November 19 2017

Apple debuts HomePod speaker to bring Siri into the living room

November 19 2017, 06:54 | Geraldine Moore

At its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, the tech giant also introduced a series of software updates, including payment-to-payment capabilities for Apple Pay and a platform for developers to design augmented-reality apps, the Wall Street Journal reports. Later this month, though, you'll be able to talk to the speaker in English or French, and have it play music, or operate a number of home automation devices that are supported.

Speaking at the conference earlier today, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing Philip Schiller said that the device will "reinvent home music. just like the iPod reinvented music in our pockets". Given that Apple Music is already well-known the company says that it will also be seeking to enhance the meager sound quality offered by its rivals. It has seven small "tweeter" speakers in a ring arranged at the bottom of the unit and features in the middle a large 4-inch woofer.

Activated by voice with Apple's natural language user interface Siri, it will have access to Apple Music, a music-streaming service.

Apple will later this year release a "HomePod" music-centric smart home speaker, challenging a market now dominated by Amazon and Google in its latest move to weave deeper into people's lives.

Available in white and space grey, HomePod will retail for USD349 upon release in December. The speaker is now still in the works and is expected to release by December this year. The smart assistant speaker has immediately been compared to others in the market like Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Google Home.

It is also created to work with Apple Music subscriptions, able to access your music library and make recommendations based on song history. Considering the fact that Apple own Beats and targeting Google and Amazon with something they don't have yet does makes sense. Will it be a Siri speaker? You can also ask HomePod to control HomeKit devices and adjust the air conditioning or lights.

And similar to Google and Amazon smart speakers, Apple said audio information is not being recorded or sent to the Apple's cloud until the "Hey Siri" voice command has been issued.

Apple has not confirmed the price of the HomePod for the UK.

HomePod will go on sale in December in Australia, the USA and the United Kingdom and will cost American consumers $349 (A$465).

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