Apple Announces HomePod - The Smart Speaker for your Home

Posted June 09, 2017

"Apple is smart to frame the HomePod as a music-centric and audio-centric device rather than just another smart speaker or another home for Siri", said Jackdaw Research analyst Jan Dawson.

Most importantly, Apple just revealed its own version of a smart speaker this week with the Siri-powered HomePod, which is due for release this December.

The HomePod speaker is photographed in a a showroom during an announcement of new products at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Monday in San Jose, Calif. Siri now uses machine learning "on-device" to suggest things like calendar entries and responses to messages. "Apple today was much more focused on talking about it".

HomePod is basically Apple's take on Amazon Echo and Google Home, even though both of them were released way before Apple announced the new HomePod but as we all know, Apple, because of its established market image, always lead with whatever it launches. Throughout the presentation, he boasted about the new gadget's sensors, its connection to Apple Music, and the speaker's superior quality.

"We have to imagine there is going to be more there", Blau said. "It's about being the best and giving the user an experience that delights them every time".

Apple be saving some insights into HomePod for later this year when it is expected to unveil a tenth-anniversary edition of the iPhone.

The HomePod now only supports Apple Music. "Apple will carve out some sales in the smart speaker market with HomePod but will continue to stand far behind Amazon and Google by the end of 2017", Ronan de Renesse, of the analysis firm Ovum, said in an email. The new model starts at $649 and will start shipping next week. It'll act as a wireless speaker, so you'll be able to blast whatever music you want from your phone to HomePod using Apple's AirPlay technology. You'll also be able to control HomeKit enabled smart home products by voice. The research firm eMarketer says than 35 million people in the USA are expected to use a voice-activated speaker at least once a month this year, more than double its estimate from last year.

Some industry insiders, however, note Apple will be under more pressure to improve the computing smarts of its Siri software in the face of offerings from rivals Google and Amazon.

Apple's HomePod comes with seven tweeters arrayed inside the cylindrical handy speakers.

HomePod owners also won't have to tinker with the speaker to fit its position in a room, Apple said.

In a nod to Amazon streaming fans, Apple is also bringing Amazon Prime to its Apple TV app. Federighi highlighted stories about Iceland after a search in Safari for holidays to the island.

Apple is trying to make augmented reality a reality with new tools for iPhones and iPads.