Hands-on with Apple's new HomePod smart speaker

The Cupertino, Calif. -based company said Siri, which also competes with Alphabet's Google Assistant, also will now be able to create appointments on an iPhone after an appointment is booked on a Mac, for example, marking the first time that privacy-conscious Apple has let the assistant work across devices. HomePod, Apple Music and Siri deliver the best music experience in the home that streams ad-free directly to HomePod. Apple said HomePod can pick up the commands from across the room with a 6-microphone array.

Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller announces HomePod as he speaks during the opening keynote address the 2017 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) at the San Jose Convention Center on June 5, 2017 in San Jose, California.

The HomePod is powered by Apple's A8 chip and will be available from December in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the USA, which will be getting the initial batch of speakers in White and Space Grey at $349 (roughly Rs. 22,500). Amazon sells the main version of the Echo for $180; Google's Home speaker goes for $130. The centerpiece unveiling at Monday's WWDC keynote presentation, the Home Pod is a predictably good looking and well designed device, and Apple CEO Tim Cook says, for one thing, the sound quality for music is going to blow everyone away. Siri can be activated using the command "Hey, Siri".

And of course, being Siri-powered, it does do more than just music.

Apple says their users will be able to make and receive payments quickly and securely right in Messages.

Apple's products tend to follow a specific routine when it comes to naming. Apple said just like the iPod reinvented music in our pockets, it wants to do the same for music in our homes.

However, instead of focusing on their assistant (Siri) they've opted to focus on literally every other part of the HomePod. But to what extent Apple can surpass market leaders Amazon and Google?

The "HomePod" speaker unveiled Monday is similar to devices from rivals, some of which have been on the market for years. So far, the service has limited payments to purchases of products and services from companies and other organizations. "We listened. Amazon Prime Video is coming to the TV App and all Apple TVs this year", reads a post on the streaming network's Twitter page. A new larger 10.5 inch iPad Pro that promises to be faster was introduced.

The company is also launching new models of both the iPad and the Mac computer. Per Apple, the Pod is built with a "high-excursion woofer with a custom amplifier to play a wide range of deep, rich bass".

  • Arturo Norris