Apple reinvents home music with HomePod

Apart from this, as a home assistant, HomePod can be used to post messages, gather updates on news, sports and weather, or control smart home devices by simply asking Siri to do the basic job of switching on the light, closing the shade and so on.

Jokes aside, Apple has decided not to enter a market thoroughly saturated by portable speakers and stereo systems but instead looks to unilaterally outperform and outmaneuver the in-home digital assistant market.

The cylindrical speaker coved in a mesh fabric promises to put music at the forefront of the experience.

HomePod owners also won't have to tinker with the speaker to fit its position in a room, Apple said. Siri can be activated using the command "Hey, Siri".

Amazon is smart to let others embed Alexa into devices, such as the Ecobee4 thermostat and a handful of cheap Bluetooth speakers. We are going to have to wait and see. That's why Amazon created the $50 Echo Dot. It certainly sounded great when we heard the speaker for the first time.

Apple has announced a new smart speaker device and a new iPad Pro, as well as upgrades to its mobile and desktop operating systems. This appears unlikely in the medium term, particularly given viable competition in P2P payments and the consumer uncertainty that remains around Apple Pay due to limited retailer adoption compared to alternative payment methods.

At $349, the HomePod is more expensive than the most-expensive Amazon Echo - the $230 Echo Show - and the Google Home, priced at $129.

Shares of Apple closed down 1% Monday. The sound coming from HomePod was crisper and the vocals clearer than the Sonos. A cracking speaker that delivers a attractive sound, something which we are sure Apple would happily be compared to. The speaker features an Apple-designed upward-facing woofer, paired with the custom A8 chip, enabling bass management through real-time software modelling. Google Home, powered by Google Assistant, retails for $129.

Onstage, Apple's worldwide head of marketing, Phil Schiller, described how the speaker analyzes the song it's playing and adjusts its output. Although Apple Watch has emerged as the leader in its technological niche, it hasn't become a smash hit like the iPhone or the iPad - at least until tablet sales started declining. Of course with Apple's acquisition of Beats and its music history with iTunes you would expect that.

Limp also talked about what Amazon has learned about the market and consumer preference as it has released and refined its Echo offerings over the past several years. There are a lot of questions that do not have answers today: will HomePod be able to recognize and differentiate users when it is associated with a Music family account?

HomePod, Apple's new smart speaker, is clearly targeted at Amazon's wildly successful Echo.

Amazon just unveiled a version of Echo with a camera, touch-screen display and video-calling capabilities. Unlike Sonos and the Echo, the HomePod supports AirPlay, making it easy to pair with an Apple TV streaming box.

Safari, Apple's web browser, is getting new features aimed at online annoyances.

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