🇨🇦 The HomePod Touches Down in Canada 🇨🇦
After months of anticipation, Apple’s new HomePod smart speaker finally shipped in Canada in Mid-June, just in time for summer. Reviews of its audio quality have been positive, and we finally got to test it for ourselves. With different options for home smart speakers, it’s important to know what HomePod offers you, apart from amazing sound. Here is a 10-point list of some of the HomePod features.
- Audio Power. It may be small, but HomePod really packs a punch. With 7 tweeters, 7 amplifiers and a woofer, it provides a dynamic sound with rich highs and powerful lows. And all this in a speaker than stands at a modest 6.8 inches tall. At 6 feet distance, we measured the sound output at 100% volume at 80 decibels, which is louder than is comfortable.
- Volume Control. Speaking of volume, you control it by percentages, as in “Hey Siri, set the volume to 15 percent.” You can also tap the + and – buttons on the top of the HomePod to adjust the volume in 5% increments.
- Good Listener. The HomePod hears your commands remarkably well, even when it’s playing music at a high volume. It houses a 6 microphone array for far-field Siri, distinguishing very well between the audio it’s emitting and the tone of your voice. You shouldn’t have to shout at it.
- Hey Siri. If you’re within earshot of a HomePod and want to give Siri a command on your iPhone or Apple Watch, don’t say “Hey Siri” right away. Instead, to use your iPhone, unlock it first. Or, to use your Apple Watch, raise your wrist. Apple has an explanation of how Hey Siri works with multiple devices.
- Apple TV. You can play audio from your Apple TV through your HomePod. On the main screen of the Apple TV, press and hold the Play/Pause button on the Siri Remote, and then select the HomePod before playing a show. Or, while playing video, swipe down on the Siri Remote, swipe right to select Audio, and then select your HomePod in the Speaker list. Once you’ve transferred audio to the HomePod, you can use Hey Siri commands to pause and play the Apple TV content, change volume, and even rewind and fast-forward by a certain amount of time (“Hey Siri, rewind 10 seconds”).
- Apple Music. The HomePod can act as an AirPlay speaker, and can thus play audio from your other Apple devices. But when you control it via Siri, the music must come from Apple Music, your iTunes Store purchases, or be matched in your iCloud Music Library. To send Mac audio from apps other than iTunes to the HomePod, get Rogue Amoeba’s Airfoil.
- Stereo Pair Capable. If you have 2 HomePods in the same space, you can create a stereo pair using the ‘Home’ app on your iPhone or iPad. Simply open the app, press and hold on HomePod and select details. Then choose stereo pair and choose the 2nd HomePod to pair with. This allows left and right channels for even more powerful sound.
- Single User. Anyone in the room can give Siri commands, but when it comes to account-based connections, the HomePod is a single-user device. So if you set it up, which is astonishingly easy, it will connect to your Apple Music account, your iMessage account, your iCloud account for Reminders, and so on. That’s fine for you, but your family members won’t be able to access their Apple Music playlists, for instance.
- Speakerphone. The HomePod may be the best speakerphone you’ve ever used. Alas, you can’t initiate a call on it, but once you start one on your iPhone, you can transfer the call by tapping the new Audio button that replaced the Speaker button in iOS 11.2.5 and selecting the HomePod.
- Electrical Usage. The HomePod may be turned on all the time—it has no power switch—but it uses very little electricity. In our testing, it used 2.5 to 3 watts when it was idle but has been used recently, and 4 to 7 watts when playing. Leave it alone in a quiet room for a while, and its power usage drops to 0 watts with just an occasional 1.5-watt spike.
The HomePod is definitely one of the most anticipated hardware releases by Apple in a while. After the AirPods doing so well since their release in 2016, Apple are set to double their output in 2018. The HomePod could follow on from that win and be a big success for Apple, bringing them back into the fore of the audio world.
The HomePod is available at Simply Computing now, so come in store and try it out. It runs at $44999 but Simply also offer the HomePod for $2354 per month (over 2 years) and have a great warranty that protects from unexpected events like liquid spills or drops.
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