Apple HomePod to launch on February 9, features revealed

Apple HomePod is going to launch on February 9 after a couple of months delay and just before the launch we have a set of features that HomePod brings with it.

The Siri-powered speaker will be available in the US, the UK, and Australia starting February 9. Reports indicate that HomePod will not require an Apple Music subscription to stream music from the service and that it can stream purchased iTunes music, podcasts, and Beats 1 tracks.

On the official product listing page for HomePod, Apple mentions that AirPlay 2 support, which lets two compatible speakers play the same audio, and stereo sound, which pairs two compatible speakers to wirelessly create stereo effect, will arrive on the HomePod later this year.

Further, HomePod also supports peer-to-peer AirPlay 1 that allows playback control for most audio apps (such as Spotify, Pandora, YouTube) from iOS devices. The tech specs page on the HomePod listing reveals that the smart speaker comes with Bluetooth 5.0 support. However, we are yet to see its role in functionality.

The official HomePod page reveals that the smart speaker will have several gesture controls placed on the top. You can “play, pause, skip a song, or adjust the volume”.

Single tap is for play/ pause, double tap is for next track, triple tap is for previous track, tapping the Plus button will increase volume, and tapping the Minus button will decrease volume. Siri can be activated by voice commands as well as by touching and holding the top of the speaker.

Apple recently released iOS 11.2.5 that comes with HomePod support and enables Siri news reading capabilities (in UK, US, Australia).