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10 June 2017, 07:07 | Gerardo Harmon
Apple has been rumoured to be introducing a smart, standalone Siri speaker, similar in functionality to products such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home. It will allow users to talk to Siri, Apple's digital assistant, while at home and costs US$349 (S$ 481) - nearly double the price of most competing products. Amazon pioneered the category with its Echo device in 2014 and has sold an estimated 11 million speakers. The tech giant says the speaker produces a high-quality sound that puts it on par with "un-smart" home music systems like Sonos.
"We are so pleased to welcome Amazon to Apple TV", Apple CEO Tim Cook said during the event. That includes a "seven beam-forming tweeter array", "precision acoustic horns", and "directional control". HomePod is also created to work with the newly-announced AirPlay 2 multi-room audio solution, which allows the two to automatically detect and balance each other for a more "lifelike" sound.
As another piece of news to be released later this year, Apple is expected to share more details about tvOS, which we are also excited about. It has been tested by some Apple employees in their homes for upwards of a year, according to people familiar with the matter.
Also, Schiller made a point to say that Apple cares a lot about its user's privacy, so nothing is ever being sent until you say "Hey Siri."It uses an anonymous Siri ID, too, so your searches aren't tracked back to you".
Apple's Phil Schiller talks about the new HomePod speaker at WWDC.
Its biggest selling point comes from its "Spatial Awareness" feature, technology that allows the device to automatically detect the space around it, adjusting the audio to best match its surroundings.
The HomePod is expected to sell for $349 and be available in December in the U.S., U.K., and Australia. Apple said it has also updated the processors in its iMac and MacBook Pro lineup to Intel's most recent "Kaby Lake" processors.
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Apple 'HomePod' speaker to take on Amazon, Google
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. With Apple pricing the HomePod for $349, it's a tough sell compared to the $179 Amazon Echo or the $129 Google Home .