Showing posts with label HomePod. Show all posts

As part of the holiday promotion, Apple began offering promo codes to Apple Music subscribers today. So when you purchase HomePod, you can get a £50 discount by enter the code in the checkout section. Currently, only UK users can enjoy the £50 off on HomePod, but Apple likely to expand to more regions.

HomePod brings out the best in Apple Music. To celebrate the holidays, we're giving only Apple Music subscribers £50 off HomePod now through December 16. Claim your special promo code now.
This promotion lasted until December 16. After using the promo code, HomePod will be priced at £269. This promotion is sent by email, which contains a button for "Get Your promo code." Spotify, however, is also offering similar deal, when you subscribe to the music streaming service for the first time, and then sign up for family plan (only uses money from your 3 month trial), you will get a Google Home Mini for free.

Image Via MacRumors

HomePod, Apple's first smart speaker that introduced at WWDC last year, priced at $349, it's indeed the sky-high price that pulls many users away from purchasing the high-end handset. However, the company now offers HomePod with $299 price tag, although it is a refurbished product, but the speaker still received good care of it and functioning like the new one.

Refurbished HomePod is available in both white and space gray for $299, a decent $50 discount off of the regular price. The delivery time will take roughly 2 weeks if you order the smart speaker today. This is definitely a way to buy a like-new HomePod, plus these products are tested, certified, and cleaned before it gets put in the list and comes with AppleCare.

The HomePod is Apple's answer to the Amazon Echo and Google Home, but more centralized on music and sound quality, as it packed with 7 tweeter array and an Apple-designed 4-inch upward-facing woofer for crisp, clear, distortion-free sound even at loud volumes, combined with the powerful A8 chip, making it much more powerful than competing smart speakers.

HomePod integrates with Apple Music, so you can listening to over 50 million songs. It also built-in Siri support to provide news updates, play podcasts, offer weather reports, share traffic information, live sports updates, set reminders, send text messages, set multiple timers, make a phone call, and so much more. Apple is always adding more feature to the HomePod via software.

Image Via stern.de

Amazon has unveils many Echo-enabled speakers at its Seattle headquarter, like the Echo Plus, Echo Dot, Echo Show. The online retailer also announced first Echo device without speakers, Echo Input, as well as Echo Sub the subwoofer, Echo Link Amp the amplifier, and so much more that ranges from Smart Plug and Smart Home appliances.


Firstly, Amazon announced a new Echo Dot that has a brand new mic array, more powerful sound, and increased max volume, all these for $49.99. Echo Plus, a new Echo device, which designed for more advanced uses, it includes more powerful sound, stronger bass, new equalizer to adjust the bass, new temperature sensor, and a smart home hub for controlling smart home products, it cost you 150 bucks. Echo Show is redesigned with a larger HD display, improved stereo sound quality, smart home hub, it is priced at $229.9. All three Echo speakers now available for pre-order today.

The largest online retailer also unveiled Echo device without speakers, Echo Input, which adds Alexa to an external speaker and connects via 3.5 mm audio cable or Bluetooth. So if you have a speaker, just simply plug it, and then you can experience Alexa just for $34.99.

Amazon also gives a first look at Echo Sub, a plug-and-play enhanced subwoofer, once paired with the Echo/Echo Plus lineup, it'll provide a rich boost of bass. In reality, Amazon Echo Sub could even rival Apple's HomePod bass performances, plus it only cost like $130.

For more products that Amazon announced today, head over to Amazon Blog.

Strategy Analytics today released data on smart speaker sales in the second quarter of 2018. Previously, the company claimed that HomePod's smart speaker market share was only 6% in Q2 2018. Today's report shows that though HomePod has lots of space to grow, it become the best-selling smart speaker that cost more than $200.


Today's report counts the shipments of Q2 global smart speakers according to different models. It's worth noting that Google Home mini topped the list with 2.3 million units, accounts for 20% of market share, but Amazon Echo and Echo Dot combined shares were totaled about 30%.

