Apple launches the HomePod, a Siri-powered wireless speaker

Apple launches the HomePod, a Siri-powered wireless speaker

Apple launches the HomePod, a Siri-powered wireless speaker

Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing said, "Apple reinvented portable music with iPod and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes".

Similar to Google and Amazon smart speakers, the HomePod has an intelligent voice assistant baked in.

Users will be able to ask Siri to play songs and answer questions via the speaker.

Either way, the HomePod has been announced and arrives later this year.

The HomePod will cost $349 and will be available in December 2017 in a choice of white or space grey.

Hence, if you are looking for a top-notch home audio device, the new Apple HomePod is the way to go.

However, Apple has a well-established reputation for keeping its app ecosystem and platforms under tight control, so developers hoping for more open smart home ecosystems such as Google Home with the Google Assistant and the Amazon Echo Show with Alexa, may be sorely disappointed.

But HomePod is the only one of these to offer Siri and integration with Apple's HomeKit smart home system.

Smart home features are another big focus for other smart speakers, and this will be the first such speaker to support Apple HomeKit. Amazon Echo, powered by smart assistant Alexa, is 9.3 inches tall and retails for $179.99.

Apple's Phil Schiller talks about the new HomePod speaker at WWDC.

Sadly, those excited by the Apple HomePod will have to wait a number of months before they can add it to their living room. Apple is leaning into artificial intelligence (AI) with improved machine learning and on-device learning aimed at making Siri more predictive and proactive.

There are only a few such smart speakers now that adjust the sound output based on their presence and the number of speakers in the same room.

In the privacy arena, Apple executives touted the fact that until the user says "Hey Siri" the speaker does not send any information to Apple. Siri can also get you access to the Maps, weather, sports, contacts and much more. If you have two HomePods in the same room, the two automatically detect and balance each other.

Regardless of whether consumers care enough about audio quality, there are enough Apple fans who are likely hungry for a product like this as rivals Amazon and Google have come out ahead.

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