Apple unveils $349 HomePod to compete with Amazon Echo, Google Home

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In response to Amazon's Alexa and Google Home, Apple has announced HomePod wireless speaker.

Apple has finally unveiled its answer to Amazon's and Google's smart speakers slash digital assistants - and it's called HomePod. Once you've said that command, it sends an anonymous Siri ID and encrypted communications to and from Apple's servers. You'll be paying $349 for the new Apple speaker, but you won't be able to buy it right away. In that way, it's like a very big AirPod.

To this extent, it pairs a 7 beam-forming tweeter array alongside a 4-inch upward-facing woofer.

Well, this new internet connected speaker, which lines up at just under 7-inches tall, prioritises sound quality alongside its smart credentials.

This is considerably more than the $179.99 Amazon Echo. As a company that rebuilt itself based on music players, keeping itself in the music game is integral, and more than just a supplier of music itself. Apple has Siri baked into it, which explains why everyone was calling it the Apple Siri Speaker ahead of today's launch event. It can also be used to control compatible home gadgets like lightbulbs and thermostats. Siri will be voice activated to respond to requests for information and other help around the house. Given the fact that iOS 11 makes Siri even speaker, we should see this rival the Google Home speaker. The goal is for the HomePod to provide "spacious sound" no matter what size or shape room you're listening in.

The speaker comes equipped with the A8 chip, the same processor found in the iPhone 6 from 2016.

It'll also have bass management through real-time software modeling that ensures the speaker delivers the deepest and cleanest bass possible, with low distortion, according to Apple.

However, the "pod" concept isn't dead at all, and Apple has this week made a decision to bring it back for the home, previewing its take on the "HomePod".

The HomePod will be available in black or white - for starters.

Apple's use of the concept sounds closer to what B&O has tried in the past, with microphones used to change the profile of the speaker, a technology called "Adaptive Sound Technology" that has been used on numerous products in the BeoLab series. The company clearly wants to take on Google Home and Amazon Echo, and it's aiming to be the best iPhone and iPad connected speaker around.

"Apple reinvented portable music with iPod and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes", said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.