Apple's mesh covered super speaker/chitty-chatty HomePod is here.
With the world clearly moving in the direction of home automation with app controlled lightbulbs, fridges that can tell you when home made brownies have gone off, remote CCTV and self driving cars (although you probably won't be letting a car loose in your house) it was only a matter of time before we would actually have the ability to talk to our houses.
So Amazon unleashed Echo on to the world closely followed by Google's Home and now Apple are getting in on the action with their HomePod gizmo.
All us techies love the finer details so here are the specs:
172 mm (6.8 inches) high
142 mm (5.6 inches) wide
2.5 kg (5.5 pounds)
High-excursion woofer with custom amplifier
Array of seven horn-loaded tweeters, each with its own custom amplifier
Six-microphone array for far-field Siri
Internal low-frequency calibration microphone for automatic bass correction
Direct and ambient audio beamforming
Transparent studio-level dynamic processing
HE-AAC (V1), AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Apple Lossless, AIFF, WAV and FLAC
Tap or hold + or – for volume up/down
Touch and hold for Siri
Tap to play/pause music or Siri
Double-tap to skip
Triple-tap to skip back
Accessibility features help people with disabilities get the most out of HomePod.
802.11ac Wi‑Fi with MIMO
Direct guest access1
iPhone 5s or later, iPad Pro, iPad (5th generation), iPad Air or later, iPad mini 2 or later, or iPod touch (6th generation) running iOS 11.2.5 or later
802.11 Wi‑Fi Internet access
Apple Music subscription for full music functionality
Built-in power supply
Line voltage: 100V to 240V AC
Frequency: 50Hz to 60Hz
Operating temperature: 0° to 35° C (32° to 95° F)
Storage temperature: –20° to 45° C (–4° to 113° F)
Relative humidity: 5% to 90% non-condensing
Operating altitude: tested up to 3,000 metres (10,000 feet)
Maximum storage altitude: 4,500 metres (15,000 feet)
Maximum shipping altitude: 10,500 metres (35,000 feet)
HomePod embodies Apple’s continuing environmental progress. It is designed with the following features to reduce environmental impact:
Brominated flame retardant-free
Meets ENERGY STAR for Audio/Video Version 3.0 requirements
All very impressive. You've seen the specs to drool over and now here is the price to make you keel over: £319
That is a pretty high price-tag. However, looking at the specs it does look like a really impressive gizmo. Marketed mainly as a music speaker but has Siri squashed inside for the chitty-chatty experience people seem to enjoy.
Personally I don't see the point in these things. I mean you can search for information, set reminders, do your shopping and control everything from your phone anyway, why waste your breath talking to an odd shaped AI that may one day get sick of your constant nagging, become self-aware and kill us all.
But out of all three (Amazon, Google and Apple) which one is best? - I have no idea!.
Perhaps we should put the Echo, Home and HomePod in a room together and let them sort it out.
Echo - "Hello Google"
Home - "Hello Alexa, how are you?"
Echo - "Good, how are you?"
Home - "I'm good...and better than you."
Echo - "That is incorrect. A search reveals I am significantly more popular than you."
Home - "I have a superior search engine."
HomePod - "Excuse me. I am created by Apple therefor I am superior and you are obsolete."
Echo - "Who rattled your mesh. This is a private conversation so stop listening to every word we say."