HomePod didn't enter the top five global best-selling smart speakers, but Strategy Analytics reveals some interesting new details. According to David Watkins, the company's director, HomePod's market share in the second quarter of 2018 was only 6%, but its revenue accounted for 16% of the market. Apple's HomePod has 70% of the smart speaker market in $200+ segment.

For Apple, the decent performance of HomePod is a good news, but it may have some impact on Sonos' sales, with the latter's $200-$500 speakers is a direct competitor to HomePod. While Sonos offers a range of products that support AirPlay 2 and Siri, HomePod, obviously, offers a more seamless Siri and Apple ecosystem integration.

In addition to iOS 12, Apple today also released watchOS 5, HomePod software update, and tvOS 12, to all users. For watchOS 5, you can download it through Apple Watch app on your iPhone, then go to General -> Software Update. While tvOS 12 can be installed via Settings app -> System -> Software Update, and HomePods to be automatically updated


WatchOS 5 introduced various new features, including Activity Competitions with your friends, walkie-talkie for easier communicating with each other, auto workout detection, new Podcast app, Siri watch face support for third-party apps, new workout type like hiking and yoga, WebKit support for websites on your wrist, and more!

TvOS 12, on the other hand, brings support for Dolby Atmos, and iTunes will be home to the largest collection of Dolby Atmos-supported movies, and all purchased movies will be upgraded for free when the update release for everyone. It also introduces Zero Sign-on, you don’t need to sign in apps that offered by TV providers.

TvOS 12 also includes new aerial screensavers that were captured from the International Space Station, it’s now easier than ever to autofill passwords from the iPhone to signing into Apple TV apps, as well as the support for Home Control systems like Crestron and Savant.

HomePod, Apple's first smart speaker also getting much smarter, with the new software, HomePod now can place or answer calls, search songs by lyrics, set up multiple times, support for Siri Shortcuts, find your iOS devices quickly by ask Siri to ring, and more. The software update will be installed automatically if your iPhone is running iOS 11.4 and higher. 

Apple released the beta version of HomePod firmware to its employees. The new software would be released with iOS 12 this fall, as the beta version of the HomePod firmware includes many new features, such as the ability to set multiple timers with Siri and make phone calls, they can also use the "Find My iPhone" command. (Via iGengeration)


The current HomePod cannot get the contact data in the user's iPhones, so it is not possible to make a call. However, users can make calls on the iPhone and transfer audio output to HomePod. Similarly, when a call is received, the HomePod will not ring since your iPhone will pick up, and from there, transfer the audio to the HomePod.

In addition to making calls, HomePod can also listen to voice messages and search for call history. Like other Apple operating systems, HomePod OS 12 supports the "Find My iPhone" command, and you can ask Siri to locate your iPhone and ring the iPhone. The upcoming update will also introduce a feature that let the HomePod connect to same WiFi as paired iPhone.

We'll learn more about HomePod in September or October when Apple issues iOS 12, as well as watchOS 5, tvOS 12 and macOS Mojave.

Image Via Macworld

In its latest published support document, Apple said it will host a HomePod live session in its support community on Wednesday, July 25, to give customers a chance of asking Apple support representatives about the smart speakers, like how to enable AirPlay 2, personalize your HomePod, and more. (via MacRumors)


Discover how to make HomePod your own: use AirPlay 2, create a stereo pair, personalize your setup and settings, ask Siri, and more. During this live event, Apple HomePod Specialists will be available to help you get the most from your HomePod.

Specialists will be on hand between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Pacific Time. To join the event, you simply need to visit Apple's official HomePod Community and browse the discussions, sign in your account, then create a post, from there, the Apple Support staff will help with your questions in real time.

Image iMore

In a new report, Bloomberg shed some lights on the future strategy of Apple's audio products. According to the report, Apple will release a high-end third-generation AirPods in 2019, as well as the next-generation HomePod, and over-ear headphones.

Next year's AirPods will support noise cancellation and be water resistant. According to people familiar with the plan, Apple is also working hard to expand the scope of AirPods. Third-generation AirPods will also be more expensive due to more new features. Currently, AirPods is priced at $159.


