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June 6, 2017

Apple Takes on Amazon, Google With Its Own Smart Speaker: HomePod

Apple HomePod

Apple is entering the Smart speaker market with the goal of taking on Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home devices.

The Cupertino company announced HomePod at its annual worldwide developer conference this week. The wireless, Siri-powered speaker, which will be available for purchase for $349 in December in the U.S., is designed to work with Apple’s music subscription service. It will also be available in the U.K. and Australia.

Phil Schiller announces HomePod: the Apple-designed speaker.

Phil Schiller announces HomePod: the Apple-designed speaker.

HomePod, which comes in space gray or white, uses spatial awareness to sense its location in a room allowing it to adjust the audio as needed.  Artificial intelligence is used both to understand the personal music preferences of HomePod users and help them discover new music.

Six microphones embedded in the device enable users to interact with HomePod from across the room while loud music is playing. Users can say something like: “Hey Siri, I like this song,” to help it learn their preferences. Siri can also perform advanced searches within the music library, enabling users to ask more complex questions like “Hey Siri, who’s the base player in this band?” Siri can also create a shared Up Next queue with everyone in the home.

Like its competitors, HomePod can send messages, offer news, sports and weather updates and control Smart home devices. It also offers remote access and home automations through the iPhone or iPad Home app.

Here’s a look at the specs:

HomePod is compatible with iPhone 5s and later, running iOS 11.

Dimensions: 6.8 inches high (172 mm) by 5.6 inches wide (142 mm)

Weight: 5.5 pounds (2.5 kg)

Audio Technology:

  • High-excursion woofer with custom amplifier
  • Array of seven horn-loaded tweeters, each with its own custom amplifier
  • Six-microphone array for far-field Siri and room sensing
  • Internal low-frequency calibration microphone for automatic bass correction
  • Direct and ambient audio beamforming
  • Transparent studio-level dynamic processing

Wireless:

  • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi‑Fi with MIMO
  • Multiroom speaker support with AirPlay 2


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Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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