Apple debuts HomePod speaker to bring Siri into the living room

Jun 06, 2017, 05:48

Apple concluded its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote on Monday with a sneak peek of an all-new product: The HomePod. But the product seems directly inspired by existing smart speakers from Amazon and Google. The speaker will also feature "spatial awareness" which will tune the sound output to match the size of the space that the speaker is set up in.

In addition to controlling the music, Siri on the HomePod can send messages, get updates on news, sports and weather, or control smart home devices working with Apple's HomeKit.

The HomePod will be available in black or white - for starters.

AppleHomePod costs $349 to start, it launches this December, and it's only available in the US, UK, and Australia at launch. Of course, the new HomePod doesn't normally look like an all-seeing eye of artificially intelligent doom. HomePod will act as a funnel towards more than Apple Music, but other e-commerce options as well.

HomePod wants to be the best of both worlds, without being that much more expensive than some of its key competitors: The Apple-made speaker will cost consumers $349, and ship in December in the U.S., U.K., and Australia.

But let's face it, before AI and machine learning really matures, most home assistant devices are essentially voice-controlled speakers, and so Apple dedicating its effort into making it sound great is probably a smart move. HomePod features a large, Apple-designed woofer for deep, clean bass, a custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters that provide pure high frequency acoustics with incredible directional control and powerful technologies built right in to preserve the richness and intent of the original recordings.

The speaker will sell for about $350 in December in the US, United Kingdom and Australia.

In iOS 11, Apple's forthcoming mobile operating system, the company is introducing peer-to-peer payments through iMessage.

Although a new product announcement from Apple isn't the major pop-cultural event that it used to be, the pitiless taskmaster that is capitalism demands that the company continue pressing ever forward with sleek new gadgets exciting enough to convince consumers that last year's gadget just isn't good enough anymore.

02/05/2017: Apple may be gearing up to release a Siri-enabled speaker to take on the Amazon Echo and Google Home, according to reports.

MacOS High Sierra features a shift from HFS to the Apple File System, which is supposed to be faster, more secure and more reliable. Like Google Now, it works across the whole Google portfolio, including Android, ChromeOS and the new Google Home. The company had Industrial Light and Magic's John Knoll on stage for a live demo of a Vive virtual reality Star Wars game using a Mac. This makes it not only a competitor to the Echo and Home, but also to home audio systems like those offered by Sonos and Bose. The store's 500 million weekly users will see new tabs highlighting curated collections and article-like stories made by Apple, not just developers.

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