The HomePod will ship in December and is priced at $349. It's expected the HomePod will be available later this year for about $350.
"There is so much momentum building around these speakers that it would be hard for Apple not to come out with one", said industry analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy. While HomePod came as no surprise (apart from perhaps its awful name and the fact that it looks a bit like some sort of elaborate air freshener), it does beg the question that to be truly useful - and for me to even contemplate buying one - Siri needs to really up its game. The HomePod, Apple Music and Siri deliver a music experience in the home that streams ad-free directly to the HomePod.
The HomePod now only supports Apple Music. To show the tools off, Apple invited Wingnut AR, the company formed by "Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson, on stage.
A notable absence from the list of initial partners was Sonos, a company that nearly single-handedly created the wireless multiroom audio category.
Use HomePod with Siri from across the room to listen to Apple Music, control HomeKit accessories and more. When away from home, HomePod is the ideal home hub, providing remote access and home automation through the Home app on iPhone or iPad.
The Apple HomePod is built for powerful sound, so should comfortably beat the Echo and Home - in theory, at least.
"You might like Bose, they might like Sonos", he continued.
Using this newly augmented Siri technology, the HomePod speaker will also be able to be used as a digital assistant. The smart assistant speaker has immediately been compared to others in the market like Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Google Home. Apple's deep community of developers helps it compete against Google and Amazon. For years, Siri was trapped inside the computers and smartphones, and finally, Apple has open the door for its own home - HomePod. Amazon and Google took the techie, smart-gadget route, which is perfectly fine.
Amazon's Echo is designed for flexibility. The tech giant says the speaker produces a high-quality sound that puts it on par with "un-smart" home music systems like Sonos. But to what extent Apple can surpass market leaders Amazon and Google? In fact, if we learned anything this week it's that Apple plans to leverage the hundreds of millions of Siri-powered iPhones, iPads and Apple Watchs in the market as it does battle with Alexa. Just keep in mind Apple hasn't released the HomePod yet, so the final product may have more to offer.
If a smart speaker looks dumb from outside, there's no reason why anyone would want it.
Ok, so while it's a bit of a risky strategy, it's probably the right one for Apple.
Displaying a Sonos product to show speakers that were, in Cook's words, "speakers but not smart", and an Amazon Echo to show something that was "smart, but not a speaker", HomePod is meant to be both.
A survey released last month by research firm eMarketer found Echo speakers held 70.6 percent of the U.S. market, compared with 23.8 percent for Google Home. That same situation will hold true for any number of things you might want the HomePod to do for you.