Apple aims to `reinvent home music´ with HomePod smart speaker

Apple aims to `reinvent home music´ with HomePod smart speaker

The secret sauce behind Amazon's smart speakers is Alexa, the company's virtual personal assistant that can answer questions, order products from Amazon, and even control smart home devices like thermostats, light bulbs, and plenty more. It's no surprise, but there's integration with the Apple Music online subscription.

The Siri face for the Apple Watch was the first step in that direction, blending users' calendar information with other useful details, like airline tickets they may have booked. Rolling out today in the USA, both the new features will hit all devices which have Alexa built-in.

The updates played a central role at the start of Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, a gathering of 5,300 developers who create the apps central to the iPhone and other devices.

The smart home wave has firmly gripped the world and doesn't seem to be disappearing anytime soon, so there's no time like the present to learn how to program for this exciting new frontier.

Amazon introduced the Echo speaker, featuring its Alexa assistant, in 2015.

The Echo, released in 2015, and Google Home, released a year ago, have helped plant the seeds for a promising market.

The HomePod is an AI-powered speaker, powered by the same Siri voice assistant found in iPhones and iPads.

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The tech giant confirmed the device would go on sale in December in the US, UK and Australia. You can also easily cancel or check how much time is left on a specific timer; just say "Alexa, cancel the pasta timer", for instance, or "Alexa, how much time is left on my garlic bread timer?"

"Though Apple appears to be playing catch up with Amazon and Google, the primary casualty here may be Sonos".

HomePod will go on sale in the U.S. in December for $349.

Siri is also getting a new voice on the iPhone - and will come with a male option for the first time. Not surprisingly, the HomePod is also Siri-enabled, and will let you ask of it a wide range of things, including news, music, weather, sports, and more.

The Amazon Echo and Google Home now have a legitimate competitor from Apple.

Apple is officially jumping into the home speaker market. Apple has Siri baked into it, which explains why everyone was calling it the Apple Siri Speaker ahead of today's launch event. Although Apple Watch has emerged as the leader in its technological niche, it hasn't become a smash hit like the iPhone or the iPad — at least until tablet sales started declining.

The free software update for mobile devices, iOS 11, is expected in September, when Apple typically releases new iPhones.

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