Apple launches the HomePod, a Siri-powered wireless speaker

Apple (AAPL) has waded into the market for smart speakers with the unveiling of the HomePod at its recent Worldwide Developers Conference. It has a custom-made woofer and an Apple A8 chip. Speaking to CNET, Amazon's senior vice president of devices David Limp stated that the company is open to the idea that maybe other software such as Siri or Google Assistant could be installed in the Echo.

Apple has finally made its claim on the Bluetooth speaker market: the company introduced the "HomePod" this week to compete with Amazon's Echo and Google's Home.

And, like the other smart speakers, the HomePod can link up with smart devices in the home, such as connected light bulbs, so a user can control them with a spoken command, like switching them on or off.

As expected, Apple also unveiled new operating systems for its iPhone, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV products.

Amazon and Google have been put on notice with the advent of Apple HomePod. With HomePod, only after "Hey Siri" is recognized locally on the device will any information be sent to Apple servers, encrypted and sent using an anonymous Siri identifier. You can talk to the speaker to play anything in your Apple Music library and more. With the announcement of the new Apple HomePod, the tech giant is looking to place Siri directly in your living room. The HomePod is available in two hues, such as Black and White; and stands nearly 7-inches tall, with a 4-inch woofer placed at the top, and seven tweeters at the bottom, enabled with auto bass EQ. The number of smart home devices you can control with HomeKit is far fewer than that you can control with Amazon's Echo - but if you want a smart home that works with Siri, HomePod and HomeKit are your only options.

It's possible that Apple knows it can't stay the pace with Alexa or Google Assistant just yet, though it seems to be trying based on its recent acquisitions. "It's about being the best and giving the user an experience that delights them every time".

Having said that, the new speaker comes with six microphones which will be the mode of interaction for users with the HomePod.

Given it's price and features ( or lack of it), it seems very hard for HomePod to challenge Google Home or Amazon Echo. HomePod combines Apple-engineered audio technology and advanced software to deliver the highest-fidelity sound throughout the room, no matter where it's placed.

Apple's HomePod, which will be available for purchase in December, is priced at $349.

  • Arturo Norris