Amazon executive hopeful Siri and Alexa will communicate with each other

Named as the Apple HomePod, the speakers are a competition to the Sonos PLAY:3, Amazon Echo, and the Google Home speakers.

Philip Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, commented: "Apple reinvented portable music with iPod and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes". Google Home and Amazon Echo have certainly jumped out to a headstart in this category, but that just means Apple has had a chance to sit back and watch the reaction in order to release its own version with hopefully less issues and an emphasis in key areas.

There are spec differences too: HomePod features 7 tweeters, a 4-inch woofer, a 6-microphone array and an Apple A8 chip processor, while Echo features a 2.0-inch tweeter, a 2.5-inch woofer, a 7-microphone array and a Texas Instruments processor.

The Apple HomePod will launch this December in white or gray and will cost $349. Despite the company's insistence that HomePod will sound unbelievable, it all feels like too little too late to take on the growing smart speaker market. Apple was a little late tapping into the smart speaker market, even though they were one of the first in the voice-based AI space.

This new breed of smart speaker is an important market for Apple and other tech giants, including Microsoft (MSFT), which last month announced the Invoke, a smart speaker powered by its Cortana. Amazon and Google are running away with the market that the Echo helped create. Speakers can detect when the HomePod placed against the wall and they adjust their sound output according to it so that the sound is spread equally into the wide area of the room, instead of just muffled against the wall. "But I did notice the HomePod was able fill a large room very well and sounded great no matter what angle I was listening from".

The smart features and Siri integration nearly felt like an afterthought, but they're definitely worth mentioning. Unlike devices like the Echo and Google Home, audio part isn't secondary functionality.

Play music from Apple Music, to begin with.

HomePod like all the other Apple devices send information to Apple's server in encrypted form and with your unique Siri identifier that makes your personal information secure.

What do you think needs to be done with Apple Siri?

"If Apple or Google want to come calling, my phone number is out there, they can call.I don't know if I can envision it but I hope that will happen on behalf of customers", said David Limp.

Following in Google's footsteps, Siri will also be able to translate and speak phrases from six languages, with more coming later, Apple said.

Smart home features are another big focus for other smart speakers, and this will be the first such speaker to support Apple HomeKit.

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