brandon Geekabit got there first. But the company does echo the comments on repairability of this model compared to the original, together with a cool video clip of the woofer in action (below).

Back in 2018, iFixit said that the innards of the original model were a nightmare to access, the firm literally having to cut the device open

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How to defy Apple and create a HomePod stereo pair with first and second-gen speakers

HomePod stereo pair

One of the limitations of the second-generation HomePod is that it can’t be used in tandem with a first-generation model to create a stereo pair. “Creating a HomePod stereo pair requires two of the same model HomePod speakers,” says Apple. There is, however, a workaround to this on the Mac with some clever software trickery.

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New HomePod versus old HomePod in blind tests: It’s almost a draw, and depends on your tastes

New HomePod versus old HomePod | Apple promo image

I was surprised when none of the HomePod 2 reviews I saw included blind tests of the new HomePod versus the old HomePod. That’s now been corrected.

The most notable thing about Apple’s 1,550-word press release announcing the new model is that not once did the company say it was better than the original. This from a company which loves to proudly proclaim that “this is the best iPhone yet” every single year …

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How to use HomePod temperature and humidity sensors and third-party devices that do the same

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Have the new HomePod 2 or HomePod mini smart speakers? If so, you’ve got access to built-in temp and humidity sensors with software 16.3 which can be useful in a variety of ways. Here’s how to set up and use HomePod temperature and humidity sensors plus we’ll look at some ways to bring the same functionality to the Home app without a HomePod.

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The new HomePod is now available on apple.com, and in Apple Stores. For those who pre-ordered, the first deliveries are starting to arrive – though many are reporting delays.

Early reviews have generally been positive, with most saying the audio quality and soundstage are very similar to the original despite a reduced number of tweeters …

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The first reviews of Apple’s second-generation full-size HomePod are here, providing a first look at the sound quality, performance, Siri changes, and more. The reviews describe the new HomePod as a successful “do-over” that ultimately is “much better than the first.” Head below for a roundup of the HomePod reviews published today…

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Advanced Data Protection has created a problem for HomePods, here’s how to fix it

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In December, Apple launched a big expansion of its end-to-end encryption for iCloud in the US with the feature rolling out worldwide with iOS 16.3. As it turns out, Apple has shared there’s a HomePod bug where they can’t be set up or updated if Advanced Data Protection has been enabled and the smart speaker isn’t running at least HomePod software 16.2. Fortunately, there are two ways to fix it, here’s how.

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