Apple unveils HomePod, competition for Amazon Echo

New smart speaker expected as Apple kicks off conference

New smart speaker expected as Apple kicks off conference

With the release of the HomePod, that option seems to be off the table, but it remains to be seen whether Apple can make a dent in Sonos' dominant lead. Google Home and several versions of Amazon's Echo, which utilizes the intelligent personal assistant technology called Alexa, are both substantially cheaper than the HomePod. Surely not. Tim came into proceedings with a knowing confidence stating that Apple had already re-invented portable music and now it was time to reinvent wireless music throughout the home.

What's interesting about Apple's approach here is that the company has positioned HomePod as a music device first and foremost, a big contrast to the approach of Google which touted its Home speaker as a day-to-day assistant for many aspects of your life. Apple executives demonstrated the use of Macs to produce VR experiences, though they didn't immediately talk about making a headset to view them.

HomePod will take on lower priced Amazon Echo and Google Home, which have had momentum in the arena of voice-controlled speakers capable of controlling smart appliances, fetching content from the internet and more.

The speaker is then also able to detect its surroundings, Apple says, using room-sensing technology to become aware when it's placed in the centre or corner of a room and quickly adjusting its output as a result.

"There is so much momentum building around these speakers that it would be hard for Apple not to come out with one", said industry analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy.

Siri is getting a new voice, and the Mac is getting a new name.

The speaker is the company's first brand-new hardware product since it's innovative Apple Watch. The name, of course, is a reference to the iPod, which gave Apple its start in music.

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.

"HomePod" will be available starting in December, initially in Australia, Britain and the US. The idea is to get outside software programmers geared up to write apps for Apple products.

However, Apple is confident that Siri is up to snuff and opted to focus their attention on the tech and audio of the pod itself giving Siri the backseat.

Taking direct aim at services like those provided by PayPal Holdings Inc PYPL.O , Apple also debuted peer-to-peer payments for Apple Pay in which users will be able to send money through the Messages app on iPhones.

The iPhone screen will be locked to prevent drivers from using numerous device's apps. It will allow users to automatically block auto-play videos by detecting videos that shouldn't be playing when you open a webpage to read an article, for example.

John Knoll of Industrial Light & Magic, right, speaks about virtual reality during an announcement of new products at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, Calif., Monday, June 5, 2017.

Latest News