Good shows come one after another. Last night, Apple just released the new Mac mini and MacBook Pro, and it will be quietly launched again tonight.
And this new product, I believe many people will shout "Ye Qinghui". It is the long-lost old friend HomePod.
The long-lost HomePod, welcome back
On second-hand or e-commerce platforms, the price of HomePod, which was released by Apple in 2017 and will be discontinued in 2021, has risen instead of falling, which is a strange phenomenon in the digital circle.
There are not many digital products with such a preservation rate. HomePod relies on two points, sound quality and design.
Through AirPlay wireless connection, you can hear wonderful sound in 360° without dead angle. Of course, this beauty is relative. The sound quality of HomePod is not comparable to the tens of thousands of bookshelf speakers, but in its price segment, it is almost hard to find a rival.
On the other hand, its design is also remarkable.
To give a small example, the weaving net covered on the surface seems simple and plain, but the weaving technique and direction are hidden. A set of two lines with a mirror image relationship forms an angle of about 50° at the top, which just avoids the visual phenomenon of moiré and ensures that the sound flow is not hindered.
In addition, the soft solid-color netting and round shape make it easy to place anywhere in the home. At the same time, it looks very homely and warm, which shortens the psychological distance between electronic products and consumers.
It is no surprise that such an exquisite product is still sought after after it is discontinued.
The HomePod, which returned after 5 years, followed the design of the previous generation, changing the black color to midnight. Inheriting the excellent sound quality of the previous generation, the main update lies in the chip and color.
The old HomePod used the same A8 chip in the iPhone 6, while the new HomePod uses the same S7 chip in the Apple Watch Seris 7.
The S7 chip is based on the A13 bionic chip transformation in the iPhone 11 series and is manufactured using TSMC's 7nm process.
Compared with the S5 chip on the HomePod mini, the S7 chip is theoretically 20% faster. You can have a faster and smoother response in operating Siri, adjusting the loudness and dynamic range of the sound, and connecting to the home.
The new HomePod is also equipped with the U1 ultra-wideband chip. Bring an iPhone (iPhone 11 and newer models) that is also equipped with a U1 chip close to it, and personalized listening suggestions and song recommendations will pop up automatically, and the music currently playing on the phone can also be easily streamed to the speaker
In terms of sound quality, the new HomePod uses a custom-developed high-amplitude woofer, a motor-driven diaphragm with an amplitude of up to 20 mm, a built-in bass equalizer microphone, and an array of five beamforming tweeters surrounding the bottom.
Using indoor space sensing technology, HomePod can recognize the sound reflected from nearby surfaces, determine whether it is close to surfaces such as walls, and make real-time adjustments to the audio. Users can also enjoy spatial audio by forming a stereo combination of two HomePods.
In terms of hardware configuration, the new HomePod has two less tweeters and two microphones than the previous generation. What is the actual listening experience and what is the difference from the previous generation? Please pay attention to the hands-on evaluation after Ai Faner.
Finally, the new HomePod starts at 2,299 yuan, which is lower than the previous generation’s 2,799 yuan. There are two colors of midnight and white. Orders are now open and will be officially released on February 3.
Resurrect HomePod, make Apple Music louder
Now open Apple's official website, and you will find that HomePod mini is classified in the "Home" column.
For Apple, it means more as the hub of the smart home. The friendly price of 749 yuan also shoulders the task of taking volume.
▲ The colorful HomePod mini
The old HomePod, which came out in 2017, means more to Apple to expand its own music territory and expand its own music product line. The new HomePod inherits that mission.
In fact, music has always been deeply embedded in Apple's genes. Jobs' love and pursuit of music is well known. He once said this when bombarding Microsoft's Zune player:
The Zune was a flop because the folks at Microsoft don't love music and art the way we do. We won because we love music from the bottom of our hearts. We make iPods for ourselves.
▲ Zune (left) and iPod (right)
However, in addition to love, the reason why Apple attaches great importance to music is also its business prospects.
Let's turn our attention back to the beginning of the millennium. In 2000, 320 million blank CDs were sold in the US, with a population of just 281 million. Young people are keen on burning their favorite songs into CDs through computers. Jobs told Fortune that he was like an idiot who had missed the wave of the music business and had to try to catch up.
So immediately after, Jobs added a CD-burning drive to the iMac and introduced iTunes software.
▲ The icon of iTunes changed until it was replaced by Apple Music
An iconic event then occurred. On October 23, 2001, Jobs reached into the pocket of his jeans at the press conference and took out a dazzling white machine:
This nifty little machine holds 1,000 songs and fits just fine in my pocket.
After applause from the audience, the iPod became a music phenomenon. Stephen Levy wrote in The Perfect Thing:
Just hand your iPod over to a friend, your first date, or that stranger sitting next to you on the plane, and you're opened like a book. All you have to do is scroll through your library with a turntable, and musically speaking, you're completely naked. It's not just your likes that are revealed – it's who you are as a person.
The iPod not only symbolizes the vane of the times, but also represents the core values of the Apple brand: poetry and engineering are closely linked, art, creativity and technology are perfectly combined, and the design style is both eye-catching and simple.
This core value runs through Apple's audio product line, as did AirPods and HomePod later.
▲ A corner of the iPod family
Excellent hardware, combined with excellent software (Apple Music), in today's streaming media era, Apple provides users with a first-class audio experience, while allowing itself to make a lot of money.
Recently, Apple disclosed an open letter from Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of services. Eddy Cue stated in the letter that since the advent of spatial audio, the number of monthly listeners to Apple Music has more than tripled, more than 80% of global subscribers are enjoying this experience, and the monthly playback volume of spatial audio tracks has increased by more than 10 times .
According to JPMorgan Chase's forecast, by 2025, Apple Music's subscriptions will reach 110 million, and the business potential is considerable.
From this point of view, Apple’s motivation for resurrecting HomePod is easier to understand: through hardware to feed back software, Apple Music can sing louder, and the performance of the service business can be more beautiful.
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