Apple Unveils the $349 HomePod

Apple’s Brand New Home Speaker and Google Home Competitor

Today at the Apple World Wide Developer Conference in San Jose, California, tech giant Apple announced a plethora of software and hardware improvements as well as a few new additions.  One new addition is Apple’s iMac Pro, Apple’s so-called fastest and most advanced Mac ever.  The iMac Pro will retail for $5,000 when it goes on sale in December.  Additionally, Apple announced upcoming software updates for both laptops and mobile devices.  However, it wasn’t Apple’s $5,000 Mac or details about iOS 11 that got people talking.  Apple unveiled their long-awaited Google Home/Amazon Echo competitor; the Apple HomePod.

Apple’s New HomePod (Image: Apple)

Apple’s HomePod is designed more like Sonos than Google Home or Amazon Echo.  However, ultimately, the Apple HomePod is the closest thing to Google Home and Echo that Apple fans will be able to get their hands on.  According to Apple, the main purpose of the device is to serve as a wireless speaker system.  Focusing less on incorporating apps and automation, the Apple HomePod features high-quality audio with sensors that automatically adjust the audio based on the user’s location.  If you’re an audiophile, the HomePod will likely be your go-to wireless speaker come December.  However, the HomePod will also feature Siri-integration.

Apple HomePod featuring Siri (Image: Apple)

Apple touted Siri’s ability to become a full on DJ while making consumers guess with regards to third-party app integration and home automation features.  Apple says that not only will Siri make a great DJ, but the artificial intelligence will also be able to answer questions, take notes, and close the blinds.  These features are much like what’s found with Google Home and Amazon Echo.  However, unlike with the reveal of Home and Echo, Apple didn’t reveal what third-party apps will work with the HomePod.  Overall, the reveal and consequent press release made the HomePod appear to be more like a speaker than a personal assistant.

The Apple HomePod’s main competitor, Google Home (Image: Google)

Apple HomePod Features, per Apple’s Press Release;

  • Upware facing-woofer
  • Seven beam-forming tweeters
  • Apple’s A8 Chip
  • Room-sensing technology
  • Six microphones
  • Siri Waveform
  • Automatic detection and balance
  • Easy setup

Additionally, Apple enthusiasts will have to pay twice the price of Home and Echo to purchase the HomePod.  The device retails for $349 and comes in both White and Space Gray.  Apple targeted December for when the device will first ship out to customers.

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