Apple unveils voice-activated, connected home speaker

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In the case of HomePod, which features a six-microphone array - compared to the Echo's seven microphones and Google Home's two -Apple said the device can pick up the commands from across the room. HomePod might also have some unique appeal to folks who've invested in Apple's burgeoning HomeKit smart home ecosystem.

Geoff Blaber, VP Research Americas, CCS Insight said: "It is little surprise that Apple has made a decision to launch a smart speaker".

Safari, Apple's web browser, is getting new features aimed at online annoyances. So while Apple claims that the sound quality will be much better than its competitors, for the same price as one HomePod, you could purchase a 3 or 5-speaker Sonos surround sound system. All that's driven by an Apple A8 processor, similar to what's inside the iPhone 6 and fourth-generation Apple TV.

A survey released last month by research firm eMarketer found Echo speakers held 70.6% of the USA market, compared with 23.8% for Google Home.

What Does All This Mean? But the real competition between Apple, Google and Amazon in smart speakers may come down to the quality of their intelligent assistants. Today's announcement of the HomePod doesn't address that, either. The Apple Speaker is focused on music first, not Siri. Is that, plus some high-quality sound, enough to make this smart speaker worth the price? HomePod is a direct jab at Amazon's Echo and others like it.

The new product was unveiled during the company's Worldwide Developers Conference, where the company showcased some of the capabilities of the smart assistant, Mac World reports. The role of digital assistants in devices is likely to become increasingly important within driverless cars and as homes become more connected.

With the smart speakers, users can do anything from ordering a pizza to turning off the lights in their house. Imagine pairing a well-done augmented reality app with a voice assistant capability in the home, and you might have something pretty cool.

How secure is Apple HomePod?

Amazon's $179.99 Echo device offers tight integration with Amazon services like shopping and audiobooks, in addition to integrations with services such as Nest, Uber, Fitbit, Domino's and Pandora. The move is one of the first significant forays by Apple in the voice-technology, since the time it launched Siri way back in 2011.

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