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

by Fredrick Graves June 10, 2017, 7:08
Apple aims to 'reinvent home music' with HomePod smart speaker

Activated by voice with Apple's natural language user interface Siri, it will have access to Apple Music, a music-streaming service.

The HomePod will work as a home assistant, for sending messages, getting updates on news, sports and weather, or controling smart home devices by simply asking Siri to turn on the lights or activate a scene.

While Amazon Echo and Google Home began stealing some market share from Sonos, Sonos prided itself on the excellent audio engineering that went into its speakers.

"Apple is smart to frame the HomePod as a music-centric and audio-centric device rather than just another smart speaker or another home for Siri", said Jackdaw Research analyst Jan Dawson.

There was also a new 10.5in version of the iPad Pro, the tablet for professional users, which can support a full-sized keyboard cover.

The speaker, which will cost US$349 and be available in December, is the third new product category Apple has entered since Chief Executive Tim Cook assumed leadership of thefirm in 2011, the Journal noted.

Schiller drew an early, implicit contrast between the HomePod and the Echo - which has been criticized for persistently listening to users - by announcing that HomePod won't send any data to Apple unless spoken to, and when it does it will be through an anonymized ID. Apple said HomePods can pick up the commands from across the room with a 6-microphone array (compared to the Echo's 7 microphones and Home's 2 microphone).

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That means if you've got smartlights that are Apple optimised, you can switch them on-and-off using HomePod.

Augmented reality is the blending of the physical and virtual worlds. And Siri will be able to give you an answer.

The company's App Store, which receives 500 million weekly visitors and has seen 180 billion downloads in its nine-year history, was also given a redesign.

High Sierra will be released later this year as a free update, according to Federighi.

Apple also revealed new safety systems for using iPhones within cars, featuring an enhanced "do not disturb" function.

To be "smart", the latest product in Apple's portfolio, known as HomePod, comes with a A8 microprocessor chip, the same power engine in the technology company's flagship iPhone smartphone and iPad tablet computer.


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