Apple just unveiled HomePod, a $349 competitor to Amazon's Echo

Apple just unveiled HomePod, a $349 competitor to Amazon's Echo

Apple nodded to several up-and-coming technology trends, unveiling a new "smart" home speaker and device features touching on virtual reality, online privacy and a form of artificial intelligence called machine learning.

Siri, who hasn't always been known to get the gist, has been heavily updated by Apple to better understand context, the firm says, and in HomePod will be able to answer user queries and details about music when prompted using the voice command "Hey, Siri".

Surely not. Tim came into proceedings with a knowing confidence stating that Apple had already re-invented portable music and now it was time to reinvent wireless music throughout the home.

Apple will begin shipping the HomePod to the United States, Britain and Australia in December.

Apple's music-first sales pitch may explain why Apple is pricing this device much higher than comparable home-assistant devices from Google and Amazon, which are not advertised as high-fidelity music devices. Or you could ask Siri to give you directions, or numerous other things.

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during the developer conference previous year.

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At just under 7 inches tall, HomePod can be placed nearly anywhere in the home and is available in white and space gray.

Eclipsing other news coming out of Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference, this week, the tech titan just unveiled its first smart speaker. With Siri most widely used on iPhone, Apple risked missing out on the daily, at-home tasks consumers increasingly use Echo or Home for - reminders, calendars, music.

HomePod is deemed a more expensive competitor of Echo, which was released two years ago.

WWDC 2017 holds even more significance as the year marks the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, and developers are expecting more than just tweaks to the iOS powering the device.

Apple said the HomePod will also be compatible with the company's HomeKit system for controlling smart home devices, like lighting, heating, air conditioning and home security systems. And needless to say it will also read the news and weather to you.

Tim Cook also finally followed up on years of interviews in which he said that Apple was interested in augmented reality. 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.