Apple unveils "breakthrough home speaker" to rival Amazon and Google

Apple unveils

Apple unveils "breakthrough home speaker" to rival Amazon and Google

HomePod includes Siri voice integration and will function as a "home assistant", according to Schiller.

The speaker, while expected by some industry watchers, marked Apple's first new product announcement since the Apple Watch in September 2014. Once you've said that command, it sends an anonymous Siri ID and encrypted communications to and from Apple's servers.

The tech giant's new voice-activated speaker is set to "reinvent" music in our homes. It uses Apple's A8 chip (which is also used on the company's flagship iPhones), and comes with high-excursion woofer, six microphone array, seven tweeter array inside a seamless mesh fabric.

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But it is on sound quality that Apple hopes to distinguish HomePod from the dominant smart speakers on the market. You may get your hands on this for $349 which roughly translates to Rs 22,500.

Apple has in several areas, including smartphones and music players, joined markets after entrenched rivals and ultimately dominated them.

Note also that even Siri's function on HomePod is widely focused on music-related tasks, such as remembering what songs the user prefers by saying, "Hey Siri, I like this song".

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The HomePod's $US349 retail price translates directly into $466 over here, but expect a slight price premium once you figure in GST and import costs and all the other extra fees we normally pay in Australia. And Apple's biggest consumer hits - such as the iPhone or the iPod - haven't historically been the first in their category. It'll also be able to control other smart home devices and be a musicologist, as Phil Schiller, Apple's VP of worldwide marketing, puts it. And then there's a new generation of smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home, but those don't really sound good. The speaker is now still in the works and is expected to release by December this year.

Just as "Alexa" and "Ok, Google" spurs the Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers into life, Apple's HomePod is awoken with "Hey, Siri". An Apple spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request about whether Michelle Obama was being compensated by Apple for her appearance.

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