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Apple debuts HomePod speaker

10 Juin 2017

At Apple's WorldWide Developer Conference, Apple launches HomePod- a smart home speaker.

Feeling the pressure from Amazon Echo and Google Home, Apple will release its own smart speaker - but not until the end of the year.

Of course, you can use the HomePod to access Siri with voice commands. And it would mark an effort by Apple to catch up with Amazon and Google. Whereas the Echo and Home are pitched as entry points for a whole ecosystem of artificially intelligent, voice-powered services and devices, the HomePod is being pitched as a high-quality music player that happens to be integrated with Apple's Siri voice assistant. Apple did list Australia as a launch country, which means, given the global dateline, it's likely we'll see HomePod here before anyone else.

Measuring just under seven inches tall and featuring rounded mesh covering, the speaker includes an Apple-designed woofer that allows the volume to be turned up without distortion, as well as seven beam-forming tweeters at the base that offer directional control. It has "spatial awareness" to detect where it's located a room and adjust the sound accordingly.

Siri has will also become a "musicologist", learning users' music preferences and answering questions like "who is the drummer?".

Apple Inc. introduced Monday a music speaker, its first hardware since Apple Watch was rolled out two years ago, at an annual gathering of software developers.

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Apple's Siri will get a host of new features, including better expression, as part of an iOS 11 update coming this fall.

The HomePod will work as a home assistant, for sending messages, getting updates on news, sports and weather, or controling smart home devices by simply asking Siri to turn on the lights or activate a scene.

HomePod wants to be the best of both worlds, without being that much more expensive than some of its key competitors: The Apple-made speaker will cost consumers $349, and ship in December in the U.S., U.K., and Australia.

Apple said the HomePod will also be compatible with the company's HomeKit system for controlling smart home devices, like lighting, heating, air conditioning and home security systems.

That leaves Apple. Although it was the first smartphone maker to come out with a digital assistant when Siri debuted in 2011, it hasn't had a stand-alone assistant.

The HomePod, which will be released in white and space grey color variants, will cost you $349, which is significantly higher than its rival speakers such as the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and others, which cost around $250.

Apple debuts HomePod speaker