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New smart speaker expected as Apple kicks off conference


Now it's going after a bigger target: your home.

Using the wake command "Hey Siri", the much-rumoured device can play music as well as answer queries and control other smart home appliances.

Apple is entering the voice controlled smart speaker market with HomePod, based upon its Siri assistant platform.

Siri, meanwhile, is getting a new voice.

The 7"-tall device is covered in a "3D mesh fabric" and uses an A8 processor to process and sense various sound-related elements in a given room".

Apple said the speakers have "spatial awareness" that adjusts the speaker's sound levels to the acoustic conditions of the particular room.

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.

It also gives Apple the justification to price the HomePod as high as it is. Still, Apple says the primary focus of HomePod will be music, not home shopping, differentiating it somewhat from the Amazon Echo device.


HomePod users may initially 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. "It definitely puts a dent into Google Home".

A new Apple HomePod smart speaker is seen on display during Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. The HomePod, in comparison, was the best of both worlds.

The voice-activated-speaker market is projected to reach $2.1 billion by 2020, according to an October report from the analysis firm Gartner. The research firm eMarketer says than 35 million people in the USA are expected to use a voice-activated speaker at least once a month this year, more than double its estimate from last year.

The moves announced Monday escalate Apple's technological battle of wits with Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook. Consumers can pick it up for just under $5,000 when it goes on sale in December. Amazon also offers a $49.99 Dot speaker and the $229.99 Echo Show, which features a screen. This is about a digital assistant. The company "can't afford to yield valuable real-estate in the heart of people's homes to Amazon, Google and others", said Geoff Blaber, research analyst at CCS Insight.

It wouldn't be the first time that Apple hopped on the bandwagon of a technology product popularized by a competitor. He claimed this year's WWDC is the largest of the kind for the technology company.

The speaker is the company's first brand-new hardware product since it's innovative Apple Watch.

The device has already entered production, Bloomberg reported last month.

More broadly, Apple has built tools for artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality, and now the company is starting to let outside developers use those tools to enhance their own applications.

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