Apple debuts HomePod speaker to bring Siri into the living room

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10 June, 2017

HomePod: An audio speaker to compete with Google's Home and Amazon's Echo, Apple's new device is powered by digital assistant Siri and can accomplish numerous things the others can do.

HomePod is created to work with the Apple Music subscription service and can produce rich sound while tapping into the artificial intelligence power of Siri.

Apple has finally revealed its long awaited Siri-connected speaker at this year's WWDC, a direct rival to the likes of the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Siri will be voice activated to respond to requests for information and other help around the house. And then there's a new generation of smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home, but those don't really sound good.

The two speakers also have other functionalities aside from playing music.

"I wouldn't want to talk about roadmaps, but I think when people are starting to spend that amount of money for a speaker - call it hundreds of dollars per speaker - I think that generally they are going to want choice", he said. That includes a "seven beam-forming tweeter array", "precision acoustic horns", and "directional control".

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There's no word yet on support for third-party services, or ways for developers to adapt their services for HomePod. Expect the HomePod to ship this December, presumably just in time for last-minute Christmas buying.

On Monday, Apple kicked off its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) with the announcement that Amazon Prime Video will now be accessible on Apple TV. It has "spatial awareness" to detect where it's located a room and adjust the sound accordingly.

As a home assistant, HomePod sends messages, get updates on news, sports and weather, or control smart home devices by simply asking Siri to turn on the lights, close the shades or activate a scene. Apple said it has also updated the processors in its iMac and MacBook Pro lineup to Intel's most recent "Kaby Lake" processors.

HomePod will be available for $349 (US) in white and space grey starting in December initially in Australia, the United Kingdom and the US. Apple did list Australia as a launch country, which means, given the worldwide dateline, it's likely we'll see HomePod here before anyone else.


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