Apple expected to reveal Amazon and Google smart speaker rival

Apple expected to reveal Amazon and Google smart speaker rival

Apple expected to reveal Amazon and Google smart speaker rival

Apple Inc. introduced Monday a music speaker, its first new hardware since Apple Watch was rolled out two years ago, at an annual gathering of software developers. Finally, the HomePod has been designed for use with an Apple Music subscription for access to over 40 million songs. It includes a four-inch custom-designed woofer and seven beam-forming tweeters, which are backed by the company's A8 processor. You may get your hands on this for $349 which roughly translates to Rs 22,500.

While many expected Apple to unveil a home smart assistant and speaker to tackle Amazon Echo and Google Home, the Cupertino-based technology firm actually took quite a different direction since its HomePod is primarily marketed as a wireless music listening device.

The HomePod is covered in cloth, which hides an array of speakers within - it plays music in all directions, but it's aware of whatever space it's in and directs sounds accordingly.

The voice-activated loudspeaker is powered by Apple's virtual assistant Siri, who can respond to users questions and commands around the home.

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The HomePod's $US349 retail price translates directly into $466 over here, but expect a slight price premium once you figure in GST and import costs and all the other extra fees we normally pay in Australia. Apple's HomeKit is a bit behind other smart home platforms, but there is a small but growing list of compatible devices that work with it. And it would mark an effort by Apple to catch up with Amazon and Google.

That assessment won't be put to the test until at least December, when Apple's HomePod is released.

Apple's music-first sales pitch may explain why Apple is pricing this device much higher than comparable home-assistant devices from Google and Amazon, which are not advertised as high-fidelity music devices.

Tim Cook also finally followed up on years of interviews in which he said that Apple was interested in augmented reality. With spatial awareness, the HomePod is able to sense its position in a room - whether it's in a corner, on a table or in a bookshelf - and then optimize its audio output for that location.

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