Apple's HomePod Puts Siri in a Speaker

Apple reveals new HomePod, iPad Pro and upgraded operating systems

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"Apple reinvented portable music with iPod and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes", said Schiller.

Since the launch of Amazon's Echo past year and Google Home in March, both of which have been popular with consumers, Apple had been widely expected to enter the market.

Like those other products it is created to be a digital home assistant, capable of answering questions about maths as well as music-related enquiries - but it comes with some Apple quirks.

Siri will be your personal musicologist in the HomePod.

The HomePod is arriving in December this year in white and "space grey". On the other hand, Amazon Echo is the tallest and Google Home the shortest among the three. That all depends on how wrapped up you and your family are in the Apple ecosystem and how big your budget is. Still, with a US$129 price tag, it's the cheapest of the lot.

The only way to interact with HomePod directly is to use Siri.

Apple also announced the next version of its Mac operating system - macOS High Sierra - featuring tools for developers to develop virtual reality experiences, and support for virtual reality headsets. (Many reviewers have suggested that the current incarnation of Apple's assistant already trails competitors in key respects.) "This is the start of the AI wars", he said. The HomePod will have positional awareness, in terms of where it is placed in the house, the reflective hard surfaces and where the sound potentially needs to go. Only, if you have a knack for colors, Google Home comes with different color options at the base of the speaker to customize. Google Home, powered by Google Assistant, retails for $129. Unlike the HomePod, the Sonos Play:3 can be used both vertically and horizontally, meaning it's easier to place around the home.

Apple made a major fintech play that shouldn't be underestimated.

The price of this speaker is much more than the Amazon Echos and Google Homes.

Amazon declined to comment on whether it will again sell Apple TVs. That's impressive by most standards, but it's only a small fraction of iPhone and Mac users. Whether or not the same separation will work via AirPlay 2-connected music from other services isn't entirely clear, but it will work for other sources.

After months of anticipation Apple has unveiled HomePod, an all new wireless speaker that the company hopes will "reinvent home music".

A blog post attributed to Apple employee John Willander further explains how the latest Intelligent Tracking Prevention technology works, see more here.

Apple said today that there will soon be an Apple TV app for Amazon's Prime Video service (the new home of the show formerly known as Top Gear).

While Amazon and Google promote their speakers as butlers - you can ask them a question or order a service - basically, anything you can do via voice commands on your smartphone, Apple seems to be pitching HomePod as the smart speaker that sounds good, too. For one, the HomePod will always have its microphones listening for the "Hey Siri" prompt.

It may well have Siri's smarts, but Apple wants you to know that the new HomePod speaker is all about great sound quality. When you are away from home, the HomePod will look after your devices. A HomePod will be little more than a glorified speaker unless you invest accessories like the EcoBee thermostat, Phillips Hue lights, and Schlage Sense locks.

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