What's New From Apple

The Echo, released in 2015, and Google Home, released a year ago, were the first entrants in a promising market. With an aggressive price of $349 (Rs 22,500 approximately), Apple would hope to win this rapidly becoming popular segment.

Another reason you might choose the HomePod over its rivals is dumbness. Apple is depending on spatial awareness to achieve its goal of reinventing home music, although it's pretty hard to imagine anyone would shell out $349 for a smart speaker.

While Apple may hope that people buy into the idea of HomePod serving a different, more musical goal than its Amazon and Google rivals, people really like using their speakers for services beyond listening to music. Apple took the covers off a home speaker called HomePod with Siri as a voice-activated butler. Sounds like, literally, a friend from future. Despite the company's insistence that HomePod will sound fantastic, it all feels like too little too late to take on the growing smart speaker market.

This year's developers conference will be the first since 2013 to introduce new hardware. Created to deliver a superior audio experience, the HomePod - despite its clunky name - could very well prove to be a sleeper hit for Apple once it hits store shelves later this year. Making the most of it will require a subscription to Apple's own music streaming service, which runs $10 to $15 per month and has attracted 27 million subscribers so far. "It definitely puts a dent into Google Home".

The HomePod - due to launch in December - looks like a mesh cylinder. Under the hood, it is powered by company's A8 chipset and on the top appears the Siri waveform with integrated touch controls.

To help in voice commands, Apple has incorporated a total of six noise canceling microphone array onto the HomePod. It might seem surprising to see Cook market the video shows like The Mozart in the Jungle, Falling Water, and other Amazon exclusive productions but the change has finally happened.

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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 Cupertino giant has a long reputation for hardware than the other two.

This comes as Google and Amazon have made headways in assisting users based on knowledge of past routines.

The company has pitched HomePod first and foremost as a music player.

Apple also announced the next version of its mobile operating system - iOS 11 - which will include a new setting for people who use their iPhone in the vehicle.

The HomePod will work with HomeKit as well, which is Apple's smart home platform. Just last month at the I/O Developer Conference 2017, Google announced to make the Google Assistant on Google Home even smarter than before. Instead you'll need to resort to treating the HomePod like a bluetooth speaker. The Echo and Google Home both support third-party services and smart home appliances. You cannot only use the device to turn on the lights but also the temperature of your air conditioning system and even set an alarm clock to wake you up.

Thanks to smart acquisitions and a continued focus on the field, the company's voice input accuracy has improved 20 per cent over the past four years to 95 per cent. Google is approaching perfection while Siri is still working out the basics.

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