Apple HomePod is officially available now, after preorders sellout

Apple HomePod
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Apple’s long awaited wireless speaker—HomePod is now available to order online and purchase at selected retails stores in the US, UK and Australia. Apple says its Siri-powered speaker will hit France and Germany this spring. What? No Malaysia?

The HomePod was first revealed at Apple’s WWDC in June 2017. It’s taken a while, but the Amazon Echo and Google Home rival is finally here.

Apple is touting the audio quality of its smart speaker, calling it a “magical new music experience from Apple.” The key to its amazing sound is advanced audio tech like beam-forming tweeters, a high-excursion woofer and automatic spatial awareness.

No matter where you place the HomePod, it uses spatial awareness to sense its location and automatically adjust audio to sound great.

Powered by the Apple A8 chip, it uses advanced software for real-time acoustic modelling, audio beam-forming and echo cancellation to deliver a wide, spacious soundstage.

The HomePod works seamless with Apple Music and integrates Siri intelligence.

With an array of six microphones, this speaker can hear “Hey Siri” from across the room, even with loud music playing.

Apple claims setup is as easy and intuitive as setting up its AirPods. Simply hold an iPhone next to the HomePod and “Walah” it’s ready to start playing in seconds.

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When Siri is engaged, the familiar Siri waveform will appear on top.

And by the way, there’s integrated touch controls for easy navigation, much like a Google Home or Home mini.

The whole idea around the HomePod is that it’s almost entirely voice driven. You can ask “Hey Siri, what song is this?” or “Hey Siri, can you play something else?”

Tied to Apple Music, you’ll get access to a catalog of more than 45 million songs. Sure, you’ll argue that it’s less than Spotify, but hey, to each his own.

With Siri working its magic underneath, you’ll also be able to send messages, set timers and reminders, check the weather and get the latest business news, and more.

HomePod also supports HomeKit, so it can control hundreds of home accessories. You can also set scenes, like “Hey Siri, I’m home!” to kick a profile or set of settings at the same time.

With supported HomeKit accessories, HomePod can turn on the lights, raise the shades, adjust temperature and more.

Apple promises a free software update later in the year that will enable you to play music throughout the house with multi-room audio.

For instance, if HomePod is in the living room, you can ask Siri to play jazz, or play the same song in each room, in sync. You can pair multiple HomePods to be set up as stereo speakers too.

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Pricing and availability

HomePod is available for USD349/MYR1,375, in white and space gray.

The smart speaker is compatible with iPhone 5s or later, iPad Pro, iPad Air or later, iPad mini 2 or later or iiPod touch (6th gen) with iOS 11.2.5 or later.

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