Apple Announces New 'Homepod' Smart Speaker

Apple has announced HomePod, a new Apple-designed home music speaker.

However, Apple (AAPL) stopped short of calling it a home assistant and thus a direct competitor to companies like Google Inc. Speakers can detect when the HomePod placed against the wall and they adjust their sound output according to it so that the sound is spread equally into the wide area of the room, instead of just muffled against the wall.

HomePod is created to work with the Apple Music subscription service and can produce rich sound while tapping into the artificial intelligence power of Siri.

Additionally, Apple deserves major kudos for recognizing that not everyone wants a white speaker.

San Francisco: Apple on Monday introduced a music speaker, its first hardware since Apple Watch was rolled out two years ago, at this year's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Ask her to play something new or play more like what you're listening to, and Siri will happily oblige.

The device is equipped with six different microphones so that users can use their voices to interact with the device fluently and effectively "even while loud music is playing", according to Apple. The entire speaker system is powered by Apple A8, the same chipset that is present under the hood of iPhone 6. And the result is quite evident; a comparison of the audio qualities of HomePod and Amazon Echo will definitely bring out some clear differences, with the former topping the chart in most of the charts.

Users will be able to interact with the HomePod via Siri and will be able to use a bunch of Apple services in the process.

Apple's SVP of Global Marketing Phil Schiller said Sonos aren't smart speakers and Amazon Echos aren't good speakers. Currently, the device costs $349 for pre-order.

Yet how well Apple differentiates its new product with others already widely available is questionable. That woofer plus an advanced algorithm that continuously analyzes the music and dynamically helps tunes the lower end frequencies that typically result in choppy, muddy noise, makes the new HomePod a speaker to rule them all. When away from home, HomePod is the flawless home hub, providing remote access and home automation through the Home app on iPhone or iPad.

  • Carolyn Briggs