Apple HomePod first listen: This is what a $349 speaker sounds like

Apple HomePod first listen: This is what a $349 speaker sounds like

Apple's brand new HomePod sounds good. I know. I heard it.

Or rather should i say I experienced it and, in my limited acoustic opinion, the sound the 7-inch capsule-shaped speaker produces is best described as stirring.

Apple gave what might charitably be called a very brief, canned demo of the brand new speaker/home assistant during its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote on Monday.

From my vantage point in the middle of the cavernous McEnery Convention Hall in San Jose, California, it was impossible to draw any conclusions.

I thought it sounded OK, but mainly recall being thankful it's not called the Siri Speaker.

Later in that day, though, I had a private audience with Apple HomePod. It was like a little listening party, but without the hors d'oeuvres.

There were, in this party, what you might called a pair of unwilling guests: an Amazon Echo and Sonos Play:3.

Each device is capable of producing room-filling sound and is smart in its own way. Amazon is backed by the cloud-based assistant Alexa, and Sonos connects to Wi-Fi and, through the network, to other Sonos speakers, its associated app, and almost any music service you can think of.

HomePod and Echo, obviously, will ultimately be more direct competitors.

Each connects into your smart home and associated devices to manage your lights, appointments, and basic queries via their cloud-connected digital home assistants.

I didn't see that side of HomePod. Instead, I could only focus on the exquisite sound coming from behind the speaker's seamless 3D mesh fabric.

Of course, Apple's HomePod is more than just the sum off its audio parts (a seven tweeter array, an excursion woofer pointed skyward and a six microphone array), it's a technology solution to high-quality audio.

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