Apple's much-anticipated HomePod is available in just a few weeks. The Wi-Fi connected speaker offers up Siri voice control, HomeKit functionality, and boasts incredible, virtual surround sound. Wanna know more? We've got the details!

What's new with HomePod?

January 23, 2018: HomePod arrives February 9, available to order this Friday

From Apple:

HomePod, the innovative wireless speaker from Apple, arrives in stores beginning Friday, February 9 and is available to order online this Friday, January 26 in the US, UK and Australia. HomePod will arrive in France and Germany this spring.

In what some are calling the great iOS 11 developer beta leak of 2017, we now have some details on how you'll set up your HomePod when it arrives February 9, at least as the implementation stands right now. Setting up the HomePod will require some sort of connection to your iOS device, and the setup files, first spotted by iHelp BR, indicate that at least part of the process will be similar to the setup for AirPods and other W1-equipped headphones, though the HomePod itself doesn't seem to have a W1 chip.

Text translated from Portuguese:

According to some images that we find in the internal files of the system, the pairing of the HomePod (codenamed B238) will be very similar to the AirPods wireless headphones. When you turn on the speaker for the first time, iOS will ask the user if they want to perform the setup with that iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. It will not be possible to set up a HomePod for Mac or Apple TV - although it is very likely that the device will work normally with them later.

Developer Guilherme Rambo has delved a little deeper into the files, providing video of the process, showing how the same method will apparently be used across the HomePod, whole home audio, and the Apple TV.

Apple Home Hub? Siri Speaker? Siri Home Hub? What's this thing actually called?

It's called HomePod. It's like an iPod for your home!

Neat … so what can it do?

Apple is positioning the HomePod as an excellent wireless speaker. It's also another in-home point of contact with Siri. Use the wake phrase, "Hey, Siri," and it can do anything Siri can do … and a little more! You can control your HomeKit-enabled accessories (even when you're away from home, since the device acts as a HomeKit Home Hub), listen to music and other content with the device's excellent speakers, set timers and reminders, check your calendar, send messages, etc.

Apple's main focus was on the device's audio quality. Using what Apple calls "Spatial Awareness," its beam-forming tweeters and Apple-designed woofer work together to provide virtual surround sound in whatever space you're in. The HomePod will "scan" the room and adjust its tweeter/woofer system accordingly to provide the best possible sound. The HomePod is also a Musicologist, meaning it helps you find great tracks on Apple Music and — thanks to its beam-forming microphones — lets you control your listening experience no matter where you are in your room.

Wait, can you tell me more about this Musicologist?

Yeah! It basically means HomePod can help you find good music to listen to. Here's how Apple puts it:

"By saying, 'Hey Siri, I like this song,' HomePod and Apple Music become the perfect musicologist, learning preferences from hundreds of genres and moods, across tens of thousands of playlists, and these music tastes are shared across devices. Siri can also handle advanced searches within the music library, so users can ask questions like 'Hey Siri, who's the drummer in this?' or create a shared Up Next queue with everyone in the home."

Can my whole family use it?

We're not completely clear on this one. HomePod will be Siri supported, but there is no official information about whether anyone can use it. Apple notes that you can send messages, create reminders, and receive calls with HomePod, which suggests that Apple will lock it down to one person's account and voice. However, HomePod will also support Apple Music playback features and HomeKit controls, which are the types of actions best utilized by the entire family.

Does it work with AirPlay?

Sure does! In fact, it works with Apple's freshly announced AirPlay 2! You can use it to connect to other HomePods in your home and to control other AirPlay 2-compatible speakers.

Have ya got some specs for me?

  • 7 inches tall
  • 3D mesh fabric
  • Apple-designed A8 chip
  • 7 beam-forming tweeter array
  • 1 4-inch, Apple-designed woofer
  • 6-microphone array
  • Siri built-in
  • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi‑Fi with MIMO
  • Multiroom speaker support with AirPlay 2
  • capacitive touch controls on top of the device
  • data encryption

'Data encryption,' you say?

Yep! Apple's got your privacy and security in mind. Here's what you need to know about it:

"With HomePod, only after 'Hey Siri' is recognized locally on the device will any information be sent to Apple servers, encrypted and sent using an anonymous Siri identifier."

Other smart speakers offer personalization options. Does the HomePod let me customize the look?

HomePod comes in two colors: white and Space Gray.

So, uh, what's this gonna cost me?

Both the white and Space Gray HomePods will cost $349.

And when can I order one?

You can pre-order the HomePod on January 26. It'll be available in-stores or delivered to your door on February 9.

More you wanna know?

Feel like there are still a few questions left unanswered? Have something specific you want to know? Give us a shout in the comments and we'll help you track down an answer!