A A nything Amazon or Sonos can do, Apple’s newly unveiled HomePod can do better. That was the message from Apple CEO Tim Cook at this morning’s keynote at the 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California.
Shipping this December in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, the HomePod is a round, seven-inch home speaker designed to outperform high-end wireless speakers and outsmart existing “smart” speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home. It will need to be special to make a dent in the competition — according to a recent market research survey, the Echo had 70.6 percent of the US market and Google Home had 23.8 percent.
"It's so cool, we really believe it is going to take your home music experience to the next level," said Apple CEO Tim Cook.
The HomePod, which is expected to retail for $349, will stream more than 40 million songs from the Apple Music library while doubling as a personal assistant, using Siri’s voice-recognition skills and real-time AI to answer plain-language queries about the weather, to schedule appointments, get traffic reports, translate spoken phrases, and more.
In its announcement, Apple played up the sound quality delivered by the HomePod hardware, which includes seven tweeters and a four-inch upward-facing subwoofer. Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, explained that the round and compact speaker uses “spatial awareness” to adapt the sound to its surroundings, creating a “full, rich mix that fills up the room.”