The smart home: a house that is embraced by music

As a young man living alone, music is my best friend and never bored guest. Most of the time, music is reduced to a tool — killing time during a commute, noise isolation in public places, and self-healing when sad, but in the home, it should be able to be concrete, three-dimensional and ubiquitous.

Since I live alone and work from home, music is one of the ways I prefer to make my home “lively” than having friends, so I also put a lot of effort into the selection of speakers, hoping that the house can be filled with music everywhere.

I’m going to write from the perspective of the entire Apple ecosystem. If you are an Android user, please decide whether to continue reading.

We often see descriptions of AirPlay like “AirPlay 2.0 support” and “AirPlay via iPhone or MacBook” in product introductions for various brands of speakers.

AirPlay is Apple’s own wi-Fi-based delivery technology that wirelessly streams music, video, or images from an Apple device to a supported third-party audio or image player.

AirPlay 2 is a new generation of AirPlay version. Compared with the previous generation, the most important upgrade of AirPlay 2 is to support device group playing function. For ordinary users, the most intuitive understanding is that multiple cross-brand and cross-region speakers play the same song synchronically under the same Wi-Fi. In other words, if a device doesn’t emphasize AirPlay 2, it’s possible that it can only play music one-on-one, but most of the products currently on the market that support AirPlay don’t have to worry about that.

How do you start the whole house

Take the iOS device as an example, when we use the AirPlay function, there are usually two operations. One is the global AirPlay function of the device. When playing music (or before playing it), pull down the menu and click the AirPlay button in the left red circle below to select AirPlay devices supported by current wi-fi from the outgoing interface. At the same time, you can also start multiple devices to play together through the check box on the right of the name.

One small problem with global playback is that even if you quit a streaming App you’re currently playing, such as Spotify and switch to YouTube, the App will play directly from your speaker by default. And we all know that we don’t use Wi-Fi speakers to play videos most of the time because of the delay. So I prefer to launch AirPlay from the App that’s currently playing, but there’s a slight problem with that: different apps have different launch portals.

Worthwhile choices and combinations

Now let’s talk about speaker selection from the product I’m using.

HomePod is an essential partner for Apple’s bucket owners

If you’re an Apple device owner, HomePod is a must. I have three HomePods in my house, and two of them are HomePod minis. HomePod has been on the market for nearly four years and is now discontinued, but it’s still nearly doubling in popularity on third-party channels. As the first speaker launched by Apple, the appearance design continues its consistent concise style, and the internal structure is also “open and hang” as always. It adopts the same A8 processor as the iPhone 6 at that time, and six microphone arrays, which can not only quickly link Siri to respond to various commands, It also has computational audio for spatial awareness (automatically adjusting the sound field by recognizing where it is placed, such as corners and shelves, to ensure that users always get the loudest and clearest Music experience) and high and low bass controls, which have been significantly improved with the recent iOS 15 update, which also supports lossless playback of Apple Music.

The HomePod Mini is more “functional” than HomePod’s “professional.” Although it lacks the size and processing power of HomePod, it is smaller and cheaper. The built-in U1 chip enables better linkage and information transmission of other devices in the near-field sensing environment. Therefore, it is suggested to combine multiple HomePod Minis in the official publicity. Whether it is to connect Apple TV to realize home Dolby or provide a more immersive Music experience in Apple Music, it belongs to a “team power” product.

HomePod is more than just a speaker. It’s also the “remote control” for every smart home appliance in your home through Siri.