Voice control is via an array of six microphones. So Apple wants to combine the best of both worlds. But thanks to a smarter Siri integrated into this speaker, you can send messages, get updates on news, sports and weather, or control smart home devices by simply asking Siri to turn on the lights, close the shades or activate a scene. But Google and Apple don't offer a budget option at all.
Speaking about the "HomePod", it comes with around 7 inches of height and a large woofer designed by Apple.
The speaker is created to deliver the "deepest and cleanest bass possible" with "low distortion", providing a "well-balanced smooth timbre". The chip does all the fancy audio engineering - real-time acoustic modeling, audio beam forming and echo cancellation.
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Phil Schiller, Apple's SVP of worldwide marketing, said on stage that the product has been in the works for "years". Apple explained the HomePod with a combination of beamforming, advanced algorithms, virtual transparency, room sensing, and musicologist. It is very easy to setup a HomePod as it only requires the user to hold the iPhone close to the HomePod and it is smart enough to detect it and start playing music. You'll be able to say, "Hey, Siri" to ask for information, set reminders, etc. For the record, the others support Spotify, Pandora, and other popular music streams. Speaking to CNET, Amazon's senior vice president of devices David Limp stated that the company is open to the idea that maybe other software such as Siri or Google Assistant could be installed in the Echo. Sonos also has ambitions on integrating with every intelligent voice assistant out there. This is the only big announcement by Apple since the launch of its Apple Watch sometime back in September 2014. Interestingly, Sonos was absent from the list of early speaker partners.
The HomePod is arriving in December this year in white and "space grey". Amazon's cheap smart assistant can basically do all the stuff a user could expect from a smart speaker. The executive responded by saying HomePod is "a little different philosophically" than Amazon's products due to its "premium price".
Apple HomePod will be available starting in December, initially in Australia, the United Kingdom and the U.S. - potentially to be followed by other countries in 2018.