Apple Joins Smart-Speaker Race With Music-Focused 'HomePod'

Apple Joins Smart-Speaker Race With Music-Focused 'HomePod'

Apple Joins Smart-Speaker Race With Music-Focused 'HomePod'

Introduced at Apple's WWDC 2017 conference, the 178mm tall speaker is created to work with an Apple Music subscription, and will go head to head with Amazon's Alexa ecosystem and Google Home this December. As a music-playing device, it will also be a challenger to Sonos, whose wifi-controlled speakers are used by many smartphone users for home entertainment. The Echo allows you to request an Uber, order pizza and track fitness with compatible apps. But the fact that this is an Apple gadget is undoubtedly a big deal, as is the tie-in with existing Apple devices such as the iPhone and iPad. HomePod will act as a HomeKit base, allowing users to control their homes from anywhere in the world, something now offered on select Apple TV and iPad models.

A survey released last month by research firm eMarketer found Echo speakers held 70.6 percent of the United States market, compared with 23.8 percent for Google Home.

HomePod uses an Apple-designed upwards firing 102mm woofer and a custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters. To the contrary, Pacific Crest believes the fidelifocused HomePod highlighted Apple's lack of key proprietary services, which it views as a challenge to maintaining hardware gross margin over time.

At WWDC, Apple didn't have launch partners ready to promote special services, but that doesn't mean they're not being developed.

The "HomePod" speaker unveiled at Apple's annual developers conference is similar to rival devices that have been released during the past two years. ProMotion also improves display quality, said Apple, and reduces power consumption by matching refresh rates with tablet movement. One of the most significant launches at this conference was the Apple HomePod.

Introducing iOS 11, a major update to the world's most advanced mobile operating system, Apple has announced it would bring new experiences and several new features to iPhones and iPads this fall.

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As we expected, Siri is embedded in the HomePod, so users can get updates on news, send messages etc.

Apple's HomePod is the latest new addition to the company product lineup, being a smart speaker for the household. All we know right now is that it'll be available sometime in December 2017.

A new Siri interface on the Apple Watch will also blend users' calendar information with other useful details, like airline tickets they may have booked, the company said. Whether this will really assuage the fears of people concerned that Apple is effectively spying on them with Siri is highly debatable, particularly in the existing post-Snowden climate. The only drawback between Siri on an iPhone and the HomePod is that you can't expect visual answers on the HomePod.

Apple announced person-to-person transfers in iMessage and the ability to hold cash in a virtual Apple Pay debit card. There is no doubt that many consumers will have concerns about the potential invasion of privacy that this machine represents, and Apple certainly took the time to address this during this presentation.

Apple's entry into the market could change this. New iMacs and MacBook laptops start shipping Monday. "Apple will try to replicate what it did with the iPod, starting as a music device and then progressively morphing it into the iPhone with a range of apps and services".

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