Apple's making an Amazon Echo competitor called 'HomePod'

It will allow users to talk to Siri, Apple's digital assistant, while at home and costs US$349 (S$ 481) - nearly double the price of most competing products.

Introduced at Monday's Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), Apple's HomePod will combine the latest in speaker technology with the artificial intelligence trappings of its Siri system.

Furthermore, users will be able to use HomePod in the same way they use Siri with their smartphones, whilst also emulating functions seen in Amazon and Google's rival products, such as controlling other smart home-based products like smart light bulbs.

The price of this speaker is much more than the Amazon Echos and Google Homes.

Apple is expected to announce plans this week to make its Siri voice assistant work with a larger variety of apps, but initial changes were expected to add just a small number of capabilities.

Apple also unveiled a key content deal when CEO Tim Cook said that Amazon Prime Video, long absent from the Apple TV product, would come to Apple devices such as the TV, iPhones and iPad later this year.

HomePod will go on sale in December in Australia, the USA and the United Kingdom and will cost American consumers $349 (A$465).

A survey released last month by research firm eMarketer found Echo speakers held 70.6 percent of the USA market, compared with 23.8 percent for Google Home.

Claiming that it will do to your home what the iPod did to portable music Apple is pushing this as the first premium speaker that combines intelligence with awesome sound quality.

HomePod comes three years after Amazon launched the Echo and six months after Google launched its Home.

More than 35 million people in the US are expected to use a voice-activated speaker at least once a month this year, more than doubling from last year, according the research firm eMarketer.

Apple will go head-to-head with rivals Amazon and Google, as the U.S. tech giant throws its hat into the growing smart home arena. Users can ask HomePod to do simple things like play a song or an Apple's Beat 1 Radio, or even ask who is singing or playing drum on a track. It boasts a 27-inch display, and like the other new iMac updates, is powerful enough to support virtual reality (VR) headsets including HTC's Vive platform.

(NASDAQ:AAPL) leaker, believes that Apple is building a speaker in a concave design, similar to the Mac Pro desktop computer.

Overall control of the HomePod can be maintained from the Home app, and Apple also revealed users will be able to pair their phone with HomePod by holding it next to the speaker.

  • Arturo Norris