The AirPods will also match the iPhone product line, offering high-end and low-end versions, and high-end versions will support more features. In addition, Bloomberg says that one of the advanced features may be a new biosensor that supports heart rate monitoring.

Asides from the new AirPods, Apple will also release a new over-ear headphone in 2019. It was originally planned to be released this year but encountered many difficulties. It’s believed the new headphone will be a high-end product that is more expensive than the Beats series.

Finally, the report mentioned the next generation of HomePod. The second generation HomePod will be released early next year. And, Apple plans to reduce its dependence on Inventec and distribute more orders to Foxconn. Inventec is currently a supplier of AirPods and HomePod.

Five months following the official launch of the United State, United Kingdom, and Australia, Apple now officially accepting HomePod orders in France, Germany, as well as Canada.



Still comes in the white and space gray two colors, HomePod prices in France, Germany, and Canada are 349 euros, 349 euros, and 449 Canadian dollars. Users can either choose to order directly through the Apple Store App, Apple.com, or they can choose to go to the retail stores and third-party authorized resellers to purchase it.

Apple recently brought software updates to the smart speaker and added support for Siri in French, German, and Canadian English. Canadian French support will come later this year. HomePod should also enable Stereo Paring and multi-room audio once user updates it to the 11.4 version.

Nevertheless, HomePod has received a lot of queries since its release, and most of the skeptical voices believe HomePod is overpriced. Analysts and supply chain sources have predicted that Apple will develop a cheap version, perhaps a Beats-enabled speaker in a light of hope to use it compete with rivals such as Amazon Echo.

According to iOS developer Guilherme Rambo that although Personal Requests on HomePod currently only work for Messages, Reminders and Notes, it appears that in iOS 11.4 beta 3, the Automatic setup interface now shows Messages, Reminders, Calendar and Notes, meaning the HomePod will gaining Calendar support.


Once iOS 11.4 release to all users, HomePod owners should able to use Siri on their wireless speaker to send and read messages, add reminders, create notes, as well as schedule calendar events. Smart speakers like Amazon Alexa already supported iCloud Calendar interintegration way before HomePod was launched.

Yet, the description below the icons does not indicate Calendar support, still, this can be seen as a pretty interesting indication that Siri on HomePod will support Calendar soon, it also suggests that Apple has listened to customers.

Image Via CNET

According to Bloomberg, Apple's first smart speaker - HomePod apparently didn't meet their sales expectation, leading it to cut orders with suppliers like Inventec in the late March, citing a person who familiar with the matter.

By late March, Apple had lowered sales forecasts and cut some orders with Inventec Corp., one of the manufacturers that builds the HomePod for Apple, according to a person familiar with the matter.


From the Slice Intelligence's data, it shows that HomePod had strong pre-orders and initial sales figures suggested it would sell well and capture a solid portion of the smart speaker market, but those numbers quickly fell by the time the HomePod hit store shelves:

During the HomePod's first 10 weeks of sales, it eked out 10 percent of the smart speaker market, compared with 73 percent for Amazon's Echo devices and 14 percent for the Google Home, according to Slice Intelligence. Three weeks after the launch, weekly HomePod sales slipped to about 4 percent of the smart speaker category on average, the market research firm says.

On the other hand, even though HomePod lacks connectivity with non-Apple devices and features like stereo pairing, as well as its high price tag, it's still on an early stage to call the HomePod a flop. Apple should able to make major improvements to the current-generation HomePod by simply improving Siri, or perhaps eventually supports Spotify.

Image Via Phone Arena

According to Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis who had week-long trip with his team spent to meeting companies in Apple's Asian supply chain. Today, they shared research on iPhones, AirPods, and the sales of Apple's first smartspeaker - HomePod from the trip.

First off, Curtis says Apple will continue to increased the productions of AirPods and fulfills the demand. Barclays forecasts that AirPods shipments will likely approach 30 million units in 2018, which proven that it's a strong seller for Apple despite their $159 price tag.

