Apple's HomePod speaker brings Siri into the living room

The tech giant unveiled its new seven-inch, compact HomePod at its Worldwide Developers' Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California. Phil Schiller, Apple's SVP of worldwide marketing, said on stage that the product has been in the works for "years". Finally, Apple is now working with Steam, Unity and Unreal to bring new virtual reality engines to the operating system. Both speakers can respond to voice requests for the news, weather and tasks such as turning on the lights.

The HomePod is a 6.8-inch speaker driven by an Apple A8 SoC to handle echo cancellation and optimize sound for a given space. "The speaker is one reason to expect updates to Siri this year, as you can bet that Apple will want to let app developers take advantage of this new device".

HomePod users may initially be constrained by Siri's lack of capabilities as compared to Alexa, which also boasts the ability to order millions of Amazon products as well as food from restaurants like Domino's.

New features include person-to-person payment in Apple Pay, iMessage being synced across iOS and macOS, augmented reality support as well as a smarter virtual voice assistant Siri.

Apple has confirmed it will release a smart speaker called HomePod, so you can chat to Siri all the time and not just on your phone. "[And] You can even ask more complex, music-related questions like 'Who's the drummer in this song?' or 'What album came out on this day 20 years ago?'" But the HomePod's real objective isn't just music:.

The speaker will sell for about $350 in December in the US, United Kingdom and Australia. Amazon sells the main version of the Echo for $180; Google's Home speaker goes for $130. Additional markets are planned for next year, while there is no word yet on Australian pricing.

After all, the market for such devices is growing fast, and projected to keep expanding: in a report this month, research firm eMarketer predicted almost 36 million Americans will use a speaker-based voice-assistant each month this year, more than twice as many as a year ago.

Still, the Apple Watch hasn't been a smash hit, fueling worries that the company's ability to transfix customers had waned after the 2011 death of co-founder Steve Jobs. Bass comes from a 4-inch Apple-designed woofer that faces upward to move a lot of air, and software provides automatic bass equalization to avoid distortion as the volume increases. If the speculation pans out, the speaker would be Apple's first new product since its smartwatch in 2015.

Apple has lagged behind Google and Amazon, however, in incorporating Siri into a voice-operated household device, and it was widely expected to start selling its own. That's especially important because people are starting to access information, entertainment and search in a more "pervasive" way that's less dependent on smarthphones, he said.

"It's clearly about the hardware but also making Siri more obvious to consumers so you can see where she's getting smarter", said Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at Creative Strategies.

Related Articles

  • Updates to Apple's smart assistant Siri 'could be vital to HomePod's success'

    The smart speaker works in conjunction with Apple Music so users virtually have access to 40 million songs inside their home. The Echo, released in 2015, and Google Home , released past year , were the first entrants in a promising market.

    Gilead Sciences, Inc. (GILD) Stock Closed at $64.85

    However looking at valuation ratios the stock has 5 year expected PEG ratio of 0 whereas its trailing twelve month P/E ratio is 0. After this sale, 52,619 common shares of GILD are directly owned by the insider, with total stake valued at $3,412,342.
    Trump's UK visit on despite criticism, says foreign secretary

    Trump's UK visit on despite criticism, says foreign secretary

    Top British officials, including British prime minister Theresa May came to Khan's defense following Trump's comments . During a visit to Chicago in September past year , Khan endorsed Trump's opponent Hillary Clinton.
  • Hillary Praises London Mayor Khan for 'Steady, Determined Leadership'

    President Donald Trump greets British Prime Minister Theresa May in the White House Oval Office in Washington , U.S., January 27. In a statement on Sunday, one of Khan's aides said the mayor had more pressing concerns than Trump following the attacks.
    Pak-origin terrorist was a brainwashed follower of extremist

    Pak-origin terrorist was a brainwashed follower of extremist

    The first clue to his background came when authorities found an Irish identity card on the body of one of the suspects. But Scotland Yard said he was not a police or MI5 "subject of interest", despite Italian media reports .
    Husband of White House adviser says Trump tweets hurting legal case

    Husband of White House adviser says Trump tweets hurting legal case

    On Monday, Trump derided the revised travel ban and criticized his own Justice Department's handling of the controversial case. Sessions remains at the Justice Department, where a spokeswoman told CNN that he is not stepping down.
  • China condemns U.S., Japan statements on South China Sea

    The statement said the latest resolution was said to have been put together by the U.S. and China in the "back room". Once considered a strong ally, Russian Federation has backed fresh sanctions against North Korea.
    WWDC 2017: Launch new iPad Pro and MacBook Pro possible

    WWDC 2017: Launch new iPad Pro and MacBook Pro possible

    At the WWDC, Apple also confirmed the launch of a $349 Siri-infused HomePod speaker that works with a Music subscription. Apple is extensively rumored to roll out fresh MacBook Pro models running on "Kaby Lake" Intel 7th generation processors.
    World economy seen picking up political uncertainty a risk

    World economy seen picking up political uncertainty a risk

    Mann warned that despite a more buoyant mood in the global economy , policymakers could not afford to be complacent. Eurozone growth projections for this year and next were raised to 1.8 percent from 1.6 percent seen in March.
  • German rock festival set to resume after terrorist threat

    Festival organiser Marek Lieberberg said the grounds were clear by 9.30pm, about a half hour after people were told that they were going to have to leave.
    ISIS claims responsibility for Manila attack, police deny link to terrorism

    ISIS claims responsibility for Manila attack, police deny link to terrorism

    President Donald Trump said he was "closely monitoring the situation" and would continue to provide updates, CBS News reported. However, he left the backpack on the ground near the stock room before starting to fire shots and burning casino tables.

    Jeff Sessions offered to resign

    Papp learned he was blocked on June 4 after responding to a Trump tweet with a tweet labeling the president a '#fake leader'. Yet the president's tweets, while informal, do not stick to topics of no effect .