Revealed: How Apple’s HomePod Testing Lab Looks Like

Recently announced, Apple’s HomePod bypassed almost all the competitors on the first day of the pre-orders start. The corresponding data was shared by the experts from the NPD Group.

According to the data published, HomePod emerged more popular than its main competitor – Google Home Max. The wireless speaker Sonos One was also left behind in the list of the most wanted smart speakers. At the same time, the pre-orders for a smart Amazon Echo Dot were still higher. Analysts do not disclose specific data on the device sales.

The creation of branded audio equipment like HomePod and AirPods forced Apple not to use the ready-made components, but to design them from square one, The Loop’s columnist Jim Dalrymple claims. To do this, the company built a high-tech professional laboratory, where tests of the final products are conducted. The lab itself resembles a recording studio and boasts of the high-end equipment.

“In fact, we test almost all of our products in this lab,” admitted Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president on international marketing in an interview with Dalrymple, “the speakers for the iPhone, iPad and Mac, as well as microphone for AirPods and Apple TV, all these devices have been here at least once, and some of them – even several times.”

Apple’s stance on the issue of presale testing is extremely responsible. In Cupertino, they pay great attention to the most insignificant, at first glance, features. For example, HomePod development had been held for six years. This project has become one of the most challenging games for Apple, says Keith Bergeron, the vice president of hardware development.

Started as a hardball for the engineers, the HomePod project began with a simple question: what could be the speaker, if Apple devoted its intelligence to the development, says Bergeron. At first, there has been a very small team working on its creation. With the importance of the product having increased and expanded to an incredible scale, the developing team saw a bunch of new faces in the team.

“We believe that we have gathered the largest team of people working on the audio system,” said Gary Geeves, Apple‘s senior director of audio technology, “We attracted employees of the most premium audio brands and researchers in the field of sound from the most prestigious educational institutions. We went for it because we wanted to create something superior to all Apple products in terms of sound quality.”

HomePod stimulated Apple to build up one of the largest anechoic cells in the US, which became an ideal environment for testing the sound of HomePod. The speaker’s most outstanding “space filling” and “play now” features were tested in this very lab – the speaker is able to independently configure its sound, depending on the location and obstacles in the room where it is located.

The second echo-free cell was used to test algorithms for voice recognition when playing music. During the HomePod development period, several thousand listening sessions were conducted, resulting in Apple’s solution to set up the microphone in such a way that it could hear the user even through the thick bass of the speaker. The third cell was designed to test HomePod for the emission of any noise. The same premises are used by Apple to check the volume of the fans built into the Mac computers.

  AUTHOR
Rekord Newspaper

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