delivers superb sound quality, gives you access to Siri without using your iPhone, and lets you control your smart home devices through HomeKit. The $349 (£319, AU$499) smart speaker has a 4-inch high-excursion woofer, seven horn-loaded tweeters, and a six-microphone array (there's a seventh microphone). It offers both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. To find out how Apple packed all this tech into a cylindrical speaker that resembles a 2013 Mac Pro (the trash can Mac) wrapped in cloth mesh, we cracked open the HomePod.
HomePod teardown: Tedious and time consuming
Apple designed the HomePod to be disassembled and repaired... but only to a certain point. I was able to remove the LED control panel, a pair of circuit boards, the outer acoustic mesh cover, and the silicone base pad ().
Unfortunately the speakers, microphones, audio amplifiers and power supply circuits are contained within a sealed plastic housing. There was no way for me to access these components. My goal is always to put the devices we crack open back together in working order, so I stopped our teardown and turned my attention to identifying the components attached to the two circuit boards.
It's no wonder repairing the HomePod costs $279, which is 80% of the speaker's initial $349 price tag. If you blow a speaker or the mics quit working, you basically need a whole new HomePod.
The components: Tech from iPhones past and present
Even without sawing open the HomePod's acoustic chamber, we were able to identity the following chips:
- Apple A8 APL1011 SoC (This is the same processor used in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. There's probably 1 GB of RAM hiding under the A8 chip in what's called a package-on-package configuration.)
- SK hynix H2JTDG8UD1CMR 16 GB NAND flash
- USI 339S00452 WiFi/Bluetooth module (According to TechInsights, this module contains the same Broadcom BCM43572 used in the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X.)
- Apple/Dialog 338S00100-AZ power management IC
- Texas Instruments TLC5971 RGB LED Drivers (According to reports from TechInsights and iFixit, which removed the metal shields the LED control board.)
- Cypress CY8C4245LQI-483 Programmable System-on-Chip (PSoC) (According to reports from TechInsights and iFixit, which removed the metal shields the LED control board.)