Hot on the heels of rumors that Apple would release their own AI speaker, similar to Amazon’s Echo and Google Home, Apple officially announces the HomePod speaker during its keynote kicking off WWDC today.
HomePod is designed to “deliver amazing audio quality and use spatial awareness to sense its location in a room and automatically adjust the audio.” It works with Siri intelligence and Apple Music subscriptions. It features six microphones so users should be able to communicate with the nearly 7-inch tall speaker from across the room, whether it’s asking Siri who plays a song, sending a message to a pal, or commanding different aspects of a smart home setup.
The HomePod runs on Apple’s A8 chip and features automatic room-sensing technology, a custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters, and a visual Siri waveform that appears on top of the device along with touch controls for easy navigation.
HomePod will come in two colors at launch, Space Gray and White, and will begin selling in December in Australia, the UK and the US for $349, and is compatible with the iPhone 5s and later, running iOS 11.
The introduction of HomePod wasn’t much of a surprise, but its price tag gives a bit of sticker shock in comparison to both Amazon Echo and Google Home, which cost $179.99 and $129.99, respectively. Considering all three smart speakers have similar functionality, it will be interesting to see if Apple’s inclusive ecosystem will influence successful sales of the Cupertino company’s newest device.
What are your thoughts on the HomePod, readers? Do you plan to purchase one? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!