March 18 2018

Apple unveils HomePod smart speaker

March 18 2018, 05:16 | Geraldine Moore

However, the Amazon (amzn) Echo costs $180.

Touted by Apple's marketing guru Philip Schiller as the means to "reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes", the HomePod is a speaker system sitting under 7in tall with Apple's virtual assistant Siri at it core. Just like you would expect from a smart speaker, the Siri-enabled Apple HomePod can perform a large number of tracks.

The speaker unveiled Monday is similar to devices from rivals, some of which have been on the market for years.

The device is a pill-shaped circular speaker. Other than that, HomePod has a custom array of seven bean-forming tweeters with pure high-frequency acoustics and enhanced directional control. It has a custom-made woofer and an Apple A8 chip. However, the difference between HomePod and the rest seems to be in audio quality. The HomePod is going to be a lot more spendy, and it won't be available for quite some time.

Apple is officially jumping into the home speaker market. Siri on HomePod is triggered by simply saying "Hey Siri", which in turn lights up the top LED display of the speaker with a Siri-esque waveform pattern.

As we expected, Siri is embedded in the HomePod, so users can get updates on news, send messages etc. The HomePod is able to listen to you while playing music no matter how far you are from the device or how loud the music is playing.

Interestingly, Apple also announced AirPlay 2 earlier today, which lets you pair multiple speakers and play music in multiple rooms. "I don't know if I can envision it, but I hope it happens, on behalf of customers".

It is safe to say, though, that judging from the reported sleek white and space grey design, it will definitely appeal to the aesthetic gadget-loving Apple fans and it will likely be a hot sell this Christmas. It starts shipping in the US, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

Around 5,300 attendees from 75 countries worldwide travelled to attend WWDC, with the younger developer aged just 10 years-old.

And that's about it for now. In the U.S., the device will sell for $349.

Bloomberg reported last week that the company had begun to manufacture the device.

In line with Apple's M.O. the HomePod tries to keep everything in the family which explains the lack of support for anything outside of Siri and Apple Music.

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