Apple Thinks Its Smart HomePod Will 'Reinvent' Home Audio

Angelica Greene
June 8, 2017

Apple's robotic-sounding assistant Siri is set to be reborn with a human voice and a range of helpful new powers.

While Homepod is created to control smart home devices via Apple's Homekit program, the device falls short of its brethren's more advanced offerings.

Siri, who hasn't always been known to get the gist, has been heavily updated by Apple to better understand context, the firm says, and in HomePod will be able to answer user queries and details about music when prompted using the voice command "Hey, Siri". For Apple, its Siri voice assistant remains popular, but for the first time in a while, it's feeling the heat from the competition. If the speculation pans out, the speaker would be Apple's first new product since its smartwatch in 2015.

More than 35 million people in the US are expected to use a voice-activated speaker at least once a month this year, more than doubling from last year, according the research firm eMarketer.

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Like devices by Amazon and Google, Apple's HomePod speaker can respond to questions and control smart home gadgets such as lights. Amazon's Jeff Bezos previously said they couldn't come to terms, and Amazon stopped selling Apple TV devices back in 2015.

Later Monday, it's expected to announce an internet-connected smart speaker to compete with Amazon's Echo and Google's Home. Amazon has heavily dominated the field with its home speaker called Echo, which uses the digital assistant Alexa. The research firm eMarketer says than 35 million people in the US are expected to use a voice-activated speaker at least once a month this year, more than doubling from last year. Apple said that makes the Mac a great platform for development virtual-reality "experiences".

Apple is expected to show off a new, larger iPad Pro, as well as updated MacBook Pro and MacBook Air with speedier processors. As you speak to Siri and dictate which songs you do and don't like, it will adapt to your personal tastes. Apple, by contrast, has been stubborn about letting outsiders tap the power of Siri, and the company has fallen behind as a result. "It's the biggest brains ever in a speaker", said Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller.

But Apple is late to the game on VR. Other entries have generally struggled to crack this market share, either due to their reach - devices like Amazon's Alexa exclusively have been on its home Echo devices - or relative newness.

The moves announced Monday escalate Apple's technological battle of wits with Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook. But against an increasingly competitive field for home assistants, Apple's Siri knows it needs to innovate and enter the space aggressively or risk being left behind. You won't get any notifications while in the vehicle, and if you look at your phone, you'll see an alert reminding you that you won't receive notifications while on the road. It also works with Apple Music in order to stream sound tracks for iCloud libraries.

Other reports by GizPress

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