HomePod Hands-On: Unboxing and Overview

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Today's the official launch day of the HomePod, Apple's new Siri-powered smart speaker. As of now, the HomePod is available in all three launch countries -- the United States, UK, and Australia.

The first orders have gone out to customers who purchased a HomePod starting on January 26, and Apple retail stores also have plenty of supply for walk-in purchases.

We picked up a couple of HomePods this morning, and MacRumors videographer Dan has spent the last few hours testing out the sound quality, the Siri integration, the HomeKit controls, the touch gesture integration, and more.


Design wise, the HomePod is deceptively small, but it's also heavy and has a solid build. It's covered in a soft, pliable mesh material meant to enhance sound, and there's a fabric-covered cable at the back.

After a bit of a snafu with the setup process, which appears to be related to HomeKit and iCloud keychain and is something we'll need to investigate further, we had the HomePod up and running with an alternate Apple ID.

Sound, as previous reviews and impressions have suggested, is incredible. Music is crisp and clear, with the HomePod highlighting and separating every element of a song. Even if you're not an audiophile, you're going to notice the high-quality sound of the HomePod right away.

We tested HomePod with Apple Music, which is how HomePod is meant to be used, but you can also play music from other third-party music services like Spotify using AirPlay.

HomePod's voice detection works impressively well, with Siri able to pick up a "Hey Siri" command from across the room even with music playing loudly. Siri is useful for playing content from Apple Music and controlling your HomeKit devices, but if you're used to something like Amazon Alexa, you're going to notice a few shortcomings.

Siri on HomePod is basically like Siri on the iPhone, and the personal assistant has almost the same feature set on both devices. Apple didn't make major improvements to Siri for the HomePod, and that's definitely one of the most disappointing aspects of the device.

For HomePod owners out there, how are you liking the HomePod so far? Let us know in the comments. Make sure to check out our HomePod roundup if you're new to HomePod or planning to purchase one -- it's got everything you need to know about HomePod along with a running list of our HomePod how tos.

Article Link: HomePod Hands-On: Unboxing and Overview
 
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JPGR_Fan

macrumors regular
Apr 5, 2003
188
28
St. Louis
Not an audiophile, and it sounds good, but I really don't like it. I need stereo to be happy. I will buy a second one when iOS catches up.
I do like control from any device on Apple Music.
Siri works well with Apple Music, but I had a somewhat stressful time trying to send a text.
Placement is also important. It seemed you could put it anywhere and enjoy. I found that placing it behind my usual perch was just not tolerable. I moved it, actually to where I envisioned it the day it was announced and it is better, and will be great with the addition of the second, stereo speaker.
 
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hot ham water

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HMFIC03

macrumors regular
Jan 19, 2011
229
193
AZ
sounds better than my Bose mini and much much louder. Only thing that has blown me away though is how far the microphone can pick up Siri commands and over music. Hopefully it can wake me up with music tomorrow
[doublepost=1518216815][/doublepost]Also it fills the room with sound, but it of course is missing that stereo sound
 

thisisnotmyname

macrumors 68020
Oct 22, 2014
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I set up the first four of mine and they sound nice. I do hope they release stereo and multi-room soon as I bought multiple in anticipation of that. Good audio quality for such a compact and inexpensive device.

edit: I'm very surprised at how loud they get. The people who commented on the 7.5 watt draw thinking they wouldn't have any volume were very wrong.
 

Tech198

macrumors G5
Mar 21, 2011
14,316
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Australia, Perth
i just wanna know just because you can shout across room and siri to respond, why would you even want to do that?

It can happen, but why would you do it anyway away?
 

tk1337

macrumors member
Apr 20, 2015
44
10
Florida
I really doubted this product and I wasn't going to buy one. However, I am a bit of an audiophile and my bedroom speakers just don't sound that great. I randomly decided to try the HomePod out, I ordered it on the 7th, with estimates showing it arriving on the 12th/13th, but it arrived today.

