Now that the HomePod is nearly here, Apple is dribbling out details of what its first smart speaker will do... including, apparently, that it's a power miser. The company has posted environmental data showing that the HomePod uses no more than 9.25W of power when playing music at 50 percent volume. As MacRumors noted, that's less than the consumption of a typical LED light bulb (such as the 10W of a Philips Hue A19). You're going to use more power if you crank it up, of course, but you probably won't cringe at your electricity bill if you stream music all day.
Having a compact portable speaker is great and all, but having a compact portable speaker that can adjust its own sound depending on where you take it is even better. Apple's Homepod is the first speaker that tunes itself. Using spatial awareness, it recognizes the dimensions of its location and adjusts the sound based on what's needed. Because of this, vocals and instruments are directed towards the middle of the room while ambient sound is projected and bounced off the sides. Your whole room will be full of rich sound.
If you're getting a HomePod, be sure to place it somewhere safe... depending on what you break, it might be expensive to get a fix. Apple has updated its support pages to reveal that an out-of-warranty HomePod repair will cost $279 (£269). Throw in the shipping fee ($20 US, or £13) for a mail-in repair and you're not far off from the price of a brand new smart speaker. This is one of those times where the AppleCare extended warranty ($78 if you include the incident fee, or £68) may be the better value, at least if you're in a household where an accident is a real possibility.
Apple's HomePod has only been available in a handful of countries (mostly North America and Europe) so far, but it's expanding availability in grand fashion. The company is releasing its smart speaker in China, including Hong Kong, on January 18th. There aren't any major changes to the device for its Asian debut, but it'll naturally tap into local playlists and support AirPlay for services beyond Apple Music. The system will sell for HK $2,799 ($357) in Hong Kong and RMB 2,799 ($414) in mainland China. Apple faces an uphill battle in China.