Apple aims to `reinvent home music´ with HomePod smart speaker

Posted June 07, 2017

Expect the HomePod to ship this December, presumably just in time for last-minute Christmas buying.

Although the smart speaker market is dominated by Amazon and Google, Apple appears to have set its sights on other players in the speaker market. It also combats the competitive threat from Google's and Amazon's connected speakers: Those don't support Apple services like Apple Music, which brings in US$10 in revenue per user each month.

The $349 speaker is created to work with an Apple Music subscription and has Siri built in, allowing the user to pick music and control the device using voice commands.

Voice control is via an array of six microphones.

Apple also unveiled a key content deal when Chief Executive Tim Cook said that content from Amazon Prime Video, long absent from the Apple TV product, would come to Apple devices such as the TV, iPhones and iPad later this year.

Claiming that it will do to your home what the iPod did to portable music Apple is pushing this as the first premium speaker that combines intelligence with wonderful sound quality.

Apple has presently only shown off its cylindrical, mesh-covered smart speaker on stage at WWDC, it is not quite ready to make its way into the home of Pro-Apple (most likely) consumers as of yet.

HomePod will be available to purchase in white or space grey in December this year for $349 (£270).

The HomePod measures just under 7-inches tall and uses a custom array of 7 beam-forming tweeters along with a 4-inch upward facing woofer.

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 company's flagship iPhone smartphone and iPad tablet computer.

John Knoll, of Industrial Light & Magic, speaks about virtual reality during an announcement of new products at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference.

Apple's music-first sales pitch may explain why Apple is pricing this device much higher than comparable home-assistant devices from Google and Amazon, which are not advertised as high-fidelity music devices.

Apple also introduced to developers a new AR kit that it believes will make the company a leader in the augmented reality domain. But the real selling point, as far as Apple is concerned, is the HomePod's sound quality.

Taking a direct aim at both audio speakers and smart speakers available in the market, Apple mentioned that they are neither good at one job nor the other.

The assistant has been heavily updated by Apple to better understand context, the firm says, and in HomePod will be able to answer user queries and details about music when prompted using the voice command "Hey, Siri". It also needs to be fun to use, Apple said.

Here's everything we know about the Apple HomePod, including features, release date and expected United Kingdom price.