Apple's New HomePod Looks Fine as Hell

Apple at the Worldwide Developers Conference in California on Monday (7 June) announced HomePod, a wireless speaker that delivers unbelievable audio quality and uses spatial awareness to sense its location in a room and automatically adjust the audio. With HomePod, only after "Hey Siri" is recognized locally on the device will any information be sent to Apple servers, encrypted and sent using an anonymous Siri identifier.

But it is on sound quality that Apple hopes to distinguish HomePod from the dominant smart speakers on the market.

Like Sonos speakers, users can also choose to pair two HomePods for stereo sound.

The HomePod will work with HomeKit as well, which is Apple's smart home platform. "We want to reinvent home music", said Tim Cook, Apple chief executive, in rolling out HomePod.

Other features include a room-sensing technology that will automatically adapt the sound to the size of its location. You can also tell Siri you like a certain song, and it'll remember your tastes.

Apple's device will be white and space gray in color and will to cost $349.

Developers were also wowed with the new ArKit. Amazon has heavily dominated the field with its home speaker called Echo, which uses the digital assistant Alexa. While Google Home and Amazon Echo look like listening devices, the HomePod, which looks more like a audio speaker, could be more appealing to audio aficionados.

Apple A8 chip lies at the heart of the latest smart home speaker.

As far as availability of Apple HomePod is concerned, it will be available in December starting with regions like the U.S, the United Kingdom and Australia. The HomePod will take Siri from iPhones into more homes and turn it into more of a hub for Apple's other products and services.

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. The Homepod was just one of many things unveiled Monday.

This has been one major area in consumer electronics lacking Apple's footprint.

Amazon has dominated the connected speakers category since 2014 when it introduced its first Echo, which responds to voice commands and allows users to order goods and control connected appliances.

"You can be across the room and speak to the HomePod even while loud music is playing", Apple's Phil Schiller said during the introduction presentation. Apple did list Australia as a launch country, which means, given the global dateline, it's likely we'll see HomePod here before anyone else.

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