Apple's official video introduction of the HomePod

HomePod uses an Apple-designed upwards firing 102mm woofer and a custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters.

"It's so cool, we really believe it is going to take your home music experience to the next level", Apple chief executive Tim Cook said of the new device. It will allow users to talk to Siri, Apple's digital assistant, while at home and costs US$349 (S$ 481) - nearly double the price of most competing products. By saying, "Hey Siri, I like this song", HomePod and Apple Music become the ideal musicologist, learning preferences from hundreds of genres and moods, across tens of thousands of playlists, and these music tastes are shared across devices. By saying, "Hey Siri, I like this song", HomePod and Apple Music will learn user preferences. When away from home, the HomePod is a home hub, providing remote access and home automations through the Home app on iPhone or iPad.

"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. From the opening of the video when someone says off camera, " Hey Siri, play my favorites", to the end, we hear music as the camera gives us a look around the device.

Yet Apple wants to directly compete against the likes of Amazon's Echo and the Google Home, and has built its smart assistant Siri into the speaker.

Apple updates its iMac desktops pretty much each year, improving its graphics power train, its Retina displays and others such as USB-C ports. The company "can't afford to yield valuable real-estate in the heart of people's homes to Amazon, Google and others", said Geoff Blaber, research analyst at CCS Insight.

Apple will launch HomePod in December and the device will cost $349, it will come in two colors, Space Gray and White and it is launching in Australia, the U.S. and United Kingdom, you can find out more details at the link below.

Amazon has dominated the connected speakers category since 2014 when it introduced its first Echo, which responds to voice commands and allows users to order goods and control connected appliances.

A survey released last month by research firm eMarketer found Echo speakers held 70.6 percent of the USA market, compared with 23.8% for Google Home and 5.6% for others including Lenovo, LG, Harmon Kardon and Mattel.

As expected, there are new updates to its software lineup, including iOS 11, macOS 10.13, watchOS 4 and tvOS 11 for its mobile, computer, smartwatch and Apple TV devices respectively.

Apple's software honcho Craig Federighi introduced the new iOS 11 for iPhones and iPads. It will block videos that start playing automatically, for instance, and can also prevent ads from following and profiling users. In addition, a new iMac Pro and a 10.5-inch iPad Pro are being announced.

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