Apple reinvents home music with HomePod

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That might sound insane coming from a company that hasn't, until the launch of this product, given so much as a thought to the home speaker market, but the early returns on the HomePod's performance show that Apple (again, like they always do) isn't diving blindly into this market. Augmented reality is the blending of the physical and virtual worlds.

The speaker has the "power to rock the house", according to Schiller, and the aim is to make HomePod a potent assistant for news, messages, weather, traffic, home controls and more. These giants are battling over still-emerging fields that are expected to turn into technological gold mines, much the way personal computers and smartphones became moneymaking machines in previous decades.

There is a bunch to break down here, including the HomePod compares to Amazon's Echo, but let's first look at what exactly Apple introduced. As it's powered by Siri, it is still possible to have random questions answered.

Known as the "HomePod" and priced at $349, the product is a roughly 7-inch cylinder speaker with essentially the same operating system as an iPhone. If Apple can convince developers that Apple values them the highest and will support them the most extensively in the future, then it could easily catch up to companies like Amazon, which have been investing in machine learning interfaces for a much longer time. CEO Tim Cook has emphasized on developing the technology time and again in the last few months. HomePod will be available starting in December, initially in Australia, the United Kingdom and the US. Google sells Home for US$180, promoting the smart speakers with discounts. "That's what they did with the iPad and the iPhone and it's no different here with this speaker, they are about two years late but what they are doing is being really distinct around the music piece of it", he said.

First, although Prime Video content will be available on Apple TV, Apple-captive content will still not be available as an app on other streaming devices. If Apple wants to be more than a hardware company, it needs to break out of its profit game sometimes.

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Releasing its own connected smart speaker would be vital to Samsung's relevance as the global IoT (internet of things) and AI market is already growing. But the Amazon executive in charge of Alexa and the Amazon Echo said he'd welcome the idea. That's especially important because people are starting to access information, entertainment and search in a more "pervasive" way that's less dependent on smarthphones, he said.

Macquarie Research analyst Benjamin Schachter called Apple's WWDC announcements "solid, if unsurprising". Apple's four software platforms - iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS - provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. All thanks to Apple's new AirPlay 2. It will not actually block ads, though.

The company, however, did not show off the speaker's Siri-enabled features Monday, saying it would release more information at a later date.

This week, U.S. tech giant Apple unveiled HomePod, the firm's first voice-activated standalone speaker running on Apple's artificial intelligence software Siri. Apple also laid some groundwork for augmented reality, the projection of digital features onto real-world surroundings, by giving app developers tools for incorporating AR into their products.

Apple fans were also treated to the introduction of a new 10.5 inch iPad Pro which has edge-to-edge bezels with next-generation processors (A10X chip).

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