After yesterday’s look at the insides of a HomePod that iFixit ripped apart, today brings a tale from The Loop that includes a peek at all the parts preassembly — and the lab where they were all crafted. Kate Bergeron, Apple’s Vice President for Hardware Engineering, gave the publication a look at the company’s audio lab, where the HomePod and all other sound-related projects from Apple have come to life. Bergeron said the HomePod team started with the simple problem of achieving the same high level of audio quality in any shape of room, and over six years expanded from the audio team to include everything from thermals and computing to power and wireless, not to mention the experts required to craft all the different sensors that let the HomePod answer that first question. Gary Geaves, Apple’s Senior Director for Audio Design and Engineering, said the company has “built up the biggest acoustics and audio team on the planet,” drawing talent from “elite audio brands and universities to build a team that’s fantastic.”
The team’s gear is also second to none, including one of the largest anechoic chambers in the United States to lock out all of the vibrations from outside while testing. Inside the room — built inside another room on isolating springs — the HomePod was monitored for how it sounded in all directions, which Greaves called “a critical component of why HomePod works like it does and enables the system to adapt to the environments the system is placed in.” Then Apple went into hundreds of employees’ own rooms to take measurements for how they conducted and absorbed sound. In another chamber, engineers figured out how to let Siri hear requests amid all the audio chaos coming from other sources and the HomePod itself in a party situation. Lastly, the company made sure that the device doesn’t make any noise when not in use, avoiding the hum common to speakers that are left on. Look for our full review in the coming days to see how all the efforts paid off for users in the real world.