Apple confirms its rumored "Siri speaker", officially named HomePod

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Apple has focused on the sound aspect of its HomePod, which provides the device with a huge advantage over Amazon's Alexa-powered Echo.

The Cupertino, Calif., company announced Monday at its annual World Wide Developers Conference in San Jose the HomePod, a home speaker with Apple's digital assistant Siri built into it.

Asked about Amazon potentially introducing with its own premium-tier Echo speaker, Limp didn't sound too keen on the idea.

Apple sought to position the HomePod as an extension of its musical heritage, with the device's name a play on the original iPod music player.

Schiller had much less to say about HomePod's broader Siri smarts, although the product page on Apple's website hints that it can perform numerous smart-home tasks that an Amazon Echo or Google Home can do.

The A8 chip is also used to power Siri, which can be used to issue commands through a six-microphone array. The 17-centimetre speaker is priced at $USD 349, but there is now no Australian pricing available.

The HomePod measures in at 7in tall, and Apple has defended its bin-like design by talking up its "seamless 3D mesh fabric" as having acoustic properties. GOOGL, +0.78% GOOG, +0.83%, with its Google Home product, and Amazon Inc.'s AMZN, +0.46% Amazon Echo. Siri updates the watch face with new information through the day - think calendar entries, flight information, or smart home controls - using "machine learning to adjust automatically based on your routine" according to Apple's vice-president of technology Kevin Lynch.

The Apple HomePod will be available for purchase in December for $349USD, which is a pretty high price for such a small speaker. If the Google Home looks like an air freshener, the HomePod looks a bit like a ball of yarn.

And HomePod can do that - some of the time, and only with Apple services. "Although Apple has done a great job of being extremely profitable without having to cater to the mainstream, and they will drop their price over time", he said.

With inbuilt Siri, HomePod will also support AI features for news, traffic, sports, reminders, translation and weather information. Remember when the Apple Pay really got things going in paying by smartphone? Google, meanwhile, previewed new speaker features such as hands-free phone calling during its software conference last month.

And the operating system for mobile devices is getting a major update with iOS 11.

The new iPad Pro will have a 10.5-inch screen, placing it between the current 9.7 and 13-inch screens of Apple's flagship tablet.