"Just like the iPod reinvented music in our pockets, HomePod is going to reinvent music in our homes", said Apple's head of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday. The squat device comes with what Apple says, are high-powered speakers, and will support the company's virtual personal assistant Siri to control smart home devices, like smart light bulbs and thermostats.
The Apple HomePod has an A8 chip along with a unique woof specially designed by the company. It will also be more expensive than Sonos's entry-level multiroom speaker, the Play:1, and the similarly priced SoundTouch 10 by Bose. Year-over-year, the number of USA consumers using voice-activated assistant devices is up 128.9%, according to eMarketer. Amazon has heavily dominated the field with its home speaker called Echo, which uses the digital assistant Alexa.
AAPL has confirmed that its new HomePod is capable enough to balance and tune the audio quality to best suit any room or position that users put it in.
The HomePod will be available in two colors, namely White and Space Gray. Users can tell HomePod that they liked a song or to play more songs like the one they're listening to. Apple's HomePod will retail for $349 when it's released later this year.
New indoor maps of areas like malls and airports indicated that Apple might be laying groundwork to display information over images of those places in the future.
But Apple is very blunt about its intentions here: It wants people to see the HomePod as a quality speaker first, with Siri as added value on top.
Apple traditionally has been reluctant to bring its technology to other platforms and would be unlikely to start doing so with Siri.
Smart speakers have become the hot consumer product of the past few years, with Amazon leading the way.
But HomePod is the only one of these to offer Siri and integration with Apple's HomeKit smart home system.
If you've ever wished that you could talk to iPhone's Siri voice assistant from across your front room, Apple is about to make your dreams come true.
"HomePod ... is actually more of a competitor to a Sonos or Bose speaker", said Forrester analyst Julie Ask.