Apple Debuts HomePod with Siri

Patrice Gainsbourg
Junho 20, 2017

All told, companies are pushing for voice-powered commands where computing is not tied to a screen. The long and short of it then is that Apple HomePod is just that-it is a smart speaker with an assistant. Now, Echo and Home have another sibling to compete with: Apple's HomePod. By saying, "Hey Siri, I like this song", HomePod and Apple Music become the musicologist, learning preferences from hundreds of genres and moods, across tens of thousands of playlists, and these music tastes are shared across devices. Apple was nearly sheepish in mentioning that, yes, Siri on the HomePod can do most of the usual Siri things like make appointments, find sports scores, and send messages. However, experts believe that Google, which was a late entrant in the market, may be able to cut into Amazon's lead due to its strong artificial intelligence platform.

HomePod is the new wireless speaker from Apple. It has multi-channel echo cancellation, real-time acoustic modeling and more. If two HomePods are kept in the same room, both the devices can detect each other and function together to deliver the best sound experience without any ads.

Touted by Apple's marketing guru Philip Schiller as the means to "reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes", the HomePod is a speaker system sitting under 7in tall with Apple's virtual assistant Siri at it core.

Six microphones in the speaker's base - one less than the Echo but four more than the Home - let HomePod pick up your requests from across the room (even with loud music playing).

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HomePod users may initially be constrained by Siri's lack of capabilities as compared to Alexa, which also boasts the ability to order millions of Amazon products as well as food from restaurants like Domino's. The other smart speakers support their own company's music streaming services, as well as independent ones like Spotify and Pandora.

The introduction of a high-quality smart speaker from Apple puts some serious pressure on Sonos, an early leader in the connected speaker market.

Apple unveiled a smart speaker called HomePod featuring the company's Siri personal assistant on Monday, pitting the company against similar products from Google and Amazon. Year-over-year, the number of US consumers using voice-activated assistant devices is up 128.9%, according to eMarketer. At WWDC, Apple announced the speaker category for HomeKit, so other speaker makers could more tightly integrate with iOS.

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