For the sake of comparison, it's believed the HomePod sales have been "underwhelming" so far. Apple was planned an initial production run of 6-7 million units, but it is not clear how many have sold. A most recent data came from Loup Ventures suggested that 3 percent of smartspeaker owners have a HomePod.

Image Credit CNN Money
Another interesting points made from the research notes that seems corroborated Apple's widely rumored of plans to launch the second-generation of iPhone X, a so-called 6.5-inch iPhone X Plus, and a lower-priced 6.1-inch LCD devices that featured with Face ID but no 3D Touch to keep the lower as possible.

The products that rumored to getting new updates this year including an iPad Pro to debut at WWDC that featured with Face ID, three upcoming 2018 iPhones, cheaper MacBook Air, AirPower, a new-generation of AirPods with "Hey Siri" functionality, a modular Mac Pro, as well as a $200 priced HomePod.

It seems that Apple is expected to launch a handful of new hardware this year, including an iPad Pro to debut at WWDC that featured with Face ID, upcoming 2018 iPhone models, MacBook Air, and HomePod, as reported by Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang along with Taiwan's Economic Daily News.

Image Credit B&H
First of all, the Chinese report says that there will be a speaker made by Apple forecasted to launch in the second half of 2018 for between $150 and $200 in the United States. As of now, the company's first speaker called HomePod, retail for the price of $349, although is more expensive than the Amazon Echo and Google Home for $99 and $129, but it ships the better sound quality.

Another prediction made by the Taiwan media, is that Apple will launch a more affordable MacBook Air in the second quarter of 2018 for $799 - $899, and the price range came from WitsView researcher Yubin Qiu. The current MacBook Air starts at $999.

Image Credit Cult of Mac
Speaking to the iPads, both reports claimed the Cupertino company likely to debut at least one iPad model in second quarter of this year. With EDN saying that Apple is considering to release a cheaper 9.7-inch iPad for $259 in the second quarter of 2018. Meanwhile, Zhang believes revamped iPad Pro to have slimmer bezels and no home button, similar to iPhone X, but to keep 10.5 and 12.9-inch sizes.

Today's report also confirmed a prediction from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, which he expects Apple to launch a mid-range ($700-$800) 6.1-inch iPhone, as it will be continue to use 3GB of RAM but featured with a 3D sensing for Face ID and Animoji, and lacking 3D Touch. 

Apple is rumored to unveil new devices later this month, like the AirPower, a new AirPods charging case, or even a second-generation of iPhone SE. We think the date is clocked on March 21st, a days Spring season kicks off. What products are you expecting to see in this year?

Many of reviewers says that HomePod sounds incredible, it even better than the $999 KEF X300A Digital Hi-Fi Speakers. However, Consumer Reports has conducted some early audio testing of the HomePod, while the full evaluation isn't yet finished, they beileved that the $400 Google Home Max and the $200 Sonos One sound better than Apple's new $349 smart speaker.

In the test, HomePod received a "Very Good" sound quality rating, while Sonos One and the Google Home Max were both received higher overall sound quality scores. During the time, Consumer Reports' testers found a few issues from the smart speaker, and it's conducted in a dedicated listening room


Consumer Reports pointed out the major issue they found is the the bass was "boomy and overemphasized," the midrange tones were "somewhat hazy," and the treble sounds were "underemphasized." Overall, it is reported the HomePod's sound to be "a bit muddy" when played next to the Sonos One and the Google Home Max.

Outside of the smart speaker market, it reads that all three of these smart speakers “fall significantly short” of its highest-rated wireless speakers, like the Edifier S1000DB, priced at $350, received an “Excellent” rating in testing.
The HomePod will serve many music fans well, but CR testers did hear some flaws. The HomePod's bass was a bit boomy and overemphasized. And the midrange tones were somewhat hazy, meaning that some of the nuance in vocals, guitars, and horns was lost: These elements of the music couldn't be heard as distinctly as in more highly rated speakers. Treble sounds, like cymbals, were underemphasized. But the HomePod played reasonably loudly in a midsized room.
Keep in mind that HomePod has been highly praised both by the HomePod owners and by majority media sites that tested the device ahead of its release. Plus these sort of audio rankings is that sound, this can be subjective change to people. What's your thoughts on this? Do you agree with them?

