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Amazon introduced the Echo speaker, featuring its Alexa assistant, in 2015.

"Just like iPod reinvents music in our pockets, HomePod will reinvent music in our homes", he said. It offers Amazon Music and Spotify, but neither of those can boast the "custom" music service that is Apple Music's unique selling point.

Apple's music-first sales pitch may explain why Apple is pricing this device much higher than comparable home-assistant devices from Google and Amazon, which are not advertised as high-fidelity music devices. Schiller added HomePod's abilities as a digital assistant nearly as an end note during the keynote speech. The cylindrical HomePod is covered in a mesh fabric, and will come in either gray or white.

Unlike those other smart speakers, Apple is positioning the HomePod primarily as a way to listen to and discover new songs and artists.

HomePod can automatically detect the space it is in and adjust its sound to fill that space. It can recognize a voice command from anywhere in a room, even while music is playing, Schiller said. It has an array of six microphones, seven beam-forming tweeters, and an upward-facing woofer.

It unveiled HomePod, a new 7-inch tall speaker for playing music, checking the news and controlling other connected devices in the home. (Many reviewers have suggested that the current incarnation of Apple's assistant already trails competitors in key respects.) "This is the start of the AI wars", he said. Priced at $349, HomePad will go on sale in US, UK and Australia in December this year. Next year, it will be available worldwide. Siri is getting much smarter - and it's getting a more human voice to punctuate its advancement in artificial intelligence. The shipping date later this year means the HomePod comes out a full two years after Amazon launched Echo.

The translation tool could have a major impact on the way people behave while travelling because of the fact that Siri can speak the language out loud.

A HomePod speaker that plays music and lets you talk to Siri. That's nearly certainly because Siri isn't ready for it yet, but Schiller wasn't wrong.

In contrast, reviewers have panned the sound quality of both the Google and Amazon speakers. It can also make a calendar appointment based on an event booked through Safari. Federighi mentioned the kind of ad that always seems to follow you from site to site and device to device because it uses tracking beacons.

Siri will begin to understand in greater detail how you're using your phone during the day, and it will use some of that knowledge to make smarter decisions and suggestions for you. For example, you can say "Hey Siri, who's the drummer in this?"

It is the first new device Apple has announced in nearly three years. To awaken the HomePod, you just say "Hey Siri".

iMessage will also have full integration with all of your (sponsored) stickers, photos, and everything else. Watch OS4 will be available as a free upgrade to all Apple Watches this fall. That should help Apple reposition the iPad as a work device capable of carrying out all the usual functionality users want from their laptops. It's a smart wireless speaker powered by the Siri AI that seems created to compete with the likes of Amazon's Alexa and Google's Home speaker.

Amazon Echo does have a big problem on the horizon, and it's Apple's big push to make Siri more intelligent and contextually aware.


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