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Look out Alexa: Apple announces 'HomePod,' a smart home audio speaker

11 Juin 2017

Siri updates the watch face with new information through the day - think calendar entries, flight information, or smart home controls - using "machine learning to adjust automatically based on your routine" according to Apple's vice-president of technology Kevin Lynch. That company offers a similar wireless multi-speaker system for listening to music throughout the home, similar to HomePod's ability to chain together multiple speakers. Siri, Apple's virtual assistant, will respond to voice commands.

HomePod is created to work with an Apple Music subscription for access to over 40 million songs; it provides deep knowledge of personal music preferences and tastes and helps users discover new music. HomePod is seven inches tall, and is intended as a "breakthrough" speaker in addition to being a personal assistant. "Apple is smart to position it as music centric rather than yet another smart speaker or just a home for a digital assistant", Jan Dawson, an analyst at Jackdaw Research, told CNET. You may get your hands on this for $349 which roughly translates to Rs 22,500. Whenever Siri is engaged, the HomePod will display the Siri waveform on the top of the speaker, the same location where the HomePod's touch-sensitive controls are.

Siri has will also become a "musicologist", learning users' music preferences and answering questions like "who is the drummer?". Apple is yet to reveal what it will cost in the United Kingdom, but we expect to see it price around £300.

Apple wanted its speaker's audio performance to be top-of-the-line. The Google Home and Amazon Echo are both priced below that but we still don't know the sound differences and capabilities between them.

Amazon has a lot to lose with the release of the HomePod given that it dominates the market for voice-controlled speakers. Apple Music, which hosts £9.99 a month, now offers 40 million tracks from two million artists. It is safe to say that HomePod is a modified and upgraded version of the iPod, which was mostly marketed to cater to the demand for portable music devices. Earlier Apple Pay transactions could be done only with businesses and institutions.

Apple's SVP of Global Marketing Phil Schiller said Sonos aren't smart speakers and Amazon Echos aren't good speakers.

Look out Alexa: Apple announces 'HomePod,' a smart home audio speaker