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Apple aims to 'reinvent home music' with HomePod smart speaker

09 June 2017
Apple aims to 'reinvent home music' with HomePod smart speaker

The firm says Homepod delivers "amazing sound, automatic room sensing, and the vast Apple Music library, HomePod takes the speaker to a whole new level".

HomePod will simply be used to control music and a limited number of other functions, such as asking "who's the drummer in this song?", "turn off the lights", "what's the news?" or "set a timer". Dubbed HomePod, the new speaker features voice control and spatial awareness to adapt the sound to different rooms.

HomePod will come in two colors at launch, Space Gray and White, and will begin selling in December in Australia, the United Kingdom and the USA for $349, and is compatible with the iPhone 5s and later, running iOS 11.

At around 17.8cm tall, the HomePod is wrapped in a mesh fabric and comes in white and grey. The company "can't afford to yield valuable real-estate in the heart of people's homes to Amazon, Google and others", said Geoff Blaber, research analyst at CCS Insight.

The new smart digital speaker won't hit shelves until December, just in time for Christmas wish lists.

HomePod has a higher price tag that could only be justified if it is a smarter speaker with a superior sound output than its rivals.

Apple aims to 'reinvent home music' with HomePod smart speaker

Buried beneath all the music-related announcements was what we'd expected all along: home and life management via Siri.

Apple's intelligent assistant Siri is getting a software upgrade - but whether that also includes new hardware to match remains to be seen.

The last thing announced Monday was the HomePod, a smart-speaker competitor to the Amazon Echo and Google Home.

A deal bringing Amazon Prime Video to Apple TV, announced on Monday at Apple Inc's developer conference after years of talk, shows how competitive tensions among Silicon Valley titans can stand in the way of serving customers.

Safari, Apple's web browser, seeks to make users' online experience smoother and less annoying. However, if its audio capabilities are as good as Apple claims, it could be inviting for iPhone and iPad owners looking for a single do-everything speaker for their home or apartment. At $349 it's priced substantially higher than the $175 Echo and $129 Google Home.

The product has already entered development and was described at the conference by Apple executive Phil Schillert. If the speculation pans out, the speaker would be Apple's first new product since its smartwatch in 2015. "It will reinvent home audio", boasted Apple CEO Tim Cook.