Amazon's Prime is officially coming to Apple TV this year

"Just like how the iPod reinvented music in our pockets, HomePod will reinvent music in our homes", said Apple SVP for Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller.

HomePod puts vocals in a direct center channel, and beams ambient sounds around for what Apple says is a more omnidirectional music experience.

Apple is big on privacy, so whenever Siri is active, the top of the speaker displays a "Siri" animation, and AAPL employs end-to-end encryption and anonymous IDs for any queries. Bloomberg reported late last month that the device has already entered production, and will ship later this year. Apple will enter the market behind Sonos in the speaker game; and behind Amazon and Google in the speaker game. The smart speaker houses the A8 SoC, which has been modified to adapt to the sound quality of the room in which the HomePod is kept. It has multi-channel echo cancellation, real-time acoustic modeling and more.

It's nearly impossible to imagine that Apple overlooked the resemblance between this view of the HomePod and the murderous AI from Stanley Kubrick's space opera, 2001: A Space Odyssey. He points out that through Bluetooth or a "line out" connection, you can connect a Dot to any compatible speaker of your choice. Although the format is not exclusive to Apple, it's not yet clear how well the photos will work with non-Apple software and devices, which mostly use JPEG. "If you are paying the extra money because Apple is requiring you to do so to access your stuff, that is the Apple tax and it is the kind of thing that people don't like".

"Of course, as you know Prime Video provides a wealth of great content - thousands of TV shows and movies, and some great original content like Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle, Man in The High Castle, and so much more", Cook said on stage today. And, like Siri on the iPhone, AAPL's personal digital assistant can be asked questions about the weather, traffic and pretty much anything else.

The traditionally Apple-hating tech press has pooh-poohed this intelligent speaker / home control device as being yet another example of Apple's "also ran" technology.

The Apple smart speaker is also equipped to perform functions such as setting kitchen timers, reminders, and even calendar integration.

HomeKit. Apple has been trying to make the iPhone an integral part of the connected home, pushing its HomeKit platform as the glue connecting everything from smart light bulbs to internet-connected thermostats together. It will be priced at $349 with White and Space Grey color options. It will block videos that start playing automatically, for instance, and can also prevent ads from following and profiling users.

Apple HomePod quite expensive than the other two - and that too by a fair margin.

And that's about it for now. If the speculation pans out, the speaker would be Apple's first new product since its smartwatch in 2015.

  • Arturo Norris