From what my friends with HomePods tell me, the HomePod is amazingly good at hearing people — even with lots of background noise. Interestingly, Apple's problem may cease being "can the HomePod hear the user?" and become "How loudly do we have the HomePod respond so that the human can hear the response while a vaccum cleaner is running?".
This is a novel problem because people generally can't have conversations with vaccums running, for example.
Google Home has the same issue in my experience. It's quite annoying.
Disclaimer: Yes I'm in that BU
It's a mode where the Apple TV display instructions on how to connect with airplay and a pin code for authentication. It's really a handy feature in combination with Direct Wi-Fi, since it allows anyone in a conference room with a Mac or iDevice to present things.
We use it in meetings (though I prefer hooking up to by cable, since Airplay doesn't do 4k yet for 'screen sharing').
Apple TV works with Wi-Fi Direct (P2P airplay)
Edit: ah Chromecast guest mode works differently. But we are an Apple shop anyway.
Both the Echo and HomePod have multi-microphone arrays vs the two on the Home, and this really shows in far-field settings (especially with loud music)
I wish they wouldn't make this assumption. Siri would be much more useful sitting on my kitchen counter or coffee table. I now use the Echo for timers, music, weather, movie times, random questions, ...
But at the end of the day, Apple won't optimize too much for this use case, since they want you to buy a HomePod, Apple Watch, or AirPods.
Also, there's power consumption to think about. The HomePod is plugged 24/7, whereas you want your iPhone battery to last a long time.
Just thought it was interesting as something they had to accommodate -- multiple devices all phoning home to determine if there's a race, and if so who should field the request.
If multiple HomePods hear it, I'm not sure, possibly using volume to determine distance?
"Hey Siri! Where are you?"
I am ignoring the other two mics on iPhone, which are not relevant: one on the back for video recording, and one in the earpiece for noise cancellation
My point is that I wish Apple didn't assume I would be holding my iPhone in my hand. I have Xs, for example. It doesn't need to operate from a different room but unless I'm holding my phone, I just don't bother.
Adding an additional microphone, etc would make Siri more useful while it's nearby.
I'm really looking forward to yelling into my kitchen to start my Apple Music on my Echo in a few weeks.
You want Apple to put more mics into the iPhone, so that it can better address a use-case that Apple is already addressing with a well-engineered product built expressly for that purpose?
When a timer stops, for example, I want to be able to say "hey Siri stop timer."
It’s perfectly acceptable if Apple doesn’t see this as a use case. I’ll simply take my business somewhere else to solve that problem. I'm simply throwing it out as a nice to have.
Is this a problem you have? I'm able to reliably use Siri on my phone from up to maybe 2-3 feet away in a moderately noisy environment (casual conversation around a table) with almost no issue, and I can easily use it up to 10+ feet away in a quiet environment. I've had this success since the 7+ at least (when I tested it), but I've continued to see such performance on the X and XS Max.
“Hey Siri, create a 10 second timer”
“Hey Siri, play some Rolling Stones”
Find yourself picking up the phone to stop these two actions?
Did you try each then try to stop them with Siri?
I tried it several times. It worked 4 out of 5 times on the phone. You know what it doesn't do?
It doesn't stop the timer on my Apple Watch, which keeps buzzing even after my phone stops. The Watch stops if I press the button,
I couldn't get the Music to work.
So, can we be done? I have a couple of Amazon Echos. They just work as a hands-free voice activated device.
I understand that you would like "Hey Siri" to be better. What is not clear to me is how you think Echo Dots are a "competitor" to your phone. Echo Dots are purpose-built Home Assistant hardware. Just like the HomePod. No phone is going to perform nearly as well as a purpose-built home assistant -- it's a hardware limitation. No matter how many mics you put in any phone, the far-field performance is not going to be great. It's like you want your sedan to be just as good at carry heavy loads as your pickup truck. That's ridiculous. And as far as Home Assistants go, the HomePod's mic/noise setup is hands down the best.
So if you find yourself constantly asking questions of your phone while its sat down in your living room or kitchen or bedroom or wherever it is you're setting timers and playing music (I'm going to bet it's the kitchen), buy a HomePod for your kitchen. That is the solution to your problem.
Or you could get Google Home products. They are also better than the Echo line. Sounds to me like you're just disappointed you bought the worst Home Assistant products on the market.
That's called "a HomePod".
I now use the Echo for timers, music, weather, movie times, random questions, ...
"Because the iPhone does not fill the role of 'smart speaker', instead of buying Apple's smart speaker I will purchase someone else's smart speaker."
To each their own, but to me it's like complaining how the Apple Watch makes for a shitty wireless speaker.
The HomePod is incredible for voice recognition of basic commands and that makes a lot of sense based on the work they describe in this blog post. HomeKit has also really shaped up and at this point I use the HomePod as a home hub. In the small apartment I live in I’m able to shout commands from another room for things like switching the lights.
That said, HomePod lacks integration with any services or devices outside of apples echo system (ignoring HomeKit). You pretty much have to use airplay for almost everything unless you want to use that god forsaken Apple Music; which is fine, airplay is the fantastic, and there are even some good open source implementations too but it just means the voice assistant aspect of HomePod is severely diminished. So I end up using the echo for almost everything because I can hook one up to a pair of speakers and boom I’ve turned them into Bluetooth speakers, or I can use the echo to control Spotify on my Sonos multi room audio setup (and no, airplay on the HomePod is still not as good for this use case imho).
The google home is a clever search engine in a speaker but for some real world queries it’ll do stupid things like read Wikipedia instead of telling you the thing you want. So at this point I only use the google home mini as a cheap bathroom speaker because it’s a better than the old gen echo dot (until my new echo dot 3 arrives). The google home overall is the least compelling of all of these.
Oh yeah, did I mention HomePod makes a fantastic speaker for an Apple TV (or iPhone/MacBook) connected to a tv for watching video? The low audio network latency of airplay makes it a great stand in soundbar replacement.
My point isn't to be nitpicky. I just think that the truth is that this article falls somewhere an accessible digest article (e.g., Ars Technica) and an actual paper (e.g., a publication in NeurIPS or EMNLP).
Has anyone ever tried putting a HomePod at the focus of a large parabolic (audio) reflector, and pointing it at their neighbours windows or people across the park?
Reading this page made me wonder just how good the NSA's version of that toy is these days assuming they've got multi-microphone and signal processing gear at least as good as (and probably an order or two of magnitude better than) what Apple will sell you for a few hundred bucks...
Hi gain 2.4/5GHz antennas aren't "necessary" for wardriving, but they make new things possible if you do use them...
Why my wife's iPhone responds every time she says, "Are you serious?" makes less sense. Especially since the response from Siri doesn't show her inquiry string on the screen, just Siri's response, which is usually, "I'm always serious."
My partner is Korean and I am Australian for example. Two very different approaches to speaking English.
You would hope that the HomePod would be usable by both of us.
I've started noticing more false positives since iOS 12 launched, and there's a couple requests that now don't give me the expected response. The most annoying issue happens to be requesting Siri to set an alarm. I'll ask: "Hey Siri, turn on my 6:15am alarm." to which she'll respond, "Which alarm do you want to turn on..." and then list all the different alarms I've set on the HomePod.
This all changed with iOS 12, and I wonder if I should reach out to Apple or just live with it and hope it improves with a software update??
You didn't ask her to set an alarm for 6:15am. You asked her to turn on an existing 6:15am alarm.
Which since I am assuming it didn't exist Siri asked what others you did want to turn on.
The last stop before true integration where I just have to think my request...