What Is Apple's HomePod?

Bruno Cirelli
Giugno 10, 2017

Amid the pre-WWDC speculation that pegged the potential Siri speaker as Apple's answer to assistants like the Amazon Echo, Apple made a curious move to lead explicitly with the HomePod as a higher-end audio speaker that's powered by its Siri virtual assistant.

Apple shares closed down 1 percent at $153.93, not far below the all-time high set last month.

Apple kicked off its Worldwide Developer Conference on Monday with a slew of announcements about new software and hardware products. The speaker is similar to cheaper devices from Amazon and Google.

Apple also unveiled new iMac computers, with better displays and graphics capabilities, Monday at its annual conference for software programmers. Apple Music, which hosts £9.99 a month, now offers 40 million tracks from two million artists. Apple Music now has 27 million subscribers, Schiller said, with the aim being to provide subscribers with the best home audio experience possible.

Amazon Echo and Google Home work the same way, maintaining active mics (unless disabled by the user) that supposedly don't transmit data until the invocation phrase has been detected. Google Home followed in October and Microsoft's assistant, Cortana, is also finding a home in home speakers.

Siri's integration also turns the HomePod into a voice-controlled personal assistant.

Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the Homepod. Although Apple Watch has emerged as the leader among smartwatches, it hasn't become a smash hit like the iPhone.

When it comes down to it, removing the audio port from the iPhone remains an odd choice from a company that ended its WWDC keynote highlighting the importance of music to its history.

Still, the HomePod will be built with standard home assistant functionality. That's especially important because people are starting to access information, entertainment and search in a more "pervasive" way that's less dependent on smartphones, he said.

That leaves Apple. Although it was the first smartphone maker to come out with a digital assistant when Siri debuted in 2011, it hasn't had a stand-alone assistant. And all communications will be encrypted, meaning authorities can't try to tap home communications. Siri will now use machine learning to predict the times of a morning commute - or scan the travel news as you are reading it on the company's Safari browser and then suggest related activities, such as booking a reservation. Users can also set up an auto-reply message, telling message senders in their Favourites they will reply when they're finished their journey. It will not actually block ads, though.

Apple is introducing a 10.5-inch iPad Pro in an attempt to revive interest in its once hot-selling line of tablets. Only the most recent messages will be kept on the device to save storage space.

Apple is also bringing the ability to pay someone back through its payment service, Apple Pay, much as PayPal and other services already do.

The company rolled out new tools for developers to create augmented reality applications for iPhones and iPads.

Ortutay reported from NY.

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