Apple unveils 'HomePod' speaker, first new product in years

Speaking to USA Today in an interview published on Wednesday, Amazon senior vice president of devices David Limp seemed unmoved by Apple's new smart home speaker HomePod.

Apple has thrown down the gauntlet to Google and Amazon by unveiling its Siri-powered HomePod intelligent speaker. HomePod is seven inches tall, and is intended as a "breakthrough" speaker in addition to being a personal assistant.

To be "smart", the latest product in Apple's portfolio, known as HomePod, comes with a A8 microprocessor chip, the same power engine in the company's flagship iPhone smartphone and iPad tablet computer. You may get your hands on this for $349 which roughly translates to Rs 22,500. Apple said the speakers have "spatial awareness" that adjusts the speaker's sound levels to the acoustic conditions of the particular room.

Taking direct aim at services like those provided by PayPal Holdings Inc, Apple also debuted peer-to-peer payments for Apple Pay in which users will be able to send money through the Messages app on iPhones.


Apple is expected to add to those categories at its worldwide Developers Conference next week. While it's not as extensive as what Alexa or Google Home can offer, it looks like a fairly good start. And with Apple's HomeKit, Apple's proprietary wireless protocol for controlling third-party smart home gadgets in iOS, HomePod serves as a hub that can control connected lights and thermostats.

It will be launched in December to compete with Amazon Echo and Google Home, which have both been really successful.

Compared to the audio quality of Apple's new HomePod, the Amazon Echo is a significant mismatch. And Apple's biggest consumer hits - such as the iPhone or the iPod - haven't historically been the first in their category.

Just as "Alexa" and "Ok, Google" spurs the Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers into life, Apple's HomePod is awoken with "Hey, Siri". Second, it needs to be spatially aware. I'm sure well learn more about the device in the coming months, but it seems like Apple is downplaying this announcement. The HomePod is integrated with Apple Music which makes it possible to listen to wide array of 40 million songs from its library.


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