Apple debuts HomePod speaker to bring Siri into the living room

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"Apple reinvented portable music with iPod and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes", says Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

HomePod will take on Amazon Echo and Google Home, which have momentum in the arena of voice-controlled speakers capable of controlling smart appliances, fetching content from the internet and more.

In his talk of launching the device, Apple's Phil Schiller positioned HomePod as a smart speaker for music lovers.

HomePod is created to work with the Apple Music subscription service and can produce rich sound while tapping into the artificial intelligence power of Siri.

The HomePod is powered by Siri and allows users to play music, check the weather and more, but starts at $349.

The trend-setting company also is putting new twists on existing products as it delves deeper into virtual reality and a form of artificial intelligence called machine learning. Apple says that the speaker can adapt to the environment in which it is placed, playing music in all directions when placed in the center of a room while directing sound to the away from walls if placed in a corner. The device is a pill-shaped circular speaker, which Apple's CEO Tim Cook claims is expected to reinvent home music as well as the streaming service.

Apple has announced a new smart speaker device and a new iPad Pro, as well as upgrades to its mobile and desktop operating systems. WWDC runs through June 9.

While the HomePod's price point, compared with the competition, is a "steep barrier", Mr Gillett noted that Apple has put a much more robust processor in the device.

Siri will now also be featured on the new Apple Watch face, suggesting helpful info based on your location and calendar events. Apple also assures that the speaker's data will remain encrypted for maximum security.

Alexa and Assistant are the digital voice assistants of Amazon and Google, respectively. The protection is similar to what Google Home and Amazon's Echo speakers already offer. The new speaker that is dubbed HomePod, was launched on Monday in San Jose, California at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

To be "smart", the latest product in Apple's portfolio, known as HomePod, comes with a A8 microprocessor chip, the same power engine in the technology company's flagship iPhone smartphone and iPad tablet computer.

It wouldn't be the first time that Apple hopped on the bandwagon of a technology product popularized by a competitor.

Apple Maps will get lane guidance for highways and floor plans for indoor malls and airports. The new speaker was marketed with an emphasis on how the device sounds, and is aimed at the enthusiast audiophile who wants good audio quality and ease of use, rather than a hub for kitchen timers and news updates.