Wednesday, 18 October, 2017

Apple Enters The Smart Speaker Arena With The HomePod

iPhone's Siri likely to expand as part of boost to iOS New smart speaker expected as Apple kicks off conference
Theresa Hayes | 06 June, 2017, 06:14

From initial images it appears the HomePod will be available in white or dark grey. We'll have to wait until December like everywhere else, but it's reassuring to know at least that we won't be left waiting without any release date whatsoever as we have with the Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

Exceptional sound quality: The HomePod will come with "spatial awareness".

An update to Siri, alongside the release of the HomePod, perfectly plays into the hands of developers converging on Apple HQ. HomePod features a large, Apple-designed woofer for deep, clean bass, a custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters that provide pure high frequency acoustics with incredible directional control and powerful technologies built right in to preserve the richness and intent of the original recordings.

Apple's is unveiling new features at its annual conference for software programmers on Monday.

Apple made a splash Monday at its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose as it unveiled several new operating systems and product upgrades, including a new smart home speaker called HomePod. Recent offerings such as Google Home and Amazon Echo have not only provided stiff competition but, as the chart shows, are able to far more accurately answer questions. Through six microphones fitted around the edges of the device, users are able to not only control music through voice commands, but also use Siri to access services like news, weather, translation apps, and reminders. But if Apple introduces a Siri Speaker - which would nearly certainly let users control home appliances with their voice - HomeKit will play an important part.

At $349, it will be more expensive than Google Home ($109) and Amazon Echo ($179) but cheaper than the Sonos Play 5 ($499).

The company is once again banking on its reputation as a creator of intuitive, luxury products that justify a hefty price tag.

The HomePod's cylindrical shape also reminded some people of another recently decomissioned Apple product.

If these rumours are correct, it would give Apple the opportunity to launch a smart speaker like Amazon Echo or Google Home that would bring together the Siri smart assistant features in a standalone device.

"The new Apple ARKit will ease the transition for consumers into the more sophisticated aspects of AR by reaching millions of Apple users and getting them familiar with the technology", Goldman said.

It's no surprise that HomePod is deeply tied to Apple Music, which costs $10 a month.

The company's TV app is also adding Amazon and its Prime Video service later this year for the first time. HomePod, Apple Music and Siri deliver the best music experience in the home that streams ad-free directly to HomePod. In the USA it will cost $US349 ($466), more than twice the price of its Google competitor.

He was let down, however, by a lack of new features for voice assistant Siri, as well as by Apple not opening Siri up to developers, as was expected. With myriad competing connected devices, some have called Apple's unifying attempts lacklustre. If anything, the speaker's form factor looks remarkably similar to the design Apple used on the trashcan Mac Pro.

- HealthKit and the Apple Watch. It's created to give you a visual clue that it's working.


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