Apple's HomePod Siri speaker takes on Google, Sonos

Elizabeth Williams
June 6, 2017

Today, at WWDC, Apple unveiled its long-awaited "Siri speaker" which it named the HomePod.

HomePod is cast as a complement to Apple Music, a sensible marketing strategy considering that these bi-directional audio devices haven't yet really found a reason for being beyond demanding that stuff be brought to one's door. You'll also find an Apple-designed 4-inch woofer, 6 microphone array, and Apple's A8 chip to power it all.

Apple is big on privacy, so whenever Siri is active, the top of the speaker displays a "Siri" animation, and AAPL employs end-to-end encryption and anonymous IDs for any queries.

They said it would be Apple's answer to the Amazon Echo or the Google Home, and those who were close to it said those were the products Apple engineers looked to emulate.

As part of the announcement at the Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple touted upgrades for the Siri personal assistant in the fall update to the IOS mobile operating system.

Apple is expected to announce plans this week to make its Siri voice assistant work with a larger variety of apps, but initial changes were expected to add just a small number of capabilities.

You can also ask Siri questions such as news headlines and the weather. Google Home followed in October and Microsoft's assistant, Cortana, is also finding a home in home speakers. Wonderful! It'll come out in December and it costs $349.

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From Apple's MacOS to iOS 11 to other hardware updates , the Cupertino giant made a slew of announcements at the WWDC 2017. Siri will also become more intelligent, using on-device learning to improve its predictions of what you will do next.

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Apple kept news of a tenth anniversary iPhone under wraps on day one of its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose , Calif. Beyond the iPhone, Apple says iOS 11 is the biggest software release ever for the iPad.

Unlimited control of speaker groupings and music playback were the features that built Sonos as a brand 15 years ago, and now Apple is stealing that thunder.

HomePod is the first major product category under Tim Cook's tenure since the Apple Watch.

Despite ever-shrinking sales, Apple announced a refresh for its line of high-end tablets.

Don't get me wrong, I love hearing about how Apple is diving into VR with the HTC Vive, or how great macOS 10.13 High Sierra is going to be. I do.

The program's new "intelligent tracking prevention", in the meantime, will use machine figuring out how to distinguish and block digital-ad trackers with a specific end goal to shield sponsors from taking after and profiling clients. It'll be available in white and Apple's usual space grey.

The technology, a feature of the wildly successfully smartphone game Pokemon Go, overlays digital information on real-world images and is seen as an area in which the keenly awaited 10th-anniversary iPhone can stand out from competitors. So far, the service has limited payments to purchases of products and services from companies and other organizations.

The updates in iOS 11 seem to be more about refinement rather than revolution, with most of the new features focusing on UI improvements.

Other reports by VgToday

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