Apple Introduces HomePod Smart Speaker

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Apple is taking aim at Amazon's Echo.

Apple's speaker, called HomePod, emphasises the enjoyment of music and looks like a wide can with curved edges.

Is it worth waiting until December to buy the Appel HomePod?

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.

The only way to interact with HomePod directly is to use Siri. But Apple is arriving to this party late, with seemingly little to show for its tardiness. Meanwhile, the HomePod comes with a $349 price tag when it officially comes out later this year.

For the acoustics, Apple HomePod has 7-beam forming tweeters, each with its own amplifier.

If you're simply looking to add some voice capabilities to your smart home, there are much cheaper ways to do it than splurge on one or more HomePod.

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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. Samsung and Google already have VR systems centered on their smartphones.

Imagine what Apple could do if it didn't mind losing money on one product like a home speaker or from potential future products like an Apple auto or glasses that mix the virtual world with reality like the Pokemon Go game. It has "spatial awareness" to detect where it's located a room and adjust the sound accordingly. That's impressive by most standards, but it's only a small fraction of iPhone and Mac users.

Apple also used its annual developer meeting in San Jose, California - its largest ever with some 5,000 people attending-to offer hints about so-called augmented reality technology.

Apple Music is relatively affordable, but those invested in competing services, such as Spotify, might hesitate at the thought of dumping their beloved playlists and social connections. Or you can ask it for the news, weather, traffic, sports scores, to text someone with messages and set reminders. Interestingly, Apple's smart speaker doesn't only respond to your voice but also to your touch. The company harps a lot that in recent years has made a lot of new upgrades to its music library and the way it is curated for iOS devices. The Echo speaker lets you shop online via voice commands and also give you options to get it delivered or pickup.

The HomePod is Shipping in December...

Executives also unveiled new MacBooks, iMacs and iPads at the conference, which for the past three years has focused exclusively on software. The speaker would likely be tucked into Apple's "Other Products" category, which now includes devices like the Apple Watch, Apple TV and AirPods. Apple has not laid out an exact timeframe for the rollout in other countries.

"New indoor maps of areas like malls and airports indicated that Apple might be laying groundwork to display information over images of those places in the future".

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