Apple announces HomePod speaker

Apple announces HomePod speaker

Apple is hoping a new smart home speaker will strike a chord with music lovers - the latest test of the iPhone maker's ability to redefine markets originally staked out by its rivals. This is the product that will measure Apple's progress and whether its stance on privacy hinders its machine learning endeavours. It unveiled the Apple Watch in September 2014."Though Apple appears to be playing catch up with Amazon and Google, the primary casualty here may be Sonos".

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. As a company that rebuilt itself based on music players, keeping itself in the music game is integral, and more than just a supplier of music itself.

HomePod is created to work with an Apple Music subscription, providing access to over 40 million songs.

The state of audio is changing rapidly, and while Apple hasn't really pushed the "pod" name much in the past few years, that looks to change.

The company is casting Siri as a music connoisseur that will learn and cater to the tastes of the HomePod's owners, as well as answer questions about the songs as they are played. That's because Apple doesn't wants to boast about its AI prowess, but instead wants to get the consumers excited with its audio.

Amazon sells Echo devices for $179 (RM 762), and smaller "Dot" versions for $50 (RM 213). On the other hand, Alexa and Google Home have no such limitations. The research firm eMarketer says than 35 million people in the US are expected to use a voice-activated speaker at least once a month this year, more than double its estimate from last year.

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Apple be saving some insights into HomePod for later this year when it is expected to unveil a tenth-anniversary edition of the iPhone. The new Apple HomePod seems to be a good and useful device for the people who are Apple fans and want to have a good intelligent sound device at home. That's especially important because people are starting to access information, entertainment and search in a more "pervasive" way that's less dependent on smartphones, he said.

The speaker has the "power to rock the house", according to Schiller, and the aim is to make HomePod a potent assistant for news, messages, weather, traffic, home controls and more. (Many reviewers have suggested that the current incarnation of Apple's assistant already trails competitors in key respects.) "This is the start of the AI wars", he said. Meanwhile, two other Siri employees quit Apple to accept jobs at Google and Amazon. It will not actually block ads, though.

Monday's launch was also unusual by Apple standards. It's part of Apple's effort to entice professionals with tablets that can handle many tasks previously reserved for laptops.

And HomePod can do that - some of the time, and only with Apple services.

HomePod capped a keynote presentation that included updates to Apple's iPad and Mac laptop lines, and upgraded operating software enabling augmented reality for iPhones and iPads.

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