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 non-removable 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.
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