Apple unveils an Amazon Echo competitor

Apple ‘to unveil Amazon Echo-style smart speaker powered by Siri' today

Apple ‘to unveil Amazon Echo-style smart speaker powered by Siri' today

Apple has revealed HomePod, a compact speaker and home assistant with support for Siri and Apple Music. And as more people install Internet-connected speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home, Siri is missing from that too.

As anticipated, Apple introduced its Amazon Echo and Google Home competitor today at WWDC, its developer conference in San Jose.

It's very much the Apple version of a smart home speaker that you imagined.

Look for some iPad Pro specific updates, like expanded Apple stylus powers that would allow doodling and annotating in more apps.

Apple has put specific focus on making sure the sound coming from the HomePod is as high-quality as possible.

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.

The younger siblings of the Apple hardware world, the Apple TV and Apple Watch are also due for some software updates.

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A survey released last month by research firm eMarketer found Echo speakers held 70.6 percent of the United States market, compared with 23.8 percent for Google Home and 5.6 percent for others including Lenovo, LG, Harmon Kardon and Mattel.

People interact with the digital assistants on those speakers more frequently than on their phones, according to Technalysis Research of Foster City. Apple's unmistakable digital assistant, Siri, is there to be your own "musicologist who helps you discover every song you'd ever want to hear".

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

In a statement, Apple said the HomePod is "a breakthrough wireless speaker for the home that delivers incredible audio quality and uses spatial awareness to sense its location in a room and automatically adjust the audio". The speaker is powered by an A8 chip - the same chip found in the iPhone 6 - and lets the device learn its position in a room and optimise itself to deliver an immersive music listening experience, according to Apple. Think about the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, the Apple Watch...

He claimed this year's WWDC is the largest of the kind for the technology company. Apple didn't offer additional service launch details.

The research firm IDC says Apple and Xiaomi each has a worldwide market share of almost 15 percent in the first quarter.

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