However, instead of focusing on their assistant (Siri) they've opted to focus on literally every other part of the HomePod. "It will reinvent home audio", boasted Apple CEO Tim Cook. We'll have to wait until December like everywhere else, but it's reassuring to know at least that we won't be left waiting without any release date whatsoever as we have with the Google Home and Amazon Alexa.
Some industry insiders, however, note that Apple will be under more pressure to improve the computing smarts of its Siri software in the face of offerings from rivals Google and Amazon. Amazon and Google have both already not just come out with their smart speakers but also made them mainstream so Apple is being left in the dust in this arena, so to speak. The company didn't reveal many details about how the HomePod might work with third-party apps, a major selling point for the Echo and Home. It's also capable of directing elements like vocals and reverb using beam-forming technology.
Apple executive Phil Schiller then took the stage to unveil the speaker, which stands 6.8 inches tall by 5.6 inches wide, weighing 5.5 pounds. The top of the HomePod also lights up to display an LED waveform while you're talking to it, similar to the way Siri interactions animate on other Apple devices. Apple said that makes the Mac a great platform for development virtual-reality "experiences".
The moves announced Monday escalate Apple's technological battle of wits with Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook. This means that Apple has placed an emphasis on audio quality, packing the speaker with an array of seven tweeters and a woofer as well as "spatial awareness" that detects its location in a room and adapts the output automatically.
In the case of Apple's HomePod, though, you'll only have one choice: Apple Music. Beats Electronics was also working on a Wi-Fi-equipped speaker when it was acquired by Apple in 2014, but Apple chose to kill the project before it was publicly announced.
Taking direct aim at services such as those provided by PayPal Holdings, Apple also debuted peer-to-peer payments for Apple Pay in which users will be able to send money through the Messages app on iPhones.
An iPad Pro sized at 10.5-inches, four new MacBooks and three iMacs were among the announcements at the event, which traditionally focuses on annual software releases for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Cook is aiming to double services revenue, which also includes products like iCloud and Apple Music, to around $50 billion by 2020. For Limp, the first thing that stands out about the HomePod is its price. "It's actually attractive and we call it Homepod", Apple CEO Tim Cook said.