Apple reinvents home audio with the HomePod

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The HomePod is the new digital speaker that will come loaded with Siri, similar to Amazon's Echo and Google Home which packs Alexa and Google Assistant respectively. When it does send information, it will be encrypted and will send an anonymous Siri ID to help with the commands the user is looking for.

This isn't Apple's first attempt to enter the home audio market. A recent survey by the Coalition for Better Ads found auto-play video ads with sound among the ad types consumers hate the most, so this should win the browser some new fans. The speaker will also maintain an emphasis on privacy by only sending voice data to the cloud in response to specific requests initiated with "Hey Siri", which the speaker will listen for with local voice recognition.

It is the first new device Apple has announced in nearly three years.

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Along with upgraded versions of iPad and Mac laptops, Apple unveiled an iMac Pro work station that had the computing built in behind the screen and was touted as the most powerful computer the company has ever made. And while no voice A.I. service is a true standout yet, Apple is considered a laggard behind Amazon's and Google's A.I. assistant efforts.

The device is just under seven inches tall and uses spacial awareness to improve how it sounds based on the acoustics and available space in its surrounding environment. And when factoring that HomePod comes equipped with the A8 chip, the same processor found in the iPhone 6 from 2016.

Apple senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi said the next Mac operating system will be named "High Sierra" in tribute to the California mountain range.

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The HomePod, which Apple claims is the next evolution of its focus on music technology, is essentially just a wireless speaker. This is very much, like Sonos' Trueplay feature, which similarly tunes its speakers to any room. Apple says HomePod is "spatially aware" and can respond as such. Schiller talked up the HomePod's "musicologist" features, which can answer requests like "Play something new", "What was the top song in 1983?" and "Who's the drummer in this?" (It appears to be a touchscreen with volume controls and a Siri animation.) Will it work with other music services like Spotify?

"HomePod ... is actually more of a competitor to a Sonos or Bose speaker", said Forrester analyst Julie Ask.

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