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. The number of smart home devices you can control with HomeKit is far fewer than that you can control with Amazon's Echo - but if you want a smart home that works with Siri, HomePod and HomeKit are your only options.
But it is on sound quality that Apple hopes to distinguish HomePod from the dominant smart speakers on the market.
"It is the biggest brain inside a speaker", Apple's marketing honcho Phil Schiller said in the WWDC keynote address.
It is created to work with the Apple Music subscription service and can produce rich sound while tapping into the artificial intelligence power of Siri.
As Apple explains it, the HomePod "uses spatial awareness to sense its location in a room and automatically adjust the audio" to enhance the quality. Not only will it be able to play any songs or playlists in your library, but it's also capable of maintaining a dynamic playlist.
On Monday, Apple showed off the HomePod, a seven-inch-tall Siri-enabled speaker, at its Worldwide Developers Conference, making the fight for smart-speaker domination that much more interesting. The HomePod will be available only from December starting in the US, Britain and Australia, before reaching the rest of the world next year.
While Cook was characteristically coy about what else Apple's HomePod will bring to the table, word is that the preview we saw yesterday is just a small taste of what the final product's full feature set is going to be. With Apple pricing the HomePod for $349, it's a tough sell compared to the $179 Amazon Echo or the $129 Google Home. Amazon's (AMZN) record-breaking Echo speaker, which it can't make fast enough, and Google's (GOOGL) Home speaker were top dogs in a new category.
We will have to wait until the tail end of 2017 to see if Apple'sHomePod will be a must have for homes and if its can steal back an early lead from its rivals.
Mr Blau suspected Apple only gave a glimpse at its vision for HomePod, noting its potential to be a command center for smart houses and to mesh with iPhones, iPads, online services and more.
Apple is facing stiff competition in maintaining market share and is trying to find a means to continue to grow its consumer revenue. For HomePod it's Siri, and for Amazon Echo it's Alexa. Each of them differs with the core functionality but they are meant to serve the same objective. This makes Amazon's speaker more functional and versatile.
The new iOS, meanwhile, is important as it's at the core of what both iPhone and iPad products can do. iOS 11, available later this year, will add some key advancements that will be of particular interest to those who use it for control and automation.
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