HomePod marks Apple's attempt to put a stake in the smart-home assistant hardware market, an area now dominated by Amazon's growing array of Alexa-running devices, like its Echo speaker, and Google's Home gadget, which runs Google Assistant. "HomePod packs powerful speaker technology, Siri intelligence and wireless access to the entire Apple Music library into a attractive 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".
HomePod will taking Amazon Echo and Google Home, which have been building momentum in the market for voice-controlled speakers capable of controlling smart appliances, fetching content from the internet and more.
Apple is expected to announce plans this week to make its Siri voice assistant work with a larger variety of apps, but initial changes were expected to add just a small number of capabilities. Artificial intelligence is software that enables machines act like humans in a more dynamic way.
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The introduction of HomePod wasn't much of a surprise, but its price tag gives a bit of sticker shock in comparison to both Amazon Echo and Google Home, which cost $179.99 and $129.99, respectively.
For instance, if a contact sends you a request for money, Siri will immediately surface the new Apple Pay feature in your messages which allows you to make person-to-person payments, a challenge to PayPal Holdings Inc.'s similar Venmo system.
Still, the Apple Watch hasn't been a smash hit, fueling worries that the company's ability to transfix customers had waned after the 2011 death of co-founder Steve Jobs. Apple said the same chip used in the iPhone will power the speaker. Google Home followed in October and Microsoft's assistant, Cortana, is also finding a home in home speakers. At its annual developer conference, Apple typically shows off new software releases - updates to iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS - not new hardware, though it has introduced new Macs at the show in the past.
"Though Apple appears to be playing catch up with Amazon and Google, the primary casualty here may be Sonos".
A new iMac Pro computer, which Apple claims is the most powerful Mac ever made, will go on sale in December priced at $4,999. Amazon started the Echo way back in 2014, and Google began shipping its competitor, Google Home, last year.