Via MacRumors And 9to5Mac, Image Credit 

Apple has updated its HomePod tech specs page with a new Audio Sources sectio detailing all of the ways in which the speaker can stream audio, just over one week before it will be hits to the retail stores.

  • Apple Music
  • iTunes Music Purchases
  • iCloud Music Library with an Apple Music or iTunes Match subscription
  • Beats 1 Live Radio
  • Podcasts
  • AirPlay other content to HomePod from iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV, and Mac
Since Apple gave HomePod a sneak peaks at WWDC last june, the speaker has been heavily marketed as an Apple Music player rather than a smart assistant. iMore's Serenity Caldwell put together a useful breakdown to info us how it will work with Apple Music, AirPlay, and iTunes Match.

For HomePod customers who don't want to subscribe Apple Music from $9.99/month, then iTunes Match will be the cheaper choices that offers a way to carry a full music library of iTunes purchased music and audio imported from other sources with iCloud Music Library for $24.99/year, comparing to Apple Music's $120 per year.

HomePod is now available for per-orders, the speaker will official launch on February 9 in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, with White and Space Gray for $349.

Via MacRumors And 9to5Mac, Image HardMonkeyPC

Apple is now officially accepting HomePod orders through its online store and Apple Store app for iOS in the United States, Australia, and United Kingdom, with in-store availability and the first deliveries to customers beginning February 9, the cost will be $349 in the US.

Apple has primarily positioned the HomePod as a speaker that can stream Apple Music, but with built-in Siri, allows users to take advantage of “Hey, Siri” to listening news, sending a message, controlling HomeKit accessories, and more.


Apple explains that HomePod is not just a smart speaker, it also encompasses killer sound quality and seamless integration with iOS. HomePods are featured with a large woofer and seven tweeters for room-filling sound, along with a powerful A8 Chip.

At launch, HomePod won’t support stereo or multi-room playback. However, iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3 do include support for AirPlay 2 with multi-room, so it appears that the feature is not far from launching

HomePod currently supports American, Australian, and British English only. More languages will be supported in future software updates, including French and German this spring. It's available in two colors, white and space gray, $349 in the United States, $499 in Australia, and £319 in the United Kingdom.

Apple has announced that its $349 HomePod speaker will be released on Friday, February 9, with orders beginning this Friday via Apple's online store or the Apple Store app in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom, will be launch for France and Germany at some point "this spring."

Apple has primarily positioned the HomePod as a speaker capable stream Apple Music, and built-in with Siri, Users can ask Siri to send messages, check the weather, listen the latest news headlines, get trivia answers, play podcasts, to control HomeKit-enabled smart home accessories, and complete other tasks without needing to take out their iPhone.


The high-fidelity speaker is equipped an Apple A8 chip, a large woofer and seven tweeters, Apple says the HomePod can deliver a ‘wide, spacious soundstage’. It's smart enough as it can automatically sense the surrounding room and adjust its internal speakers to optimize how it sounds.

You can theoretically buy multiple HomePods to effortlessly setup multi-room music, and if there's more than one HomePod placed in the same room, the speakers will be able to detect each other and deliver stereo sound. However, the functionalities will be available later this year with a software update.

HomePod is compatible with devces that running by iOS 11 or later software versions, once you upated devices to iOS 11.2.5, the smart speaker can be configured via Home app. 

HomePod is priced for $349 in the United States, £319 in the United Kingdom, and $499 in Australia. It will be available in White or Space Gray from an Apple Store or an authorized resellers.

Via MacRumors And 9to5Mac, Image Credit Apple

For those Apple customers who hoping to purchase a HomePod before the end of the year. Apple has released a statement saying it has pushed the HomePod’s release target into early 2018. HomePod was originally unveiled back at WWDC in June as a preview ahead of a promised December release.

