Apple's HomePod speaker pumps up the volume on tech rivals

"HomePod packs powerful speaker technology, Siri intelligence and wireless access to the entire Apple Music library into a attractive speaker that is less than 7 inches tall, can rock most any room with distortion free music and be a helpful assistant around your home".

The speaker is fully compatible with the entire Apple Music library and will be able to answer advanced Siri questions, including the ability to look up drummers and pianists.

Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant are going to be smarter, more clever and more intuitive than anything Apple puts into the HomePod.

Meanwhile, at a San Jose venue in Northern California, Apple's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tim Cook opened the Worldwide Developers Conference, or WWDC, with announcement that Prime Video, a video streaming service that is operated by Amazon.com, will be integrated into Apple TV, a digital media player and microconsole. Although Apple Watch has emerged as the leader in its technological niche, it hasn't become a smash hit like the iPhone or the iPad - at least until tablet sales started declining.

The speaker has the "power to rock the house", according to Schiller, who said the team worked to make HomePod a potent assistant for news, messages, weather, traffic, home controls and more.

Overall control of the HomePod can be maintained from the Home app, and Apple also revealed users will be able to pair their phone with HomePod by holding it next to the speaker.

Amazon's Kindle app for Apple's iPhone lets people read but not buy books, which must be purchased directly from Amazon's website.




Ahead of Apple's launch, the competition has upgraded their speakers with support for making voice calls, while Amazon's gained a touchscreen. Amazon also gets to benefit from falling costs, since the Echo came out a couple years ago, whereas Apple is now starting at the height of the HomePod's cost curve as a new product.

First, there's the name, HomePod, which hearkens back to Apple's iPod-a device that has always been focused nearly exclusively on tunes. Apple said all communications are encrypted. Amazon has heavily dominated the field with its home speaker called Echo, which uses the digital assistant Alexa.

As for HomePod, Apple says that while the speaker's always listening, nothing will be sent to Apple's servers until you say, "Hey, Siri".

The new 10.5-inch iPad Pro is slightly bigger than the existing 9.7-inch iPad Pro and has a new high resolution screen that makes it easier to scroll and draw.

Apple will begin shipping the HomePod to the United States, Britain and Australia in December. Still, the promo shot on the Apple Store website shows a bird's eye view of the speaker which features the colourful Siri waveform in the centre.

It also said its new Mac High Sierra operating software offers new features for developers designing virtual reality games and experiences.

Federighi cited the utility of Apple's new Metal 2 graphics API for machine learning.

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