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Apple HomePod - Things to know about the Wi-Fi speakers with Siri

17 June 2017

His comments came in the wake of the HomePod announcement - Apple's Echo competitor - during Apple's developer conference on Monday. However, it is not without competition, there is also Amazon Echo and Google Home which we have written about here. What sets it apart are its smarts; that puts it up against other "smart" speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home. "Music is deep in our DNA, dating back from iTunes and iPod". We wanted something that, number one, sounded unbelievable. It's called the HomePod (yes, I know). Apple approaches voice interaction problems programmatically - Siri needs to be able to do X, so here are the ways you can tell it to do X. Google (and to a lesser extent Amazon) created a platform that actually understands context with machine learning. Apple say it will launch at a price of $349 (roughly £270) in the U.S., with official pricing for Australia and the United Kingdom will be released later this year. While the Echo and Home aren't known for great sound quality, Apple engineers - presumably with some help from Beats engineers - built the HomePod for high-fidelity audio quality. It's also more expensive than Echo View ($230) and Echo Dot ($50).

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Apple (AAPL) has waded into the market for smart speakers with the unveiling of the HomePod at its recent Worldwide Developers Conference. It, too, comes with a built-in speaker and voice controls through the smart assistant Google Assistant.

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Amazon has a lot to lose with the release of the HomePod given that it dominates the market for voice-controlled speakers.

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The two speakers also have other functionalities aside from playing music. Siri updates the watch face with new information through the day - think calendar entries, flight information, or smart home controls - using "machine learning to adjust automatically based on your routine" according to Apple's vice-president of technology Kevin Lynch. But their approaches are different. 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. That means no support for Spotify, Pandora, SoundCloud, Prime Music, etc.