Apple’s HomePod is a smart speaker which sounds better than it sounds

Apple’s latest hardware effort:

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.

Here’s Dieter Bohn for The Verge, evaluating its sound quality:

The main thing to know is that Apple has done a remarkably good job finding ways to get its speaker to feel like it’s filling a room with sound. The other thing to know is that Apple is doing something interesting with those seven tweeters.

Basically, Apple is claiming that, using the microphones, the speaker can work out the shape of the room and then beamform different parts of the song to different areas. So the vocals get pumped straight out into the center of the room while the “ambient” bits get bounced off the wall. I can’t speak to the proper audiophile terms for what they’re talking about, but I can say that it sounded pretty immersive and impressive in person.

We also heard the sound quality up against an Amazon Echo and a Sonos Play:3 — obviously the HomePod came out on top — but I’m not sure how much credence to lend to that part of the demo.

Credit where its due; even though Apple has long had ties with music, to come out of the gate with a music system after such a long period and still trump dedicated players like Sonos is impressive. Granted its expensive, but so are all their other products. That they can consistently charge the prices they do shows the faith they have in churning out the quality of products they do.

And smart strategy to bundle this as a speaker that you can talk to rather than a assistant that can play music. At the moment, Siri can’t hold a candle to Google Home.

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