Apple unveils new 'HomePod' speaker

New Apple HomePod smart speaker are on display during Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, California, on June 05, 2017.

Apple HomePod comes at $349 (Rs 22,440 approx.) and will start shipping in the US, UK and Australia starting December this year.

In announcing the HomePod, Apple CEO Tim Cook said there were many companies making products for enjoying music in the home but "none have nailed it yet".

Starting at $349, the device, which ships in December, is almost double the cost of the Amazon Echo ($179.99) and more than three times the price of the Google Home ($109).

The issue is over the fact that both Apple and Amazon want to create walled gardens for people to experience entertainment in their homes.

Apple gave a sneak peek into its newest speaker at WWDC 2017 today, the HomePod. "It's about focusing on music, putting Apple music at the center of it and Siri interestingly becomes a musicologist", creative services tech analyst Carolina Milanesi said.

Like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, the HomePod will play music while also helping people to manage their lives and homes.

HomePod includes Siri voice integration and will function as a "home assistant", according to Schiller.

The most anticipated product to be announced was the new Siri-enabled speaker, dubbed the HomePod - Apple's answer to voice assistants like the Amazon Echo and Google Home. WWDC runs through June 9. But with an end of year launch date, Apple has some catching up to do. Siri waveform appears on the top to indicate when Siri is engaged, and integrated touch controls also allow easy navigation. It can tender news; read messages; set reminders, alarms, and timers; update information related to weather, traffic nearby and even translate one language to another.

With the smart speakers, users can do anything from ordering a pizza to turning off the lights in their house. But the product seems directly inspired by existing smart speakers from Amazon and Google.

Cook used the Apple keynote to show off new iPad and Mac computer models, as well as provide glimpses at coming versions of the software powering the technology titan's devices.

Dubbed High Sierra, Apple's senior vice president of software, Craig Federighi, joked that when he raised the point that the name "might be miscontrued" the team assured him it was "fully baked".

A new iMac Pro is on the way too.

Nevertheless, HomePod sports a six-mic array to respond to natural language commands, putting a toe in the water of the smart-speaker market Amazon dominates.

  • Arturo Norris