Apple HomePod - Reinventing home music

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Yet Apple wants to directly compete against the likes of Amazon's Echo and the Google Home, and has built its smart assistant Siri into the speaker.

The HomePod will use its internal microphones to pick up voice commands and uses the same processor chip as the iPhone to pump out "spatially aware" sound, Apple said.

The speaker will sell for about $350 in December in the USA, United Kingdom and Australia.

Apple's music-first sales pitch may explain why Apple is pricing this device much higher than comparable home-assistant devices from Google and Amazon, which are not advertised as high-fidelity music devices. The most popular paid apps are usually games. Shipments of intelligent home speakers surged almost 600% year-over-year to 4.2 million units in the fourth quarter, with Amazon taking about 88% share and Google 10%, according to consultant Strategy Analytics.

Some of the industry experts have predicted that Apple will be soon announcing a hardware that would be similar to the Echo device by Amazon. "The speaker comes in at just under 7" tall, and is cylindrical and covered in a 3D mesh fabric available in either white or space grey.

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In announcing the HomePod, Apple CEO Tim Cook said there are many companies making products for enjoying music in the home but "none have nailed it yet".

Finally, Apple executives also emphasised several times during the presentation that the on-device learning means that that the system is more secure than alternative assistants like Google Assistant. "If Apple does not launch a "skills store", that would be a mistake".

Apple revealed a new smart speaker device, the HomePod, at WWDC.

Also, in important news for the upcoming macOS release, High Sierra, there will be an update to Safari that helps block site trackers and autoplaying videos - something that seems to be an epidemic on media sites right now and it drives me, personally, insane. However, if its audio capabilities are as good as Apple claims, it could be inviting for iPhone and iPad owners looking for a single do-everything speaker for their home or apartment.

Apple "can't afford to yield valuable real-estate in the heart of people's homes to Amazon, Google and others", said Geoff Blaber, research analyst at CCS Insight.

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During the first half the keynote, Apple teased the next versions of its operating systems for the Mac and Apple Watch - both of which will be available for download in the Fall, alongside new iMacs, MacBooks, and a new high-end product called the iMac Pro.

Apple said it will be the "most powerful Mac" the company has ever made. Amazon and Google are invested in selling your data for more targeted advertising, which subsidizes the lower price of its devices.

Apple also introduced a new version of its business-oriented iPad Pro at an intermediate size with more storage, a better display and an improved camera.

Apple is rumored to be working on a 10.5-inch iPad Pro, with a screen that inches even closer to the edges of the device.

The younger siblings of the Apple hardware world, the Apple TV and Apple Watch are also due for some software updates.

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