The HomePod won’t ship until later this year, but two posts on social media show that people working on the device are already testing them in their homes.
One Twitter user has shared an image taken in Menlo Park, CA, depicting a Control Center screen, complete with HomePod icon. Another user, this time on Instagram, posted a black and white photo of a HomePod in what looks like his or her kitchen in Shanghai, China.
Spotted in Menlo Park pic.twitter.com/dUaNXpmNOX
— Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans) September 8, 2017
There are no more details on offer, but it’s good to know that the devices are being put through their paces in real world settings, as well as in the all-important lab tests.
Home is where the pod is
Apple’s HomePod smart speaker was first announced at WWDC back in June. It’s scheduled to start shipping in December, priced at $349, which makes it more expensive than both the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices currently dominating the smart speaker market.
To compensate for that, the Apple HomePod will reportedly possess superior audio capabilities — courtesy of a seven-tweeter array and a 4-inch woofer. It will also boast “spatial awareness” capability that allow the smart speaker to “read” its environment, and then sculpt the audio to deliver the best possible sound experience.
As someone who is a big fan of the existing smart speaker options (particularly the Google Home), it’s going to be interesting to see whether Apple is able to offer a compelling product that can compete in the marketplace. Apple’s Siri AI assistant is getting better, but certainly lags behind its competitors in several key aspects. I’m also unsure about the all-mesh design of the HomePod, although it’s definitely more pleasing to the eye than the Echo’s stark appearance.
Are you excited about the Apple HomePod? Leave your comments below.