Apple has announced that it will be dipping its toe into the home speaker market, with HomePod, unveiled at WWDC on Monday. The new 7-inch tall speaker will rival current smart speakers from Amazon and Google.
Attendees at the annual developer conference in San Jose got the first peek at the device, which will be available in white or “space grey” and looks like the top of a microphone.
Some may question whether Apple is late to the game, with products like the Amazon Echo and Sonos wireless speakers already available for purchase, but Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president, says that the HomePod had been in development for some time. He also added that devices like the Amazon Echo have poor sound quality, and Sonos speakers don’t have interactive voice controls.
In an interview with Bloomberg TV, CEO Tim Cook also addressed this concern, stating, “For us, it’s not about being first. It’s about being the best and giving the user and experience that delights them every time.”
What is an Apple HomePod?
The HomePod will be primarily focused on music, differentiating it, perhaps, from the already existing Echo. It will be equipped with spatial awareness, allowing it to adjust sound accordingly to adapt to the room it’s in. It will also have voice control, and of course Siri, meaning users can communicate with the device to the point where it will become “the perfect musicologist,” according to the press release on Apple’s website.
Apple’s HomePod will also function as a home assistant, allowing users to send messages, receive news updates, check on sports and the weather, and control other smart home devices. It will also be useful remotely, through the Home App available on an iPhone or iPad.
Read Schiller’s official statement from Apple’s press release:
HomePod packs powerful speaker technology, Siri intelligence and wireless access to the entire Apple Music library into a beautiful speaker that is less than 7 inches tall, can rock most any room with distortion free music and be a helpful assistant around your home.
The HomePod will be available for $349 in December.