Apple's HomePod speaker pumps up the volume on tech rivals

Apple's Siri assistant will be integrated into the $349 speaker, and can make music recommendations that pair with the company's Apple Music service, send text messages, check news and sports scores and control compatible home gadgets like lightbulbs and thermostats.

Apple said that makes the Mac a great platform for developing virtual-reality "experiences", although the company didn't announce any consumer VR products.

One was a new US$349 smart "HomePod" home speaker to 'reinvent ' home audio, which will be available in the United Kingdom and in the U.S. in December.

The HomePod, to be launched later this year, has six microphones built into it and is powered by Apple's smart assistant Siri.

Apple is officially jumping into the home speaker market. But Apple was careful to frame it as a product focused on music first - potentially differentiating it from the Echo and Home.

The HomePod speaker is photographed in a a showroom during an announcement of new products at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Monday in San Jose, Calif. It features built-in Siri for voice assistance functions and Apple Music integration for access to more than 40 million songs in your living room.

Spatial awareness technology means that the device can tell where it is positioned in a room, and will automatically adjust the audio depending on whether it is in a corner, on a table or in a bookshelf, for instance. Ask her to play something new or play more like what you're listening to, and Siri will happily oblige.

Apple is taking on Google Home and the Amazon Echo with its Siri sporting HomePod smart speaker, revealed at its World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2017.

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The tech giant confirmed the device would go on sale in December in the US, UK and Australia. Those rumors were confirmed today as Apple unveiled HomePod at WWDC 2017. HomePod will integrate with your other Apple devices through iCloud to fetch appointments and reminders as well.

Since the launch of Amazon's Echo a year ago and Google Home in March, both of which have been popular with consumers, Apple had been widely expected to enter the market.

If beside a wall, the speaker will use that wall to reflect some of the audio back, to help divide the bass from the high end, and give a more immersive sound experience.

Amazon introduced the Echo speaker, featuring its Alexa assistant, in 2015. However, the difference between HomePod and the rest seems to be in audio quality.

The top of the HomePod includes integrated touch controls and also shows the Siri waveform when voice-control is active. But to what extent Apple can surpass market leaders Amazon and Google?

So, one last thing you're probably wondering about is how much will this smart speaker cost? The iPad on the other hand with a new screen size might not invoke even its ardent fans.

The free software update for mobile devices, iOS 11, is expected in September, when Apple typically releases new iPhones.

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