It’s a busy time for Apple. Even as the company is undoubtedly gearing up for its iPhone launch on Tuesday, social media reports seem to suggest that Cupertino is also ramping up its HomePod testing.
Bay Area-based Twitter user Benedict Evans posted an iPhone screenshot on Thursday that seems to show a HomePod in the wild. As Evans suggests, a HomePod device labeled as “Kitchen” appeared in his Control Center as he was driving through Menlo Park, California — a city in the Silicon Valley area. Presumably, the HomePod depicted is an early device being home-tested by an Apple employee.
Similarly, a user-posted image surfaced on Instagram that also appears to depict an Apple HomePod in a kitchen. The photo is geotagged in Shanghai, China, and seems to show the device, its packaging and a charger. It’s not clear who the user is, how they are affiliated with Apple, or how they obtained the device. It’s certainly possible that the user is involved in Apple’s supply chain in the country.
While both social media posts are fairly vague on the details and don’t really offer any other information about the standalone smart speaker, they do suggest that Apple is ramping up testing of the device. While we already know quite a few details about the device thanks to the HomePod firmware, it’s also possible that Apple will shed a bit more light about some of its features during next week’s fall announcement event on Sept. 12.
HomePod was unveiled in June at Apple’s WWDC ’17. The company’s first standalone home speaker, HomePod is aimed at a premium market and carries a number of advanced music playback-oriented features — including acoustical “spatial awareness” capabilities, six microphones to interact with Siri, an array of seven tweeters and an upward-facing woofer.
The Apple smart speaker is currently slated for a December launch, although some rumors suggest that its rollout might be snarled by availability issues (although Foxconn has reportedly been tapped to alleviate those problems). HomePod will retail for $349 and will come in Space Grey and White color options. Initially, it will be available in the U.S., Australia and the UK at launch.