Apple unveils "breakthrough home speaker" to rival Amazon and Google

Apple Music is going head to head with Amazon's Echo and Google's Home in the home speaker market with its new voice-controlled HomePod system.

HomePod is created to work with an Apple Music subscription, providing access to over 40 million songs. According to Apple, you can ask Siri to send messages, control smart home devices, and get updates on the news, sports, and weather.

The market for Internet-connected speakers and other smart home technology may be big enough to help Apple diversify.

"We think we can do lots to make this experience much better", said Apple CEO Tim Cook at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, Calif.

The speaker works, unsurprisingly, with Apple Music and has several speakers and a built in woofer.

It also has a "Musicologist" feature for streaming Apple Music through commands barked at Siri, as well as being able to answer queries about the song playing, such as 'who is the guitarist?' and so on. The smart assistant speaker has immediately been compared to others in the market like Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Google Home.

HomePod will be made publicly available from December 2017 in the US, UK and Australia for $349. You can talk to the speaker to play anything in your Apple Music library and more. And prospective buyers will have to be content with the white and Space Grey colour options once the HomePod is released in December.

At the firm's WWDC conference, Apple focused on HomePod as a new way to listen to music in the home, with Apple saying their aim was to "reinvent home music". This is a new Apple product that was announced today and it is a smartspeaker. During Jobs' last decade, Apple introduced the iPod, iPhone and iPad - all huge commercial successes that both reshaped daily life and swamped previous digital music players, smartphones and tablets. It will also be responsible for improving performance and security features. Whereas Amazon sells the main version of the Echo for $180; Google's Home speaker goes for $130.

The bullet points include updates to Apple's operating systems for everything, from the TV to Watch to mobile devices and computers.

Automatic room-sensing technology allows HomePod to learn its position in a room. Commenting on the sound quality, Apple marketing director Phil Schiller stated confidently; "You don't have to know what any of that is; just know that it sounds incredible".

  • Arturo Norris