It sounds simply amazing for the size, very impressed with the sound quality, makes me glad I didn't go with Sonos, their speakers never really sounded that great to me, awesome features, but sound quality wasn't there for the price point. I'll definitely buy a couple more HomePods when AirPlay2 is out.

Though, to mention, since it is AirPlay, you can (from your mac) play to multiple AirPlay speakers, where they all play in sync. For instance, I can play to my HomePod (bedroom), AppleTv (sound through the Tv), to my Pioneer amp (AirPlay capable amp), and on the speakers attacked to my iMac at the same time, in sync, from my iMac. AirPlay2 will definitely make it a cleaner experience.
 

Texas26257

macrumors regular
May 22, 2016
103
59
I love mind especially compared to .y sonos. Sounds so much better. I know people complain that it can't play this or play that. Well I played couple things today that I never could on Sonos.

Airplay is the game changer yes you have to use your phone or iPad or computer but I also need to play my Sonos with them
 
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eatrains

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Mar 11, 2006
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mcman

macrumors newbie
Dec 2, 2008
8
19
Is there a way to connect HomePod to a MacBook Pro (mid 2015)?
Not just iTunes. I want all of the sound from my MacBook go through the HomePod.
 
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citysnaps

macrumors 603
Oct 10, 2011
5,462
8,542
San Francisco
The bigger annoyance to me is that you have to say “Hey, Siri” then wait for it to wake up, THEN issue a command. With my echo, I can just say “Alexa, play music” with no pause. Far better solution.
Have not experienced that with mine.

I don't even need the "," pause after Hey Siri. For example, just: Hey Siri play sneaker pimps.
 

Patriot24

macrumors 68030
Dec 29, 2010
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The bigger annoyance to me is that you have to say “Hey, Siri” then wait for it to wake up, THEN issue a command. With my echo, I can just say “Alexa, play music” with no pause. Far better solution.
This is not true, and I also believe it's the reason "Sound When Using Siri" is Off by default - they're trying to break people of this behavior. You do not need to wait. Say whatever you need to and it'll pick it up.
 

hmark8

macrumors 6502
Jun 17, 2009
262
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The bigger annoyance to me is that you have to say “Hey, Siri” then wait for it to wake up, THEN issue a command. With my echo, I can just say “Alexa, play music” with no pause. Far better solution.
That's false. With any iOS device or Homepod you can do not have to pause at all after saying Hey Siri, just like with Alexa. On non Homepod devices there is typically a ding, so people sometimes erroneously assume they have to wait but you do not. Simply try it right now on your HomePod or iOS device of which I assume you have otherwise you wouldn't be providing the information.
[doublepost=1518218117][/doublepost]
i just wanna know just because you can shout across room and siri to respond, why would you even want to do that?

It can happen, but why would you do it anyway away?
One the good features of HomePod is that you don't have to shout. I have an Echo and Homepod. With Echo, if music is playing you have to shout for it to hear the commands, which ironically are typically lower the volume. If the music is very loud Echo has almost no chance of hearing you. With HomePod was able to play max volume, and talk at a normal voice and it heard. Even tried speaking very quietly and heard. That being said was able to get it to not hear on a few occasions, but 100% better than Echo in this department, though this speaker is more expensive, so imagine Amazon will improve on this. That all being said, Siri has shown her dumbness time and time again compared to Alexa since getting the HomePod today.
 

zachlegomaniac

macrumors 6502a
Sep 20, 2008
737
298
I’m really looking for a speaker for television audio as well. Do you have to AirPlay it from the Apple TV 4? If so, does it continue to recognize the ATV whenever the ATV is on or do you have to manually AirPlay it each time.

If I’m not making any sense let me know and I’ll try to clarify.

I’m basically trying to find out how seamless/automatic it would be to have the AirPod always play my ATV audio, but still play music outside of that when desired.

Thank you!