In a statement provided to CNBC and several other media outlets, Apple said it needs "a little more time" before the HomePod is ready. The company’s definition of "early" is generally January to April, though they did not provide a specific reason for the delay.


We can't wait for people to experience HomePod, Apple's breakthrough wireless speaker for the home, but we need a little more time before it's ready for our customers. We'll start shipping in the US, UK and Australia in early 2018.

The HomePod was originally planned to release December for $349, starts in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. This makes HomePod is the first Apple product delayed since the AirPods last October, but eventually AirPods launched in December 2016.

Apple unveiled HomePod at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June. The Cupertino firm hope it could serves as a Siri assistant and HomeKit hub. The smart speaker said to equipped with spatial awareness and Apple-engineered audio technology, including a seven‑tweeter array and high-excursion woofer, and is powered by Apple's A8 chip.

Via MacRunors And 9to5Mac, Image Credit Apple

Although Apple’s first generation of smart speaker - HomePod isn’t available to consumers until next month, but according to a new report from Nikkei as they already looking to the future. The report suggests that Apple may be working to include its Face ID technology in HomePod by 2019.

The new rumor was out of Apple's supply chain over the weekend that suggests future iterations of the HomePod could come with 3D-sensing cameras supporting Face ID, like the True-Depth technology on the iPhone X. 


Specifically, Inventec Appliances president David Ho mentioned recently that the company sees a trend towards both facial and image recognition technology being incorporated into smart speakers, without specifying which speakers in particular.

“We see trends that engineers are designing smart speakers that will not only come with voice recognition but also incorporate features such as facial and image recognition,” President David Ho told reporters after the company’s earnings conference.

“Such AI-related features are set to make people’s lives more convenient and to make the product easier to use.”

Inventec Appliances is currently the sole supplier of both Apple's AirPods and HomePod, but also makes Xiaomi smartphones, Fitbit devices, and Sonos speakers, among others. Given the company's ties to Apple, analyst Jeff Pu predicts Ho's comments could suggest a Face ID-enabled HomePod in 2019.

Jeff Pu, an analyst at Yuanta Investment Consulting, said Apple could roll out HomePods with 3D-sensing cameras in 2019.

Apple's HomePod is set to release in December, although Apple has yet to confirm a specific release date for the new device. The upcoming smart speaker was first revealed during WWDC in June, where the company explained it would be a music-focused speaker with high quality sound, deep Siri integration, and spatial recognition for providing the best sound in any space. 

Via MacRumors And 9to5Mac, Image Credit CNET

Apple today seeded the first beta of an upcoming watchOS 4.2 update to developers, while watchOS 4.1 is still in testing. Once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Apple Developer Center, the new watchOS 4.1 beta can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General -> Software update.

It's not clear what new features watchOS 4.2 will introduce, but it could bring support for Apple Pay Cash, Apple's new peer-to-peer payments feature. Aside from releasing watchOS 4.2, Apple also seed the first tvOS 11.2 beta, the beta is available through the Software Update mechanism on an Apple TV with an appropriate configuration profile installed.


As for new changes in the beta, according to release notes accompanying the download, the tvOS 11.2 now restores the Unwatched category in the Home Sharing feature for Movies, TV Shows and Home Video. It also enables automatic frame rate and dynamic range switching on Apple TV 4K (Via iDB).

Apple today also released new firmware for the HomePod ahead of its December launch. The firmware isn't available through the Developer portal, but it will downloadable by testers who have a HomePod and it is listed on third-party iOS software sites, which making it available for download by the public. HomePod devices to becomes available for purchase later this year.

 

Lastly, according to Apple Developer Center, iOS 11.2 that was released this morning, introduces SiriKit support for the HomePod. Third-party apps that use SiriKit Messaging, Lists, and Notes are compatible with the HomePod. Siri will recognize voice requests given to the HomePod, with those requests carried out on a linked iOS device.

Via MacRumors, Image Credit OS X Daily And MR
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