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

This comes as Google and Amazon have made headways in assisting users based on knowledge of past routines.

The next version of iOS, which powers the iPhone and iPad, as well as desktop software macOS and the Apple Watch's watchOS were also updated at the firm's annual developer conference, WWDC.

Very much a device for consumer use, the HomePod is potentially an interesting prospect for software and online service developers, who are likely to be presented with another smart home device on which they could create apps for or more likely integrate their existing apps with.

The app, which has not yet officially been announced by Amazon, doesn't allow Fire TV owners to use the platform's voice navigation capabilities to search and shop for products within the new app, TechCrunch reported. Although both companies have yet to give an update on the issue, things are likely to change now that Amazon and Apple have come to an agreement.

The new speaker that is dubbed HomePod, was launched on Monday in San Jose, California at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

The real challenge for Apple and other major tech companies moving forward is that numerous enhancements and capabilities they're going to introduce over the next several years are likely to be a lot subtler refinements of existing products or services.

How Does the HomePod Compare to Amazon Echo and Google Home? .

Apple reinvented portable music with iPod and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes. With simple voice commands, Siri can turn the lights on or off, manipulate the room's temperature, and even shut the blinds through HomePod.

More than 35 million people in the US are expected to use a voice-activated speaker at least once a month this year, more than doubling from last year, according the research firm eMarketer.

One thing that was weird about Apple's WWDC HomePod pitch was it's emphasis on sound quality. Amazon Echo was introduced in 2014, and uses Alexa, the artificial intelligence system. The new Echo Show goes on sale on June 28 for $230. A smart speaker utilizing an underachieving voice assistant could dampen interest in the product. You'll be able to say, "Hey, Siri" to ask for information, set reminders, etc.

It wouldn't be the first time that Apple hopped on the bandwagon of a technology product popularized by a competitor.

Apple has $257 billion in cash reserves, and most of it is outside of the U.S. Like many CEOs, Cook has supported U.S. President Donald Trump's repatriation push.

Blaber said: "Apple's HomePod speaker casts fresh focus on Siri and will draw inevitable comparisons with the AI smarts of Amazon, Baidu, Google and others".

iOS 11 features a swag of iPad only features, including a new Files app, a new dock, and new drag-and-drop features to enable better multitasking and sharing between apps. Despite a slightly bass-heavy performance, our sister mag What Hi Fi? thought the HomePod edged the Sonos and outclassed the Echo in a side-by-side demo.

  • Latoya Cobb