Apple announced today that the HomePod will be available from February 9th with pre orders taking place on January 26th and will be available in White or Space Gray and is priced at $349 in the United States, £319 in the United Kingdom, and $499 in Australia. Apple has confirmed that users can:
- Tap: touch the top of your HomePod to play or pause music
- Double-tap: touch the top of your HomePod twice to skip to the next track
- Triple-tap: touch the top of your HomePod there times to play the previous track
- Tap or hold “+“: touch or hold the plus sign on the HomePod top to up the volume
- Tap or hold “-”: touch or hold the minus sign on the HomePod top to lower the volume
- Tap and hold—touch and hold the top of your HomePod to talk to Siri
A single tap plays or pauses music, a double tap skips to the next track, and a triple trap returns to the previous track. Tapping and holding the digital plus or minus sign raises or lowers the speaker’s volume respectively. You can use HomePod to send messages using just your voice. And when you receive a text, Siri can read it to you. For hands-free conversations, start or receive a call on your iPhone and hand it off to HomePod.
Details of how the HomePod is setup has emerged by French blog iGeneration.fr showing the HomeKit app being used. Some of the HomePod settings you’ll be able to control in the Home app include:
- General: naming the room where your HomePod is located
- Sensitivity: adjust touch sensitivity
- Music and podcasts: explicit content, EQ, history of music recommendations
- Siri: Siri tone and visual feedback via the speaker’s LED lights at the top
- Accessibility: double-touch delay, button sensitivity, voice speed
To command a room just say “Hey Siri, turn on the lights” or “Hey Siri, make the room cooler.” You can even ask Siri to set scenes, like “Good morning,” that put multiple accessories to work — all at once. A wide range of accessories work with Apple’s HomeKit platform. Just add an accessory to the Home app, then control it with your voice on HomePod.
According to 9to5Mac, “HomePod owners will in fact be able to play music that they purchased from iTunes Store, as well as stream Beats 1 radio and listen to podcasts on the device for free, without an active Apple Music subscription. If you add music to your home iTunes library that was not acquired through a purchase, HomePod will not be able to access it” This will be just like the music app on the iPhone where you can currently do the same without an active music subscription however you’ll need an Apple Music subscription for full music functionality and to enjoy a catalog of more than 45 million songs because the Siri-driven smart speaker does not support non-Apple music services for the time being.