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Apple details the energy use of its always-on HomePod speaker

You shouldn't rack up a huge power bill when you kick out the jams.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
01.26.18 in AV

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.

And importantly, the speaker should consume little power when it's silent. Apple said that the speaker draws a maximum of 1.76W in idle mode, or about 50 percent less than the latest Energy Star specs require. The trick, Apple says, is the combination of "optimized power management features," such as dropping into low-power mode after 8 minutes of inactivity, and a high-efficiency power supply.

How well does this stack up to the competition? That's difficult to say, but there are some ballpark figures to work with. E Source observed that the original Google Home speaker used around 2W while idle and 3W while playing at high volume, while the initial Amazon Echo used 2.8W at idle and 7W at high volume. The idle power draw is slightly better, then, but it's hard to compare power use -- the HomePod is clearly aimed more at premium connected speakers (like the Sonos Play:3 or Google Home Max) than the basic output of the Echo or Home. The one certainty is that Apple isn't using so much more electricity that you'll pay dearly for sweeter tunes... beyond the outlay for the speaker itself, of course.

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