Apple makes Siri more powerful

HomePod will take on Amazon Echo and Google Home, which have momentum in the arena of voice-controlled speakers capable of controlling smart appliances, fetching content from the internet and more.

A deal bringing Amazon Prime Video to Apple TV, announced on Monday at Apple's developer conference after years of talk, shows how competitive tensions among Silicon Valley titans can stand in the way of serving customers. The centerpiece unveiling at Monday's WWDC keynote presentation, the Home Pod is a predictably good looking and well designed device, and Apple CEO Tim Cook says, for one thing, the sound quality for music is going to blow everyone away. It also has a feature called Musicologist that connects with Apple Music to stream music users ask the speaker's Siri to play.

The same technology helps Siri learn how to replicate how people speak, Federighi said.

While Homepod is created to control smart home devices via Apple's Homekit program, the device falls short of its brethren's more advanced offerings.

But what's so special about the speaker that Apple is naturally claiming will "reinvent home music"?

With Apple Music integration, the smart speaker has 40 million songs on tap.

Other features include a room-sensing technology that will automatically adapt the sound to the size of its location.

Tech giant Apple made several big announcements today at its 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), taking place from June 5-9 in San Jose, California. "The speaker comes in at just under 7" tall, and is cylindrical and covered in a 3D mesh fabric available in either white or space grey. Apple's speaker will be launching in the U.S., U.K., and Australia in December, with additional markets to come next year. But Apple occasionally also uses the event to introduce new devices and services and upgrades to existing products.

The company trotted out two "competing" devices, a Sonos Play 3 speaker ($299) and an Amazon Echo ($180), to receive something of an audio beating at the hands of the HomePod ($349). Apple says this dynamic image "appears on the top to indicate when Siri is engaged" and the surface offers "integrated touch controls also allow easy navigation".

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 and 5.6 percent for others including Lenovo, LG, Harmon Kardon and Mattel.

Apple "can't afford to yield valuable real estate in the heart of people's homes to Amazon, Google and others", said Geoff Blaber, research analyst at CCS Insight. It's powerful. And you can bet Apple will use it to get fast performance, and highly accurate voice recognition.

Apple lovers already tend to be "premium product buyers", and may not flinch at paying more for what they believe is a superior quality product, said Gartner analyst Brian Blau. Siri also has a new screen in the Apple Watch which presents data and information that may echo earlier behaviour at a similar time of day or the week.