Apple 'HomePod' speaker to take on Amazon, Google

Today's announcement of the HomePod doesn't address that, either.

For time being, Amazon is dominating this new category.

By which I mean, the Siri voice services that the HomePod will offer, that will allow you to choose music tracks and control your home automation devices without so much as lifting a finger. Indeed, Apple told some WWDC attendees that there's a lot more to look forward to.

HomePod will take on lower priced Amazon Echo and Google Home, which have had momentum in the arena of voice-controlled speakers capable of controlling smart appliances, fetching content from the internet and more.

Technically speaking, you'll be able to play any music you want on the HomePod. Now, Echo and Home have another sibling to compete with: Apple's HomePod.

The tech giant's new voice-activated speaker is set to "reinvent" music in our homes. Apple's strategy to downplay AI could very well do the task for them. You can say "play more songs like that", or "I like this song". The idea is that consumers will never have to mess with settings to optimize their speaker output.

Because the HomePod boasts Siri as its smart virtual assistant, it can talk about a range of topics, from sports to news to movies and more.

Inside the speaker, there are seven tweeters, each with their own driver, that give sound precise directional control. You're supposed to be able to just speak to them and get instant results - no phone required. HomePod is compatible with iPhone 5s and later, running iOS 11.

Apple Announces Smart Speaker, Device Upgrades, and iOS 11
It replaces the 9.7-inch version, although Apple is keeping the 12.9-inch model, which it also refreshed at WWDC . Ratings will no longer automatically reset; developers can choose to rest the rating when submitting an update.

"HomePod ... is actually more of a competitor to a Sonos or Bose speaker", said Forrester analyst Julie Ask.

Apple's SVP of Global Marketing Phil Schiller said Sonos aren't smart speakers and Amazon Echos aren't good speakers.

A survey released last month by research firm eMarketer found Echo speakers held 70.6 percent of the USA market, compared with 23.8 percent for Google Home.

More than 35 million people in the US are expected to use a voice-activated speaker at least once a month this year, more than doubling from last year, according the research firm eMarketer. By 2020, 3.3 percent of global households are expected to have one.

Apple also states that two HomePods will work in tandem to help create richer sounds.

To be "smart", the latest product in Apple's portfolio, known as HomePod, comes with a A8 microprocessor chip, the same power engine in the technology company's flagship iPhone smartphone and iPad tablet computer. Apple last updated the iPad Pro last fall, when it introduced the smaller model, but the iPad Pro hasn't had a significant performance update since its 2015 release. They include a faster MacBook and MacBook Pro and a new 13-inch MacBook Pro for $1,300. You've got an iMac and an Apple Watch. New iMacs released Monday are getting better displays and graphics capabilities.

It will ship in December at a $349 suggested retail. That same situation will hold true for any number of things you might want the HomePod to do for you.


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