Apple unveils HomePod smart speaker

On the technological side, Apple's virtual demonstration of why HomePod is a superior speaker was all about the device's ability to recognize the space it was filling. You can select from a space gray or white version.

While Apple played up the music aspects of the HomePod in its presentation, the device will be capable of performing the everyday tasks that competing smart speaker devices perform such as retrieving the weather or reading news headlines. Apple is working on virtual surround sound for its smart speaker, and if it can nail this technology, well, that would be pretty damn impressive; I mean, no one else has anything like this - and both Echo and Home aren't exactly great in the audio department.

New iMacs unveiled Monday at Apple's annual conference for software programmers are getting better displays and graphics capabilities.

"Apple reinvented portable music with iPod and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes", said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, in a statement. But Apple was careful to frame it as a product focused on music first - potentially differentiating it from the Echo and Home. The HomePod won't be out until December (in the US, UK and AU), but its simple and sleek design will already have Apple aficionados clamoring to get their hands on one.

For Apple fanatics: Will you be purchasing? "When away from home, HomePod is the flawless home hub, providing remote access and home automations through the Home app on iPhone or iPad", says Apple.

Apple just revealed what it's been up to in software for the past year. and it's remarkably Google-y.

HomePod will also include an A8 chip, which is the same chip that powers processing for the iPhone. Finally, the HomePod has been designed for use with an Apple Music subscription for access to over 40 million songs. But the product seems directly inspired by existing smart speakers from Amazon and Google.

"A big question mark for the new speaker, though, is whether Siri is good enough to power its own dedicated device".

On a basic intelligence level, Siri also has a number of problems.

The latest version of Apple's Safari browser will be able to stop automatically playing videos as well as online trackers used for advertisers. Google did a similar thing when it overhauled Google Now, creating Google Assistant, in the months before the Google Home was released.

When Siri is engaged, the familiar waveform will appear on top of the speaker. Six microphones will allow the speaker to determine where the person is speaking.

Apple isn't the only one with such a device on the horizon.

The market has seen some stiff competition in the home assistant/speaker/streaming music device arena.

Apple has a real chance of standing out when it comes to its home automation efforts thanks to HomeKit, but it's not as strong when it comes to integrating with non-Apple services such as Spotify.

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