Finally! Earlier today, after a long wait, we learned about the launch details of the HomePod, Apple’s first smart speaker. Now, as expected, yet another series of details about the device is popping up around. We, of course, are going to take a look at all of them.
As reported by 9to5Mac, Apple released a basic HomePod usage guide and, with it, details how you can control the speaker with gestures on the touch sensitive surface at the top of the device. Without surprising anyone, the gestures are very similar to those that already exist in EarPods: when a song is playing, it is possible to pause or resume playback with one touch; two touches skip the track, while three return to the previous one.
In addition to the command “What’s up, Siri” (“Hey, Siri”), users can touch and hold the surface to activate the digital assistant. During playback, the upper screen will also display “+” and “-“ buttons, which the user can touch or hold to increase or decrease the volume.
Apple also offered more details about using HomePod as speakerphone. In the press release about the device, unraveled by our friend Guilherme Rambo, the company states that, together with an iPhone, the speaker can be used in calls with “vivid and clear audio quality”, but cannot make or receive calls by yourself – you need to make or answer the call on the iPhone and forward it to the HomePod next.
Fortunately, the use of the device by multiple users it seems to be quite simple (which was expected, considering HomePod’s domestic character). Anyone in the house who is on an iPhone call will be able to forward it to the speaker without major complications once it is set up; the same rule applies to Siri and when residents are listening to music on Apple Music (by the account registered on the device, that is).
Talking about Apple Music, it is worth noting that the native reproduction of HomePod does not only include the streaming of the Apple. Users will also be able to play music purchased on the iTunes Storeas well as playing the radio Beats 1 or podcasts directly through the speaker, without having to resort to AirPlay (which will be necessary, for example, for other music platforms like Spotify).
A very important point for Brazilian users – and for all other countries that will not receive HomePod at its initial launch (that is, the whole world except the USA, United Kingdom and Australia) – is the possibility that the speaker will work in other territories , other than those where it has already been officially launched. As expected, yes, the device can work anywhere – as long as it is in English, or in languages that are gradually being added (the next ones will be French and German, considering that HomePod will be launched in France and Germany in the spring of the northern hemisphere).
Finally, an important issue to be addressed: AppleCare +. The HomePod extended warranty plan will cost $ 39, as will the 9to5Mac found in a document distributed to Apple stores. The value extends the device’s warranty for two years and covers up to two incidental damage incidents that compromise its function (aesthetic damage does not come into play) – for each of these repairs, you will need to pay an additional $ 39.
An interesting bonus is that the warranty also covers AirPort products (you thought they were dead, right?) And, as usual, it brings the old phone support that helps the user to configure the products.
Update, for Eduardo Marques Jan 24, 2018 at 21:53
As well as Apple TVs (fourth generation and 4K) and iPhones 7/7 Plus, 8/8 Plus and X, HomePod will also support audio file playback FLAC.
FLAC, for those who don’t know, is an acronym for Free Lossless Audio Codec, or Lossless Free Audio Codec. In practice, we are talking about an audio compression codec without loss of information – unlike MP3 and AAC formats, which remove some information from the audio stream in order to make the file lighter.
In the case of a high-quality speaker, the ability to play files in this format was more than expected.