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Apple Allows Behind-the-Scenes Look Into Audio Lab Used to Test HomePod, AirPods, and More

At the same time that reviews launched this morning for Apple's upcoming HomePod smart speaker, a few websites also shared a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the audio lab where Apple tested the device. Apple invited journalists into the lab last week, and Jim Dalrymple of The Loop shared his experience in a post today.

Images via The Loop

Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, noted that the lab where HomePod was tested wasn't only for HomePod, as Apple also focuses on speakers found in iPhone, iPad, Mac, and AirPods, as well as the audio performance of Siri and Apple TV. For HomePod, Apple vice president of hardware engineering, Kate Bergeron, said the project began six years ago with a "small, focused team."
“HomePod started by us asking a question: What would it mean if we decided to design a loud speaker where we could put it in any room, and that room wouldn’t affect the sound quality,” said Bergeron.
Once testing began, Apple used multiple chambers to study HomePod. The first became one of the largest anechoic chambers in the United States (first image), allowing Apple engineers access to a non-reflective and echo free room to put the speaker's sound through its paces.


Another room was made to focus on voice detection and Siri recognition, while the third was a "Noise and Vibration" chamber (second image) built to detect and help prevent electronic noises and buzzing from escaping HomePod when it's plugged in but not playing music.
The chamber itself sits on 28 tons of concrete. The panels are one foot thick which is another 27 tons of material, and there are 80 isolating mounts between the actual chamber and the concrete slab it sits on.

The chamber is designed to be -2 dBA, which is lower than the threshold of human hearing. This basically provides complete silence.
Because the audio lab was built to test many products in addition to HomePod, Apple's senior director of audio design and engineering, Gary Geaves, hinted that progress made on the speaker in the lab has led to advances in other, unnamed Apple devices. "There’s been certain catalysts in the development of HomePod that are feeding other products," said Geaves. "That's one of our advantages—we work on a bunch of different areas of audio."

HomePod pre-orders began on January 26, and remain available for launch day delivery of February 9 in the United States, although Apple Store pickup has now become unavailable in all three launch countries. For the U.K. and Australia, delivery estimates have also slipped today, with the current shipping date marked as February 12.

To read more about Apple's HomePod audio lab, be sure to check out The Loop's full article.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Buy Now)


Top Rated Comments

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16 weeks ago

Being in these chambers for even a few minutes begins to cause issues for most people. You can hear your heart beat and blood pumping through your body. Eventually you can go crazy.


Live in a house with 5 teenagers... You'll beg for a chamber like this. ;)
Rating: 23 Votes
16 weeks ago

I like the idea of the new HomePod, but

"HomePod started by us asking a question: What would it mean if we decided to design a loud speaker where we could put it in any room, and that room wouldn't affect the sound quality," said Bergeron."

rather contrasts with the picture of the testing room, the walls of which are covered in acoustic tiles....


That’s exactly the room you need to do that job. You don’t drive cars in wind tunnels, but you need one to optimize their design in the engineering phase.
Rating: 10 Votes
16 weeks ago
Being in these chambers for even a few minutes begins to cause issues for most people. You can hear your heart beat and blood pumping through your body. Eventually you can go crazy.
Rating: 9 Votes
16 weeks ago

How does the beats apartment work together with the apple audio apartment?

Are they two different sections? Did the engeneers move to apple? Would love to know how they work together, in everyday and new products

Beats has no engineers, just marketing :D
Rating: 6 Votes
16 weeks ago
I like the idea of the new HomePod, but

"HomePod started by us asking a question: What would it mean if we decided to design a loud speaker where we could put it in any room, and that room wouldn't affect the sound quality," said Bergeron."

rather contrasts with the picture of the testing room, the walls of which are covered in acoustic tiles....
Rating: 5 Votes
16 weeks ago
How does the beats apartment work together with the apple audio apartment?

Are they two different sections? Did the engeneers move to apple? Would love to know how they work together, in everyday and new products
Rating: 4 Votes
16 weeks ago
I want this room, and the gear. I'd even keep the HomePod ffs.
Rating: 4 Votes
16 weeks ago

this is neat, im just not looking to spend $300 on a tiny speaker. especially one which is controlled by Siri, which is complete trash compared to google assistant and alexa.

Ill stick to my JBL charge 3 that i got for $85. best value bluetooth speaker



The Internet Myth about Siri is just plain silly. They all have their strengths, but Siri is by far the most used personal assistant in the world--over half a billion people use Siri regularly every month. She knows more languages, again more by far, than the others. Independent testing shows Siri excels over Alexa and Google in many areas. Siri is also the only one that protects your privacy. If you choose to go with Google or Amazon, everything they hear is collected in the cloud on their servers for their use, as well as available to law enforcement, intel agencies, hackers, etc.

Google goes even farther and links everything you say to your universal identifier number. Amazing that people don't care that Google is trying to build a dossier on every person that links the contents of every Gmail sent or received, every photo taken or received, everywhere you drive, every document you upload, every website you visit, every post you make, everything you watch, everything you buy, etc. At some point, when people realize how those dossiers are being used and misused, they will have tremendous regret.
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They do all of this, yet Siri is still dumb as ever.



If that's true, why do more people in the world use Siri (over a 500 million use it regularly each month), by far than any other assistant?
Rating: 3 Votes
16 weeks ago

All of his videos are bias to get more views. Try again.

What do you mean bias? Wouldn't he get a lot more views if he went crazy and begged to be released from the room? You don't have to shoot down every counter argument when there's a much simpler explanation...some people are affected by pure silence much more than others.
Rating: 3 Votes
16 weeks ago

Apple employee homes.
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Nope. I use and rely on Siri everyday.



It's the same again and again, siri is crap, maps sucks, it used to be but they both have improved to be very useable.
Siri understands me perfectly and I am not native English.
Maps provided me with the right directions (3 times) last holiday while Google took me to the middle of nowhere.
Rating: 3 Votes

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