Looks good. They remind me of those Harman Kardon Aura Studio 2 speakers.
What is the HomePod?
Here’s a quick refresher if you aren’t up to date. The HomePod is Apple’s first smart speaker, and it looks like a 7-inch-tall Mac Pro covered in mesh fabric. It’s highly understated in its design; unless your home is particularly rustic, it’s hard to imagine a place where this rounded, low-key body would attract much attention. And, more important, it’s packed to the gills with high-end audio components: A series of seven tweeters are arranged around the bottom, while a 4-inch woofer pushes out meaty mids and lows from the top. Throw in the brain of an iPhone 6, which helps acoustically analyze the speaker’s surroundings to optimize sound based on what’s around it, and you’ve got a surprisingly powerful little speaker. If you’re already sold on the idea, pre-orders are open now with delivery starting February 9th.
How does it sound?
As mentioned, there’s a ton of components crammed inside the HomePod, and they come together for an audio experience that’s almost shockingly good. Apple ran the HomePod through a handful of test tracks, ranging from Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” to the Hamilton soundtrack, and each of them sounded remarkably warm and crisp. More impressive is how the HomePod seemed to layer and highlight different components of each song; it always seemed to emphasize vocals, but I could easily make out the attack of a pick on guitar strings and the warm, lingering sound of a bass being plucked. For me, musical quality often takes a back seat to convenience, but there’s something special about picking up on fresh nuances in a favorite song or being reminded that they were always there, waiting to be heard. The HomePod is especially good at this.
And since it adjusts the way it blasts out music depending on where it is and what’s around it, I was able to wander around a room and hear a song sound the same no matter where I was standing. With most speakers, there’s a sweet spot where everything sounds just right. The HomePod, however, endeavors to build a sweet zone. There are some exceptions, like when you’re standing near a wall the HomePod has its back to, but the sound in those cases is still well worth listening to. This intelligent approach to audio playback isn’t exactly new, though: Google’s Home Max has a feature called Smart Sound that also adjusts audio playback depending on where it is in the room.