The tech giant previewed the HomePod alongside new hardware and software at the Worldwide Developers Conference
Updated: June 5, 2017
Siri, tell me more about the speaker version of you.
Apple today announced the HomePod, a Siri-based speaker, at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, marking a tentative next step into the smart home market against rivals Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa. The $349 speaker launches this December in the United Kingdom, United States and Australia and can serve as a hub to operate smart products like lighting and thermostat controls. Users will also be able to issue Siri commands and send texts via Apple Messages with their voice.
The HomePod is available in white and black and powered by the A8 processor used in the latest iPhones. Apple says that the technology can minimize echo in a room while playing music and can detect the size and shape of rooms and adjust the audio equalization accordingly. Fittingly, it comes to life via the command “Hey Siri.” According to Bloomberg News, the Cupertino-based tech giant has already started making the HomePod abroad.
In recent years, Apple had shied away from previewing much consumer hardware at the WWDC conference in San Francisco, which is—as its name suggests— aimed at industry developers. However, it is playing catch-up with agile competitors like Amazon and Google. Seattle-based Amazon, with its Echo speakers, is currently the market leader, though Google Home is forecasted to take the lead by 2020. Juniper Research estimates that global smart home sales will reach $83 billion this year and rise to $195 billion by 2021.
The world’s most valuable company also previewed a new iOS, peer-to-peer payment service and refreshed iPad Pros, MacBook laptops and a new high-end iMac Pro at the conference.
This story was updated on June 5 2017 with new details of the HomePod speaker.
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