New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

HomePod Hands-On: Unboxing and Overview

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.

Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos.

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 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.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)


Top Rated Comments

(View all)

11 months ago

The bigger annoyance to me is that you have to say “Hey, Siri” then wait for it to wake up, THEN issue a command. With my echo, I can just say “Alexa, play music” with no pause. Far better solution.


no you don't.
Rating: 59 Votes
11 months ago
I’m totally loving mine, first product in an age from Apple I can categorically say I love love love. This is Apple of old. Pure engineering genius mixed with an ability to make something extremely simple, easy to use and while still looking and feeling amazing.
Rating: 29 Votes
11 months ago

The bigger annoyance to me is that you have to say “Hey, Siri” then wait for it to wake up, THEN issue a command. With my echo, I can just say “Alexa, play music” with no pause. Far better solution.


This is not true, and I also believe it's the reason "Sound When Using Siri" is Off by default - they're trying to break people of this behavior. You do not need to wait. Say whatever you need to and it'll pick it up.
Rating: 28 Votes
11 months ago
I have a collection of completely ridiculous (and frankly inexcusable) things Siri has done. Sure, HomePod sounds great, and sure, software updates will come, but Apple has had years to make Siri even the slightest bit dependable and now has released a $350 speaker that runs only via Siri.
https://twitter.com/singersteve/status/956157955736522752
https://twitter.com/singersteve/status/958921256606281728
Rating: 21 Votes
11 months ago

The bigger annoyance to me is that you have to say “Hey, Siri” then wait for it to wake up, THEN issue a command. With my echo, I can just say “Alexa, play music” with no pause. Far better solution.


Have not experienced that with mine.

I don't even need the "," pause after Hey Siri. For example, just: Hey Siri play sneaker pimps.
Rating: 18 Votes
11 months ago

The bigger annoyance to me is that you have to say “Hey, Siri” then wait for it to wake up, THEN issue a command. With my echo, I can just say “Alexa, play music” with no pause. Far better solution.

That's false. With any iOS device or Homepod you can do not have to pause at all after saying Hey Siri, just like with Alexa. On non Homepod devices there is typically a ding, so people sometimes erroneously assume they have to wait but you do not. Simply try it right now on your HomePod or iOS device of which I assume you have otherwise you wouldn't be providing the information.
[doublepost=1518218117][/doublepost]

i just wanna know just because you can shout across room and siri to respond, why would you even want to do that?

It can happen, but why would you do it anyway away?

One the good features of HomePod is that you don't have to shout. I have an Echo and Homepod. With Echo, if music is playing you have to shout for it to hear the commands, which ironically are typically lower the volume. If the music is very loud Echo has almost no chance of hearing you. With HomePod was able to play max volume, and talk at a normal voice and it heard. Even tried speaking very quietly and heard. That being said was able to get it to not hear on a few occasions, but 100% better than Echo in this department, though this speaker is more expensive, so imagine Amazon will improve on this. That all being said, Siri has shown her dumbness time and time again compared to Alexa since getting the HomePod today.
Rating: 17 Votes
11 months ago
Picked up 2 in SG and can't wait for stereo upgrade. Set up was easy and flawless. Siri is for me, exceptional.
Rating: 17 Votes
11 months ago

Btw the power cable is removable; it just takes a little force.


To other's reading this, the commenter is presumably making a joke. Aka, it's removeable in the sense that you can remove a tail from a cat but have fun reattaching it.
Rating: 17 Votes
11 months ago
Btw the power cable is removable; it just takes a little force.
Rating: 17 Votes
11 months ago

NOT for an audiophile.


Not for "some" audiophiles, especially those who don't have an open mind and can't accept that a cheap speaker – and this is super cheap in many audiophile circles – can sound decent.

This audiophile has no problem praising the sound of the HomePod. Something this small sitting alone in the kitchen has no right to sound as good as it does. My audiophile system is enjoyed in its room where it lives and the HP will never come close to what that system can do, but the HP will get lots of playing time when I'm cooking or whatever.
Rating: 16 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]