Apple Joins Smart-Speaker Race With Music-Focused 'HomePod'

Apple Joins Smart-Speaker Race With Music-Focused 'HomePod'

Whereas the Echo and Home are pitched as entry points for a whole ecosystem of artificially intelligent, voice-powered services and devices, the HomePod is being pitched as a high-quality music player that happens to be integrated with Apple's Siri voice assistant. Synced directly with Siri and Apple Music, the powerful speaker will play whatever it is told to play.

Apple is also updating the operating software for its Apple Watch, including new watch faces, more personalized alerts that use machine learning to tailor information to you based on your routines and tastes.

And, like the other smart speakers, the HomePod can link up with smart devices in the home, such as connected light bulbs, so a user can control them with a spoken command, like switching them on or off.

"This is a chance to reinvent music", said Apple's marketing SVP Phil Schiller.

Look out Alexa and Echo, here comes the HomePod.

Priced at US$349, the HomePod will be released in the U.S., UK, and Australia in December.

Apple has made a decision to go for the high end of the market, and is positioning HomePod more as a luxury speaker than a hands-free assistant. Apple is also targeting Sonos as a competitor, which is a sign that the HomePod's audio quality will be better than what we've seen from Amazon and Google. Like Amazon's Echo, you'll speak to Siri by saying, "Hey Siri".

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during the developer conference past year.

The fourth element is the fact that Apple clearly said that they haven't unveiled all the features of the HomePod yet. It will be available in white or grey.

In addition, Cook said Apple, headquartered in Cupertino, Northern California, now has 16 million registered software developers worldwide for its consumer electronics, including smartphone known as iPhone, and 3 million of them were added a year ago. Daryanani said Apple may also announce an iPad Pro with a faster processor in an attempt to revive its long-slumping tablet sales. "Apple will try to replicate what it did with the iPod, starting as a music device and then progressively morphing it into the iPhone with a range of apps and services". Also expected.a new larger iPad Pro.

Apple also released a software kit so developers could infuse augmented reality into applications for iPhones or iPads.

For photos, Apple is turning to a "high efficiency" format to replace the widely used JPEG standard.

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