Apple Introduces Echo Rival Home Pod And More At WWDC17

Apple Introduces Echo Rival Home Pod And More At WWDC17

Amazon sells the main version of the Echo for $180; Google's Home speaker goes for $130.

While Siri is one of the first modern voice assistants, Apple is one of the last of the tech giants to release a smart speaker, following Amazon Echo in 2015 and Google Home a year ago.

When Tim Cook finally arrived at the last of the six "important" announcements Apple was due to make at the Worldwide Developers Conference, a collective sigh of relief resounded at the venue.

Apple was expected to announce a smart speaker, a market that Amazon - with its sleeper hit, the Echo - and the later Google Home, powered by Assistant - now dominate, given them an integral place in users' lives.

Apple is updating its smartwatch to give it more "smarts" using the Siri digital assistant. Apple also says the little speaker features spatially aware software and is running on the Apple A8 chip.

The 7-inch high speaker will be available in white and black and will ship starting in December initially in Australia, the United Kingdom and the US.

The tech firm also updated its Apple Pay system to enable users to directly pay other people using a text message as part of its iOS 11 upgrade. In accordance with the audiophile theme, Siri on the HomePod will gain a new knowledge base that Apple calls "Musicologist", allowing it to answer questions such as, "Who's the drummer on this track?" Apple said that makes the Mac a great platform for developing virtual-reality "experiences", although the company didn't announce any consumer VR products.

A lot of news surrounding Apple there, and can only expect plenty more over the next week at WWDC.

More news: Curry, Durant power Warriors past Cavs in Game 1, 113-91

An early glimpse at updates to iPhone and Mac software has become a tradition at Apple's annual conference for app developers, which begins Monday in San Jose, California.

IDC estimates that Apple shipped about 3.6 million watches during the first three months of the year.

Is it too late for Apple's speaker to be successful?

About 5,300 developers from 75 countries were expected to attend this year's conference, which returned to San Jose for the first time in 15 years (it had been in San Francisco's Moscone Center).

But the prospect of a completely new Apple product, combined with a more useful Siri, is the most anticipated possibility for analysts and Apple fans. Only after gabbing on and on about its sound quality and elegance did he throw up a final slide of the limited range of non-music voice assistance HomePod can provide.

There were rumours that Apple's smart speaker could be more like the Amazon Echo Look and incorporate video calls but the HomePod doesn't have a camera or screen.

Siri's name recognition could play a role in HomePod adoption.

"Though Apple appears to be playing catch up with Amazon and Google, the primary casualty here may be Sonos".

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