One of the most interesting features of the HomePod is the spatial awareness that will automatically adjust the sound profile of the speaker depending on its location. The Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing said Apple wanted to the speaker to sound great no matter where it’s located in a home:
From the moment you plug in HomePod and start listening to music, it automatically and instantly senses its location in the room to take full advantage of the environment it’s in. The microphone array in HomePod listens to the reflection of the music off neighboring surfaces, senses where the bookshelf is, or if it’s in the corner of a room or against a wall, and then uses machine learning to understand what it’s hearing, interpret the sound, and adjust the audio. Using advanced software and the A8 chip, HomePod intelligently beams center vocals and direct energy away from the wall while reflecting the ambient reverb and back-up vocals against the wall for dispersion into the room. The end result is a wide soundstage with a feeling of spaciousness and depth. This entire process takes just seconds and it doesn’t stop with the initial setup. Every time you move HomePod, it uses the built-in accelerometer to detect a change in its location and continues to make sure the music sounds great and is consistent, wherever it’s placed. We’ve also done some great things to help minimize the audible side effects of compression artifacts by developing studio level dynamic processing to optimize for rich, clean bass even at loud volumes.
Schiller also said that recent improvements to Siri were to help focus on one area for the HomePod:
For HomePod, it’s the amazing sound quality combined with Siri and music intelligence. That’s why we’ve worked hard to improve Siri’s understanding of music to deliver a more personalized experience. This tight integration of Siri and Apple Music allows HomePod to understand your music tastes and preferences, and lets you tune them by simply saying “I like this song” or “play more like this.”
If you’re interested in learning more about the HomePod, the entire interview is definitely worth a read.
HomePod preorders started last week and the speaker will officially hit the market next week on Friday, Feb. 9. It will retail for $349 and buyers can select from a black or white version of the speaker.