Apple confirms release of HomePod - the 'smartest speaker on offer'

Apple Inc

According to Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, the HomePod will "reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes".

The Apple HomePod has an A8 chip along with a unique woof specially designed by the company.

Well, first off, the device doesn't ship until December, giving the existing players six months heads-up, and it will retail for $349, which is eye-watering when compared to Amazon and Google offerings.

The $349 speaker is created to work with an Apple Music subscription and has Siri built in, allowing the user to pick music and control the device using voice commands.

"We think we can do a lot", Cook said, "to make the experience [of listening to music in your home] much better".

Siri will add inflection to her voice, to say phrases three different ways. It will play music, answer your questions, set reminders, and so on.

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Activated by voice with Apple's natural language user interface Siri, it will have access to Apple Music, a music-streaming service. There are seven tweeters inside, too, and 6 microphones that allow you to talk to the speaker. Google Home and several versions of Amazon's Echo, which utilizes the intelligent personal assistant technology called Alexa, are both substantially cheaper than the HomePod.

Users can interact with the speaker from across the room, even while loud music is playing. Pulling music from the Apple library, the speaker was presented as being able to recognize its placement and direct rich audio sound into the room.

Apple did share a few technical details about the speaker hardware.

"Only time will tell if the new Siri can compete with Google's knowledge graph or Amazon's natural voice processing but the installed base of iOS and Apple's scope for integration is a considerable advantage".

Apple also released a software kit so developers could infuse augmented reality into applications for iPhones or iPads. With the release of the HomePod, that option seems to be off the table, but it remains to be seen whether Apple can make a dent in Sonos' dominant lead. And as Bloomberg's Max Chafkin noted earlier, its not imperative for Apple to be the industry's first mover; The iPhone was developed on the heels of the Blackberry craze, and has gone on to be the preeminent smartphone available. After almost a year of speculation, Apple debuted its own connected home speaker-and Amazon Echo competitor-the HomePod.

Apple is introducing a 10.5-inch iPad Pro in an attempt to revive interest in its once hot-selling line of tablets.

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