Apple Takes On Sonos, Google & Amazon With New Voice Activated Speaker

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Apple has announced it will be going the home AI unit arms race against Google and Amazon with the launch of its HomePod later in the year.

Unvieled at this week's WWDC17 conference, the new device uses personal digital-assistant Siri and core Apple services like Apple Music.

With Siri intelligence, the HomePod offers various features such as listening to news, unit conversions, setting reminders, send messages, control other smart devices, weather updates and more.

"Apple reinvented portable music with iPod and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes", said Schiller. Also, it has also introduced a new music-based smart speaker called HomePod built to deliver topnotch audio experience. The HomePod will launch in the US, UK and Australia in December. Microsoft is also teaming up with firms such as Harmon Kardon on speakers that run its Cortana assistant. Today's announcement of the HomePod doesn't address that, either. Of course, HomePod has some shiny, innovative features like scanning your room to configure the sound to the ideal frequency, but again, these are some a few features Apple rolls out in its devices to justify its outlandish prices. It also has six microphones to pick up on voice commands, which Apple says should allow users to interact with the speaker from across the room.

The HomePod will be priced at $349, more expensive than Amazon's $180 Echo or $50 Dot and Google's $129 Home. "It will reinvent home audio", Cook said.

On stage, Schiller talked up the HomePod's acoustic qualities, which include seven beam-forming horn-loaded tweeters, each with its own amplifier, and a four-inch powered woofer that can adapt to the acoustic characteristics of the room it's playing in. Google and Amazon are betting that majority customers will just not care for it. You could link Amazon Echo with various smart home devices.

Amazon and Google are early movers in this market. HomePod will probably sell in acceptable numbers to people who are already deep into the Apple rabbit hole. One of the reasons we came out with the Echo Dot was getting the price to under $50.