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Apple's making an Amazon Echo competitor called 'HomePod'

Apple's making an Amazon Echo competitor called 'HomePod'

Amazon has heavily dominated the field with its home speaker called Echo, which uses the digital assistant Alexa.

As it stands now, it seems as if Apple is positioning the HomePod as an awesome speaker system first and foremost, in stark contrast to devices like Google Home and the Amazon Echo which tend to be positioned as intelligent voice assistants that just so happen to come with speakers.

It also has a "Musicologist" feature for streaming Apple Music through commands barked at Siri, as well as being able to answer queries about the song playing, such as 'who is the guitarist?' and so on.

Apple also unveiled new iMac computers, with better displays and graphics capabilities, Monday at its annual conference for software programmers.

After years of delay, Amazon and Apple have finally reached an agreement to bring the Amazon Prime video app to Apple TV set-top-boxes everywhere.

Apple claims that the speaker can play a full rich mix of sounds that can fill up an entire room.

As part of the announcement at the Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple touted upgrades for the Siri personal assistant in the fall update to the IOS mobile operating system.

A HomePod speaker that plays music and lets you talk to Siri. The device will work with a user's Apple Music subscription.

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"We want to reinvent home music", Apple CEO Tim Cook said onstage at WWDC.

HomePod wants to be the best of both worlds, without being that much more expensive than some of its key competitors: The Apple-made speaker will cost consumers $349, and ship in December in the U.S., U.K., and Australia. When you say "Hey Siri", it starts listening for your command or question.

Alexa and Assistant are the digital voice assistants of Amazon and Google, respectively. It's meant to be set up in a home and used by the regular occupants as opposed to carried around and casually connected to by anyone with a smartphone.

Consumer spending on smart home related products and services will reach almost US$90bil (RM383.13bil) this year and reach US$155bil (RM659.81bil) by 2022, according to consultant Strategy Analytics. It's also what Microsoft is targeting with the Surface Pro; a new model comes out on June 15.

HomePod will go on sale in the U.S. in December for $349.

Apple also said it was making its virtual assistant Siri more aware of context, enabling it to recommend and remind users more accurately based on how they use their device.

A key issue for any manufacturer of a voice-activated smart device, Apple states "security and privacy are fundamental" to the design of HomePod, as with other Apple products. Although Apple is late to the game, CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber says the new tools come "as the technology hits an inflection point".

At the WWDC today, Cook said Apple was pleased with its current partnership with Amazon and mentioned some of the e-commerce giant's original content like Transparent.

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