Apple debuts HomePod speaker to bring Siri into the living room

Todd Singleton
June 8, 2017

HomePod's voice control features are delivered using six microphones which also in support of Apple Music users can respond with "Hey Siri, I like this song", and other responses.

Apple vice president Phil Schiller said the Siri team at Apple had tuned the assistant into a "musicologist" that learns the tastes of listeners and gets songs from the internet cloud.

So, if audio is so important to the HomePod - and will justify that whopping $349 price tag - how does it really sound? In this event, the company has officially announced a new smart speaker, Apple HomePod, at the end of the yesterday's schedule. Schiller said devices like the Amazon Echo have poor sound quality, and wifi speakers like Sonos don't have interactive voice assistants. And considering the fact that it is hitting the market around Christmas-time, the HomePod is aiming to replace the Echo and Home as the highest-selling speaker around the globe.

HomePod owners also won't haveto tinker with the speaker to fit its position in a room, Apple said.

Sixteen years ago, Apple revolutionized the technology industry when it released the first iPod. Some of the products will be available immediately, others will come later this year. The HomePod is in a league of its own when the device's sound quality is compared to the one offered on Amazon's Alexa-powered smart speaker.

Apple has announced its new software and hardware during the keynote address at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Jose McEnery Convention Center.

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The device is set to be available in black and white and will first be launched in the US, UK and Australia before Christmas.

"As the iPhone reaches a point of near saturation in mature markets and replacement rates continue to slow, Apple must find new ways to lock in users".

Along with upgraded versions of iPad and Mac laptops, Apple provided look at an iMac Pro work station that had the computing built in behind the screen and was touted as the most powerful computer the company has ever made.

The company, however, did not show off the speaker's Siri-enabled features Monday, saying it would release more information at a later date. Siri can also handle advanced searches within the music library, so users can ask questions like "Hey Siri, who's the drummer in this?" or create a shared Up Next queue with everyone in the home.

The free software update for mobile devices, iOS 11, is expected in September, when Apple typically releases new iPhones. The 10.5-inch device starts at $649, while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro begins at $799. It has a 5K display with up to 4TB of SSD. Apple also laid some groundwork for augmented reality, the projection of digital features onto real-world surroundings, by giving app developers tools for incorporating AR into their products.

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