Apple revealed the HomePod, a voice-controlled speaker that is able to make music suggestions and adjust home temperatures, at its developers conference on Monday, as it battles against Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Home as a smart home and music hub.
HomePod is a pill-shaped
circular speaker. It has seven beam-forming tweeter array. It has a custom-made
woofer and an Apple A8 chip. It has a multi-channel echo cancellation,
real-time music modeling and more. It can
send text messages, check news and sports scores, check the traffic and control
compatible home gadgets like light bulbs and thermostats. It stands just under
seven inches (18cm) tall and is covered in fabric mesh that will come in gray
or white. A computer processor will tune
the sound to the room and beam specific parts of music, like the singer’s voice
toward the listener.
Moreover, the device, powered by Siri digital assistants, will be priced at $349 when it starts shipping in December in the United States, Australia and Britain, as announced at the conference.
The device may look so costly, but that’s because the company wanted to take the smart features of cheaper products like the Amazon Echo and mix them with the good audio speakers like the Sonos, and the result is HomePod.
“It’s so cool, we really believe it is going to take your home music experience to the next level,” Apple chief executive Tim Cook said.
For more than two years, this move of the company is the first into a completely new era, as the world’s most respected technology company looks to make up for a dip in iPhone sales and new ways to attract and persuade customers to utilize more of its moneymaking applications and services.
The Homepod, of course, will take on Amazon Alexa and Google Home, which have been
establishing momentum in
the market for voice-controlled speakers capable of controlling smart
appliances, fetching content from the internet and more. The device’s users may
firstly be constrained by Siri’s lack of capabilities as compared to Alexa,
which also boasts the ability to order millions of Amazon products as well as
food from restaurants like Domino’s.
However, this week, the Apple is expected to announce plans to make Siri voice assistant work with a larger variety of applications, but initial changes were expected to add just a small number of capabilities. Interestingly, Apple also announced AirPlay 2 earlier today, that will let you pair multiple speakers and play music in multiple rooms.
Apple shares closed down 1% at $153.93, not far below the all-time high set last month.
Apple has a higher price point than its rivals. Amazon Echo is 9.3 inches tall and retails for $179.99, while Google Home retails for $129.
By 7:59 GMT-4, Apple traded 0.98%, or 1.52 points, to $153.93. It opened in $154.34, with a session high of $154.45, and a session low of $153.46. Its market capitalization was $814.46 billion, its P/E ratio was 18, and its dividend yield was 1.64%.
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