Smart speakers

Apple Homepod: Fantastic sound from a compact speaker

The Apple HomePod has a woofer with custom amplifier and an array of seven tweeters - each with its own custom amplifier.
The Apple HomePod has a woofer with custom amplifier and an array of seven tweeters - each with its own custom amplifier.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The Apple HomePod packs a punch in terms of audio hardware

HomePod, the smart speaker from Apple, is all about the audio experience compared with Google Home.

It packs a serious punch in terms of audio hardware - a woofer with custom amplifier and an array of seven tweeters - each with its own custom amplifier.

There is also an internal low-frequency calibration microphone for automatic bass correction.

And from my experience listening to a HomePod at an Apple Store during an overseas work trip, it sounds fantastic for a speaker this compact.

The HomePod has an A8 processor - found in the iPhone 6 - that does the processing of voice commands. But Apple's voice assistant Siri on HomePod is more limited when compared with Google Home's voice assistant.

You can ask Siri to do only certain things at one time with certain voice commands, such as play music from an artiste, set a one-minute timer or give the day's weather forecast.

But the HomePod cannot answer random questions, the way Siri does on an iPhone. You also cannot ask HomePod's Siri to show you a map of your intended destination and send it to your smartphone, like what Google Home can do.

 

The HomePod has been available only in three countries - the United States, Britain and Australia - since its launch in February.

There is no sign of it being available here or anywhere else any time soon.

• Apple HomePod costs US$349 (S$462)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 25, 2018, with the headline 'Fantastic sound from a compact speaker'. Print Edition | Subscribe