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Apple Introduces The HomePod Speaker and Home Assistant

11 June 2017

Apple sought to position the HomePod as an extension of its musical heritage, with the device's name a play on the original iPod music player. If Apple were to release a Siri-centric speaker, it could tie the device to other services it offers like its subscription music streaming service, or its News app. It'll act as a wireless speaker, so you'll be able to blast whatever music you want from your phone to HomePod using Apple's AirPlay technology.

The Amazon Echo and the Google Home operate in a similar way, using voice commands to wake the assistant to ask for help.

The Cupertino-based tech giant kicked off its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday with the introduction of its first brand-new hardware since the Apple Watch.

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At just under 7 inches tall, HomePod can be placed nearly anywhere in the home and is available in white and space gray.

The speaker has the "power to rock the house", according to Schiller, who said the team worked to make HomePod a potent assistant for news, messages, weather, traffic, home controls and more.

And, like the other smart speakers, the HomePod can link up with smart devices in the home, such as connected light bulbs, so a user can control them with a spoken command, like switching them on or off. If the speculation pans out, the speaker would be Apple's first new product since its smartwatch in 2015. Shipments of intelligent home speakers surged almost 600 per cent year-over-year to 4.2 million units in the fourth quarter, with Amazon taking about 88 per cent share and Google 10 percent, according to consultant Strategy Analytics. Siri also got some new features: It will now use deep learning processes to present more natural male and female voices, meaning that Siri can vary word intonation. A "spacial awareness" feature will also allow it to automatically adjust to its surroundings, provide you with the best sound possible. The Homepod will launch in December 2017 in the UK, US, and Australia. It unveiled the Apple Watch in September 2014. Apple's commitment to user privacy-as well as its relative lack of user data, compared to Google and Amazon-has also limited its ability to personalize Siri or anticipate users' needs. This will be ideal for those of you who photo edit, render 3D images or maybe just play games when you probably have something more important to do.

Apple Introduces The HomePod Speaker and Home Assistant